Springfield Republican: Springfield to save $1.3 million by refinancing debt
January 14, 2015 - The following content was originally published in the Springfield Republican
The city of Springfield expects to save $1.36 million between now and 2026 by refinancing old debt.
The state's Municipal Finance Oversight Board, which is chaired by state auditor Suzanne Bump, on Wednesday unanimously approved a request by Springfield to refinance $55 million in debt.
The debt was taken on in 2007 and paid for 20 municipal projects – including water and sewer projects, the purchase of financial software, energy improvements, land acquisition, demolition, library upgrades and school renovations.
Read more from the Springfield Republican
Herald News OP-ED: Suzanne Bump: Honored to continue my work as state auditorJanuary 14, 2015: This content was originally published in the Herald News
When most people think of the office of the State Auditor, they think of how we protect taxpayers by accounting for state revenues. They are not likely to link the office to improvements in education, transportation, or child welfare; nor might they think about it as a catalyst for reforms that improve public housing, prevent and detect public benefits fraud, or protect students in occupational schools. Yet, these things occur in the state auditor’s office today.
The opportunity to make government work better is what drives us. Whether a state agency’s mission is to protect kids, provide public assistance, or police the medical profession, our goal is to help it improve its use of public resources and deliver better results.
Read more from the Herald News
Springfield Republican: Mass. auditor calls for more sharing of charter schools' best practices
December 19, 2014: The following content was originally published in the Springfield Republican
A state audit released on Thursday faulted the state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education's administration of the charter school program, recommending, among other things, that it do a better job in assisting the sharing of charter school's best practices and innovations with traditional public schools.
The report issued by state Auditor Suzanne Bump also called on the state to improve consistency in charter renewals and to improve program accountability and transparency by assuring the accuracy of the information gathered, according to a press release from accompanying the audit.
Springfield Republican: Audit finds $35 million in questionable MassHealth payments, mostly to cover illegal immigrants
December 11, 2014 - The following content was originally published in the Springfield Republican.
MassHealth paid out $35 million in reimbursements for health care, mostly for illegal immigrants, that were questionable or were not allowed to be paid for by MassHealth under federal regulations, according to state Auditor Suzanne Bump.
MassHealth costs are split between the federal government and the state. Bump said the problematic expenditures place "an inappropriate burden on taxpayers." And, she said, "We have to get it in line before the federal government tells us we have been wrongly spending money."
Read more from the Springfield Republican
WBZ: I-Team: Mass. Falling Short On Elevator Safety
November 18, 2014 - The following content originally appeared on WBZ.
WBZ covered the audit release.
According to the state auditor’s office, the Department of Public Safety comes up short when it comes to elevator safety.
In a 2010 report, the state found 30 percent of elevators needed new inspections. In the follow-up report released Tuesday, we learned more than 14,000 elevators have expired inspection certificates. That’s 36 percent statewide.
“That is unacceptable,” State Auditor Suzanne Bump said. “The public needs to know that when they set foot in an elevator that they can trust that elevator to safely deliver them up or down.”
Watch the WBZ coverage of the audit release.
Herald News: SouthCoast Business Expo features state auditor, huge participation
October 15, 2014 - The following content was originally published in The Herald News
State Auditor Suzanne Bump spoke at a breakfast Wednesday morning at White’s to kick off the SouthCoast Business Expo, telling the audience about how she brought private business practices in to her agency.
Bump said how well things functioned had been an issue in the state auditor’s office.
The National State Auditors Association gave the office a poor rating in 2011, but Bump moved quickly to get things in hand, she said, terminating or demoting 40 employees and bringing in a certified public accountant.
Read more from The Herald News
10/15/14 - SouthCoast Today
MetroWest Daily News: Audit notes agency missteps
October 14, 2014 - The following content was originally published in the MetroWest Daily News
The man charged with overseeing the state’s $86 million contract for pharmacy services stepped down last year after auditors discovered he was also employed by a private company engaged in the contract, according to a new report.
