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Mass. Senate GOP Files Probation Overhaul Bill

BOSTON — Republicans in the Massachusetts Senate are filing a bill designed to rein in the hiring authority of the state Probation Department.

The move follows the release by the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court of a scathing report on personnel practices at the department, which was said to disproportionately favor politically connected candidates.

The Republican bill would remove the department’s hiring autonomy and return it to the trial court.

“If the concern is that this not be overly politicized, as the report indicates that it has been over the last several years, then to us, the best choice would be that independent judiciary,” said Sen. Bruce Tarr.

The bill requires the Chief Justice for Administration and Management of the Trial Court ensure only qualified applicants are hired.

The GOP senators also called on Attorney General Martha Coakley and Inspector General Gregory Sullivan to investigate the department.

Sullivan has already launched a probe.

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