The Office of the Inspector General
The Office of the Inspector General for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (“Office”) is an independent agency charged with preventing and detecting fraud, waste and abuse in the use of public funds and public property.
To fulfill its broad statutory mandate, the Office investigates allegations of fraud, waste and abuse at all levels of government and reviews programs and practices in state and local agencies to identify vulnerabilities and opportunities for improvement. Beyond investigations, the Office provides education to help prevent fraud, waste and abuse in government spending. It offers personalized guidance to local government officials on issues that arise under the Uniform Procurement Act, M.G.L. c. 30B, which governs the purchase and disposition of supplies, services, equipment and real property by municipalities and other public entities. The Office also educates public and private employees through its Massachusetts Certified Public Purchasing Official (“MCPPO”) training program.
When conducting an investigation or review, the Office has the authority to subpoena records, interview witnesses and take testimony under oath. At the completion of an investigation, review or other project, the Office may issue a letter or report detailing findings and outlining recommendations to prevent future fraud, waste and abuse. In some instances, the Office will offer training, policy guidance or technical assistance. In other cases, the Office may require the agency, city or town to submit a corrective action plan detailing the measures it will take to address the problems identified during the Office’s investigation.
Further, the Office reports suspected criminal activity to the appropriate authorities, including the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office and the U.S. Attorney’s Office. In addition, the Inspector General meets regularly with the Inspector General Council to discuss the Office’s activities.
The Office is organized into eight divisions: Administration and Finance; Audit, Oversight and Investigations; the Bureau of Program Integrity; the Division of State Police Oversight; the Internal Special Audit Unit; Legal; Policy and Government; and Regulatory and Compliance.
The Administration and Finance Division provides vital support to the entire Office by managing the Office’s finances, human resources, case management system, information technology, operations and procurement.
The Audit, Oversight and Investigations Division ("AOI Division") investigates allegations of criminal and civil misconduct in the use of public funds. When an investigation reveals potential criminal conduct, the AOI Division often works closely with other law enforcement agencies – such as the FBI, the state police, federal inspectors general and local police departments – as well as with prosecutorial agencies, including the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and local district attorneys’ offices. Further, the AOI Division works on matters involving potential civil actions, either directly with the affected municipality or in conjunction with the Attorney General’s Office. The AOI Division also alerts the State Ethics Commission to potential ethics violations, such as self-dealing and the receipt of unwarranted privileges. At any given time, the AOI Division may be investigating allegations of public corruption or other wrongdoing in a wide array of public sectors, such as administration, human services, municipal authorities, public works, retirement benefits and transportation.
Additionally, the AOI Division works to prevent and detect fraud, waste and abuse by conducting large systemic reviews; proposing legislative and regulatory changes; and recommending improvements to internal and financial controls in the expenditure of public funds. The AOI Division also issues public advisories and letters to help state and local governments reduce fraud, waste and abuse.
The Bureau of Program Integrity ("Bureau") focuses on public benefits programs administered by the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (“EOHHS”). In this role, the Bureau is responsible for preventing, detecting and correcting fraud, waste and abuse in benefits programs through investigations, performance audits and reviews, as well as consultation and collaboration with EOHHS agencies.
The Division of State Police Oversight ("DSPO") monitors the quality, efficiency and integrity of the Massachusetts State Police’s (“MSP”) operations, organizational structure and management functions. (M.G.L. c. 22C, § 72, refers to the Division as “an internal special audit unit.” The Inspector General renamed the Division to avoid confusion with the previously created Internal Special Audit Unit within the Department of Transportation (see M.G.L. c. 6C, § 9)). Additionally, DSPO seeks to prevent, detect and correct fraud, waste and abuse in the expenditure of public funds and monitors policy changes instituted as a result of the MSP’s certification or accreditation by a state or national police accrediting agency pursuant to M.G.L. c. 22C, § 73.
The Internal Special Audit Unit ("ISAU") monitors the quality, efficiency and integrity of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s (“MassDOT”) operating and capital programs. As part of its statutory mandate, the ISAU seeks to prevent, detect and correct fraud, waste and abuse in the expenditure of public and private transportation funds. The ISAU is also responsible for examining and evaluating MassDOT’s operations, including its governance, risk-management practices and internal processes.
The Legal Division provides essential legal advice to the Office and manages legal strategy in all Office litigation. Attorneys in the Legal Division represent the Office in state and federal court, draft and review legislation, teach procurement law, and provide guidance on public procurement matters to state and local officials. Attorneys in the Legal Division also assist the Office’s investigatory divisions by taking testimony; analyzing evidence; conducting legal research; coordinating responses to and enforcing summonses; and liaising with state, municipal and private entities on legal issues that may arise during an investigation or review. Attorneys in the Legal Division’s Civil Recovery Unit investigate and develop matters for potential civil recovery pursuant to M.G.L. c. 12A, § 11. These attorneys work closely with the other investigative units within the Office, frequently partnering on investigations that may be appropriate for civil recovery. Members of the Civil Recovery Unit also work closely with the Massachusetts Attorney General’s Office when developing matters for litigation.
The Policy and Government Division ("P&G Division") oversees the Office’s policy, healthcare and legislative initiatives. The P&G Division is responsible for carrying out the Legislature’s annual mandate for the Office to study and review the Massachusetts Medicaid and Health Safety Net programs. The P&G Division also reviews programs and practices in state and local agencies to identify system-wide vulnerabilities and opportunities for improvement.
In addition, the P&G Division helps develop policies and procedures related to the Commonwealth’s public design and construction laws. The P&G Division works with state agencies and authorities throughout the Commonwealth to establish best practices in public construction. Each year, the P&G Division reviews public design and construction projects, methods and practices, as well as public real property transactions, to ensure that the public’s interests are protected. Finally, during each legislative session, the P&G Division reviews and comments on numerous pieces of legislation, meets with and provides guidance to legislators and municipalities, and responds to requests from the Governor’s Office to review proposed legislation before it is signed into law.
The Regulatory and Compliance Division ("R&C Division") leads the Office’s educational initiatives, including the Massachusetts Certified Public Purchasing Official (“MCPPO”) training program, and provides guidance on public procurement matters to state and local officials. In Massachusetts, public purchasing officials are responsible for procuring the supplies, services and facilities required to provide public services to their communities. These procurements involve considerable expenditures of public funds. As a result, it is vital that state and local officials understand the procurement process and comply with all applicable legal requirements.
To meet this vital need, the R&C Division provides training and professional development through the MCPPO training program; publishes manuals, advisories and a quarterly Procurement Bulletin; and offers a hotline to respond to inquiries and complaints concerning the public procurement of supplies, equipment, services and real estate. The R&C Division also provides extensive technical assistance to state and local government officials regarding the Commonwealth’s public procurement laws. The R&C Division interprets and formulates policies on the Uniform Procurement Act, M.G.L. c. 30B (“Chapter 30B”), which governs public purchasing by municipalities and other public entities. The R&C Division also provides speakers to address public procurement principles and fraud prevention for a variety of public and private entities. Finally, the R&C Division assists the Attorney General’s Office by reviewing municipal bylaws and charter amendments to ensure that they comply with Chapter 30B.