• 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


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    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.

    Read more from the MetroWest Daily News

  • 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.”

    Read more from Boston Magazine

  • 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.

    Read more from the Springfield Republican
     

  • 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.

    Read more from the Boston Herald

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    10/7/14 - Springfield Republican
        10/7/14 - Valley Patriot

  • Taunton Daily Gazette: State audit finds operational deficiencies at Bristol County Superior Court

    October 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.

    Read more from the Boston Business Journal

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    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
    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, 2014The 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

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    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, 2014The 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

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    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

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    6/3/14 – WSHM
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  • 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.

    Read more from the Worcester Telegram

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    5/22/14 – Springfield Republican
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  • Letter: For public sector to serve its function, oversight must be budgeted priority

    May 12, 2014The 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.

    Read more from the Boston Globe.

  • The Boston Globe: Audit questions $700,000 in spending by Springfield non-profit

    May 6, 2014The 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

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  • The Standard-Times: State auditor's report criticizes New Bedford Housing Authority

    April 23, 2014The 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.

    Read more from the Standard-Times
    Read more from WJAR

  • The Register: Dennis Housing Authority audit shows marked improvement

    April 9, 2013The 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.

    Read more from The Register

  • Boston Globe: State audit turns up host of problems at DCF

    March 27, 2014The 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.


    Related News
        
    3/27/14 – Boston Herald
         3/27/14 – Boston Herald editorial
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         3/26/14 – Worcester Telegram & Gazette
         3/26/14 – Springfield Republican
         3/26/14 – Fox 25

  • 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.

    Read more from the Milford Daily News

  • 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.

    Read more from the Metro West Daily News

  • 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.

    Read more from the Springfield Republican

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    2/24/14 – Springfield Republican Photos
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  • 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."

     Read more from iBerkshires

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  • WWLP: State Auditor approves millions for Westfield

    February 19, 2014The 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.

    Read more from WWLP

  • Daily Hampshire Gazette: State audit of Northampton Housing Authority finds room for improvement in agency’s procurement practices

    January 29, 2014The 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.

    Read more in the Daily Hampshire Gazette

  • NB Standard Times: State Auditor approves UMass Dartmouth’s proposal to privatize campus bookstore Editorial

    January 28, 2014The 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.

    Read more in the Standard Times

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    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.

    Read more from the BBJ.

  • 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.”

    Read more from the Boston Business Journal.

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        01/09/14 - Boston Globe
        01/11/14 - MetroWest Daily News Editorial

  • 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.

    Read more from the Boston Globe.

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        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

  • Bay State Banner: Tax credits require the transparency of a formal audit

    December 31, 2013 - The following content was originally published by the Bay State Banner.

    Corporate tax credits and concessions reduce the state revenue available to finance the public’s business. State Auditor Suzanne Bump seeks the authority to assess these programs to determine whether such tax expenditures are truly beneficial...

    ...there should also be a way to evaluate whether the benefits to the community are greater than the cost of the tax expenditures. The Department of Revenue (DOR) can determine in a tax audit whether the deductions have been taken appropriately, but there is no regular assessment of the value of the tax incentives to the city or state.

    The state auditor already has the authority to investigate to determine whether state programs attain their established goals. It makes no sense to reinvent the wheel and create another state agency to make an equivalent assessment of tax concessions.

    Read more from the Bay State Banner.

  • Patriot Ledger: Quincy dentist engaged in pervasive MassHealth fraud

    December 12, 2013 - The following content was originally published by the Quincy Patriot Ledger

    A new state audit accuses a Quincy dentist of collecting $154,019 in questionable claims from MassHealth.
      
    A report issued Wednesday by State Auditor Suzanne Bump says Dr. Shahrzad Haghayegh-Askarian, who owns her own private dental practice and runs Hancock Dental in Wollaston, repeatedly claimed MassHealth funds for unallowable and sometimes medically excessive procedures from 2008 through 2011. Bump has referred her audit to Attorney General Martha Coakley’s office for review.

    Bump said Haghayegh “systematically bilked the MassHealth dental program.” She said MassHealth funding makes up 30 percent of the state budget, and abuse of the program is an affront to taxpayers.

    “It’s an area that warrants ongoing review,” Bump said.

    Read more from the Quincy Patriot Ledger.

    Related News 
        12/12/13 - Boston Herald

  • Auditor Bump appoints three to state advisory council

    December 4, 2013

    Today State Auditor Suzanne Bump administered the oath of office for her three appointments to the Commonwealth’s Personal Care Attendant Quality Home Care Workforce Council (PCA Council).

    Auditor Bump’s appointees include:

    • Paul Spooner of Taunton
    • Anne Johansen of Quincy
    • Cindy Purcell of Rutland

    The Personal Care Attendant (PCA) Program is a MassHealth program that helps people with long-term disabilities live independently at home. The PCA program gives each eligible MassHealth member funds to hire a personal care attendant to help with activities of daily living.

