The Commonwealth’s Financial Records Transparency Platform
CTHRU is an innovative open records platform that offers transparency into the finances of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. CTHRU provides users with an intuitive experience for exploring how and where our tax dollars are utilized.
Payroll for all permanent, temporary, and contract employees dating back to Calendar Year 2010 is updated bi-weekly for the Legislative, Judicial, and Executive Departments, as well as for the Independent Agencies and the Constitutional Offices.
Information about payments for settlements and judgments processed by the Office of Comptroller under 815 CMR 5.00. The Office of the Comptroller does not negotiate or approve the amount of settlements, or the costs of legal services and/or indemnification. Updated quarterly.
CTHRU categorizes spending by object code and object class but does not provide a line item view of goods provided or services performed under each transaction. CTHRU provides spending activity that has been entered and approved by the department making the expenditure. Inquiries regarding future or pending spending, budget plans, and procurement/contract information should be addressed to the specific department.
In order to protect personally identifiable information, mitigate against potential fraudulent misuse, and comply with statutes including M.G.L. c. 93H and M.G.L. c. 66A, the following information is not published on CTHRU:
Taxpayer Identification Numbers / Social Security Numbers
Statutorily protected details and confidential data are not enumerated in CTHRU and will not appear in total payroll data, including:
Protected information, such as personal information of victims of domestic violence and work study students
Child support payments
Other exemptions under the Public Records Law
Certain departments’ spending is not subject to detailed release, based upon public safety concerns.
Does the Statewide Payroll database reflect all current employees?
Although the summary payroll is accurate, there are a few statutory exceptions to payroll listings by individual. For example, victims of domestic violence and work study students are not listed, in compliance with state and federal law.
As of June 30, 2023, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts had a total of 423 exempt employees with a total/cumulative annual rate of $34,153,951.24.
The CTHRU Statewide Payroll database also includes contract employees and individuals who were on the payroll earlier in the year but are no longer an active employee.
Why do the amounts for a department’s Statewide Payroll module differ from its Statewide Spending module?
CTHRU Payroll reporting is done on a calendar year basis, while CTHRU Spending is reported on a fiscal year basis.
What is the information source for CTHRU?
Data in Statewide Spending comes from transactions recorded by state agencies in the Massachusetts Accounting and Reporting System (MMARS), the statewide accounting system. Payroll data comes from the Commonwealth’s Human Resources / Compensation Management System (HR/CMS). Additionally, quasi-governmental agencies provide their spending and payroll information to the Office of the Comptroller.
What is the Spending Summary?
The Spending Summary shows the total spending by fiscal year and defaults to the most recently completed fiscal year. You can select the down arrow to the right of the year indicated (next to the Spending Summary) and change to a different fiscal year, or you can select All Years to view the complete spending data for all years dating back to Fiscal Year 2010.
What is the Commonwealth's fiscal year?
The Commonwealth’s fiscal year runs from July 1 to June 30.
What are the Fiscal Periods?
Fiscal Periods 1 through 12 correspond to the months of the fiscal year, beginning with July (Fiscal Period 1) and ending with June (Fiscal Period 12). Fiscal Period 13 is the Accounts Payable Period (July-August) where payments can still occur for services or goods that were received in the fiscal year that just ended. Fiscal Period 15 runs from the end of the Accounts Payable period to the official close of the fiscal year accounting. This period reflects final transactions recorded for financial reporting purposes. Note: Fiscal Period 14 is not used in the Commonwealth.
Why are there differences between the Annual Rate and Earnings?
The Annual Rate in the current calendar year is the calculated annual rate for an employee, while earnings are the year-to-date actual payments received. Earnings may be lower than the Annual Rate if the final payroll has not been paid, or if the employee was on unpaid leave during the year. Earnings may also include overtime, additional pay for working other shifts, differential pay, or some recognition for length of service or educational degrees.
Why are some employees' annual rates valued at $0?
There are two types of employees reflected on the payroll list—salaried employees and contract employees. Some contract employees have regular schedules, but many work intermittently and do not have a “salary.” Rather than display an incorrect value, no salary amount is shown.
Do state employees receive Social Security and pension benefits?
Massachusetts state employees do not pay into Social Security, but instead contribute up to 11% of their annual salary to the state pension system.
What object codes are included in ‘Other Pay’?
