Massachusetts audit finds millions wasted on IT consultants

Massachusetts audit finds millions wasted on IT consultants

By Donna Young

GCN Staff

MARCH 23'The Massachusetts Education Department wasted millions of dollars on information technology consultants, and had poor controls over expenses for conferences, travel expenses, food and parties, according to a state audit.

State auditor Joe DeNucci said the department used eight consulting companies to hire IT employees and process expenses for the department during the fiscal years 1999 and 2000.

The department funneled many of its non-salary expenses through two consulting companies. The companies then sent a bill to DOE for the amount of the expenses plus a 10 percent markup to process the expenses, the audit report said.

The report identifies $3 million in undocumented or inadequately documented expenses and hundreds of thousand of dollars in questionable expenditures that did not appear to directly benefit DOE's operations.

In one such instance, the audit report said, DOE violated state regulations when it used an IT consultant to purchase office furniture and rent office space'for a total of $288,030'rather than procuring the items competitively.

In another instance, a consultant approved $615,505 in payments to himself and the company that employed him, the report said.

And a consultant working as an IT procurement coordinator for the department, at a rate of $66 per hour, also was the president of one of the companies doing business with DOE, the report said. The consultant was responsible for procurement and payment of $2.6 million in expenses that were passed through his company. The company received a $243,994 markup on processing the payment, the audit report said. The state has severed ties with the company.

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