Speaker DeLeo Defends Job Recommendations

By Karen Anderson, WBZ-TV

BOSTON (CBS) — Speaker DeLeo is breaking his silence on the scathing probation department report in which he is named 41 times. The report, released 10 days ago, found an apparent “pay to play” at the State House involving lawmakers and the Massachusetts Probation Department.

The Speaker says if there was a “pay to play,” it wasn’t happening under his watch. He vowed to work with the Gov. Deval Patrick and the Senate Pres. Therese Murray to overhaul the Probation Department.

“This is a very specific issue with the integrity of the hiring department at the probation department and the leadership at the probation (department), so let’s deal with that,” Patrick said.

WBZ News Radio’s Lana Jones reports.

DeLeo is one of several lawmakers who was named in the report as making recommendations for probation jobs, including his godson. The speaker said today he thinks it was appropriate to recommend his godson for a job. “Sure, I always recommend people I know… He happened to be a person who I knew since birth. I wrote a letter of recommendation for him and that was the extent of my recommendation of Brian.”

WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson reports.

DeLeo said he thinks it is appropriate for lawmakers to make job recommendations, even though they control the budget on Beacon Hill. According to the report by independent counsel Paul Ware, DeLeo recommended 12 candidates, and seven were hired or promoted in the probation department.

Speaker DeLeo received $30,000 in donations from probation department employees over the last decade. Today the Chair of the Mass Republican Party called on lawmakers who received donations from probation employees to give the money to charity.

Speaker DeLeo defended himself with claims that the Ware report stated that he did nothing inappropriate.

WBZ-TV’s Karen Anderson asked Paul Ware to clarify this, and he said, “I did not uncover evidence of criminal activity, but I’m not passing judgment on what Speaker DeLeo may have done. I didn’t investigate Speaker DeLeo.”

  • John Joseph Grimes

    Of course he is going to defend them because he is one of “them”. Why does anyone think that people run for public office? Certainly not to serve the people they claim to be so conerned about but rather they run so as to attain power and jump on the gravy train. A big salary, a great retirement package, jobs for family and friends and too many other perks to mention. DeLeo is just one more of those who feel entitled to take, take, take and the public be damned.

  • Carol Pepi

    Rep. DeLeo is a man of integrity who has tirelessly served his constituents. There is nothing inappropriate about writing letters of recommendation for qualified candidates. Note that only 7 of 12 persons recommended were actually hired or promoted. That is not exactly evidence of political pressure.
    Look somewhere else for wrongdoing…you will not find it in Rep. DeLeo’s office.

  • cjygudwin

    Cut from the same cloth as Sal DiMasi. Famous for back room deals. Only a matter of time until influence selling is revealed by a reporters investigation.

  • alleydweller

    If only ONE individual is hired as a result of a politician’s recommmendation, that smells like political pressure to me.

  • http://lmtpolitics.com/2010/11/30/backscratchers-deleo-speaks/ Backscratchers: DeLeo Speaks « Lovers Muggers and Thieves

    […] (oh come on, the Tuesday before Thanksgiving doesn’t count) about the Ware Report.  Karen Anderson reports. The Speaker says if there was a “pay to play,” it wasn’t happening under his watch. […]

  • scoogy

    I wonder what it would be like to have an honest House Speaker.

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