In early January, The State Auditor's office, led by Suzanne Bump, terminated three people involved in data analytics, including two contractors and one full-time employee. According top a spokesperson, the three were fired because of an "undisclosed potential conflict of interest".
The matter has currently been referred to State Ethics Commission. Ther auditor has also accrued the expense of hiring a national accounting firm to review the recent work of the fired employees.
Ms. Bump has said the results of the review will be made public when it is completed. For now however she said "Since the matter has been referred to the State Ethics Commission, no further details will be made available."
So lets give credit where credit is due. If you discover a potential conflict of interest in a position that must critically be impartial, you must treat it very seriously. Ms. Bumps actions in firing the employees would seem prudent, though I am stuck on the waffling word "undisclosed potential conflict of interest."
I acknowledge that Ms. Bump did indeed start of in the right direction in the journey to transparency, but that journey towards "right" ended as soon as she denied the public the knowledge of what actually transpired. What could be the reason for not letting the public know the complete truth immediately?
When elected auditor my commitment to real transparency will begins immediately. We'll put all the books online all the time, and the very first state agency I will Audit is the office of the Auditor.
Through some excellent reporting by Matt Stout, the Boston Herald managed to discover that three data analytic workers in the state auditor’s office who helped develop software used in its audit of the Department of Children and Families later tried to sell a “re-engineered” version of the design back to DCF through a private company they created, raising questions of a potential conflict.
Excellent reporting like this is one of the reasons I feel it's SO imperative that the Auditor's office be an open book. Massachusetts is blessed with an active set of investigative reporters. Opening the government as much as possible allows them to do their job.