By Gintautas Dumcius
State House News Service
BOSTON -- State Inspector General Glenn Cunha's salary will increase to nearly $150,000 after the council that oversees the fraud and abuse detection and prevention office voted Thursday to approve the pay hike.
The unanimous vote by the eight-member Inspector General Council raises Cunha's salary to $149,615.10 from an estimated $137,600, an 8.7 percent increase. The salary increase is retroactive to January 2014.
The inspector general's salary is pegged up to 90 percent of the salary of the chief justice of state Supreme Judicial Court, and Gov. Deval Patrick and lawmakers signed off on a $30,000 pay increase for judges last year.
Cunha was appointed to the job in August 2012. In its 2013 annual report, the IG's office said its investigations and reviews led to $4 million in fines and settlements, and the identification of $42.5 million in cost savings.
The office also investigated the abuse of disabled persons parking placards and the Hinton State Lab after a chemist was accused of tampering with drug evidence results.
"We're very, very pleased," Auditor Suzanne Bump, who chairs the council, said after the vote.
The council also voted to formally support a bill (H 3937) allowing for Inspector General Council members to appoint designees so they are allowed to vote on council matters, such as issuing subpoenas to individuals. Cunha said sometimes the council needs to act quickly in an investigation, but is unable to due to lack of quorum. He pointed to one instance where it took the council several months to get six votes to subpoena a person in Westfield.
The bill, filed by Rep. Jim Cantwell (D-Marshfield), is currently in the House Ways and Means Committee.
The IG's office is allowed to subpoena documents, but needs sign-off from the council to subpoena a person for testimony. A bill giving the office full subpoena power likely won't be considered this legislative session, Cunha said, given the "tremendous" turnover at the Judiciary Committee.
Katherine Clark was the Senate Judiciary chair before she won a Congressional election and Eugene O'Flaherty was the House chair before leaving for the job of corporation counsel in Boston City Hall. Sen. William Brownsberger (D-Belmont) was named to succeed Clark; House Speaker Robert DeLeo has not filled the House Judiciary chair's post, or the vacant chairmanships of the Health Care Financing and House Ethics committees.