Standing up campaign promises of auditor candidates


The candidates for auditor, particularly the two Democrats, make the office seem pretty sexy.

Chris Dempsey, a leading transportation advocate who previously led the successful fight to prevent the Olympics from coming to Boston in 2024, says he intends to use the tools of the office to reform the State Police. He has also unveiled a climate and environmental justice initiative that would bring carbon accounting to state agencies and make sure the state is meeting the emission goals laid out in state law.

Sen. Diana DiZoglio of Methuen has plans that are even more expansive. She, too, intends to verify the state is meeting its climate change goals and intends to use the office’s audit powers to make sure the benefits of the MassSave energy efficiency program flow to low-income people. She suggests the auditor’s office under her supervision could transform state government.

“I will be an auditor who opens state government to everyone and shifts the balance of power back to working people,” she said in a recent interview with Jim Braude. “As auditor, I’m going to do a deep dive into our state agencies, including the Legislature, to analyze the processes and procedures that are taking place that are blocking access for working families into what’s going on behind closed doors on Beacon Hill and I’ll have subpoena authority to do that.”

It’s great to have ambitious goals, but the statue detailing the duties of the auditor’s office appears to be fairly constrictive. It requires the auditor to audit more than 200 governmental entities at least once every three years. The law is also fairly particular about how the audits should be conducted, which doesn’t leave a lot of time or room for freelancing.

As for DiZoglio’s plan to take a deep dive into the Legislature, that’s unlikely. The statute focuses on the executive branch of government and doesn’t give the auditor the authority to audit the Legislature.

Anthony Amore, the Republican candidate for auditor, has an agenda that’s more rooted in the realities of the job. He says his top priority would be to audit the office of the auditor, hiring an independent third party to evaluate what’s working and what isn’t. He would also seek greater funding for the office, saying the current $20 million budget is not sufficient to meet the office’s statutory obligations.

“The Auditor’s Office has a history of not meeting the legal responsibility of auditing the Commonwealth’s 210 agencies at least once every three years,” Amore says on his campaign website. “Over the past 12 years, the number of annual audits performed by the Auditor’s Office has steadily declined. As a result, Massachusetts residents have seen government failures that could have been prevented.”

Amore’s platform also calls for advocating for greater transparency in state government and leading by example to move the needle on that front. He says he would also dig into rising costs at state colleges and universities, which are putting upward pressure on tuition.

“Why did the new parking garage at UMass Boston cost $50,000 per parking space when the Bridgewater State garage cost $20,000 per space?” he asks. “Why did the UMass Boston dorms cost $527 per square foot when 4 miles away, at MassArt, the cost was $345 per square foot?”

BRUCE MOHL

 

FROM COMMONWEALTH

Real religious exemption? A state judge bars the firing of seven State Police troopers who requested and were denied religious exemptions for taking COVID vaccines because of “undue hardship” to the department. The ruling allows the troopers to remain on unpaid leave while they pursue their claim of religious discrimination.

– Overall, 156 State Police union members sought religious exemptions from the Baker administration’s vaccine mandate and all of them were denied. The seven were singled out as having sincerely held religious beliefs, but they were still denied. Read more.

OPINION

Olmsted inspiration: Kathy Abbott, the president and CEO of Boston Harbor Now, takes a bit of inspiration from Frederick Law Olmsted in saying parks can play a key role in protecting Boston from climate change. She says Moakley Park, where South Boston and Dorchester intersect, offers a good example. Read more.

 

FROM AROUND THE WEB

 

BEACON HILL

House transportation committee co-chairman WIlliam Straus said the panel is likely to act this week on legislation regulating e-bikes. (Boston Globe)

Governor’s Councilor Marilyn Devaney tries again to win support for resuming livestreaming of the panel’s meetings, but the motion dies without even being seconded by a fellow member of the eight-person body. (Boston Herald

Gov. Charlie Baker and Lt. Gov. Karyn Polito hear from victims of domestic violence and sexual assault as they push for passage of their bill that would expand who can be subject to a hearing on dangerousness. (MassLive)

MUNICIPAL MATTERS  

The Boston City Council, by a 9-4 vote, passed a controversial ordinance banning demonstrations outside residences between 9 p.m. and 9 a.m. The measure was introduced following weeks of early morning protests outside Mayor Michelle Wu’s house by anti-vaccine protesters. (Boston Globe

HEALTH/HEALTH CARE

As COVID cases continue to inch upward, Massachusetts follows federal guidelines and allows a fourth shot for anyone 50 and older. (MassLive)

Researchers say more frequent daytime napping is linked to development of dementia, and they say it’s possible that napping plays a role in promoting dementia and isn’t just an early indicator of it. (Boston Globe

WASHINGTON/NATIONAL/INTERNATIONAL

Russian misinformation efforts are not only targeting residents there and the wider global community. US intelligence says President Vladimir Putin is also being presented with a distorted picture of the country’s war on Ukraine from his own advisers, who are shielding him from news of how badly the effort is going. (Washington Post

ELECTIONS

House Speaker Ron Mariano endorses Andrea Campbell for attorney general. (MassLive)

BUSINESS/ECONOMY

The Travel Leather Company, which operates the last leather factory in Peabody, a city formerly known as the “Leather Capital of the World,” is about to shut down. (Salem News)

South Shore restaurant owners hope to-go cocktails are here to stay. (Patriot Ledger)

EDUCATION

Chicopee High School experiments with a pilot program that requires students to lock up their phones during the day, so they cannot be used. (MassLive)

The University of Massachusetts receives a $330,000 donation to expand its early college program. (Associated Press)

ARTS/CULTURE

Comedian Chris Rock made his first appearance since getting smacked by Will Smith at Sunday’s Oscars at a media-hyped performance at Boston’s Wilbur Theater, but basically had nothing to say about the incident, which he said he’s still “processing.” (Boston Globe

The case of Michelle Carter, the Plainville teen who encouraged her boyfriend to kill himself via text message, is featured on a Hulu series that started this week. (Standard-Times)

ENERGY/ENVIRONMENT

Massachusetts launches an effort to give low-income individuals easier access to e-bikes, eclectic scooters, and electric vehicles. (USA Today Network)

CRIMINAL JUSTICE/COURTS

Minutes before the deadline, lawyers for former Fall River mayor Jasiel Correia file a brief with the federal Appeals Court seeking to vacate his corruption conviction or grant him a new trial. (Herald News)

Essex County Sheriff Kevin Coppinger’s 25-year-old son is charged with assault, stemming from a 2020 fight that left a police recruit with serious injuries. The victim in that case was also charged. (Salem News)

A federal judge dismisses the portion of former Boston police commissioner Dennis White’s wrongful termination suit that alleges race or gender discrimination in his firing. (Boston Globe

A New York doctor is charged with stationing a camera attached to his backpack outside a Newbury Street women’s clothing store in such a way that women entering or exiting had to step over it, allowing him to take pictures up their skirts. He is charged with 21 counts of photographing someone’s sexual or intimate parts without consent, and 15 counts of attempting to do so. (Associated Press)

MEDIA

Tracey Rauh is named the top editor at North of Boston Media Group, the first woman to hold that role. Rauh most recently worked as editor of the Eagle-Tribune, a role she will continue to hold while also working with its sister papers. (Eagle-Tribune)

A Somerville orthodontist and landlord with a history of filing lawsuits has filed action against two journalists at the Tufts Daily, charging that a story in the student paper about a tenant protest outside his office defamed him. The lawyer for the students said he hadn’t seen a complaint “quite as frivolous as this one” in nearly 30 years of practice. (Boston Globe