OIG Bulletin, October 2021: 40 Years of Serving the Commonwealth

Reflections on the Office of the Inspector General from Former Employees and IG Council Participants

Table of Contents

Reflections on the OIG

John W. Parsons, Esq.

Executive Director, Public Employee Retirement Administration Commission
Auditor’s Designee to the IG Council, 1992-2010

The Office of the Inspector General has played a critical role in the regulatory framework of Massachusetts government since its inception. Having had the pleasure of serving on the Inspector General Council for many years, and working with the staffs of IGs Joe Barresi, Bob Cerasoli, Greg Sullivan and now Glenn Cunha, I can personally attest to the enduring professionalism of the office and its significant positive effect on the mechanics of state and local government. The OIG’s continuing proactive impact, through training, reports, legislation and investigations, on Massachusetts government is immeasurable. Congratulations to everyone who recognized the wisdom of establishing this office, and those that have established it as the good government force that it remains today.

F. Daniel Ahern

President, Clarus Group
First Assistant Inspector General for Management, 1982-2003

I was among the first hires by Joseph Barresi, the first Inspector General in the first statewide OIG in the country. The concept of IGs in civilian agencies itself was relatively new. My colleagues and I had a great opportunity to participate in setting the course for this new agency. From the outset, the OIG took seriously its charge to both prevent and detect fraud, waste and abuse, and established an interdisciplinary staff of investigators, analysts, attorneys, engineers and others with the skills necessary to fulfill its mission.

Initially, the OIG focused much of its attention on public design and construction contracting, as one might expect given that the OIG was created upon the recommendation of the Ward Commission following a major scandal involving state and county public building projects. The OIG soon expanded its scope and activities to meet the full breadth of its statutory mandate while maintaining its involvement in public design and construction contracting.

Over the years, as the OIG grew and evolved under four successive inspectors general, it has had an outsized impact on public integrity and accountability in Massachusetts state and local government. The OIG’s significant accomplishments over the past 40 years are too numerous to list here, but the OIG has consistently demonstrated its commitment to serve the public interest in pursuit of its mission to prevent and detect fraud, waste and abuse. It has been an honor to be associated with the OIG.

Barbara J. Hansberry, Esq.

Director of Strategic Planning, Massachusetts School Building Authority
OIG General Counsel, 1992-2013

Thank you for the opportunity to provide insight as the OIG reflects on 40 years.

The mission of the Massachusetts OIG, to prevent and detect fraud, waste, and abuse in government spending, is a public servant’s dream job. As I reflect on the beginnings of my legal career at the OIG, I can say that it was an honor to serve the Commonwealth alongside so many talented staff, including IGs Cerasoli, Sullivan and Cunha. Working with colleagues who were wholeheartedly dedicated to the mission, generous in sharing their expertise, and tough but compassionate in their approach to case handling was a highlight of my career. I learned from them the skills I needed to lead the Legal Division there for several years. It is my opinion that this nonpartisan Office is an asset to state government and unlike any other – providing a place for citizens and elected officials to turn for information, education, and assistance with matters of process and proper procedure. Congratulations to the OIG for serving the Commonwealth with distinction for forty years.

Pamela Bloomfield

Vice President, Clarus Group
Deputy Inspector General for Management, 1983-2003

I joined the OIG in early 1983. Working with other analysts and attorneys, I reviewed and reported on many state and local programs and projects that appeared vulnerable to fraud, waste and abuse. Increasingly, these reviews focused on public construction projects with the enticing label of “public-private partnerships.” Our analyses often revealed that the benefits claimed by proponents were apocryphal and that the public had not been provided with full and accurate project information. Thus, our reports provided cautionary evidence and recommendations to public agencies and other decision-makers considering similar projects.

In the mid-1990s, I was assigned to the team that developed the MCPPO program. Developing and delivering the program classes was a very ambitious and rewarding undertaking that enabled us to combine information on the public procurement requirements in Massachusetts with practical advice and lessons learned from our fieldwork.

I never expected to stay with the OIG for more than a few years, but the opportunity to conduct granular evaluation work in support of the OIG’s mission kept me there for 20 years. I’ve derived great personal satisfaction from my work supporting the OIG’s essential mission and assisting public officials as they undertake the public’s business.

Eric Knight

Retired
Operations Manager/IT Specialist, 1997-2021

As a recently retired, long-time employee of the Office of the Inspector General, I have had more time to reflect on the work of the Office. During my 24 years with the OIG, I had the privilege of both working on and supporting those who worked on some of the most groundbreaking cases in recent history. The work of the OIG remains critically important to the Commonwealth and its citizens by rooting out fraud, waste and abuse committed by those who are supposed to be working in the public interest. The citizens of the Commonwealth can take comfort from knowing that someone is indeed watching out for their interests and is dedicated to making the system work in a more equitable manner for everyone who lives and works here.

Elizabeth Unger, Esq.

Purchasing Agent, City of Cambridge
Senior Counsel/30B Coordinator, 2013-2017

My time at the OIG was a career game changer for me. I had the opportunity to be mentored by, and work alongside, a group of experienced and dedicated professionals. During my tenure, I worked with so many people who care about the mission of the Office and are talented and devoted stewards of the public dollar. In my current position at the local level, I recognize and appreciate the value that the OIG brings to the public by working to ensure transparency and accountability in government. It is a need that never goes away.

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Date published: October 25, 2021
Image credits:  George Headley
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