A06: Stand by pay A07: Shift differential pay A09: Roll call pay A14: Stipends, bonus pay, and awards A15: Research Activity/summer salary compensation –Higher education A16: Professional development – Higher education A20: Police detail AA1: Salaries, supplemental
Details into the specific time and circumstances resulting in “Other Pay” should be held at the department level, not by the Office of the Comptroller.
There are a few statutory exceptions to payroll listings by individual. For example, victims of domestic violence and work study students are not listed, in compliance with state and federal law.
Scroll down to the bottom of the screen and select ‘View Data in Worksheet’
For more information about these object codes see the Expenditure Classification Handbook. Employee reimbursements are found in the Statewide Spending portal by department, not Statewide Payroll.
What is "Leave Buy Back"
Formerly referred to as “Buyout Pay”, Leave Buy Back represents unused accrued leave time (vacation time, compensatory time, and unused sick time for certain employees entering retirement) paid out upon termination from state service.
What are the different categories available to break down the Commonwealth Total Spending?
There are eight different categories you can explore. Select any one of these categories to explore the data by a particular fiscal year. These results are sortable by category:
How do I use the Search feature?
Entering all or part of a query into the Search field will return any relevant results from Department, Vendor, Appropriation Name, Payment ID, and Object Code fields matching your entry.
How do I search for a particular business or individual that has received funds from the Commonwealth?
Enter all or a portion of the business or individual’s name into the Search box and press Enter.
Why do some fields display a value of “Unassigned”?
Not all transactions in MMARS share the same field requirements for processing. Where this field is blank in the source system, we have inserted a value of “Unassigned.” For example, summary payment transactions do not list a single zip code, as they are typically distributed to multiple recipients in multiple locations.
Why are some vendors listed more than once?
A vendor may perform a particular duty that is restricted to use for only a few departments and is listed separately from the vendor’s universal record that is available for all departments to use
A vendor may have changed its name or moved, and its original name is preserved for historical transactions
A vendor name may have been entered with a typographical error that has since been corrected and the original record is preserved if there were transactions processed.
Where can I find the detailed descriptions of all Object Classes and Object Codes?
Yes. The Commonwealth audited financial statements for each fiscal year (ending June 30) are usually available by the following January. As is standard procedure for all financial statement audits, samples of prior year expenditures have been audited; data for the current year is unaudited.
What is a summary transaction?
A summary transaction is used by institutes of higher education and represents a summary of payments issued for that date through their authorized delegated payment system. That system then records the accounting information at a summary level in MMARS. Detailed payment information for the summary transactions is kept by the departments that issue payments through delegated systems.
What are ancillary payment systems?
For many sheriffs’ offices, the related duties of civil process service and local paid details, predominantly performed by current and former employees of their office, have been segregated and paid through ancillary payment systems outside of the state’s payroll system (HR/CMS). Therefore, these payments are not included in the “Statewide Payroll” section of CTHRU*, with the exception of the Barnstable County Sheriff’s Office.
The Sheriffs’ use of ancillary payment systems must appropriately categorize expenses and meet tax reporting requirements. Ancillary payments are typically funded through fees charged for the services rendered. Additional information on these payments may be obtained by directly contacting the corresponding sheriff’s office.
The CTHRU Open Records Transparency Platform is built on more than 5 million data records. It is best to set search criteria wider, and narrow results from there.
If a search in the Statewide Payroll module displays No Results Found, double-check the year being searched, as the module searches only one year at a time.
For example, to search for someone who started employment with the Commonwealth in 2020, select the year 2020 or later for the search.
Who do I contact for more information?
If you have any questions about how the site displays spending or suggestions on improving the reporting of Massachusetts state government finances, please contact the CTR Solution Desk at [email protected].
Downloading from CTHRU Statewide Spending
When in the Checkbook View of the CTHRU Statewide Spending module, select the Download button in the upper-right hand corner. The data is downloaded as a Microsoft Excel Comma Separated Values (.CSV) file.
Downloading from CTHRU Statewide Payroll
Select the View Data in Worksheet button at the bottom right-hand corner of any page within the Statewide Payroll module.
To download the full data set, select Download. Please note that the file size is considerable.
If you would like to filter and sort the data before exporting it, select View. Users can sort, filter, and export (download) data in a variety of formats.
Why can’t I save or download CTHRU data that I have filtered or otherwise changed the view?
If you filter or sort raw CTHRU data by selecting View Data in Worksheet, you must first create a login with a valid email address as your user name and specify a password. Once you have created the login and password, you can save the different views of the data that you create.
View a glossary of terms related to CTHRU, state payroll, and state spending