The Probation Department has been run into the ground, according to Judge Paul Ware, an independent counsel who wrote a detailed report revealing exactly how the department has been abused.
That report has caused shockwaves throughout the halls of the State House as a number of legislators have been named as chief among those who were using the Probation Department as a place to get friends jobs.
Senator Tom McGee was named one of the top 10 state lawmakers who recommended candidates for Probation Department jobs in that report.
McGee was not accused of wrongdoing.
All of us who know him understand that McGee is an honest man.
He would no more sell a job for a campaign donation or promise a job in return for a quid pro quo than the judge who wrote this report.
He did, however, recommend a large number of candidates for Probation Department jobs over the years.
This makes him very much like many of his colleagues in government who try to do what they can for state job seekers.
This doesn’t make McGee or anyone else who did so a criminal.
In answer to the claims made in the Ware Report McGee said he tries to help his constituents, including those looking for state jobs.
He said he didn’t have any indication of what was going in the Probation Department in terms of advancement or hiring – but that he was always willing to help out a candidate if he could and as long as the candidate was qualified.
Like House Speaker Robert DeLeo, McGee’s immediate response was to suggest that the Probation Department’s hiring practices, et cetera, need to a very close looking into.
“How this agency should be run and who should run it are the important questions,” he said.
He said the rigging of jobs and the illegal filling of positions were things in need of a serious.
It is one thing to write a letter of recommendation.
It is another to take part in the abuse of the system by giving jobs to unqualified applicants.
Senator Tom McGee is many things but he never traded money for a job in the Probation Department. He never promised a job in the Probation Department in return for something else.
Senator Tom McGee is many things as a Lynn politician.
But he is an honorable man above all.
He may have recommended people for jobs in the Probation Department but that’s as far as it went with him.