SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

Opinion

May 9, 2011

Our View: Bump makes clear there's a new auditor in town

Turns out the state auditor's office needed a thorough going over, and it appears Suzanne Bump was the right person for the job.

Last summer in the waning days of his long tenure, then incumbent State Auditor Joseph DeNucci granted members of his staff 5 percent raises. Bump, who had been endorsed by DeNucci for the Democratic nomination, declined to join others in criticizing the move, but said she would make a thorough review of the entire operation, including its staffing, if elected.

That review was conducted by the National State Auditors Association which, according to a statement from Bump's office last week, "issued a rare adverse report (which) found that the office's system of quality control did not conform to government auditing standards because of deficiencies in audit planning, staff competence, audit documentation and audit reporting."

Bump's reaction was to terminate 27 employees and reassign 14 others, all of them holdovers from DeNucci's administration. An angry DeNucci made clear his disappointment with Bump's action. Clearly it's not what he expected from his successor.

But getting rid of incompetents and those otherwise not qualified to serve is exactly what voters expect from the people who hold public office these days. The days when virtually every state agency had room in its budget to provide comfortable employment for a politician's do-nothing brother-in-law are over.

Certainly that's the message Bump is sending. "The auditor's office must model behavior it expects from others," she declared. Indeed, by releasing the report and taking quick action to address the shortcomings found therein, Bump has boosted the credibility of the auditor's office as it embarks on the task of ferreting out waste in other areas of the state bureaucracy.

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