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The MetroWest Regional Transit Authority Did Not Submit Required Financial Information to the Commonwealth to Be Made Available to the Public on a Searchable Website

Audit found that the MWRTA did not provide the public with a sufficient level of transparency regarding its operations and expenses.

Table of Contents

Overview

The MetroWest Regional Transit Authority (MWRTA) did not submit required financial information about its operations (e.g., expenditures) to the Executive Office for Administration and Finance (EOAF) so this information could be made available to the public on a searchable website. Therefore, MWRTA did not allow the Commonwealth to give the public a sufficient level of transparency regarding MWRTA’s operations, including its overall financial health and the nature and extent of its expenses.

Authoritative Guidance

Section 14C of Chapter 7 of the Massachusetts General Laws requires agencies, including quasi-public independent entities such as MWRTA, to report their “appropriations, expenditures, grants, subgrants, loans, purchase orders, infrastructure assistance and other forms of financial assistance” to the Secretary of EOAF for inclusion on the Office of the State Comptroller’s searchable website. Section 14C(e) states, “All agencies shall provide to the secretary all data that is required to be included in the searchable website not later than 30 days after the data becomes available to the agency.”

Reasons for Noncompliance

MWRTA senior management stated that they were unaware of this requirement and thought that posting the information on the agency’s publicly accessible and searchable website would fulfill the state requirement. They subsequently stated that they would submit this information to EOAF as required. MWRTA did not have documented policies and procedures in place to ensure that the required information was transmitted to the Secretary of EOAF.

Recommendations

  1. MWRTA should develop formal policies and procedures for submitting this required information to EOAF.
  2. MWRTA should establish monitoring controls to ensure that the staff members assigned to this task adhere to these policies and procedures.

Auditee’s Response

MWRTA indicated in a letter to the Office of the State Auditor (OSA) that in response to our audit finding, it had developed formal written policies and procedures for the submission of required financial information to EOAF. The agency gave us a copy of these policies and procedures.

Date published: June 19, 2018
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