The Office's mission is to prevent and detect fraud, waste, and abuse in the expenditure of public funds. (M.G.L. c.12A) Preventing fraud, waste, and abuse before they happen is our principal objective. Toward that end we employ a three-part prevention strategy:
- Timely intervention - that is, intervening in situations before fraud, waste, or abuse occurs. For example, the Office reviews every bill filed in each session of the General Court and, when appropriate, recommends amendments to help protect against fraud, waste, or abuse. The Office also provides assistance to public agencies. For example, the Office has provided technical assistance to the Massachusetts Department of Transportation when requested, and sometimes reviews requests for proposals or invitations for bids for major, complex procurements.
- Dissemination of lessons learned - by letting jurisdictions know about issues that should be of interest to many public officials. For example, we distribute many of our reports to agencies that we think may be able to use the information, and we use our Procurement Bulletin to inform local officials about the results of our work in other jurisdictions.
- Capacity building - involves providing training and technical assistance to public officials. The Massachusetts Certified Public Purchasing Official program, our procurement manual, and our Procurement Bulletin are examples of our capacity building efforts.
Detecting fraud, waste, and abuse when they do occur is important. The Office conducts civil and criminal investigations and works with the Massachusetts Attorney General, the U.S. Attorney, and district attorneys to prosecute cases of individual wrongdoing. In some cases the Office reports matters to the State Ethics Commission or agency heads. Investigative results are also considered for identification of opportunities to prevent similar problems from arising in the future.
History of the Office
The Office of the Inspector General was established in 1981 as the first statewide Inspector General's Office in the country. It was created in the wake of a major construction procurement scandal. In 1980, the Special Commission Concerning State and County Buildings (usually referred to as the "Ward Commission" after its Chairman, John William Ward) released its final report on corruption in the award of state and county building projects. The Commission found that billions of dollars had been wasted on building projects. The 12-volume Ward Commission Report concluded that:
- Corruption was a way of life in the Commonwealth.
- Political influence, not professional performance, was the prime criterion in doing business with the state.
- Shoddy work and debased standards were the norm.
Creation of the Office was seen as part of the solution, not just to the problem in public building contracting, but also to a more fundamental problem. The Commission noted that it was formed approximately one decade after the State Crime Commission completed its work in the mid-1960s. The Commission believed that periodic investigation by special commissions was not a good approach to dealing with problems:
If public life relies upon spasmodic outrage to create special commissions to correct the ills of public life, then public life is in dire shape, indeed. That is why the Special Commission created the Office of the Inspector General, to build the capacity for self-correction into government itself . . . [Emphasis added.]
The Commission noted that the state did have an Attorney General and a State Auditor, but it found a "vast middle ground". . .
between the ability to review all state transactions to a limited degree without the power to investigate [i.e., the Auditor], and the power to investigate allegations of fraud on a case-by-case basis [i.e., the Attorney General]. . .
The Office was created by Chapter 388 of the Acts of 1980. Its enabling statute is Chapter 12A of the General Laws.
The Governor, State Auditor, and Attorney General appoint the Inspector General to a five year term.
Massachusetts Inspectors General
The first Inspector General, Joseph R. Barresi, served two terms from 1981 to 1991.
The second Inspector General, Robert A. Cerasoli, served two terms from 1991 to 2001.
The third Inspector General, Gregory W. Sullivan, served two terms from 2001-2012.
Glenn A. Cunha was sworn in as the fourth Inspector General on August 6, 2012.