Massachusetts Probation Commissioner John O'Brien, whose alleged use of his agency's payroll to reward political patrons plunged the department into scandal and left it subject to federal and state criminal investigations, has abruptly resigned, reports the Boston Globe. O'Brien, 53, said he was being made a scapegoat and denied breaking any laws.
O’Brien was facing almost certain termination after a disciplinary hearing tentatively scheduled for Tuesday. “Commissioner O'Brien's due process rights have been violated, and it is inconceivable that, under these circumstances, he will receive a fair hearing,'' he said in a prepared statement. O'Brien's departure is a stunning conclusion to his 29-year career at the probation agency, where he was known simply as Jack and his autocratic rule was rarely questioned. He was suspended May 24, the day after the Globe Spotlight Team detailed how his tenure at the probation agency was pervaded with political patronage jobs, how political contributions were often linked with advancement, and how lax fiscal oversight left the department vulnerable to fraud.