Will there ever be an end to the slow, steady ooze of scandal emanating from the Massachusetts Democratic Machine? The latest noxious emission graced the front page of the Globe yesterday. Once again it concerns former Probation chief John O’Brien, erstwhile close political ally of former Treasurer Tim Cahill (himself squatting nervously these days in his own pot of hot water).
It seems Sal DiMasi might not have been the only Beacon Hill Democrat to come up with the idea of feathering his own nest via a state IT contract…
From the Globe:
Former probation commissioner John J. O’Brien followed a “deeply flawed” process to award a multimillion dollar contract for electronic monitoring services, raising suspicion that O’Brien’s choice was based on “favoritism, fraud, or improper influence,” according to the state inspector general.
O’Brien, who resigned last New Year’s Eve amid charges he had overseen rampant favoritism and fraud in hiring hundreds of probation employees from 1998 to 2010, now faces similar questions in the selection of iSECUREtrac to provide ankle bracelets worn by nearly 1,000 criminals and suspects awaiting trial.
Inspector General Gregory W. Sullivan said crucial bid documents in 2008 were filled out in pencil and appear to have been changed, and he found a near-total lack of documentation that iSECUREtrac was the best choice to provide the technology.
Sullivan could not determine why iSECUREtrac won the $2 million-a-year contract, saying that O’Brien and five key employees in the bidding process refused to answer his questions. A Globe review of the bidding process found there were at least three other companies that made lower bids.
Jack O’Brien had a comfy little fiefdom going there in the Probation Department, no doubt. So is it unfair to attribute his shenanigans to the larger D Machine? You be the judge (more Globe):
Many employees in the monitoring department are political allies of O’Brien, including the wife of state Representative Thomas M. Petrolati, Democrat of Ludlow, who wielded enormous influence over hiring decisions in Western Massachusetts, and the nephew of the judge who appointed O’Brien as commissioner. Both Kathleen Petrolati and Eugene Irwin declined to answer Sullivan’s questions…