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Mass. Leaders Agree To Probation Commission

The state's top political leaders are forming a nine-member commission to develop legislation that will overhaul the troubled Massachusetts Probation Department.

Following their weekly leadership meeting, Gov. Deval Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo also said Monday they agree the department's hiring should be moved under the Civil Service system to reduce chances for political interference.

Under such a system, jobs would generally be awarded to one of the top three finalists in a test, as with police, fire and other public safety departments. A recent Boston Globe series and independent report suggested lawmakers were influencing hiring by trading a bigger departmental budget for jobs.

"I think this method brings much more transparency to it," DeLeo said, "and I think this method will help to restore the confidence in the folks in terms of how we hire people in probation."

Patrick says the overhaul bill will be introduced next month, and Murray says it will be passed before the end of June, if not sooner.

She also says the Legislature will not give the troubled department any more money until it's fixed.

Earlier:

This program aired on December 6, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.

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