By Jon Keller, WBZ-TVBy Jon Keller

BOSTON (CBS) – That was quite a perp walk they threw today for Annie Dookhan, the suspect in the mind-boggling state drug lab fiasco that is already turning convicted criminals back onto the streets.

Call me a cynic, but I doubt that her arrest and the recent resignation of State Public Health Commissioner John Auerbach mean everyone with responsibility for this collapse of a basic function of government has been held accountable.

The memories are still too fresh of the state Probation Department scandal, where individuals were hired for and promoted into important jobs within the criminal justice system not because they were qualified, but because they had powerful political patrons.

Was Dookhan one of those kinds of hires?

If not, why was she hired with a resume that was reportedly riddled with falsehoods? Why did concerns about her handling of her duties go un-addressed for so long, and by whom?

What sort of management culture existed in that department (or elsewhere in state government) that enabled that negligence?

Why did a highly-regarded manager like Auerbach, by his own account, fail to react quickly to evidence of her alleged malfeasance?

With Dookhan’s arrest, the criminal prosecution process is now beginning to play out.

But there’s a political and managerial-accountability process that also needs to take place, starting yesterday.

And that boils down to three questions: what did the Patrick administration (not just Auerbach) know? When did it know it? And what did – or didn’t – it do about it?

You can listen to Keller At Large on WBZ News Radio every weekday at 7:55 a.m. and 12:25 p.m. You can also watch Jon on WBZ-TV News.

Jon Keller

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