- Office of the Inspector General
Media Contact for Holyoke Soldiers’ Home officials failed to follow state laws and sound management practices with respect to certain funds in their custody
The Office of the Inspector General (Office) conducted a review and found that between May 2016 and February 2020, the Holyoke Soldiers’ Home (Home) and the Home’s Board of Trustees (Board) did not comply with state laws, follow sound management practices or employ adequate fiscal controls over three specific categories of public funds: donations, canteen income and proceeds from lottery sales.
Further, the Office found that the Home and the Board did not treat these funds as public funds and did not follow state laws, regulations and polices regarding these three categories of funds. For example, the Home and the Board did not (a) link bank accounts to the Comptroller’s accounting management system, (b) provide information about donations to the Massachusetts Office of the Comptroller and the Executive Office of Administration and Finance, (c) consistently use state-approved financial institutions, and (d) comply with state procurement laws. Moreover, the Home and the Board had poor internal fiscal controls relating to these public funds.
The Office also found that the Board did not have statutory authorization to invest or spend donations. During the period under review, the Home and its Board managed bank and investment accounts holding between $1.5 million and $2.5 million in donations.
Veterans at the Home can choose to entrust the Home with money to be used to pay for personal services and amenities, and the Home appropriately maintained the funds in a separate account. However, the Home’s management never formally reported information about the account that holds these funds to the Comptroller or other state agencies with oversight responsibility.
Since the Office’s review, the Board has made several changes to the Home’s management of donations, but there is additional work to do to address the issues that the Office identified.
The Office made recommendations to improve the Home’s and the Board’s compliance with state laws and policies, relationships with oversight entities and internal control procedures.
Read the letter at: Fiscal practices at the Soldiers’ Home in Holyoke and by its Board of Trustees