State comptroller isn’t a job that’s very familiar to the average Massachusetts resident, but during his tenure, Tom Shack has shown just how important and impactful the position can be. As he departs the office, he deserves kudos for his good work.
Soon after his appointment in 2015, Tom recognized the need to improve state government transparency. Although providing a transparency site wasn’t a statutory responsibility of comptroller, he felt compelled to research solutions to provide the Commonwealth’s citizens with a state of the art, intuitive, and user-friendly platform to get more eyes on state data.
In September 2016, CTHRU successfully debuted. It took just seven months to develop and cost far less to procure and maintain compared to its predecessor. Less than a year later, CTHRU underwent a major expansion to add quasi-governmental spending and payroll, retirement benefits, and new executive department hires to the areas to which citizens were given access.
Today it is one of the most visited state transparency sites and has reached an astounding 3.2 million views. Upon release of the final 2018 payroll in January 2019, CTHRU amassed over 140,000 views in one week and quickly became a national model for its depth, breadth, timeliness, and its intuitive experience for exploring how and where state tax dollars are spent.
CTHRU has also been the catalyst for uncovering fraud, waste and abuse, such as the State Police overtime scandal, and has resulted in the development of better internal controls, more attention to public finance and it has enhanced fiscal responsibility.
During his tenure, Tom was awarded the Government Finance Officers Association’s Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting in three consecutive years for the Commonwealth’s Comprehensive Annual Financial Report (CAFR). Just this past October, he was presented with the “2018 Distinguished Public Service Award” by the Massachusetts Association of Regional Transit Authorities in recognition of his transparency innovations, inspirational leadership and dedication to public service.
Working on an issue that’s close to our hearts at Pioneer, Tom led the transitioning of MBTA employees to the state payroll system, which saves taxpayers $1 million annually.
As Tom Shack prepares for his next challenge, he deserves a heartfelt “thank you” from Massachusetts residents for a job well done.