DSS had a budget of $770 million for 2007, over 3,300 employees most of whom are social workers (2,600-plus) and some 580 in administrative work, and is under the Office of Children, Youth, and Family Services (annual budget: $1.6 billion) under the Health & Human Services budget item which, at over $12 billion annually, is the Commonwealth's single biggest expenditure. Considering that the DSS has the largest departmental budget in Massachusetts (accounting for 6%) makes it easier to understand the important role of Mr. Kelley as the Department's Audit Manager, especially when the general public is clamoring for greater fiscal accountability (Kelley, 2007).
Mr. Kelley is a Certified Public Accountant (CPA) who has steadily gone up the ranks of the DSS bureaucracy. When he was still in college, he was thinking of working at one of the established accounting firms but decided to work instead with the government because he felt that this was where he would find the best work-life balance. Coming from a long line of public servants, Mr. Kelley found it easier to decide to become one. It was a decision he never regretted.
When asked whether education or experience played the most important role in his success, he claimed that one without the other would not have been enough, since auditing/accounting is a highly-technical profession that combined intellectual and mathematical skills with a dash of detective work. Without education, the highest position one could get would have been that of a bookkeeping clerk. Experience played an important role because although education could get you started, one needed to learn from experience to survive and thrive. He learned the most from his mistakes, of which there were several. What helped him most, however, was a mentor, a senior bureaucrat now retired but who trained him on the intricacies of the bureaucracy.
The DSS is one of the most important human services offices in the Commonwealth and their mandate of taking care of the most helpless citizens - children who are abandoned or abused by those who are supposed to care for them - puts Mr. Kelley's work in the proper context. He talked about his sacred duty to ensure that all federal and state funds channeled to the department find their beneficiaries in the most efficient and effective manner. He passionately believes that how a society takes care of its most helpless members is a measure of the society's values and quality. The fact that the DSS gets one of the biggest shares of the budget exposes the office to a lot of politics, which goes on not only within DSS or the Commonwealth structure competing for funds, but also with other private charities in and out of Massachusetts. This is something he has learned to manage quite well, but that he sees as something that comes with the territory.
Contrary to common perceptions, government offices are highly dynamic and change quite more rapidly as top officials can be changed every two years. Thus, policies change and, with these changes, so do management styles and points of focus. One of the most remarkable change efforts within the organization started taking place in 1989 and is still ongoing, which is the implementation of Chapter 647, a Commonwealth Act designed to improve the internal controls within all State agencies. The law aimed at improving the