You can now read 5 articles in a month for free on BostonGlobe.com. Read as much as you want anywhere and anytime for just 99¢.

letters | the culture of patronage

Why must we dance around legality of patronage hiring?

O’Brien.

Wendy Maeda/Globe staff/file 2013

O’Brien.

The pretrial skirmishing in the criminal trial of John J. O’Brien, the former probation commissioner, has been very revealing (“O’Brien judge asked to recuse himself,” Metro, Jan. 25). While the underlying public outrage, generated initially by a Globe Spotlight investigation in 2010, is focused on the blatant patronage hiring that took place at the Probation Department, both sides in the criminal trial appear to agree that filling state job openings with politically connected individuals is not illegal in Massachusetts.

That has been the defense’s position for months. Now the Globe reports the prosecutor as saying, “This case is about falsifying documents” to hide the rigged hiring system. “The crime is the fraud.”

Continue reading below

It is dismaying that prosecutors have to dance around the central abuse in this case — blatant patronage hiring — to find a handle to convict O’Brien.

Whatever happens in the trial, the time has come for Massachusetts to join many other states in making patronage hiring for government jobs clearly illegal.

Allan Fierce

Stow

Loading comments...
Subscriber Log In

You have reached the limit of 5 free articles in a month

Stay informed with unlimited access to Boston’s trusted news source.

  • High-quality journalism from the region’s largest newsroom
  • Convenient access across all of your devices
  • Today’s Headlines daily newsletter
  • Subscriber-only access to exclusive offers, events, contests, eBooks, and more
  • Less than 25¢ a week
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Marketing image of BostonGlobe.com
Already a subscriber?
Your city. Your stories. Your Globe.
Yours FREE for two weeks.
Enjoy free unlimited access to Globe.com for the next two weeks.
Limited time only - No credit card required!
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.
Thanks & Welcome to Globe.com
You now have unlimited access for the next two weeks.
BostonGlobe.com complimentary digital access has been provided to you, without a subscription, for free starting today and ending in 14 days. After the free trial period, your free BostonGlobe.com digital access will stop immediately unless you sign up for BostonGlobe.com digital subscription. Current print and digital subscribers are not eligible for the free trial.