Boston Globe: Special needs agencies faulted
August 31, 2011
More than two decades of failed oversight have allowed the state's special education collaboratives to misspend millions of taxpayer dollars, according to the state auditor's office, which has found a pattern of excessive salaries, conflicts of interest, and possible pension law violations at six of the 30 publicly funded agencies.
"These common findings are indicative of a system that's lacking in standards and oversight and is easily manipulated by folks who are not putting the interests of taxpayers and special needs kids first," Auditor Suzanne M. Bump said yesterday.
Bump, who plans to release the two most recent audits today, said the laws and policies for state oversight of the special education agencies are badly outdated, clouding the state's authority over them. The state Department of Elementary and Secondary Education has not revised its policy governing the collaboratives since 1988, while the state law allowing cities and towns to create them is more than 30 years old.
"The [state] clearly needs to have its current authority clarified and will need additional authority as well to provide the kind of oversight that most of us would expect," Bump said.
Springfield Republican: Easthampton's Northeast Center for Youth and Families cited for $1.2 million in misspent funds
August 25, 2011 - The following content was originally published by the Springfield Republican.
An Easthampton social service agency that provides programs for about 600 troubled youth is being cited for overbilling, paying excessive employee bonuses and using state money to pay operating losses it incurred in Connecticut.
State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump announced Thursday at her Western Massachusetts office in Chicopee that she is calling for Northeast Center for Youth and Families Inc. to repay about $1.2 million in misspent funds.
The Salem News: Accounting flaws found at NSCAP
August 11, 2011
Shoddy accounting practices at North Shore Community Action Programs Inc. may have cost taxpayers thousands of dollars, according to a state audit released this week.
The audit, which covers July 1, 2007 through the end of 2009, found that the publicly funded social services agency could not account for $627,000 in costs such as salaries and property expenses, because those expenses were not documented correctly.
According to the audit, NSCAP allocated a certain percentage of its expenses to each of its various state-funded programs, but there doesn't appear to be a clear written plan for how or why it allocated certain amounts. Further, NSCAP never got state permission to use that particular accounting method and bucked state guidelines by allocating budgeted, not actual, expenses to its programs.
Boston Globe: Let’s do more than talk tough
August 6, 2011
Medicaid fraud, which is both widespread and hard to detect, has become an obsession of law enforcement in some states. But not in Massachusetts.
State Auditor Suzanne Bump says she is determined to do something about that.
“I really have two concerns,’’ she said. “The reality of shrinking dollars demands that every dollar be accounted for and well spent, and my other concern is people’s confidence in government.’’