Flawed Foundation of the Pacheco Law

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Those seeking more competition in government have opposed the so-called Pacheco Law (see here, here, here, and here) for years. The foundation of the law puts the State Auditor in the position of prosecutor, judge, and jury for anyone seeking to allow private competition for a state-provided service.

In the conceptual sense, it made little sense to have one position play such conflicting roles in a supposedly objective process.

In the real world, the ideological bias of the then-auditor Joe DeNucci was well-known, a steady favorite of the unions who benefited from avoiding competition.

Now, our worst fears have been confirmed. Following DeNucci’s retirement, a new Auditor, Suzanne Bump, brought in the National State Auditors Association to review the operations of his office.

This independent group found deficiencies in the planning, competence, documentation, and reporting of audits over the last year and a half of his term. The report related that DeNucci’s office was improperly staffed, poorly qualified, and did not follow appropriate procedures.

Furthermore, although the industry standard was to undergo a peer review of this type every three years, that office had gone 15 years since its last review.

Faced with the clear findings of deficiencies from an independent third party reviewer, DeNucci was reduced to ad hominen attacks: Bump’s findings were “crazy” and driven by ambitions for higher office.

Putting any Auditor in the position of prosecutor, judge, and jury was always bad policy. Now the advocates for the law who assured us it was merely a “guardrail that ensures accountability, efficiency, and transparency” would do well to explain how entrusting the process to Joe DeNucci did anything more than serve the their union supporters and limit the Commonwealth’s ability to realize cost savings.

Crossposted at Boston Daily.