    The PCA Council is a legislatively created governmental body which uses citizen engagement as an instrument for strengthening the PCA program. The Council consists of 9 members. Other appointments are made by the Governor and the Attorney General. Council members serve a three year term.

    State Representatives Tackey Chan, Kimberly Ferguson, and Shaunna O’Connell were also in attendance.

  • Fall River Herald News Editorial: Auditing Mass. Business Tax Breaks

    December 4, 2013 - The following content was originally published by the Fall River Herald News.

    The state auditor’s office plays a crucial function in ensuring that taxpayers’ dollars are spent wisely. As such, the elected office independently audits the programs administered by nearly every state agency. But the agency in charge of collecting tax dollars and administering a wide array of business-related tax breaks valued at $2 billion has very limited outside oversight. 

    State Auditor Suzanne Bump wants to change that. Bump and state Rep. Jay Kaufman, House chairman of the Joint Committee on Revenue, have each filed twin legislation that would allow her office to analyze the business tax returns of companies that receive any of the 91 tax breaks available to see that those companies are holding up their end of the bargain with the tax breaks’ intended purpose. Although the auditing practice is common in 36 of the 41 states that require businesses to file tax returns, the Massachusetts auditor is barred by statute from accessing those records...

    ...This legislation, which has 13 Democratic co-sponsors, deserves the support of both Democrats and Republicans and deserves a hearing as soon as possible. The Department of Revenue does not object to the legislation allowing the audits, and in fact, helped draft the bill. 

    Read the full editorial, or click here to learn more about the legislation.

  • Lowell Sun: Bump wants access to business tax returns to audit credits

    November 19, 2013 - The following content was originally published by the Lowell Sun.

    State Auditor Suzanne Bump is requesting the power to access confidential corporate tax returns, records she said would allow her office to determine whether tax incentives given by the state are an efficient and effective use of government resources.

    "We have to look at business tax returns to see if the Department of Revenue is actually auditing according to how they say they are," Bump said. "We wanted to be able to say, 'Is what you're doing good enough? Are you missing areas where there could be potential for fraud, or is this actually benefiting us? Is this actually benefiting the group of businesses or the people that you want to see employed? What is the impact of it?' "

    During a meeting with The Sun's editorial board Monday, Bump said that of the 41 states that require the filing of tax returns, 36 specifically authorize the state auditor to review them.

    She filed legislation requesting that authority earlier this year, more than two years after an audit of business-related tax credits and other expenditures found little oversight, accountability or transparency.

    Bump said her office then set out to audit the administration of tax-incentive programs but could not do so without being able to analyze and confirm the data contained in businesses' tax returns.

    While the state budget is scrutinized by "thousands of eyes" each year, many tax credits are "never looked at again," though tax policy and the budget have equal impact on government revenue, Bump said.

    Read more from the Lowell Sun.

    Related News
         11/05/13 - Berkshire Eagle
         11/18/13 - Quincy Patriot Ledger
         11/20/13 - MetroWest Daily News

  • Cape Cod Times: Bump hits a speed bump

    November 15, 2013 - The following content was originally published by the Cape Cod Times.

    Late last week, state Auditor Suzanne Bump met with our editorial board to promote legislation that would help her office review the effectiveness of corporate tax breaks.

    Bump said her office is currently unable to audit the state's oversight of tax breaks because it is prohibited from accessing corporate tax returns. Without a change in the law, Bump is unable to determine if the more than $2 billion worth of tax breaks, which were granted for purposes ranging from job creation to promoting green technology, are working. Bump said 36 other states give their auditors the power to review tax returns.

    Unfortunately, several business leaders oppose the bill, arguing that the auditor could possibly make public sensitive information contained in corporate tax returns. Bump recently told the Associated Press that the purpose of her review would be only to assess whether the tax breaks were good public policy, and not to target any individual companies.

    The state Legislature should approve the bill.

    Read more from the Cape Cod Times.

  • Berkshire Eagle Editorial: Zeroing in on tax breaks

    November 5, 2013 - The following content was originally published by the Berkshire Eagle.

    Massachusetts wisely uses tax breaks to encourage business and industry to come here and thrive here, but the flip side is taxpayers require assurances that these breaks are merited and used properly. A good way to do this would be for the state auditor's office to review Department of Revenue documents to see if the department is enforcing them adequately. The auditor does not currently have this power, but the Legislature should pass the bill needed to provide it.

    In a recent interview at The Eagle, auditor Suzanne Bump said that $2.2 billion in businesses expenditures are not subject to auditing, which means in her words "there is no measure of success." The state and its taxpayers don't know if the expenditures are reported in detail, if there is a sunset provision allowing them to lapse, or if there are clawback provisions enabling tax breaks to be withdrawn and money repaid if the recipient doesn't deliver on jobs or other economic benefits...

