Report: Overhaul Needed For Mass. Probation Dept.

A nine-member working group appointed to review the state Probation Department has issued a list of recommendations to overhaul the patronage-plagued agency.

Among the changes is a proposed requirement that entry-level exams be given to all those hoping to be hired by the department.

The 32-page report says state officials and others could still submit candidate recommendations but urges that all recommendations made on behalf of job seekers, whether by letter, e-mail, by phone or in person, be available for inspection by the chief justice for administration and management.

The group — appointed by the governor, Senate president and House speaker — did not take a position on Gov. Deval Patrick's proposal to merge the probation and parole departments and bring both under his control.

The report did blame patronage hiring on state budget changes made 10 years ago that gave exclusive authority over all personnel matters to the department's commissioner. The commissioner at the heart of the scandal, John O'Brien, has resigned.

The recommendations follow the release of a report that found "systemic abuses" in the department's hiring processes.


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


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