In case you missed it, today Representatives Sheila Harrington and Kevin Kuros, the Republican members on the Committee on Post Audit and Oversight, delivered a letter to Chairman David Linsky regarding the recent findings from the State Auditor’s office.
Last week, multiple news sources reported on an investigation by the State Auditor revealing the inappropriate use of close to $30 million public tax-dollars by a public agency responsible for special-needs children.
According to an article in the Boston Globe, some of the misuse included “up $4.3 million in credit card charges for alcohol - which [State Auditor] Bump said is prohibited by state law - as well as country club outings, golf fees, entertainment, and personal transportation through the use of 17 credit cards.”
Representatives Harrington and Kuros have penned a letter asking Committee on Post Audit and Oversight Chairman David Linsky to “conduct an immediate oversight hearing.”
The letter to Chairman Linsky argues that, “In this time of scarce resources, we owe it to taxpayers to ensure their dollars are being spent wisely and efficiently. In addition, we owe it to those who have endured the effects of extreme budget cuts to ensure money cut from one area of the state budget is not being wasted in another.”
Below is the letter that was sent to Chairman Linsky by Representatives Harrington and Kuros.
August 15, 2011
The Honorable David P. Linsky, Chairman
House Committee on Post Audit and Oversight
State House, Room 146
Boston, MA 02133
Dear Chairman Linsky:
As members of the Committee and on behalf of the House Republican Caucus, we write to urge the Committee to undertake a review of the numerous allegations of misuse of taxpayer resources by certain non-profit organizations.
Several months ago, the media brought to light serious irregularities and lax oversight relative to the Greater Lawrence Community Action Council. Subsequently, Inspector General Greg Sullivan released a report detailing the misappropriation of millions of dollars of public funds by the Merrimack Special Education Collaborative. Today, based on findings released by State Auditor Bump, we have learned that the extent of this inappropriate spending has greatly exceeded initial reports. As members of the Committee, we feel this extraordinary event has reached such a critical point that we must respectfully request that the Committee to conduct an immediate oversight hearing.
The purpose of this hearing would be threefold. First, we think it would be helpful to understand the nature, scope and seriousness of the allegations against these organizations. Second, we need to develop a clear understanding as to whether these allegations and concerns relative to the misuse of taxpayer funds are even more widespread. Finally, we need to understand what happened and how to determine what rules, regulations, and even laws we should propose to ensure these abuses cannot happen in the future.
In this time of scarce resources, we owe it to taxpayers to ensure their dollars are being spent wisely and efficiently. In addition, we owe it to those who have endured the effects of extreme budget cuts to ensure money cut from one area of the state budget is not being wasted in another.
While we understand the Joint Committee on Post Audit and Oversight is undertaking a review, we fear the problem may be more pervasive and, as such, believe the Committee should use its authority and charge under the Rules of the House to initiate its oversight and review.
We appreciate your consideration of this request and would be happy to discuss it with you at your convenience. We look forward to your response.
Representative Kevin J. Kuros
Representative Sheila C. Harrington
Cc: House Speaker Robert A. DeLeo
House Minority Leader Bradley H. Jones, Jr.