Milford Daily News: Milford District Court audit clean in face of statewide problems
February 2, 2016: The following content was originally published by the Milford Daily News
In audit of Milford District Court's probation supervision fee system came back clean.
The audit is part of a statewide look at the probation fees in the court system. It follows a report released by State Auditor Suzanne Bump that details widespread problems in the Massachusetts court system regarding probation transactions.
Read more from the Milford Daily News
Springfield Republican: Top Baker budget official urges lawmakers to hold line on government spending
February 2, 2016: The following content was originally published by the Springfield Republican
Secretary of Administration and Finance Kristen Lepore stressed the need to hold the line on government spending, as she answered questions on Tuesday from the legislative committee tasked with writing the state budget.
During her testimony, Auditor Bump said her office generates money for the state by identifying fraudulent and wasteful spending. Since 2011, she said audits have identified $1 billion in unallowable or questionable spending.
"When you consider the annual budget of our agency - less than $20 million - and compare it to the impact we have, it is clear that our work improves efficiency and accountability in government spending, and that diminishing our resources is counterproductive," Bump said.
Read more from the Springfield Republican
Springfield Republican: SNAP benefit fraud: How do state investigators know how much there is?
January 31, 2016: The following content was originally published in the Springfield Republican
Investigators with the State Auditor's Office identified $4.58 million in SNAP benefits fraud during fiscal 2015 and have targeted another $1.7 million in the first half of this fiscal year.
But those numbers, provided by the auditor's office, are not the total amount of fraud identified in the state's food benefits program, which receives about $100 million per month in federal funding.
Read more from the Springfield Republican
Quincy Patriot Ledger: OUR OPINION: 3 people who are using their offices to help end addiction crisis
November 23, 2015: The following content was originally published in the Quincy Patriot Ledger.
At last Monday’s legislative hearing on the governor’s opioid bill, what was lost amidst the controversy over Baker’s proposal for 72-hour commitments for those who had overdosed was testimony presented by state Auditor Suzanne Bump. One could be forgiven for asking what contribution a state auditor might make to the fight against opioid addiction. It turns out, a big one.
Read more from the Patriot Ledger.
New Bedford Standard Times: Auditor: Cities and towns to get $2.76M for 2016 Elections
November 23, 2015: The following content was originally published in the New Bedford Standard Times.
State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump notified cities and towns across the Commonwealth that they will get more than $2.76 million to cover the cost of extra mandated polling hours for the 2016 March Presidential primary, and the 2016 September state primary and the November final elections. “The administration of and participation in elections is the very core of our democracy, and increasing accessibility to polls is crucial to the success of the process,” said Auditor Bump in a news release. “However, it is important that we not overlook the impact this type of decision can have on municipal budgets. Placing the financial responsibility on the state is a great compromise to protect cities and towns while also ensuring that people have access to polling locations.”
Read more from the Standard Times.
11/24/15 - Attleboro Sun Chronicle
Quincy Patriot Ledger: State Auditor tracks impact of homeless families housed in local motels
November 18, 2015: The following content was originally published in the Quincy Patriot Ledger.
Earlier this year, an investigation by Auditor Suzanne Bump’s office found that the state’s emergency assistance program of sheltering homeless families in motels cost the 25 host cities and towns as much as $13 million a year and that communities could be missing out on $1.7 million in excise taxes. Bump called on the State Department of Housing and Community Development to track and confirm that excise taxes from the motels are paid to the local communities. On Wednesday, she reported that between July and September, the first three months of the fiscal year, Weymouth was paid just under $31,000 in excise taxes generated by the state-funded emergency shelter program. Brockton, which has 145 homeless families living in local motels, saw $58,578 in excise taxes for the same period, the highest amount among host communities in Massachusetts.
Read more from the Patriot Ledger.
Boston Herald: Auditor seeks closer look at film tax credit data
October 27, 2015 - This content was originally published by the Boston Herald.
State Auditor Suzanne Bump is renewing her call for more access to data on the state’s controversial film tax credit and other lucrative incentives in the wake of a Herald report that highlighted the practice by filmmakers of selling them to companies and individuals whose identities remain shrouded from public view.
