The Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court is backing efforts by the state's chief administrative judge to address concerns about nepotism at the Massachusetts Probation Department.
A unanimous ruling Monday says Chief Administrative Judge Robert Mulligan acted within his authority when he rescinded a job offer made by suspended Probation Commissioner John O'Brien. Mulligan vetoed the hire after realizing that job applicant Stephen Anzalone had six relatives already employed in the department.
Anzalone — the son of a college football teammate of the probation commissioner — sued, saying the judge had waited too long to overrule the decision.
The SJC rejected that argument, saying Mulligan has full authority over all hiring and other probation department standards.
"Ordering the trial court to accept Anzalone as an employee would, among other things, run counter to (Mulligan's) statutory duties to promulgate and enforce standards of appointment, including nepotism standards," said the ruling authored by Chief Justice Margaret Marshall.
The court is still waiting for an independent review of Probation operations following allegations of patronage and mismanagement.
A lawyer for Stephen Anzalone claimed those allegations influenced the ruling.
“It’s disappointing that this court decided this case based on policy and politics and did not engage in a fair analysis of law, and I don’t feel they did,” said lawyer Kevin Powers.
There was no immediate reaction from the Supreme Judicial Court.
This program aired on August 30, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.