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Boston — State Auditor Suzanne M. Bump today released an audit of the Franklin Superior Court which identified management deficiencies including the improper administration of monthly probation fees.
Today’s audit reported that the court’s Probation Office improperly waived some probationers’ monthly supervision fee in exchange for the performance of community service by leaving the decision to pay the monthly fee or perform monthly community service up to probation officers and offenders rather than the judge as statutorily required. In addition, when probationers performed community service in lieu of payment, probation officers lacked a consistent method of tracking the amounts of service performed. As a result, probationers may not be complying with the terms of their sentence and the Commonwealth may not be receiving fees to which it is entitled.
In addition, Auditor Bump’s review found the Franklin Superior Court did not consistently conduct mandated periodic indigence reassessments to monitor eligibility for those who receive public legal services. The audit also found the Court did not give mandated notification to other state agencies, such as the Department of Revenue or the Department of Motor Vehicles, when an individual was overdue on the payment of court ordered legal counsel fees.
The audit also found the Probation Office did not maintain a complete inventory of the furniture and equipment. Such equipment in their possession was estimated to have a historical cost of $52,682.
Today’s audit has noted some improvements at Franklin Superior Court since its last review in 2006. The court has developed an internal control plan and, performed monthly revenue reconciliations, and the Probation Office has improved its cash handling policies.
The Office of the State Auditor conducts technical and performance assessments of state government’s programs, departments, agencies, authorities, contracts, and vendors. With its reports, the OSA issues recommendations to improve accountability, efficiency, and transparency.
The Franklin Superior Court audit is available here.