For Immediate Release - March 19, 2013

Audit Finds Former Winchester Housing Chief Working Two Jobs At Once

BOSTON, MA — State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump today announced completion of an audit of the Winchester Housing Authority. It found its former executive director, who also maintained a second full-time career as a practicing attorney working for the publicly-funded Committee for Public Counsel Services (CPCS), may have been providing legal services to clients while on the clock at the authority.  The executive director resigned from his position in October and has since been replaced. 

When examining two years of payroll records, auditors found 18 occasions where the former executive director was recorded working at the authority while simultaneously charging the Commonwealth for court appearances as public counsel for indigent clients. In 2010 and 2011 the executive director logged more than 3,500 work hours per year for both agencies combined.  The report noted that over 20 percent of his time working at WHA was spent outside normal business hours (8:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.). CPCS is conducting its own investigation into the potential double billing.

“This audit does not only raise questions of the former executive director’s honesty, but also his management of the authority,” said Auditor Bump. “For a staff to be properly guided and the needs of its tenants met, the housing authority deserves a leader who is not absent a quarter of the time.”

Other findings included:

  • WHA’s operating reserves were significantly underfunded. In fiscal year 2011, the operating reserve was $49,499 below minimum levels set by the state, limiting the authority’s ability to address emergency situations that arise.
  • Sampled rental units contained ten state sanitary code violations including roof deterioration, exterior siding falling off, peeling paint, and ceiling water stains. 
  • WHA lacked an adequate, up-to-date record of furniture and equipment in its inventory. 

Auditor Bump called on WHA to amend its executive director’s contract to specify the days and hours required to be worked, restore adequate emergency funds, and to make timely and complete repairs on units as needed.  WHA has responded positively to all findings and made progress in implementing most of Auditor Bump’s recommendations. 

The Winchester Housing Authority in 2011 had an approved operating budget of $552,397 and supplied 119 units of public housing.

The Office of the State Auditor conducts technical and performance assessments of state government’s programs, departments, agencies, authorities, contracts, and vendors. With its reports, the OSA issues recommendations to improve accountability, efficiency, and transparency.

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