Bump plays politics with RMV

With the announcement that State Auditor Suzanne Bump has accused the RMV of having issued driver's licenses to 1900 people in the Commonwealth who were deceased, we see an example of government inefficiency at work, enabled by the auditor.

Bump is complaining that the Registry of Motor Vehicles (RMV) is not checking the licenses they are issuing against the Social Security Master Death List. In other words, the RMV is allegedly issuing driver's licenses to people who are using the names of people who have died to obtain fraudulent driver's licenses.  The RMV has denied this, claiming the Auditor had the wrong data.

The timing of the report is particularly suspect.  Bump issued the report the same day she chaired an event for the Democrat running for Governor against Charlie Baker.  Governor Baker has praised the new efficiency at the RMV, and a criticism of the RMV is a clear political attack against Baker.

Considering the audit covered data from July 1, 2014, through Dec. 31, 2016, why is the audit being released 8 weeks before the Massachusetts election for Governor and Auditor?  Why has the Auditor issued 8 press releases in the last 30 days when over the previous 30 days she did not issue any press releases?

Bump has a history of abusing the power of her office to benefit her campaign.  In 2015 she settled a wrongful termination suit around abusing her official power to campaign, and in 2018 the Boston Globe proved that employees from the Auditor's office were engaged in campaign work for the Bump while being paid by the taxpayers.

This report is one more example of how the Bump is abusing her power and using her office to campaign, doing everything she can to generate media interest in her office.

Sadly, Bump doesn't realize that this report actually represents an example of how backwards the office is technologically.  The Auditor ought to have a microservice in place, publicly available to check if a person in the Commonwealth is listed as dead. Such a service would be useful for more that the RMV.  MassHealth could benefit from such a service, as could any department that provides money or services.

It is a disgrace technologically that Bump took so long to find this problem and file this audit. Checking an application for a driver's license against the Social Security Administration’s Death Master File ought to be a sub-second task. It should in fact be happening in real time AND there ought to be a log of every application for a driver's license and the results of every test that was applied to ensure the integrity of the system.

Bump, however, has no understanding of the power of data.  An audit requiring the Auditor to look up individual records against the Master Death list is incredibly inefficient. Instead, the Auditor should be requiring every application for a driver's license to include information about when the application was checked against the Master Death List and what the results were.

This sort of business rules logic is common in industry, but sadly, being 20 years behind the times technologically is something the current Auditor thinks is praiseworthy.

As a Computer Scientist I will use the power of the auditor to make sure that state agencies are recording and reporting the right data.  A report is useless if the data included is not sufficient to audit an agency. The Auditor, via Section 12 of Chapter 11 of the Massachusetts General Laws, has the power to require all the necessary and sufficient information for an audit to be delivered to the office of the auditor for process.

This auditor has no comprehension of what comprises necessary and sufficient information, nor how to automate the review of that information.   And in reality, she has no interest in conducting audits like that as evidenced by the law she got her democratic colleagues to pass.

On January 13, 2017, HB4720 was signed into law, which was brought forward by Auditor Bump. This measure changes certain statutorily required audit schedules to align with the OSA’s standard three year audit cycle, while allowing for discretionary audits of agencies that are at a lower risk of waste, fraud, and abuse.

The idea that the Auditor has discretion about which agencies get audited is a terrible idea and smacks of the worst sort of political protectionism.  Are you a democratic sheriff running for reelection? No audit for you! Are you a Republican sheriff running against a Democrat? Expect a probing audit!

And that's not right.  Why would we elect a Republican or a Democrat to audit Republicans and Democrats?  Republicans and Democrats are playing political football and the Auditor should be the referee, making sure that everyone is playing by the rules.

The referee shouldn't be wearing a jersey of one of the teams.

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