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O’Brien Resigns As Commissioner Of Probation Department

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BOSTON (CBS) — The man at the center of the probation scandal has resigned.

John O’Brien stepped down Friday as commissioner of the Probation Department.

An independent review found that the hiring system was rigged at the probation department. And O’Brien is accused of hiring dozens of politically-connected, but unqualified, workers.

O’Brien denies any wrong-doing and says he’s being made a scapegoat.

In a written statement, O’Brien writes, “At no time was anything of value or any other favor promised to or requested by Commissioner O’Brien from anyone making a recommendation for any individual seeking employment or a promotion within the Probation Department.”

Gov. Deval Patrick had said that the Ware report alleged “abuse and corruption” at the Massachusetts Probation Department bolstered his argument that the agency should be combined with the parole board and brought under the control of the governor’s office.

Patrick said he’d known for some time that the Probation Department was a “rogue agency” and that if it had been under executive branch control it would have received more scrutiny.

O’Brien said Friday his due process rights have been violated, and he would not get a fair hearing before Chief Justice Mulligan regarding the allegations in the Ware Report.

“Numerous individuals from every branch of government involved in the investigation make, receive, and take into consideration recommendations from influential sectors in regard to the hiring, appointment and promotion of state governmental employees. The singling out of Commissioner O’Brien is a travesty,” he wrote.

Therefore, he said, he had not choice but to resign.

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