The former executive director of the Office of Pharmacy Services, retired in 2013 after the potential conflict of interest was discovered, according to an audit released this month by the office of State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump.
Boston Magazine: State Auditor Suzanne Bump Digs Into the State’s Health
October 10, 2014 - The following content was originally published in Boston Magazine
State Auditor Suzanne Bump is used to conducting audits, since, of course, that’s her job. But when she and her team decided to audit the state programs and initiatives aimed at combating childhood obesity, it was a whole new ballgame.
“This was a different sort of audit for us because we looked at an effort that was being made across several agencies as well as at the local level,” Bump says. “So that was unique. Simply, what spurred us to do this is that childhood obesity is a serious problem that has cost impact, and we decided it was time to determine whether the programs being created and championed were taking hold in the schools. We wanted to know if the money was well-spent.”
Springfield Republican Editorial: Welfare fraud audit not an excuse to end anti-poverty programs
October9. 2014 - The following content was originally published in the Springfield Republican
An audit by the state Bureau of Special Investigations has identified $9.5 million in the fiscal year that just ended in welfare fraud, chiefly in MassHealth.
While critics will whine about the fraud in anti-poverty programs and the cost to taxpayers in identifying such fraud, the bureau also made a point of identifying the return on investment. The entire annual budget for the bureau was $2,182,695. That tallies $4.36 per dollar spent in fiscal year 2014. That’s impressive and a 55 percent improvement over the fraud identified in the previous fiscal year.
“It is important to keep in mind, however, that fraud is not endemic to public benefits programs,” states the report from the office of State Auditor Suzanne Bump.
The answer to welfare fraud isn’t to eliminate programs, just as the answer to counterfeiting isn’t to print less money.
Boston Herald: Bump pushing more access to DTA data
October 8, 2014 - The following content was originally published in the Boston Herald
State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump said her office is pushing for a pipeline to real-time data inside the Department of Transitional Assistance, after the same access into MassHealth files helped her investigators find $9.3 million in fraud across social welfare programs last fiscal year — a whopping 50 percent jump over 2013.
Citing a “difficulty” in getting data from DTA, Bump said her office has honed in on MassHealth, where it uncovered more than $5.5 million in fraud between July 2013 and June, or nearly double the previous year’s number. The probe is being spurred in large part by a newly signed agreement that gives investigators with the auditor’s office a direct line into MassHealth databases, where sophisticated fraud cases can carry big dollar values.
It drove the overall hike in detected fraud from $6.3 million to $9.5 million, according to the report, even though the number of actual cases of people identified as scamming on social welfare systems dropped from 907 to 824.
Taunton Daily Gazette: State audit finds operational deficiencies at Bristol County Superior CourtOctober 6, 2014 - The following content was originally published in the Taunton Daily Gazette
State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump released an audit of the Bristol County Superior Court on Monday that identifies what it says are several operational deficiencies, including weaknesses in evidence-tracking and financial management.
The audit reports that Bristol County Superior Court — where serious felonies such as murder and drug trafficking are adjudicated — failed to maintain a detailed record of evidence, and that it also lacks an adequate tracking system to monitor the location of case files when cases are removed from the secured storage area. In addition, Bump’s review also found that the clerk’s office was not safeguarding cash collected throughout the day, creating a risk that the state may not receive all the funds to which it is entitled and money could be lost or stolen and such occurrences would not be detected in a timely manner.
The audit recommends that the clerk’s office update its evidence log, reconcile evidence in its custody and ensure that an adequate tracking system is in place to monitor the removal and return of case papers, as well as keeping backup copies of each case file.
Read more from the Taunton Daily Gazette
Boston Business Journal: Report: Massachusetts fight against childhood obesity isn't over
September 30, 2014 - This content was originally published in the Boston Business Journal
In an audit of state childhood obesity programs presented by State Auditor Suzanne Bump on Monday, analysts said the state is doing well to implement school nutrition programs and administer federal funds earmarked for obesity programs, but needs to set standards for school physical education, and encourage more farmer’s markets to use SNAP (Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program) benefits.\
The state auditor decided to measure how well such programs were working, beginning an audit in November 2012 that looked at obesity-combating programs and regulations from 2009 through 2013.
