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Probation Commissioner Resigns Amid Probes

State Probation Commissioner John J. O'Brien, whose agency is under federal and state criminal investigations for allegedly using its payroll to reward political patrons, has resigned.

The 53-year-old commissioner was facing almost certain termination at a disciplinary hearing tentatively scheduled for Tuesday. In a statement issued by his attorney Friday, O'Brien argued that he was "being made a scapegoat" and denied that he broke any laws.

His resignation was effective immediately.

Authorities are investigating allegations of fraud and extortion at the department, where leadership is accused of hiring the politically connected instead of the most qualified candidates for jobs.

O'Brien has been on paid suspension since May when the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ordered an independent investigation into hiring practices in the department.

This program aired on January 1, 2011. The audio for this program is not available.

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