General Laws of Massachusetts - Chapter 7A Office of the Comptroller - Section 3 Examination of accounts and demands; overdue debts; certificates of amounts due

Section 3. The comptroller shall examine all accounts and demands against the commonwealth excepting those for the salaries of the governor and the justices of the supreme judicial court, for the payrolls of the executive council and members of the general court, and those due on account of the principal or interest of a public debt. The comptroller may require paper or electronic affidavits that articles have been furnished, services rendered and obligations incurred, as claimed. Such paper or electronic affidavit for any office, department, commission and institution shall be made by the person authorized to incur such obligation. The comptroller shall make a certificate estimating the amount due and allowed on each account or demand and shall subsequently make available a report of the amounts and accounts so examined, the name of the person to whom such amount is payable and the account to which it is chargeable. The comptroller shall keep copies of and transmit all such certificates to the governor, who, with the advice and consent of the council, may issue his warrant to the state treasurer for the amount therein specified as due.

This authority shall pertain to all accounts and funds of the commonwealth unless specifically exempted by general or special law.

The comptroller may exclude from such certificate any amount otherwise due to any person owing an overdue debt to the commonwealth or any agency of the commonwealth; provided, however, that the head of such agency has filed with the comptroller a paper or electronic affidavit specifying that such debt exists, the amount due and the name of the debtor. Any such debt may be charged by the comptroller against any amount otherwise due from the commonwealth to such debtor, subject to regulations promulgated by the comptroller. Such regulations shall include, but not be limited to, the following requirements:

(1) that said agency issue 4 written notices to the debtor over a 120 day period prior to requesting exclusion of such overdue amounts from such certificate;

(2) that such notices advise the debtor of the debtor’s right to a hearing before said agency, and;

(3) that, unless otherwise provided by law, said agency shall hold a hearing under chapter 30A upon timely written application of the debtor.

Said regulations may authorize the comptroller to waive requirements at the request of an agency head provided that all waivers shall be in writing and state the reasons for such waivers.

The comptroller shall not include on such certificate any amount for any account for which an appropriation is required under section 6 of chapter 29 if no such appropriation or no allotment has been made or if the amount of such appropriation and allotment for the current fiscal year is insufficient to meet the amount of the demand. The comptroller is prohibited from making or authorizing any spending authority to make a journal entry, so-called, between accounts if the account ultimately to be charged had insufficient monies to support the entry at the time the amount being entered was expended, unless prior notification of the intent to make such a journal entry, indentifying the accounts involved and the amount of the entry, is sent to the house and senate committees on ways and means. The comptroller is further prohibited from certifying any amounts for payment in the event that there is an interim period at the beginning of a fiscal year prior to the final passage of the fiscal year appropriation act or any interim appropriation act, subject to the condition that any amounts otherwise authorized by law to be paid during such interim period may be so certified by the comptroller.

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Last modified: September 11, 2015