In the report, issued Sept. 26, analysts recommended that the Department of Public Health collaborate with schools to collect more BMI data and to help the schools adapt BMI policies. Parents should also have a means of opting their child out of the program. The legislature should also consider amending state laws to mandate 30 minutes of physical activity for elementary school kids, and 45 minutes for middle and high school kids each school day in public schools, the report says.
9/30/14 - The Boston Herald
Lexington Minuteman: State releases audit of Lexington Housing Authority
September 24, 2014: The following content was originally published in the Lexington Minuteman
An audit of the Lexington Housing Authority (LHA) found that the agency was in compliance of all but one performance objective defined by the State Auditor’s Office.
Audit performance testing found that the LHA overestimated its payment in lieu of taxes (PILOT) for the town by $3,790 for fiscal years 2012 and 2103 for conventional family and special-needs housing programs. This accounted for more than 3 percent of the agency's total operating budget. The overestimation caused the LHA's financial records and statements to be inaccurate.
Read more from the Lexington Minuteman
Lowell Sun: For Billerica-based special-ed collaborative, mission accomplished
August 27, 2014 - The following content was originally published in the Lowell Sun
In Chris Scott's Billerica office hangs the damning 100-page report penned by state Auditor Suzanne Bump detailing the rampant cronyism that had consumed the Merrimack Education Center and allegedly siphoned away $11.5 million from the Merrimack Special Education Collaborative three years ago. Beside it, also inside its frame, is a handwritten note from Bump, commending Scott for cleaning things up.
Read more from the Lowell Sun
Standard Times: State auditor reviews workers' compensation system
August 22, 2014 - The following content was originally published in the Standard Times
A new state audit has made recommendations to improve accountability and efficiency in the workers' compensation system.
Bump says the audit has already led to a number of improvements at the department, including the hiring two internal auditors to review insurance assessments. The audit examined fee collections, claims payments, and internal procedures from July 1, 2010 to Sept. 30, 2012.
Read more from the Standard Times
Berkshire Eagle: Berkshire District Attorney audit uncovers only bookkeeping issues
July 12, 2014 - The following content was originally published in the Berkshire Eagle
A state audit of the Berkshire District Attorney’s office has pointed to some areas for recommended improvement while finding good internal control over financial records and appropriate administrative expenses and costs.
The routine audit by the office of State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump focused on a period from July 1, 2012, through Sept. 30, 2013. Such audits of state entities are conducted approximately every three years, according to a spokesman for the auditor.
Read more from the Berkshire Eagle
The Boston Globe: Audit finds doctors’ criminal cases are underreported
July 2, 2014 – The following content was originally published in the Boston Globe
WGGB reported on the Audit's release.
Massachusetts courts routinely fail to report doctors facing criminal charges to the board that oversees physician discipline, sometimes leaving regulators and the public in the dark, a state audit released Tuesday found.
The law requires the courts to report all such cases to the medical board, which considers whether they warrant board action and, in certain instances, posts the information on its website
Auditor Suzanne Bump said the breakdown in communications between the courts and the board could mean crucial information about doctors does not always become available to the public.
The findings were part of a sweeping review of the board’s activities, covering mostly 2010 to 2012. While the audit found the board was operating well overall, it also faulted the agency’s online physician profiles, which are supposed to help consumers choose a doctor but did not always provide the most useful information.
Read more from the Boston Globe
7/3/14 - WGGB
Auditor Bump meets with Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce
June 18, 2014
Today State Auditor Suzanne Bump met with representatives from the Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce at the Union Club in Boston. The advocacy group was visiting the city as part of their annual Beacon Hill Day.
The Nashoba Valley Chamber of Commerce is a nonprofit business advocacy, community and economic development association committed to the support of its members' growth and success and the development of a positive economic climate. The Chamber services the area communities of Ayer, Berlin, Bolton, Boylston, Clinton, Devens, Groton, Harvard, Lancaster, Littleton, Pepperell, Shirley, Sterling, Townsend, West Boylston, Westford and nearby towns and is funded by membership investments.
