The Massachusetts parole board splurged on hundreds of embroidered golf shirts and morale-boosting gold pins as well as BlackBerrys, office furnishings, and other items in an end-of-the-fiscal-year shopping spree as other law enforcement agencies cut their budgets to the bone, reports the Boston Herald. Donald Giancioppo, board executive director, authorized more than $12,000 alone on T-shirts and pins for all 200-plus employees, along with “recognition coins” and a catered lunch for an annual event recognizing the Parole Officers of the Year.
“We have less cops on the streets, our district attorney offices are being cut and we're giving little trinkets to people on the Parole Board? It's disgraceful,” said victims rights advocate Laurie Myers of the nonprofit Community VOICES. Giancioppo had second thoughts about the spending but said the navy blue T-shirts and pin giveaways were part of an annual event honoring hardworking parole officers. “Upon reflection, recognizing the current economic situation, the expenditures for this year's Parole Officer Week most likely should not have been made and we will continue to be vigilant in our efforts to reduce costs while improving operations,” he said.