Federal audit questioned Boston homeland security spending

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Updated: 4/16/2013 5:28 pm Published: 4/16/2013 2:52 pm

Just weeks before the attack in Boston, federal investigators accused Massachusetts state officials of misusing homeland security money.

FOX23’s Scott MacFarlane found money given to cities for security equipment and programs was instead spend on management.

A February federal audit said, “The Commonwealth of Massachusetts had an outdated homeland security strategy, which had not been updated since 2007.” It also said Massachusetts Homeland security officials “may have spent funds on outdated risks.”

The audit questioned whether Massachusetts pocketed too much of the grant money, an estimated $8 million since 2008, on “management and administrative costs.” Auditors told MacFarlane that typically includes executives salaries.

That is more than they're allowed to spend on management costs, in fact, FOX23 has learned the feds asked Massachusetts to reimburse taxpayers some of that money.

"You want them to be using it for specialized training that they can't afford on their own dime that was the theory, they wouldn't buy this equipment if the feds didn't step in and help them," said former US Department of Homeland Security Administrator Stewart Verdery when discussing the grants.

MacFarlane contacted Massachusetts state emergency officials to get answers to the questioned raised about their spending.

A spokeswoman says one reason the security plan was outdated was because it was waiting for new guidance from Washington on how to devise them. Officials disagreed the state spent too much on management expenses.

MacFarlane also learned Massachusetts used some of the federal funding in recent years to conduct an exercise called "urban shield," which tested its response to a future "large scale" event in the Boston area.

Boston has gotten $174 million in homeland security gran money since 2004.

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