Friday, November 19, 2010

Report Calls For Probation Head's Removal

The BrocktonPost
BROCKTON--Independent investigator Paul Ware, who was hired by the State Supreme Judicial Court to investigate allegations state Probation Department Commissioner John O'Brien directed the hiring and promotion of employees within the department based not on merit, but on political connections and who could draw more money to the department.
The SJC hired Ware after stories by The Boston Globe beginning in May spotlighted excessive patronage within the department.
In his report, Ware states, "the interview procedures used by Probation to hire and promote, large measure a facade and a sham."
Ware reports it is "unambiguous" that the hiring and promotions process was skewed toward O'Brien's politically connected friends and financial supporters.
In the report Ware calls for O'Brien's dismissal and calls for his replacement to be someone who is "unquestionably a person of integrity and experience."
O'Brien was placed on leave in May after The Globe's story.
Ware also calls for the Probation Department to remain within the court system, contrary to attempts by Gov. Deval Patrick to shift Probation from the authority of the courts to the executive branch.
The report has been forwarded by the court to the U.S. Attorney, the state Attorney General, state Inspector General and the Office of the Bar Counsel of the Board of Overseers for review and possible criminal charges or professional censure.
In his conclusion, Ware writes that patronage is part of many hiring and promotions processes, however in the Probation Department's case, O'Brien and his deputies transformed a credible process into a patronage hiring machine.
"However well-oiled, that machine no longer serves the public interest," Ware states.
The report, which Ware filed with the SJC Nov. 10, was relesed to the public yesterday afternoon.
Click here to read the original Boston Globe story....

Visit the Supreme Judicial Court homepage. to read the entire 307-page report.
(Photo courtesy The Boston Globe)

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