For Immediate Release - May 05, 2011

Auditor Bump Unveils Sweeping Reforms of Office

Independent review of audit operations generates adverse report

BOSTON, MA (May 5, 2011) – As part of her plan to achieve excellence in government auditing, Massachusetts State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump today initiated a major reform plan that impacts nearly every aspect of audit operations from staffing levels to audit planning.  Auditor Bump also released the findings of an independent professional review that she requested from the National State Auditors Association. This report as well as an internal staff performance assessment formed the basis of her efforts to reform the office.

“These reforms are designed to improve the effectiveness of our work, commit to a professional workforce, and above all put into place a vigorous quality assurance system,” said Auditor Bump. “We can’t expect the state agencies we audit or the public to have confidence in the office if we don’t operate at the highest professional levels.”

Among the actions Auditor Bump announced:

  • The development of a new audit manual and improvement of the functionality of the software used to conduct audits to ensure rigorous adherence to and documented compliance with government auditing standards.
  • The launch of a new performance evaluation system to review, manage and reward staff performance throughout the entire office.
  • The initiation of an intensive training program that focuses on government auditing standards, institutes mentoring and professional development requirements which exceed generally accepted standards.
  • The elevation of the audit quality assurance position and appointed Meredith Barrieau, a Certified Public Accountant, who also is certified in fraud examination, and financial forensics, and has spent ten years at one of the big four private accounting firms.
  • The termination, demotion and promotion of 41 employees in audit operations and the Bureau of Special Investigations;
  • The posting of job openings, beginning Friday, to fill vacated positions for entry-level field auditors and audit supervisory staff. All positions may be applied for via OSA’s website: www.mass.gov/auditor.
  • Revised audit job descriptions with new educational and professional job requirements to raise the professional level of the audit staff and form the basis for a new recruitment and hiring process.

Much of Auditor Bump’s action plan is in response to a report issued by a team of professional state auditors from across the country who reviewed the office’s audit policies and procedures from July 1, 2009 through December 31, 2010.

The team issued a rare adverse report and found that the office’s system of quality control did not conform to government auditing standards because of deficiencies in audit planning, staff competence, audit documentation and audit reporting.

Auditor Bump said many of the reforms should be in place by September and vowed that the Auditor’s Office will not receive another adverse report during her administration.

“By serving as a shining example of accountability, professionalism, efficiency and effectiveness and transparency and by producing quality audits, we provide the motivation and tools state government can use to make meaningful improvements in their own agencies and programs. That is what taxpayers need and want from their state government.”

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