From the past
The office of the inspector general was created in 1981 with a mandate to "prevent and detect fraud, waste and abuse in the expenditure of public funds," according to the agency's website.
"The office conducts investigations, intervenes in situations before fraud and waste occurs, disseminates lessons and best practices, and builds the capacity of public officials by providing technical training and assistance," the website states.
Back in April, the IG began reviewing South Hadley Electric Light Department documents prompted by concerns that former SHELD manager Wayne Doerpholz felt he was entitled to collect nearly $500,000 in accrued leave from the agency.
A letter Inspector General Glenn A. Cunha made public June 1 said Doerpholz had "exceeded his authority and violated his duties to the board and the ratepayers." The agency determined that the ex-SHELD manager was owed only about $15,000. Doerpholz's employment ended on May 31.
Holyoke Gas & Electric on Tuesday provided The Republican with a letter it received from the IG dated July 28. In it, the IG requested numerous documents and communications that include any payouts to employees exceeding $5,000 in the past six years, department operations and personnel policies, accrued leave balances of employees, collective bargaining agreements with staff, and the three most recent audited financial statements.
There are 50 municipally owned electric utilities operating in the state.
Besides Holyoke and South Hadley, other Western Massachusetts municipal light departments are in Chester, Chicopee, Russell and Westfield.
Among the documents the IG requested from Holyoke Gas & Electric:
- A list of all current employees, their salaries, titles and years employed
- Names and titles of any employees with more than 10 weeks of sick time accrued
- Names and titles of any employees with more than 10 weeks of vacation balance
- Any leave time payouts since July 1, 2010, exceeding $5,000
The letter indicates that the IG request for documents does not constitute an "official investigation."
"Please take all necessary and appropriate steps to insure that all relevant original documents are preserved and protected in the event that they are required as part of an official investigation."