SJC Appoints Probation Task Force Members

The Supreme Judicial Court has appointed the members of the task force that will review the corruption and patronage in the state Probation Department.

The task force will be led by former state Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, and right now it has nine other members.

Some task force members are questioning a legislative plan to fix the department's corrupt hiring practices.

Stephen Crosby, dean of the University of Massachusetts Boston Graduate School of Policy and Global Studies, is one on the task force. He says House Speaker Robert DeLeo's plan to move probation hiring under the Civil Service system would not be a magic bullet.

"The systems were so badly manipulated that they didn't work," Crosby said. "So I think we need to think hard about what's going wrong here. It's not just a matter of replacing one system for another system."

DeLeo has said his first priority is restoring public trust in the department.

"That is the biggest damage that we had," he said. "And this I think is a major step forward to try to restore that confidence in the public in terms of hiring at probation."

Harshbarger’s panel will present an interim report in 90 days and a comprehensive analysis in six months.

DeLeo and Gov. Deval Patrick also promise to appoint a special panel to recommend ways to change the department.-- Here's the SJC release on the task force (on Scribd):

This program aired on December 7, 2010. The audio for this program is not available.


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