Party: Republican

Incumbent: No

Headquarters: PO Box 1641, Framingham, MA 01701
Phone: (617) 841-8125

Age: 50

Occupation: Financial professional and CPA

Family: Husband Rick; children Phillip, 21; Paul, 8, and Ben, 7.

Town: Framingham

Education: Master's degree in business administration with a finance concentration, Assumption College, Worcester.
Bachelor's degree in business administration-accounting and bachelor of arts degree in English, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
English summer seminar, Trinity College, Oxford University.

Experience: Partner in Ascentage Group (current).
Audit senior manager, Ernst & Young CPAs.
Tollpayer watchdog, Massachusetts Turnpike Board.
Chief financial officer, Massachusetts State Lottery.
Accounting instructor, Framingham State.
Vice chair, Framingham Finance Committee.
Massachusetts Commission on Judicial Conduct.
Massachusetts Society of Certified Public Accountants.

— Submitted by the candidate

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TIMELINE

Why are you running?

"We need more sunshine in state government.

Just like Justice Brandeis once said, "Sunshine is the best disinfectant." Now, more than ever, we need to clean up the books on Beacon Hill and throughout state government.

I experienced Beacon Hill up close and personal while serving on the Massachusetts Turnpike Board. Many called me a fiscal watchdog. I spoke out in support of the public when others would not. I wrote several op-eds for major newspapers, was a frequent talk radio guest, and was often quoted in the news.

If that's a watchdog, I served the people of the Commonwealth well in that role.

Because of Transportation Reform in 2009, my volunteer position as a board member ended, but my desire to serve the public did not.

After seeing the inner workings of state government and the need to promote greater efficiencies and reduce state spending, I asked myself how I could best continue to serve the people of Massachusetts. It was very clear to me that I could best serve by continuing my role as watchdog.

Because of my experience as a CPA and audit senior manager at Ernst & Young, along with my proven track record of standing up against the Beacon Hill establishment, the decision to run for state auditor was easy.

This role of state auditor is about professionalism, not politics."

— Submitted by the candidate

Issues

Stewardship

Has Massachusetts generally been a good steward of public dollars? Why or why not?

"The government needs a longer-term vision for its use of public money.

State debts continue to mount. The state is facing about a $22 billion unfunded pension liability and about a $15 billion unfunded liability for other retirement benefits, primarily health care, for state workers.

Such enormous budgetary constraints are unsustainable. One-time fixes like the use of rainy day funds to stabilize the operating budget do not provide long-term financial health.

That is one of the reasons the state auditor has the second most important role in state government.

The auditor is the person responsible for making sure the public's hard-earned dollars are spent appropriately by rendering objective opinions on the cost of policy decisions, and rooting out waste, fraud and corruption in state spending.

The auditor must also determine if the state's assets are adequately safeguarded and must determine if controls are in place to protect from unauthorized spending.

To ensure that tax dollars are not being wasted, the auditor's office can conduct audits of all departments of state government, and even of the contractors and vendors that do business with the state.

The notable exception is the state Legislature, but I have vowed to promote legislation to eliminate that exemption.

In this way, the auditor's role is to ensure that elected officials and those they appoint are being good stewards of the public money. The auditor is the people's eyes and should report back to the public frequently using all forms of media. The auditor is the top public advocate."

DeNucci

Assess the job Joe DeNucci did as auditor.

"Joe DeNucci is a public servant and did reasonably well in office. The public placed a great deal of faith in Auditor DeNucci, and he is extremely well-liked.

But with my credentials as an experienced auditor and CPA, I can bring a new level of effectiveness to what is the second most important job in state government.

The times have changed dramatically since Auditor DeNucci took office. The state's financial health has been dependent on one-time fixes that don't plan for the future. People cannot afford increased state spending, given their own financial situations.

I have traveled the many corners of this state during my campaign and know what is on people's minds. They are concerned not only with the state's fiscal stability, but with job security, college tuitions, and their ability to someday retire. They are tightening their household budgets and expect state government to do the same.

There was an enormous public outcry at the recent 5% across-the-board pay hike that the auditor recently authorized for his staff. I would require all personnel in the office to reapply for their jobs and retain only those qualified to serve. I would also assess pay rates, with all compensation levels, even base wages before the recent pay hike, on the table.

I was pleased to see, though, that Auditor DeNucci is still vigilant in his responsibilities during his last months in office. Earlier this month, he produced a report stating that millions of dollars were being spent unnecessarily on MRI imaging and other medical scannings for Medicaid patients. This is an example of the powerful impact the auditor can have to protect the public and provide comfort that the people's money is being spent wisely.

It's heartening to see that Joe is going out swinging. But there is a new kind of professional ready to enter the ring."

Responses gathered through e.thePeople

Latest news

Auditor candidate faced harsh review

With her training as a certified public accountant and her years as chief financial officer of the state lottery, Republican Mary Z. Connaughton says she is the only candidate qualified to be the next state auditor. (By Andrea Estes, 10/22/10)

Bump, Connaughton vie for auditor’s post

For the first time in nearly a quarter century, voters next week will elect a new state auditor — quite possibly the most obscure of statewide offices. But perhaps it should come as no surprise that a lively contest is underway for the post. (By Stephanie Ebbert, 10/24/10)

Connaughton would push Beacon Hill audits right away

Republican candidate Mary Connaughton promised yesterday that her first action as state auditor, if elected, will be to file legislation subjecting the House and Senate to a full financial audit that would throw the curtain back on a branch of government currently protected from such scrutiny. (Boston Globe, 10/5/10)

Connaughton backs off opposition to ballot question

Republican auditor candidate Mary Z. Connaughton, in a televised debate last night, appeared to back off her earlier opposition to a controversial ballot initiative that would slash the state’s sales tax, saying she was undecided about the measure. (By Alan Wirzbicki, 9/28/10)

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