The Boston Globe: Audit says MBTA station renovations poorly planned
June 18, 2014 –The following content was originally published in the Boston Globe
State auditors said the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority could have saved more than $11 million on three major station renovation projects if the transit agency had crafted more thorough designs and sought community opinions earlier in the planning process.
The report by the office of the state auditor, said that last-minute changes in the projects for Kenmore, Maverick, and Ashmont stations cost much more than if they had been included in the initial plans.
T officials said the agency’s planning processes have changed in the years since those projects began, pointing to more transparency and the significant role now given to community meetings.
Read more from the Boston Globe
6/18/14 - Boston Herald
The Enterprise : Audit of Bridgewater State University reveals financial management issues
June 11, 2014 – The following content was originally published in The Enterprise
A report issued by state Auditor Suzanne Bump highlighted a number of deficiencies in the financial management of Bridgewater State University, which the school is now working to address.
The audit, which was conducted between July 1, 2010 and June 30, 2012, focused on a number of areas, including the university’s food services vendor, trust funds and inventory of equipment.
Read more from the Enterprise
Springfield Republican: State Auditor's Office finds 'management deficiencies' with Franklin Superior Court
June 3, 2014 – The following content was originally published in the Springfield Republican
An audit of Franklin Superior Court by the office of state Auditor Suzanne Bump found “management deficiencies” including the improper administration of monthly probation fees.
On the whole, it found financial records are accurate, up to date and maintained properly, that evidence exhibits are properly tracked and secured by the clerk of courts office, and internal controls over civil escrow funds and bail management are adequate.
Read more from the Springfield Republican
Quincy Patriot Ledger: State says increasing Marshfield veterans office staffing a recommendation, not a mandate
May 24, 2014 – The following content was originally published in the Patriot Ledger
In March, Marshfield received a letter from the state Department of Veterans Services certifying the town’s veterans services. In the letter, the state recommended that the town hire a full-time administrative assistant for the office. The town has a full-time veterans services officer and a part-time deputy veterans services officer.
In 2011, the Department of Veterans Services established minimum staffing requirements for multi-town veterans services districts. Those guidelines require districts with populations of 20,001 to 35,000 to have a full-time district director and one full-time clerical staff member.
The town appealed to state auditor’s Division of Local Mandates for an opinion on whether it constituted an unfunded mandate, which it did not.
Read more from the Patriot Ledger
Worcester Telegram: State questions $2M in bonuses at UMass Medical School
May 23, 2014 – The following content was originally published in the Worcester Telegram
A state auditor's report has raised questions about more than $2 million in bonuses paid to administrators at the University of Massachusetts Medical School. At issue is a lack of documentation to support the added pay.
UMass Medical School officials were unable to provide scorecards for roughly 30 percent of ICP payments that were examined. In addition, there was a lack of evidence, in cases where scorecards did exist, that a supervisor had reviewed those scorecards, or that such a review was conducted at both the beginning and end of the fiscal year.
Letter: For public sector to serve its function, oversight must be budgeted priority
May 12, 2014 –The following content is from a Letter to the Editor authored by State Auditor Suzanne Bump which originally appeared in the Boston Globe.
Public trust is a precious commodity. When government seems indifferent to its mandate, or fails to meet it, the public loses faith. And, in spite all of the good that government does, there have been some significant failures.
The key to building and maintaining public trust is to invest in accountability.
Accountability means more than just accepting responsibility when things go wrong. It needs to be an active, front-end function within government. Better training, oversight, and technology improve accountability. But to really attain it, we must instill it as a value.
The Boston Globe: Audit questions $700,000 in spending by Springfield non-profit
May 6, 2014 – The following content was originally published by the Boston Globe
WSHM reported on the audit of the New England Farmworkers' Council.
A Springfield non-profit spent more than $700,000 in state funds without properly documenting it, the state auditor’s office said today.
