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December 24, 2013

Mass. IG finds abuse of temporary staffing in agencies

BOSTON - State investigators have found that some state government agencies rely on temporary hires to fill permanent or long-term positions, sometimes leaving temps on the job for years without any transition to full time.

In a review of 10 state agencies, Inspector General Glenn Cunha’s office found that “limits imposed by the executive branch on hiring permanent employees have led to using temporary employees to meet permanent staffing needs,” and that some agencies are unaware they have the authority to negotiate with staffing vendors for lower contact costs. The Inspector General’s review sought to examine the over $10 million the state spends on temporary staff services each year.

The review measured the amount spent on temporary staffing services between July 1, 2007 and June 30, 2012. In addition to identifying cost efficiencies, the report’s authors identified as main goals determining if the state is spending more than is necessary on temporary staffing services and if agencies have employed temporary staff for multi-year assignments.

Cunha and his team reviewed 10 state agencies with the highest numbers of temporary staffing, including the Executive Office of Labor and Workforce Development, Division of Capital Asset Management and Maintenance and the State Police.

, the Division of Public Licensure, and the Group Insurance Commission. Though the report mentioned these agencies by name, officials from the Inspector General’s office did not respond to requests to identify all 10 agencies reviewed.

Two agencies outside of the top 10, and not identified in the report, were also investigated due to records showing their use of temporary employees for multi-year assignments. Investigators found dozens of workers who have been temporary employees for longer than three years. Ten workers have been on the job as temps for more than 10 years, including six through a federally-funded program within the Massachusetts Rehabilitation Commission paid for by the Social Security Adminstration.

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