• MetroWest Daily News: Framingham State violated stimulus guidelines with grants

    May 28, 2011

    Some Framingham State University students received financial aid from a school-run grant program based on need even though they did not meet eligibility guidelines, the state Auditor's Office says.

    Auditor Suzanne Bump's audit of the university's use of federal stimulus money also criticized the school's decision to reimburse itself for financial aid that was distributed through the FSU Student Fee Grant. Framingham State had $500,000 in federal stimulus money set aside exclusively for student financial aid during the audit period.

    According to the audit, Framingham State also lacked formal, written eligibility requirements and policies for administering the grants, based on guidelines from the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act and Office of the State Comptroller.

    "Without basic internal controls over the awarding of financial aid, the school incurs the risk that this valuable funding is not being properly expended," Bump said in a press release Thursday.

    Read more from the MetroWest Daily News

  • New Bedford Standard Times Editorial: Auditor's first steps are on the right track

    May 26, 2011

    When Suzanne M. Bump was sworn in as state auditor in January, she became the first new holder of the constitutional office in 24 years.

    Bump had campaigned on raising the standards of transparency, accountability and effectiveness in the office that makes sure tax dollars are spent according to the rules.

    Her impact on the office was immediate, ordering a peer review of the office even before she was sworn in. She cut 10 percent of the jobs in the office of about 300. And early this month, as a result of the peer review, another 27 employees were let go and a dozen reassigned.

    Just cutting jobs isn't enough to say that change has come, but the work being done by the office since her arrival is.

    With a professional, systematic approach to identifying and correcting weak spots in the auditing system, Bump is transforming the auditor's office, moving it in a direction that should give taxpayers some optimism.

    Read more in the New Bedford Standard Times

  • State House News Service: Suffolk County holidays are unfunded mandates

    May 26, 2011

    Auditor Suzanne Bump has concluded that Suffolk County holidays Evacuation Day and Bunker Hill Day, recently modified by the Legislature and Gov. Deval Patrick, represent unfunded mandates, the News Service has learned.

    A recent law preserved the holidays but required government offices to remain open on those days. In a memo to the mayor of Revere issued Wednesday, Bump said a law that took effect last July requiring state and local offices to be "open for business and appropriately staffed" on the two holidays forces cities and towns to pay collectively bargained overtime costs.

    Read more in the Fall River Herald News

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  • Patriot Ledger: Massachusetts district courts failing to go after more than $1 million

    May 24, 2011

    State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump released a report today saying that one in four Massachusetts district court and Boston municipal courts disregarded state law by exempting some offenders from paying an increase in probation fees.

    The report’s findings, which were based on a self-reporting survey, showed that nearly 26% of all 70 local courts did not assess $1.2 million in fees during fiscal year 2010.

    Read more from the Patriot Ledger

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  • Worcester Telegram & Gazette: Bump’s strong start

    May 11, 2011

    In a little over three months on the job, State Auditor Suzanne Bump has made strong initial moves toward the more effective, efficient and transparent auditing practices that she promised to pursue during last fall’s campaign. We applaud her efforts, which are all the more persuasive because she has begun by reforming practices within the auditor’s office itself.

    The shakeup began shortly after Ms. Bump took office, with the layoff of some 30 employees deemed to be unnecessary. Then, last week, in the wake of a peer review report from the National State Auditors Association that showed widespread failures to meet government standards in key areas of the office’s operations, Ms. Bump made additional moves — firing 27 people, demoting 12 others, and promoting two.

    In a meeting with the Telegram & Gazette’s editorial board yesterday, Ms. Bump said that her efforts to reform the office should not be seen as undermining the value of the audits and reports done under former auditor Joseph DeNucci.

    Rather, she stressed the importance of having the office itself subject to the same stringent standards and close scrutiny that it demands when it audits others. Complying with Generally Accepted Government Auditing Standards, she noted, means having a peer review every three years — something that hadn’t been done for 15 years under Mr. DeNucci.

    Read more from the Worcester Telegram & Gazette

  • Taunton Gazette: Taunton-based dentist collected more than $229K in unallowable claims

    May 10, 2011

    A Taunton-based dentist is one of two practitioners who are subjects in an investigation into unallowable reimbursements from the Massachusetts public health insurance program, according to the Office of the State Auditor.

    An official audit report from the Office of State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump says Dr. Melvin M. Frankel, with an office at 106 Weir St., collected a total of $229,256 from MassHealth for unallowable claims for the period of July 1, 2005, through June 20, 2010.

    Read more from the Taunton Gazette

  • Salem News Editorial: Bump makes clear there's a new auditor in town

    May 9, 2011

    Turns out the state auditor's office needed a thorough going over, and it appears Suzanne Bump was the right person for the job.

    Last summer in the waning days of his long tenure, then incumbent State Auditor Joseph DeNucci granted members of his staff 5 percent raises. Bump, who had been endorsed by DeNucci for the Democratic nomination, declined to join others in criticizing the move, but said she would make a thorough review of the entire operation, including its staffing, if elected.

    That review was conducted by the National State Auditors Association which, according to a statement from Bump's office last week, "issued a rare adverse report (which) 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."

    Read more from The Salem News

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  • Boston Herald Editorial: Bring in the pros

    May 5, 2011

    Imagine a police force where some of the members hadn’t been to the police academy, didn’t get on-the-job training and never underwent performance evaluations. A national organization has found the bureaucratic equivalent of that scenario in the state auditor’s office.

    Yes, in this era of dwindling government resources, when every state agency should be operating at maximum efficiency, it seems no one has spent much time watching the watchdogs. But after campaigning on a pledge to introduce a new era of professionalism and accountability in state government, first-term Auditor Suzanne Bump is officially lowering the boom.

    Read more from The Boston Herald Editorial

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  • Springfield Republican: Housing authority responds to audit

    May 1, 2011

    The Southwick Housing Authority has launched efforts to correct problems such as code violations and slow turnaround on rentals that were cited in a recent state audit of its property holdings.

    Code violations being addressed involve peeling paint, damaged flooring, leaking roofs and missing ground-fault circuit interrupters in several apartments. The authority must also work to re-rent units sooner than the current 45-day average time, and it must establish additional oversight of its Local Tenant Organization.

    The discrepancies are listed in an audit by state Auditor Suzanne M. Bump covering the period of July 1, 2008, through March 31, 2010. The report was released by Bump's office earlier this month.

    Read more from The Springfield Republican