BOSTON (State House News Service) — The keys for the governor's office, lieutenant governor's office, auditor's office, attorney general's office and possibly others will change hands within the next year, but the inspector general's office will be the first to get a new occupant as Glenn Cunha approaches the end of his second five-year term this summer.
The governor, attorney general and auditor, who are jointly responsible for appointing a new inspector general, are seeking applicants to succeed Cunha and recently posted the job as the state's independent watchdog.
Cunha was appointed by Gov. Deval Patrick, Attorney General Martha Coakley and Auditor Suzanne Bump. He was sworn in as inspector general on Aug. 6, 2012, and was reappointed for a second five-year term on July 25, 2017 by Bump, Gov. Charlie Baker and Attorney General Maura Healey. Inspectors general are limited to two five-year terms in office.
The job has caught the eye of lawmakers and former lawmakers in previous years, and two of the four men to have held the position had been previously elected to the Massachusetts House.
Gregory Sullivan, who preceded Cunha in the job, served 17 years in the Massachusetts House before taking a job in the Office of Inspector General. Before Sullivan, the inspector general was Robert Cerasoli, a former member of the House from Quincy. Cerasoli resigned from the House to take the IG job in 1991, initiating a special election won by current House Speaker Ronald Mariano.
When Cerasoli was wrapping up his 10-year tenure as inspector general in 2001, there was talk that Auditor Joseph DeNucci (again, a former representative) or House Speaker Thomas Finneran was interested in the job. The state's first inspector general was Joseph Barresi, who had led the Boston Municipal Research Bureau.
The inspector general is charged under state law with acting "to prevent and detect fraud, waste and abuse in the expenditure of public funds, whether state, federal, or local, or relating to programs and operations involving the procurement of any supplies, services, or construction, by agencies, bureaus, divisions, sections, departments, offices, commissions, institutions and activities of the commonwealth, including those districts, authorities, instrumentalities or political subdivisions created by the general court and including the cities and towns."
State payroll records list an annual salary of $185,615 for Cunha, but the inspector general's salary is set each year by the Inspector General Council and "shall not exceed ninety per cent of the salary of the chief justice of the supreme judicial court."
Written by Colin Young/SHNS.