The expenses that were not adequately documented by New England Farmworkers’ Council Inc. included $454,871 in salary paid over three years to the non-profit’s chief executive officer, Heriberto Flores.
The auditor’s office said it found that Flores received compensation from state sources that exceeded “established limits” and was reported as a full-time employee for more than one company.
Flores’s total compensation was also not accurately reported in the non-profit’s state financial filings, the office said.
Read more from the Boston Globe
5/6/14 – Springfield Republican
5/6/14 – Springfield Republican
5/6/14 – NEPR
5/6/14 – WGGB
5/6/14 - WSHM
The Standard-Times: State auditor's report criticizes New Bedford Housing Authority
April 23, 2014 – The following content was originally published by The Standard-Times
A report from the state auditor's office has identified several areas where the New Bedford Housing Authority has "management deficiencies."
According to Auditor Suzanne Bump's report, the authority did not accurately report benefits including a leased car and life insurance for its executive director, Steven Beauregard. The authority also did not keep an adequate inventory of its state-owned furniture and equipment, according to the report.
…Mayor Jon Mitchell said he hopes the auditor's recommendations lead to improvements at the authority.
"The hope is that the Housing Authority will take this feedback constructively and use it to improve its services," he said.
The Register: Dennis Housing Authority audit shows marked improvement
April 9, 2013 – The following content was originally published by The Register
The Dennis Housing Authority is back on track, with one slight hurdle remaining. On April 4, State Auditor Suzanne Bump’s office released a report on a two-year audit of the DHA conducted from Jan 1, 2011 through Dec. 31, 2012. While the agency was cited in one area, it smoothly met the state’s 13 other requirements, including successfully correcting four areas of concern noted in the state’s 2009-2010 review.
Boston Globe: State audit turns up host of problems at DCF
March 27, 2014 – The following content was originally published by the Boston Globe
A review, conducted by State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump, examined the period between July 2010 and September 2012, a year before the department came under intense scrutiny for losing track of Jeremiah Oliver, a 5-year-old boy from Fitchburg who is now feared dead. The findings add to a growing list of concerns about the agency, which is charged with protecting 36,000 abused and neglected children.
Milford Daily News: Audit finds problems with Hopedale Housing Authority
March 12, 2014 – The following content was originally published by the Milford Daily News
A report released by the office of State Auditor Suzanne Bump found "a series of management deficiencies" with the Hopedale Housing Authority. The audit, which was conducted from February to April 2013, found expired contracts for the executive director and fee accountant, out-of-date policies and procedures, inaccurate accounting, and improper procurement of construction services.
Metro West Daily News: State releases Natick Housing Authority audit
February 28, 2014 – The following content was originally published by The MetroWest Daily News
The state auditor’s office this week released its review of Natick Housing Authority operations between 2009 and 2011. The audit found that the authority at that point was not filling vacant units quickly enough; had exceeded budgeted amounts for administrative salaries and did not accurately report that information to the state; and paid maintenance staff too much overtime and did not adequately use of the time clock.
Springfield Republican: Fox News’ Ed Henry warns not to expect much action from White House or Congress with elections looming
February 24, 2014: The following content was originally in the Springfield Republican
Auditor Suzanne Bump speaks with WWLP at the Chambers of Greater Springfield Outlook 2014.
Auditor Bump, a former state secretary of labor and workforce development and state representative, spoke of how her office's oversight function is needed to rebuild people's confidence in government. She's recently overseen audits in the state's parks and health insurance systems as well as courts in Hampden and Hampshire counties.
iBerkshires: State Auditor Says Oversight is Key To Public Trust
February 22, 2014 – The following content was originally published by iBerkshires.com
Auditor Suzanne Bump says accountability isn't owning up to mistakes, but rather stopping mistakes before they happen.
The Great Barrington resident spoke at the Berkshire Chamber of Commerce's Good New Business Salute on Wednesday morning when she advocated for more oversight of government programs.
It is the steady drip, drip, drip of accounts of chronic deficiencies in management of resources and projects.
Bump says "if you can't afford the oversight, you can't afford the program."