“I firmly believe that the Legislature and the public need more information as to the efficacy, that is, the fairness and effectiveness, of all of our business tax expenditures,” Bump said in a statement to the Herald, calling on lawmakers to give her the power to review “all the information” reported to DOR.
“Not to audit individual companies,” she explained, “but to determine which types of businesses are benefiting from the billions of dollars’ worth of tax breaks in our tax code.”
Read more from the Boston Herald.
Worcester Telegram & Gazette: State audit finds no issues at QCC
October 26, 2015 - The following content was originally published in the Worcester Telegram & Gazette.
Quinsigamond Community College appears to be humming along fine, according to a recent audit done by state Auditor Suzanne Bump’s office.
The latest report, a regularly scheduled performance audit that looked at the college’s activities from July 1, 2013, to June 30, 2014, "did not identify any significant deficiencies" in the areas auditors focused on, according to the executive summary.
Read more from the Telegram & Gazette.
Quincy Patriot Ledger: Our Opinion: 3 stories of those doing their jobs and doing them well
October 5, 2015 - The following content was originally published by the Quincy Patriot Ledger.
Oftentimes, when a public, private, or government agency is in the newspapers, it's because it somehow failed in its duties and breached the public's trust.
This week, however, we bring you three stories of those who are doing their jobs and doing it well.
On Friday, state Auditor Suzanne Bump released her performance audit of Old Colony Elder Services based in Brockton. The nonprofit, which serves the elderly and disabled, receives nearly $20 million of its $34 million in annual revenue from state contracts. The auditor’s office is charged with ensuring it is well run.
Read more from the Quincy Patriot Ledger.
WCVB: Auditor: Ride company over-billed state in 'deliberate wrongdoing'
October 5, 2015 - The following content originally aired on WCVB.
MassHealth’s largest vendor for non-emergency transportation improperly billed the state for more than $16 million dollars in rides, putting in for more expensive wheelchair van claims when instead the clients were almost all able to walk, according to a report released Monday afternoon by State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump.
“I think this is a case of deliberate wrongdoing,” Bump told 5 Investigates.
The newly released audit also says that Rite Way, which until recently was by far the largest provider of non-emergency transportation to MassHealth customers, made claims for hospitalized clients when in fact “transportation never occurred” and also billed the state for rides to methadone clinics when clients never received treatment.
WBZ: Keller @ Large: Can DCF be fixed?
October 4, 2015 - The following content originally aired on WBZ.
After another week of negative headlines for the Department of Children and Families, WBZ poltiical analyst Jon Keller asks State Auditor Suzanne Bump what can be done to fix chronic problems at the troubled agency.
Bump says one major issue is that DCF social workers say that they communicate better with schools, courts, and law enforcement that sister agencies in the executive branch.
View more from WBZ.
Springfield Republican: State auditor applauds changes at Department of Children and Families during Holyoke visit
September 30, 2015 - The following content was originally published by the Springfield Republican.
Days after the governor announced the new policies, which aim to reduce caseloads and retain and recruit social workers, Bump told the Holyoke Golden Seniors that she's pleased to see state officials lead on this front, particularly in the wake of recent, high-profile child deaths and 2014 audit findings.
"I'm rather excited about the fact that they are looking to the audit that we have done, but also looking to a report that was done by the Child Welfare League of America that found the same kinds of problems that our audit did," she said, during an event at the Holyoke Council on Aging. "And getting back to basics and rebuilding that agency from the start – not trying to put a Band Aid on a symptom, but looking holistically at the agency."
Read more from the Springfield Republican.
Boston Business Journal: State's venture arm criticized over job-reporting practices
September 28, 2015 - The following content was originally published by the Boston Business Journal.
MassVentures, the state's venture capital arm, isn't doing enough to verify data around the jobs impact of its various investments, according to a recently published audit.
The report, which includes data from fiscal 2012 through fiscal 2014, comes roughly five years after MassVentures drew criticism from the state regarding its methods of collecting and verifying data about Massachusetts jobs stemming from its investments. The venture outfit reports on its jobs-creation stats annually to the Legislature.
