OIG Annual Report 2021: About the Office

Part II of the Office of the Inspector General's 2020 Annual Report

Table of Contents


The Office of the Inspector General for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts (Office) is an independent state agency charged with preventing and detecting fraud, waste and abuse in the use of public funds and public property. By statute, the Office has broad authority to oversee the use of state, local and federal funds by state and local governments, as well as by those who receive government funds or use public property. This includes state agencies, counties, cities, towns, quasi-governmental authorities and districts, as well as individuals, corporations and not-for-profit organizations that do business with the government. 

To fulfill its broad mandate, the Office investigates allegations of fraud, waste and abuse at all levels of government and reviews programs and practices to identify vulnerabilities and opportunities for improvement. It also conducts investigations into companies and other organizations, such as vendors that contract with state and local governments to provide goods and services. 

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 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.

Prevention is a key component of the Office’s mission. Therefore, in addition to investigations and reviews, the Office devotes much of its work to preventing the misuse of government resources. For example, the Office collaborates with state agencies to strengthen their operations, internal controls and program integrity efforts, which reduces risks, saves money and improves services. The Office also provides training to help prevent fraud, waste and abuse in government spending. It offers personalized guidance to local government employees on issues that arise under the Uniform Procurement Act, Chapter 30B of the Massachusetts General Laws (Chapter 30B), which governs the purchase and disposition of supplies, services and real property by municipalities and other public entities. 

To achieve its mission, 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 purchasing. Since early 2020, the Administration and Finance Division has also played a key role in the Office’s response to COVID-19. The Administration and Finance Division was (and is) an integral part of the Office’s response team, providing input for new policies and guidelines, addressing staff questions and concerns, providing assistance and strategies for remote working, and addressing safety and risks related to the pandemic.

The Audit, Oversight and Investigations Division (Investigations Division) investigates allegations of criminal and civil misconduct in the use of public funds. When an investigation reveals potential criminal conduct, the Investigations Division often works closely with other law enforcement agencies – such as the Federal Bureau of Investigation, the state police, federal inspectors general and local police departments – as well as with prosecutorial agencies – including the Attorney General’s Office, the U.S. Attorney’s Office and local district attorneys’ offices. Further, the Investigations Division works on matters involving potential civil actions, either directly with the affected agency or in conjunction with the Attorney General’s Office. At any given time, the Investigations Division may be investigating allegations of bribery, theft, extortion, time fraud, false claims, mismanagement, favoritism and other wrongdoing.

Additionally, the Investigations Division works to prevent and detect fraud, waste and abuse by conducting systemic reviews, proposing legislative and regulatory changes and recommending improvements to internal and financial controls in the expenditure of public funds. The Investigations Division also issues public advisories and letters to help state and local governments reduce fraud, waste and abuse.

The Bureau of Program Integrity (Bureau) conducts oversight of the agencies and programs within the Executive Office of Health and Human Services (EOHHS). The Bureau monitors the quality, efficiency and integrity of programs administered by EOHHS agencies and seeks to prevent, detect and correct fraud, waste and abuse. The Bureau consults and collaborates with EOHHS agencies while conducting this oversight.

The Division of State Police Oversight (State Police Division) monitors the quality, efficiency and integrity of the Massachusetts State Police’s (MSP) operations, organizational structure and management functions.2 Additionally, the State Police Division 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 Section 73 of Chapter 22C of the Massachusetts General Laws.

 The Internal Special Audit Unit (Transportation Unit) monitors the quality, efficiency and integrity of the Massachusetts Department of Transportation’s (MassDOT) operating and capital programs. Additionally, the Transportation Unit provides oversight of the Massachusetts Bay Transportation Authority. As part of its statutory mandate, the Transportation Unit seeks to prevent, detect and correct fraud, waste and abuse in the expenditure of public and private transportation funds. The Transportation Unit 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 state and local public procurement matters. Attorneys in the Legal Division also assist the Office’s investigative divisions on legal issues that may arise during an investigation, audit or review by assisting during formal interviews; analyzing evidence; conducting legal research; coordinating responses to and enforcing summonses; and liaising with state, municipal and private entities. In addition, the Legal Division also plays a key role in compliance and internal controls within the Office.

Attorneys in the Legal Division’s Civil Recovery Unit investigate and pursue civil actions to recover money on behalf of the Commonwealth and local governments. These attorneys work closely with the other investigative units within the Office, frequently partnering on investigations that may be appropriate for civil recovery. The Civil Recovery Unit also works closely with the Attorney General’s Office when developing matters for litigation or preparing for settlement.

The Policy and Government Division (Policy Division) oversees the Office’s policy, healthcare and legislative initiatives. The Policy 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. Each year, the Policy 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 Policy 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 Policy Division’s Pandemic Funding Oversight Unit coordinates the Office’s oversight of federal funds distributed to state and local governments, companies, individuals and non-profits in connection with the COVID-19 pandemic and its economic consequences. It also collaborates with other agencies on pandemic funding oversight and represents the Office on the Commonwealth’s Equity and Accountability Review Panel. 

The Regulatory and Compliance Division (Regulatory Division) provides extensive educational and technical assistance to state and local government officials and employees regarding Massachusetts’ public purchasing laws, fraud awareness and prevention, and public governance. Among other activities, the Regulatory Division operates the Office’s training programs, publishes educational materials and offers a technical assistance hotline for inquiries and complaints about public procurement, fraud prevention and good governance. The Regulatory Division also interprets and formulates policies for the Uniform Procurement Act, Chapter 30B of the Massachusetts General Laws (Chapter 30B), which governs the purchase and disposal of supplies, equipment and real property and the purchase of services by cities, towns and other local and regional governmental bodies.

Additional Resources

Contact   for OIG Annual Report 2021: About the Office


One Ashburton Place, Room 1311, Boston, MA 02108

2 Section 72 of Chapter 22C of the Massachusetts General Laws refers to the Division as “an internal special audit unit.” The Inspector General renamed the State Police Division to avoid confusion with the previously created Internal Special Audit Unit within the Department of Transportation (see M.G.L. c. 6C, § 9).

Date published: April 29, 2022

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