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.
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."
Auditor Bump meets with North Shore Chamber of Commerce
June 22, 2011
Auditor Suzanne Bump meets with board members of the North Shore Chamber of Commerce in Danvers to discuss the changing role of the Auditor's Office and the reforms she is implementing to improve oversight of state agencies and contractors.
Auditor Bump Lauds Six Public Housing Authorities on Clean Audits
June 14, 2011
State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump today congratulated housing authorities in six communities for effectively managing operations, tenant selection and keeping rental units safe and sanitary during audits the Office conducted over a 33 to 24 month period last year in Billerica, Dartmouth, Maynard, Norfolk, Sandwich and Wayland.
“Housing Authorities across the state are facing difficult challenges with aging rental units and limited maintenance budgets,” said Auditor Bump. “Yet, we found that these public housing authorities were able to maintain adequate site inspections and turn units around for re-renting within the state-mandated 21 days.”
Press Release: Auditor Lauds Six Public Housing Authorities on Clean Audits
Audit Report: Billerica Housing Authority
Audit Report: Dartmouth Housing Authority
Audit Report: Maynard Housing Authority
Audit Report: Norfolk Housing Authority
Audit Report: Sandwich Housing Authority
Audit Report: Wayland Housing Authority
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.
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.
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.
Auditing and Higher Education
June 9, 2011
Auditor Suzanne Bump met with the 15 Community College Presidents in at Endicott College in Beverly to discuss the audit process.
State Auditor Investigations of Public Assistance Fraud ID $1.2 Million for Recovery
June 9, 2011
In a quarterly progress report issued today, State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump said examiners with the office’s Bureau of Special Investigations (BSI) found evidence of $1.2 million in fraudulently obtained public assistance benefits and services.
Auditor Bump said BSI examiners closed 610 investigations, identifying 121 cases of illegal activity in MassHealth and Department of Transitional Assistance programs during the first three months of the year.
“Our examiners serve one of the most important functions of the State Auditor’s Office to protect public assistance programs from fraud and recover taxpayer dollars from wrongful claimants,” said Auditor Bump. “BSI oversight identifies millions of dollars in fraud every year that can be targeted for recovery.”
Higher Education Legislation: Adds protections for students of occupational schools
June 8, 2011
Tom Meagher, OSA's Administrator of Private Occupational School Audits, appears before the Joint Committee on Higher Education in support of a measure that would eliminate the cap on bonds private occupational schools must hold so students are protected if a school goes out of business. There are growing calls for greater oversight into the industry because of unprecedented growth and dependence on federal financial aid.
Auditor Bump Cites Grafton Housing Authority for Rental Delays
June 8, 2011
State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump today released the findings of an audit which showed the Grafton Housing Authority was not able to improve turn-over rates of rental units under prior administrators.
The GHA’s Board of Directors requested the audit following a change in executive management of the Authority.
Press Release: Auditor Bump Cites Grafton Housing Authority for Rental Delays
Audit Report: Grafton Housing Authority