Making Government Work Better
State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump serves as the chief accountability officer for Massachusetts state government and its residents. Her office conducts audits of state entities and contractors to assess their performance and recommend improvements to make government work better. Since 2011, the Office of the State Auditor has identified over $1.3 billion in improper or questionable spending and missed savings opportunities in the Commonwealth.
In addition to ensuring tax dollars are spent wisely, Bump's audits have also improved state government performance. As a result of audits conducted by the office:
- The Massachusetts Legislature enacted legislation to provide greater accountability over and transparency of educational collaboratives operating within the Commonwealth;
- The Sex Offender Registry Information (SORI) improved checks by the Department of Early Education (EEC) for childcare workers and improved government data-sharing to track offenders;
- Superior Courts improved evidence logs, collection of legal counsel fees, inventory maintenance, collection of probation fees, and tracking of community service;
- The Department of Early Education and Care’s voucher program now maintains a more accurate wait list so that policymakers can make better decisions regarding funding and operations;
- The Board of Registration in Medicine (BORIM) now conducts criminal record checks of all initial applicants for full licensure. BORIM is also developing an automated system to facilitate statutorily mandated reporting of physician criminal data;
- The Department of Transitional Assistance now consults the Social Security Administration’s death master list when it is determining applicant eligibility for public assistance benefits;
- The Department of Public Safety created an online elevator inspection system that increases its ability to manage the process; and
- MassHealth developed uniform billing codes for services under Managed Care Organizations (MCO) to ensure that the state doesn’t pay for services that should be paid for by MCOs.
The OSA has offices in Boston, Marlborough, Chicopee, and Brockton.
A National Leader
Weeks after taking office in 2011, State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump commissioned the first peer review of the organization in 15 years to guide her effort to professionalize the office. The OSA failed that peer review. Using those recommendations as a roadmap to achieve improvements, Bump implemented changes that enhanced the professionalism of the staff, expanded training opportunities, and strengthened quality standards. These changes helped the OSA pass its subsequent peer reviews in 2014 and 2017.
Since that time, the Massachusetts State Auditor’s Office has become leader in the realm of government auditing and accountability. Bump’s office has developed sophisticated data analytics capabilities that allow staff to identify systemic deficiencies in state programs, and provide suggestions for addressing them. The OSA has received national awards for its audit work. In 2016, Bump was appointed to the U.S. Government Accountability Office’s (GAO) Domestic Working Group, which advises the Comptroller General on efforts to improve government accountability. Bump and her staff have been invited to present the office’s work and tools at numerous national trainings and conferences.
Accountability Beyond Audits
Through it Division of Local Mandates, Bump's office also assists local and state government leaders to identify and address the impacts of unfunded mandates. Since 1983, the work of the Division of Local Mandates has helped to provide over $354 million in state funding or other remediation to local communities.
Recognizing the important role that public benefit programs play in the lives of many of the Commonwealth's most vulnerable residents, through its Bureau of Special Investigations, the Office of the State Auditor identifies fraud in these programs to ensure they are operating with integrity. To accomplish this, Auditor Bump has championed the development and use of sophisticated data analytics tools to proactively identify fraudulent activity in these programs. In fiscal year 2017, the office identified a record $16.9 million in public assistance fraud.