2/26/14 – Berkshire Eagle
WWLP: State Auditor approves millions for Westfield
February 19, 2014 – The following content was originally on WWLP
Watch the WWLP coverage of the Municipal Finance Oversight Board meeting.
The State Auditor has authorized the state to borrow $96 million on behalf of Westfield. The money will finance all sorts of citywide projects from school remodeling to building construction to water main repairs.
Daily Hampshire Gazette: State audit of Northampton Housing Authority finds room for improvement in agency’s procurement practices
January 29, 2014 – The following content was originally in the Daily Hampshire Gazette
A state audit has found that the Northampton Housing Authority maintains sound procurement practices but flagged three instances when the agency ran afoul of competitive bidding guidelines.
The review by state Auditor Suzanne M. Bump examined nearly $1 million in spending at the agency over two years. The procurement issues flagged involved $7,245 for pest control services, $11,109 for painting and $15,609 for carpet and flooring installation between July 2010 and June 2012.
NB Standard Times: State Auditor approves UMass Dartmouth’s proposal to privatize campus bookstore Editorial
January 28, 2014 – The following content was originally in the Standard Times
State Auditor Suzanne Bump has approved UMass Dartmouth's proposal to privatize its campus bookstore. The proposal submitted last year demonstrates "the public interest is being served by providing services that are at least of equal quality to the services provided by public sector workers, and that the public will not end up losing money," Bump said in the release.
2/4/14 – Lowell Sun editorial
BBJ Editorial: Contractor flap would be a serious matter in private sector
January 17, 2014 - The following content was originally published by the Boston Business Journal.
Credit state auditor Suzanne Bump with thorough work and also providing the business community with a rich irony by uncovering various violations at the state Department of Transportation in its use of contract employees. The irony here is the state has created a set of onerous and punitive independent contractor rules that one of its own agencies routinely flouted. It’s the classic “do as we say, not as we do” scenario.
The state auditors uncovered some bizarre contractor situations at the DOT, including IT consultants serving as supervisors for state employees. One IT contractor had an 11-year tenure at the DOT.
Boston Business Journal: MassDOT IT Consultant Audit
January 9, 2014 - The following content was originally published by the Boston Business Journal.
State Auditor Suzanne Bum's office today released a tough report on the use of consultants by the state Department of Transportation for information technology work.
The audit states the DOT resorted to inappropriate hiring and employment practices to bring consultants on board, in some cases circumventing state laws in the process. The report said DOT spent $22 million on consultants in recent years — and in one case retained a consultant for 11 years. The audit asserts some of the work done by consultants should have been performed by state employees.
"These findings suggest that MassDOT has been circumventing the administration’s imposed salary and staff number limits by misusing consultants,” Bump said in a prepared statement accompanying the release of the audit. “The agency needs to find a lawful way to staff its IT functions.”
Boston Globe: Audit details Worcester agency’s troubles
January 3, 2014 - The following content was originally published by the Boston Globe.
A defunct Worcester social service agency charged more than $143,000 in questionable expenses to the state before it closed, according to a recent report from the state auditor’s office.
The troubled nonprofit, the Henry Lee Willis Community Center Inc., also accumulated about $1 million in debt to the state and other creditors, including $235,569 to the state’s unemployment insurance fund, by the time it shut down.
The community center, which provided a variety of social service programs in Central Massachusetts and relied primarily on state funding, was finally forced to close its doors last Feb. 15 after four state agencies pulled their contracts because of concerns about the center’s management and continued financial woes.
The financial problems appeared to have been years in the making. The Dec. 19 audit found that the Department of Children and Families flagged the nonprofit’s financial problems as early as 2009. The agency’s own auditor repeatedly noted that the nonprofit had problems with its credit card documentation in fiscal years 2009 through 2012.
01/03/14 - Worcester Telegram & Gazette
01/03/14 - Worcester Magazine
01/05/14 - Worcester Telegram & Gazette editorial
01/08/14 - Worcester Telegram & Gazette column
01/08/14 - GoLocal Worcester