New Unfunded Mandate Creates Cost Burden for Local School Districts
January 31, 2013
Today State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump released an opinion letter determining that state government must pay for the alternative education services that local school districts will have to provide for certain students who have been expelled or suspended from school.
“The Legislature has acted to address a legitimate need for access to education for students who have been removed from school for disciplinary reasons,” said Auditor Bump. “This new requirement, however, does mandate programs that will cause school systems to incur new costs. I hope this determination will aid the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education in its effective implementation.”
Signed into law last year, Chapter 222, An Act Relative to Student Access to Educational Services and Exclusion from School, requires local school districts to provide access to education alternatives for students who are either expelled or suspended for more than ten consecutive school days. The law, which does not take effect until July 1, 2014, was created with the intention to maintain a student’s access to education and to help prevent students from dropping out.
Patriot Ledger: Weymouth Housing Authority fixes many problems
January 24, 2013 - The following was originally published by the Quincy Patriot Ledger.
Nine months after state auditors criticized the Weymouth Housing Authority for poor financial management and wasteful spending, the housing authority has fixed many of the problems and improved its bottom line by nearly $180,000.
The turnaround by Weymouth’s housing agency was reported in a post-audit review released by State Auditor Suzanne Bump.
Weymouth also reduced its average vacant unit turnaround period by more than 100 days, boosting rental income by about $150,000 a year.
“We have zero vacancies, and our turnaround (of vacant units) is in the neighborhood of 13 days,” said housing authority Executive Director Michael Flaherty, basking in some of the good news Wednesday.
Boston Globe: Auditor’s team finds more than $1.3M in welfare fraud
January 18, 2013 - The following was originally published by the Boston Globe
Investigators uncovered more than $1.3 million in welfare fraud over three months according to a quarterly progress report released by the state auditor’s office today.
The fraud consisted of 246 cases of people improperly using food stamps, health care benefits, public housing, or cash assistance, the report said....
...The amount of fraud uncovered was not unusual for the auditor’s Bureau of Special Investigations, said Christopher Thompson, spokesman for Auditor Suzanne Bump.
With more than $5 million in fraud detected in 2012, “this is on track,” Thompson said.
01/18/13 - Springfield Republican
Boston Globe: State tells ex-official to return trade funds
January 13, 2013 - The following was originally published by the Boston Globe.
A former Cohasset selectman who headed the now-defunct Massachusetts International Trade Council was improperly awarded an $83,140 severance payment and should return what he has received, says a report issued earlier this month by State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump.
Bump wants Edwin “Ted” Carr, former chairman of the Board of Selectmen, to return $6,346 of the severance he already pocketed and to make sure he doesn’t receive any more.
She also wants the state to recover about $69,000 the trade group spent in its last two years of operation on “inadequately documented, duplicate or improperly authorized” payments to staff and consultants, the audit said. The matter has been turned over to the state attorney general’s office for possible action, she said last week.
01/05/13 - State House News
Boston Globe: Mass. OK’s bill to fund seawalls, dam work
January 2, 2013 - The following content was originally published by the Boston Globe.
Cities and towns in Massachusetts struggling to repair decrepit dams and aged seawalls got a belated holiday gift from state lawmakers, who in a rare New Year’s Eve session approved a bill to create a $17 million loan pool to help communities mend or remove these structures.
The legislation comes a year after a state auditor’s report identified 100 “high hazardous” dams in need of $60 million in repairs. An earlier report from the state Department of Conservation and Recreation identified $1 billion in needed repairs to 140 miles of seawalls meandering along the Bay State’s coast.
“We recognized a great need for improvements to public dams and seawalls,” said state Representative James Cantwell, a Democrat from Marshfield who first introduced a bill to repair seawalls. “I see this bill as an important step to address those needs.”
01/16/13 - The Springfield Republican