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ND Game & Fish Department Audit Raises Questions - Valley News Live - KVLY/KXJB - Fargo/Grand Forks

ND Game & Fish Department Audit Raises Questions

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A state performance audit of the North Dakota Game and Fish Department found multiple issues with the agency's practices. The reports says the agency was not in compliance of using public funds and did not properly inventory firearms.

The audit is a scathing report on mismanagement inside the North Dakota Game and Fish Department. The audit found more than 100 guns used for the hunter education program were not inventoried annually and ultimately missing. It's been nearly 8 years since a complete inventory has been completed of all of the weapons. It's hard to inventory something that you can't find.

A game and fish representative says he has no idea where the guns are, but published reports quote director Terry Steinwand as saying,

"We are going to have them in possession by next Friday... we think we know where they are at."

Today, Valley News Live spoke with Steinwand briefly on the phone and when we questioned him about the firearms he said he can't say he knows where all the guns are, but is trying to get them back from instructors. He did say some instructors are on vacation it could take longer than a week to get all of them back.

The audit also shows state employees received thousands of dollars they were not entitled to and received salary increases that were not in compliance with the law.

Another discrepancy the audit shows was that managers were not completing background checks on new employees and volunteers were also not checked against state sex offender databases.

Steinwand says that the agency is in the process of "cleaning some thing's up."

"If there was intentional wrong doing we are certainly going to take a look at that. If there were any appropriate action would be taken, but at this point in time I don't think there was anything intentional wrong doing done by anyone in the department."

Just last legislative session, North Dakota lawmakers increased hunting, fishing, boating fees to provide the agency with $5 million more dollars annually.
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