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Beacon Hill's Most Beautiful: 25 power players who keep the Golden Dome in style

By DAVID S. BERNSTEIN AND MIKE DEEHAN  |  November 8, 2012

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SUZANNE BUMP
56, MARRIED, GREAT BARRINGTON AND SOUTH BOSTON
AUDITOR OF THE COMMONWEALTH

Elected two years ago, Bump has already made headlines, both by shaking up the 240-person staff, and by exposing problems in how taxpayer money is spent.

And she's done it in impeccable style, our panel says. "Anyone who can eliminate wasteful spending while wearing head-to-toe leopard print is beautiful in my book," says one. "Her daily look would stand the test of any audit," says another.

Bump takes particular pride in her report last year that exposed waste and abuses by special-education collaboratives — and recommended structural reforms that were passed into law this year.

Few know the State House from more perspectives than Bump: she has been an intern, an aide, a state representative, a cabinet secretary (heading Labor and Workforce Development), and now a constitutional officer.

"I have great respect for the work of and people in government," she says. "I strive to be open to and solicitous of others — and not take myself too seriously."

Job title: Auditor of the Commonwealth

Held since: January, 2011

Age: 56 years

Marital/relationship status; children; pets: Married for 32 years to Paul F. McDevitt (a double-Eagle). Two (step)sons and one grandson.

Home: The village of Housatonic in Great Barrington is our home, but during the week we are in South Boston.

Originally from: Whitman, home of the Toll House cookie.

What you do: I ensure integrity and accountability in state spending by leading a staff of 240 auditors, analysts, and investigators who ensure that state agencies, contractors, and recipients of government assistance are adhering to applicable rules and using best practices.

I stand in the shoes of taxpayers and consumers of government services. My work leads to government that is more effective, efficient, accountable and transparent.

One experience that made you glad to do this work: I sought this position pledging to use the audit process to identify "systems" in government that weren't meeting the goals we expected of them. My 2011 work in the area of special-education collaboratives illustrates how individual findings of misspending, pension abuse, and a lack of enforceable standards can point to fundamental weaknesses in overall governance, structure, and accountability. The approach paid off. Our audits were accompanied by reform recommendations, which the legislature and Education Department embraced, resulting in a law that ensures the collaboratives stay focused on their mission of serving special needs kids in cost-effective ways.

Other jobs: I got my start in government as a state representative. Before becoming auditor, I served as secretary of labor and workforce development.

Other activities: I have served on several boards, and was co-founder of an organization that operates an alcohol- and drug-recovery home for 21 women. Recent honors include a 2012 Abigail Adams Award from the Massachusetts Women's Political Caucus; a 2009 Top Women of Law Award from Massachusetts Lawyers Weekly; and a 2009 Cushing-Gavin Award from the Boston Catholic Labor Guild.

Path to Beacon Hill: I was introduced to local politics while in college. I then interned for one state representative and worked as a legislative aide for another, before running for office myself.

Personal style: I have great respect for the work of and people in government, and I reflect that in the serious tone of my work. At the same time, I need to be accessible to colleagues and the people I serve, and I strive to be open to and solicitous of others and not take myself too seriously.

Favorite thing about working in the State House: I have always been attracted to service, and to the notion that each of us can and should help make our world a better place. The State House is full of like-minded people, who know how to get things done, so it is immensely enriching and satisfying.

One thing you would change to make State House work more "beautiful": I have visited capitol buildings in many other states over the years and envy the investment they have made in preserving and restoring the historic beauty of those buildings.

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