After Series of Scandals, Massachusetts Launches New Unit to Oversee State Police

by | August 28, 2018

By Gintautas Dumcius

Massachusetts officials are moving to set up an independent audit unit that will oversee the State Police after a series of scandals tarred the law enforcement agency.

The creation of the special unit was included in the state budget passed by lawmakers and signed by Gov. Charlie Baker in July, as current and former troopers were hit with federal charges of overtime abuse. Two troopers have already pleaded guilty to the embezzlement charges, while a total of 46 remain under investigation.

Now the state Inspector General's Office is posting a job listing for the director of the State Police audit unit. The job, based in Boston, comes with a salary range of $100,000 to $110,000 a year.

The unit will be "responsible for monitoring the quality, efficiency and integrity of MSP's operations, organizational structure and management functions." The unit will also focus on prevent and detecting fraud and waste of public funds.

The unit is housed inside the Office of the Inspector General and independent of the governor's public safety departments and the State Police.

The director will supervise a "staff of investigators, attorneys and/or analysts (and such additional expert, clerical or other assistants as the work of the Unit may require," the job listing says.

The inspector general, Glenn Cunha, has the power to appoint the director of the special unit. The director has a four-year term and will also have the title of assistant inspector general.

The state inspector general was a position created in 1981, after a state commission uncovered corruption in the awarding of state and county building projects, particularly the shoddily constructed UMass Boston campus in the city's Dorchester neighborhood.

The requirements for director of the unit include being a member of "good standing" with the Massachusetts bar and at least 10 years of experience as a prosecutor, along with a minimum of 3 years of management and supervisory experience.

The job listing calls for cover letters and resumes to be submitted by Sept. 7.

The eruption of multiple scandals within the State Police, starting in 2017, led to state lawmakers including the creation in the special audit when they passed the budget in late July 2018.

Gov. Baker has called the State Police's overtime abuse scandal a "conspiracy" and a "scam" going back years.

But that hasn't been the only scandal tarnishing the State Police. Col. Richard McKeon retired in November after rank-and-file troopers accused State Police leaders of forcing them to scrub the arrest report of a judge's daughter. His retirement was announced late in the day on a Friday.

And just after 9 p.m. this past Friday, the State Police dumped the news of an internal affairs investigation on Leigha Genduso, who was hired by the department despite participating in narcotics dealing and drug use. Genduso resigned and she was issued a dishonorable discharge.

In the late Friday statement, a State Police spokesman said the investigation laid blame on Genduso, instead of department officials, for not disclosing her involvement with a drug dealing operation.

Col. Kerry Gilpin, installed by Baker to clean up the department, has created new procedures for background checks of recruit candidates.

(c)2018 MassLive.com, Springfield, Mass.