• Salem News Editorial: Big hurdle for pols is public's lack of trust

    June 25, 2011

    Transparency is no substitute for integrity.

    Politicians of both parties spend lots of time talking about giving voters online access to government documents, budgets, even checkbooks. Yet those good intentions cannot blunt the public's disgust with those who misuse taxpayer funds.

    The latest scandal involves the Billerica-based Merrimack Special Education Collaborative (which operates a high-school program at 248 Boston St. in Topsfield). Spending by its executive director, John Barranco, that allegedly included trips to the Kentucky Derby and renovations to vacation homes in New Hampshire and Florida, has drawn the attention of the Inspector General and state Auditor's offices. Alarmingly, Suzanne Bump, the Democratic auditor elected last November with a mandate to root out corruption, told a group of North Shore business people Wednesday that Merrimack is not the only special education collaborative under scrutiny.

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  • Boston Globe: Auditor looking at Merrimack case

    June 23, 2011

    State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump is investigating whether the extravagant salaries, Kentucky Derby trips, and other alleged financial abuses found at the Merrimack Special Education Collaborative are part of a larger problem in the patchwork of agencies that help educate special needs students in Massachusetts.

    Bump said her office is in the final stages of auditing the books of the Merrimack collaborative, as well as two other collaboratives, one representing cities and towns on the South Shore and the other in Southeastern Massachusetts.

    Bump said this week's findings about the Billerica-based collaborative by Inspector General Gregory W. Sullivan have identified "some clear criminal wrongdoing, but what we're endeavoring to do is determine whether we have a total system failure."

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  • Boston Globe Editorial: Deploy auditor to identify programs that don’t work

    June 14, 2011

    With A few more years of tight budgets looming, Beacon Hill policy-makers are taking a commendable interest in better management and increased accountability. But for this long-overdue effort to succeed, it’s not enough to push all state agencies to run more efficiently. The Commonwealth also needs better mechanisms for weeding out programs that don’t deliver much bang for the buck.

    In his budget, Governor Patrick proposed spending $650,000 to create an office of performance, accountability, and transparency. That bureau, which would be part of the Executive Office of Administration and Finance, would work with state agencies to develop measurable goals and strategies for meeting them. It would also coordinate efforts to secure federal grants, collect information about possible waste or abuse, and put more budgetary information online in a convenient format.

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  • Boston Herald: $103G scam among $1.2M in health-care fraud

    June 10, 2011

    For four years, Susanne Jordin faithfully filed reimbursement forms with the state's Medicaid office so Bruce Fields, the man she said was her personal care attendant, could get paid.

    Now both Jordin and Fields are accused of ripping off $103,000 in payments from the state, according to Auditor Suzanne Bump's office.

    Fraud examiners found out that Fields was locked behind bars while he was reportedly caring for Jordin, officials said.

    In March, Jordin, a former North Attleboro resident, pleaded guilty to the scheme and was sentenced to two years in the House of Correction, but the Bristol County judge suspended her sentence for five years, as he determines how much she’ll have to repay the state.

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  • Springfield Republican Editorial: Auditor Suzanne Bump, Attorney General Martha Coakley a dynamic duo

    June 9, 2011

    The efforts of newly elected State Auditor Suzanne Bump and recently re-elected Attorney General Martha M. Coakley, for example, offer cases in point that some state officials have our backs.

    For her part, Bump, the former secretary of the executive office of labor and workforce development, has undertaken sweeping reforms of the Auditor’s office following an independent review. After a review of the office’s audit polices and procedures from July 1, 2009 through Dec. 31, 2010, a team of professional state auditors from across the country issued a rare adverse report, finding that the office’s system of quality control did not conform to government auditing standards. The report cites deficiencies in audit planning, staff competence, audit documentation and audit reporting.

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