Audit faults use of long-term consultants by Mass. Department of Transportation

The Massachusetts Department of Transportation has improperly used temporary consultants as long-term workers in violation of state rules, according to a new report by State Auditor Suzanne Bump.

The audit released today found that some consultants were improperly acting as supervisors, while others were employed at the agency for years, even though consultants are only supposed to be used for temporary duties.

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Suzanne Bump
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For instance, the agency found 40 percent of the consultants used between July 2010 and December 2012 had been on the payroll at least two years, including one who had worked for the agency for 11 years.

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“These findings suggest that MassDOT has been circumventing the administration’s imposed salary and staff number limits by misusing consultants,” said Bump. “The agency needs to find a lawful way to staff its IT functions.”

The audit covered the period between July 2010 and December 2012. Since then, MassDOT has begun the process of moving some of the work done by consultants to traditional employees.

Michael Verseckes, a DOT spokesman, insisted the agency was following the law and properly using consultants.

“MassDOT believes it is following the state law governing consultants and employs them where necessary to deliver the best results for the organization and our customers,” he said. Verseckes denied that consultants ever supervised state employees.

The audit follows a report last month by Inspector General Glenn Cunha that found many state agencies were improperly using temporary employees as long-term workers, including 10 who had worked for the state for more than a decade. In response, the Patrick administration said it was already in the process of revamping its rules on using temporary workers.