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Audit of the Office of the Governor Objectives, Scope, and Methodology

An overview of the purpose and process of auditing the Office of the Governor.

Table of Contents


In accordance with Section 12 of Chapter 11 of the Massachusetts General Laws, the Office of the State Auditor has conducted a performance audit of certain activities of the Office of the Governor (GOV) for the period July 1, 2018 through June 30, 2020.

We conducted this performance audit in accordance with generally accepted government auditing standards. Those standards require that we plan and perform the audit to obtain sufficient, appropriate evidence to provide a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives. We believe that the evidence obtained provides a reasonable basis for our findings and conclusions based on our audit objectives.

Below is our audit objective, indicating the question we intended our audit to answer, the conclusion we reached regarding the objective, and where the objective is discussed in this report.



  1. Does GOV ensure that it immediately fills vacancies on state boards and commissions as prescribed by state laws, regulations, or executive orders? 

No; see Finding 1


To achieve our audit objective, we gained an understanding of the internal controls we deemed relevant to the objective by reviewing GOV’s mission statement, policies, and procedures, as well as conducting interviews with key personnel. Additionally, we performed the procedures described below.

Testing of Governor-Appointed Seats for Vacancies

We conducted an assessment of the number of active boards and commissions by asking GOV whether each board or commission listed in the Intranet Quorum (IQ) database was active or inactive. We obtained all appointment data from IQ and then filtered the data to include only boards and commissions GOV had identified as active.

After giving us a list of 611 active boards and commissions, GOV told us it had determined that 25 of these boards and commissions should be considered inactive. This resulted in a reduction of 212 Governor-appointed seats, discussed below.2 From the remaining 586 active boards from IQ, we identified each board or commission seat that the Governor was required to fill and determined whether each seat was filled as of the end of the audit period (June 30, 2020) by examining the member identification number, appointment date, and term end date (the date the appointment term is completed). We accomplished this by performing the following procedures.

We filtered the list of 8,333 seats that GOV initially provided to us from its database, removing appointments with a blank term end date to produce a list of 7,246 seats. We sorted that list to ensure that the most recent term end date was listed first. We then summarized the list by seat to remove duplicates.3 Finally, we removed the 212 seats from inactive boards that had not initially been identified as inactive, as well as 19 ex officio seats that GOV officials told us had not been made by the Governor, which resulted in a list of 2,341 seats.

From that list, we determined whether each seat was vacant by determining whether the term end date was after the end of the audit period. If the term end date was before that date, we deemed the seat vacant. We determined each vacancy’s duration by calculating the number of days between the term end date and the end of the audit period.

Data Reliability

To determine the reliability of data in IQ, we interviewed GOV personnel who were responsible for the source data. We performed a user access test to verify that only GOV employees made entries in IQ. Further, we reviewed the data in IQ for duplicates and to determine whether all the appointment dates were before the end of the audit period. To determine the accuracy of data in IQ, we selected a sample of 20 appointments and verified that there was an appointment letter from the Governor that matched each appointee’s name and appointment date in IQ. To determine completeness of the appointment data, we compared it to data in the Diversity Spreadsheet4 and identified 24 appointments that should have been entered in IQ (see Finding 1). Additionally, in an interim response to our finding, GOV identified 72 instances where the appointment record in IQ did not reflect the current appointment term. Based on the procedures above, we determined that the appointment data from IQ were sufficiently reliable for the purpose of this audit.

2.     For each board and commission, the Governor may have multiple appointments to make. For example, the Governor may have nine appointments to make to a single board or commission. This would result in nine seats.

3.     There may be many duplicate seat appointments within the 7,246 seats because there had been previous appointments to the same seat. We are reporting on whether a vacancy existed at the end of the audit period for each unique seat, so we filtered our list to include only unique seats.

4.     GOV uses the Diversity Spreadsheet to track the diversity of appointments to boards and commissions.

Date published: September 23, 2021

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