    ...If businesses want tax breaks then they are obligated to show the public that what they are doing in exchange for the tax breaks is of genuine public benefit. Businesses opposed to this concept don't have to apply for tax breaks. The legislation advocated by Ms. Bump is reasonable and overdue, and the Legislature should make it law in the months ahead.

    Read more from the Berkshire Eagle.

  • COUNTING CHANGE: By tracking bullying, schools can prevent it

    October 25, 2013 - The following content is from a opinion column authored by State Auditor Suzanne Bump which originally appeared in the Quincy Patriot Ledger.

    Too often it takes something tragic to inspire a truly novel change in government.

    The 1984 death of a 19- year-old college freshman forced to gorge alcohol in a fraternity initiation rite was the motivating incident behind a law outlawing all types of hazing at all Massachusetts colleges and high schools. More recently, the suicide of Phoebe Prince after years of brutal torment lent urgency to the passage of an anti-bullying law.

    Both laws were landmark legislation filling a gross void in our system of public safety. They provide our schools, children and families with the tools they need to combat bullying and hazing. However, policy is only as good as it is effective. Our current anti-bullying law lacks the requirement that bullying data be reported so that you, as policymakers, can assess the law’s effectiveness. What good is it to have a law if you do not know if it works?

    Read more from the Quincy Patriot Ledger.

  • Springfield Republican: State audit faults Holyoke Geriatric Authority

    September 25, 2013 - The following content was originally published by the Springfield Republican.

    The state auditor Wednesday detailed how mismanagement at the Holyoke Geriatric Authority that included alleged misuse of credit cards and failure to seize revenue opportunities led to a $2.2 million debt to city agencies.

    The 34-page audit renewed calls from Mayor Alex B. Morse and others for a transition that could include privatizing the struggling nursing home at 45 Lower Westfield Road and possibly relocating patients.


    Holyoke Mayor Morse talks to CBS3 Springfield about the audit.

    The city and a revamped authority board of commissioners in May 2012 requested the audit, which the office of Suzanne M. Bump began in August 2012. Patricia C. Devine, a former city councilor, took over as authority board chairwoman in April 2012.

    The audit covers the period of Jan. 1, 2010, to June 30, 2012.

    Read more from the Springfield Republican.

    "The series of deficiencies detailed in this report describe an environment ripe for waste and abuse," Bump said in a press release with the audit.

    "Holyoke is at a crossroads of its financial future, and it must be determined if the Geriatric Authority can be transitioned to a state of self-sufficiency or if it should continue to be supported by the taxpayers," Bump said.

  • Berkshire Eagle: Sandisfield woman sentenced for larceny, false claims to Medicaid

    September 23, 2013 - The following content was originally published by the Berkshire Eagle.

    A registered nurse from Sandisfield received a suspended jail sentence on Friday in connection with a scheme to bill the state's Medicaid program for more than $25,000 while at horse competitions.

    Berkshire Superior Court Judge John A. Agostini handed Robin Annecharico, 49, an 18-month sentence in the Berkshire County House of Correction suspended for a probationary period of five years.

    Annecharico was also ordered to pay $23,126 in restitution to MassHealth, according to the State Attorney General's office, which prosecuted the case with assistance from the state Auditor's office. MassHealth is the state's Medicaid program.

    On Aug. 29, Annecharico pleaded guilty to six counts of larceny over $250, six counts of Medicaid false claims, two counts of obstruction of justice, and one count of making false statements under penalty of perjury, in Superior Court. She also fabricated treatment and medical records for her patients to obstruct the ongoing criminal investigation by the state Attorney General's Office and a Berkshire County grand jury.

    Read more from the Berkshire Eagle.

  • Boston Herald: State cracking down on medical benefits fraud

    September 18, 2013 - The following content was originally published by the Boston Herald.

    State Auditor Suzanne Bump said her office is “prioritizing” people who scam on medical benefits after her investigators detected nearly twice as much MassHealth fraud in fiscal year 2013 from the year before — including people who claimed to be giving in-home medical care to the dead.

    As part of the record-setting $6.3 million in public-assistance fraud her office uncovered in fiscal year 2013, more than $3 million, or 48 percent, stemmed from MassHealth, according to a report released yesterday by Bump’s office. It’s nearly double the $1.6 million in MassHealth fraud investigators found the year before, and a jump from $2.7 million in 2011.

    Read more from the Boston Herald.

  • Patriot Ledger: Price tag for U.S Senate election is $7.2 million, state auditor says

    September 13, 2013 - The following content was originally published by the Quincy Patriot Ledger.

    Cities and towns are due $7.2 million to cover the costs of this year’s special elections to fill a U.S. Senate seat, state Auditor Suzanne Bump has reported.

    Bump’s office contacted all 351 of the state’s municipalities to determine their costs for this year’s primary and general election.

    The state Legislature and Gov. Deval Patrick now must approve the funding.

    “Conducting statewide elections are essential, but costly burdens on our local communities,” Bump said in a statement. “It is now time for the state to hold up its end of the deal.”

    Read more from the Patriot Ledger.

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