The State Auditor is an elected officer in the executive branch of the State of Minnesota and serves a four-year term. The executive officer position has existed since statehood in 1858. Minnesota's first state auditor, W. F. Dunbar, assumed the office on May 24, 1858.
After statehood was granted, the constitutional office of State Auditor functioned as a controller for the executive branch of state government, approving expenditures in advance. A major reshuffling of responsibilities came in 1973 when the State Legislature gave the State Auditor the mission of auditing all local units of government. The Office of the Legislative Auditor was then charged with auditing state agencies and making recommendations for study topics to the Legislative Audit Commission. Previously, the Public Examiner, an official who was appointed by the Governor, carried out all audits of state agencies and local governments. That post was eliminated in the 1973 reorganization.
Other official duties of the State Auditor include serving on the State Executive Council, State Board of Investment, Land Exchange Board, Minnesota Housing Finance Agency, Public Employees Retirement Association, and Rural Finance Authority Board.