Read more from the Boston Business Journal.
Boston Globe: Opinion: To fix DCF, first transform the culture
September 25, 2015 - The following content is from an Opinion column authored by State Auditor Suzanne Bump which was originally published on bostonglobe.com.
Each tragic headline this year has made the public wonder anew why the Department of Children and Families has not yet fixed itself. After all, the Legislature restored some of the funding it had cut from its budget, the governor appointed a new leader who is instituting changes in policies and procedures, employees and parents have provided input into an improvement process, and many of the social workers now have iPads for more timely record-keeping. Like many of our most persistent problems, however, the solutions require more than money and technology, or even new ideas. They require an emphasis on addressing root causes and on collaboration from across state government.
...Think about the reasons why DCF is called in to help a family. Poverty, mental illness, domestic violence, substance abuse, sexual abuse. If we really want to help the families served by DCF, the administration needs to create greater collaboration and support from agencies that provide the social services DCF families need. DCF families don’t live in silos, and neither should DCF.
Read more from Auditor Bump's column on bostonglobe.com.
WWLP: Watchdog agencies seek new powers to monitor tax credits
September 22, 2015 - The following content was originally published by State House News Service and WWLP.
State Auditor Suzanne Bump and Inspector General Glenn Cunha both want access to Department of Revenue information that they said would allow them to provide oversight to the state’s sundry tax credit programs.
“Massachusetts corporate tax expenditure budget accounts for $3.2 billion in foregone tax revenue for [fiscal 2016]. However unlike with MassHealth and [Department of Transitional Assistance], my office is effectively powerless to ensure that the use of most tax credits, incentives and deductions by businesses is properly overseen by the Department of Revenue,” Bump told lawmakers. “Additionally, there is currently no process for determining whether these tax credits, deferrals, and incentives actually work. Let me repeat that, we have no way of knowing if a $3.2 billion program is working.”
Springfield Republican: Audit questions $4 million in MassHealth wheelchair-related payments
September 16, 2015 - The following content was originally published in the Springfield Republican
State Auditor Suzanne Bump is questioning $4 million in MassHealth payments for wheelchairs and related components, citing nearly $3 million spent without proper authorization.
The audit found that the agency paid $2.9 million in repair claims for wheelchairs and component parts without proper authorization. Repair claims that exceed $1,000 must receive prior authorization, according to the auditor's office.
Read more from the Springfield Republican.
9/16/15 - Boston Business Journal
Boston Herald: Bump: DCF audit lacked crucial info
September 11, 2015- This content was originally published in the Boston Herald.
State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump said her office got less information from the state’s troubled child welfare agency than the Boston Herald, highlighting the lack of management and organization at the Department of Children and Families.
Bump said she had asked DCF to tell her in how many cases it had waived criminal history requirements for foster homes.
“They just couldn’t tell us how many waivers were in place when we were auditing,” she said. “Unless you can go to a centralized system and say how many of these has occurred, then how is it you determine whether they followed the procedure in granting the waiver?”
Read more from the Boston Herald.
Springfield Republican: Mass. Auditor Suzanne Bump: 2014 report warned of state foster care problems
September 7, 2015 - The following content was originally published in the Springfield Republican
State Auditor Suzanne Bump says issues of a lack of collaboration between agencies, weak policies and procedures, and unreliable or outdated data cited in last week's state report how 7-year-old Jack Loiselle of Hardwick ended up in a coma while his family was under state supervision are no surprise.
Bump said she and her staff raised the same issues of systemic ineffectiveness in a 2014 audit of the state foster care system.
"(Friday's) report from the Department of Children and Families' investigation into the tragic circumstances that landed a child in a coma while under state supervision is a woeful necessity and long overdue," Bump said.
Read more from the Springfield Republican
Berkshire Eagle: State Auditor Bump tours Hillcrest facilities
August 14, 2015 - The following content was originally published in the Berkshire Eagle.
