The commissioner shall:
(1) act as the agent of a resident of the state having a claim against the United States for benefits arising out of or by reason of service in the armed forces and prosecute the claim without charge;
(2) act as custodian of veterans' bonus records;
(3) administer the laws relating to the providing of bronze flag holders at veterans' graves for memorial purposes;
(4) administer the laws relating to recreational or rest camps for veterans so far as applicable to state agencies;
(5) administer the state soldiers' assistance fund and veterans' relief fund and other funds appropriated for the payment of bonuses or other benefits to veterans or for the rehabilitation of veterans;
(6) cooperate with national, state, county, municipal, and private social agencies in securing to veterans and their dependents the benefits provided by national, state, and county laws, municipal ordinances, or public and private social agencies;
(7) provide necessary assistance where other adequate aid is not available to the dependent family of a veteran while the veteran is hospitalized and after the veteran is released for as long a period as is necessary as determined by the commissioner;
(8) cooperate with United States governmental agencies providing compensation, pensions, insurance, or other benefits provided by federal law, by supplementing the benefits prescribed therein, when conditions in an individual case make it necessary;
(9) assist dependent family members of military personnel who are called from reserve status to extended federal active duty during a time of war or national emergency through the state soldiers' assistance fund provided by section 197.03;
(10) exercise other powers as may be authorized and necessary to carry out the provisions of this chapter and chapter 197, consistent with that chapter; and
(11) provide information, referral, and counseling services to those veterans who may have suffered adverse health conditions as a result of possible exposure to chemical agents.
It is part of the department's mission that within the department's resources the commissioner shall endeavor to:
(1) prevent the waste or unnecessary spending of public money;
(2) use innovative fiscal and human resource practices to manage the state's resources and operate the department as efficiently as possible;
(3) coordinate the department's activities wherever appropriate with the activities of other governmental agencies;
(4) use technology where appropriate to increase agency productivity, improve customer service, increase public access to information about government, and increase public participation in the business of government;
(5) utilize constructive and cooperative labor-management practices to the extent otherwise required by chapters 43A and 179A;
(6) report to the legislature on the performance of agency operations and the accomplishment of agency goals in the agency's biennial budget according to section 16A.10, subdivision 1; and
(7) recommend to the legislature appropriate changes in law necessary to carry out the mission and improve the performance of the department.
(a) The commissioner shall submit a memorandum each year to the governor and the chairs and ranking minority members of the house of representatives and senate standing committees with jurisdiction over the department's programs that provides the following information:
(1) the number of calls made to each of the department's help lines by consumers and citizens regarding services provided or regulated by the department;
(2) the subject matter of the call;
(3) the number of service-related calls that were resolved;
(4) the number that remain open; and
(5) the number that were without merit.
(b) The commissioner shall publish the annual memorandum on the department's Web site each year no later than March 1.