State Auditor Suzanne Bump toured two Hillcrest Educational Centers facilities on Friday to gain feedback from a longtime vendor providing services to the state's MassHealth program — and also because she's known the president and CEO since she appointed him to a state board about eight years ago.
"Over the years, Jerry [CEO Gerald Burke] has been bending my ear quite a bit about the variety of services offered here," Bump said, smiling, during a visit to the Hillcrest dental care center at 788 South St. "It's not just out of curiosity, but also because they do see a lot of MassHealth patients."
Her office has spent "a lot of time looking at the MassHealth program, its effectiveness, its efficiencies and other aspects of its operation," she said. "So [this helps] to a get a better hands-on feel for what it is like to be a MassHealth provider."
Read more from the Berkshire Eagle.
Governing Magazine: Can Massachusetts Get Its Tax Giveaways Under Control?
August 4, 2015 - The following content was originally published in Governing Magazine.
Most states offer an array of business tax breaks that result in significant foregone revenue. In Massachusetts, the amount is in the billions. Legislation backed by state Auditor Suzanne Bump would give her office access to business tax returns solely for the purpose of auditing "tax expenditures," as the various tax breaks are known.
Predictably, the bill has drawn howls of opposition from business organizations, and the legislature must indeed carefully craft any legislation to limit the scope of the auditor's review of business tax returns to gathering tax-expenditure data. But the fact that 37 other states already grant the entity that performs their audit function access to this information demonstrates that it can be implemented without making a business that receives a tax break the victim of a public witch hunt.
...taxpayers deserve to know that any funds diverted from schools, transportation funding or other priorities are actually boosting the economy. Providing public auditors with the data to review those incentives is an important step toward providing that assurance.
Read more from Governing Magazine
Brockton Enterprise: State audit finds room for improvement at Easton Housing Authority
August 1, 2015 - The following content was originally published in the Brockton Enterprise.
The town’s Housing Authority is improving, but still has room to make progress, a state audit found.
The previous audit, performed in 2012, found several deficiencies, including credit card misuse, no employee reimbursement policy and a flawed tenant selection process, state Auditor Suzanne Bump said.
“The Easton Housing Authority administration should be proud of its progress,” Bump said in a statement. “This review highlights the commitment the authority has made to providing quality services to the residents they serve.”
Read more from the Brockton Enterprise.
Boston Globe: Worcester State University audit finds lax oversight of funds, property
July 21, 2015 - The following content was originally published in the Boston Globe.
Worcester State University lacks oversight of its property and does not follow procedures for how certain funds should be spent, according to a state audit released Tuesday.
The report by the office of state Auditor Suzanne Bump, covering fiscal years 2013 and 2014, identified three areas where the college can improve internal controls over its money and property. It did not find inappropriate use of public resources.
Read more from the Boston Globe.
7/21/15 - Worcester Telegram & Gazette
Commonwealth Magazine: DCR 2.0
July 7, 2014 - The following content was originally published in Commonwealth Magazine.
In late 2011, the commissioner of the state Department of Conservation and Recreation said the agency’s system for leasing public land was in disrepair, with many tenants enjoying sweetheart deals, rents going uncollected, and the expiration dates of many leases ignored. Then-commissioner Ed Lambert called the lease situation a significant problem, one that needed to be addressed over the next year.
Lambert called in state Auditor Suzanne Bump to conduct a review, which set in motion a process that ultimately led to hiring a consultant to develop an automated system that would tell state officials everything about a lease, including whether the account is current or past due and when the lease is about to expire.
And he also committed to getting tough on those who try to skate by without paying the state what they owe. “If you have to pay, you have to pay,” he said. “The rules are the rules.”
Now, more than three years later, the lease system is still very much a work in progress. Agency officials are trying to put systems in place to keep track of existing leases even as they juggle how to deal with new leases or agreements about to expire.
The state auditor made 12 recommendations in her report and DCR officials say three of the suggestions have been fully implemented, seven are being worked on, and two haven’t been addressed yet.
A consultant was hired in April last year to develop the automated lease monitoring system, but agency officials say they don’t know when it will be finished.
Read more from Commonwealth Magazine.