Political reaction came swiftly today after the convictions of former Probation chief John J. O’Brien and two top aides. Below are selections from responses from candidates and government officials after the resolution of a case that shook Beacon Hill.
Republican gubernatorial candidate
“Today is a victory for taxpayers who deserve better than the one-party rule on Beacon Hill where politicians trade favors and turn a blind eye to abuses of power. Regardless of the verdict today, the ugly trial made clear that state government is in desperate need of a new direction, with balance and real leadership where this type of disrespect for taxpayers’ money is replaced by transparency and accountability. Today is proof positive that the last eight years of one-party rule has bred corruption and waste in state government as my opponents stood by.”
Democratic gubernatorial candidate
“The latest round of patronage shenanigans are, sadly, all too familiar. Legislative leaders who were complicit by their actions or by their silence have allowed taxpayer dollars to be wasted, and, worse, have once again damaged faith in government. We can’t afford that damage if we care about the key role that government needs to have in assuring social justice and fairness. And I do care.
Attorney general and Democratic gubernatorial candidate
“I want to commend the jury for their thoughtful deliberations in this difficult and complicated case. Today’s verdict sends a clear message that the corrupt hiring practices at issue were wrong and illegal. The rigged hiring system at the Probation Department never should have been accepted as ‘business as usual.’ Now we must remain vigilant that public accountability and transparency in government is enforced.”
State treasurer and Democratic gubernatorial candidate
“John O’Brien and his colleagues engaged in reprehensible behavior, abused the power of their office, and violated the public’s trust. The Probation Department hiring scheme unveiled during this trial demonstrates the urgent need to reform Beacon Hill and to restore confidence in our government and its leaders.”
“What kind of rotten atmosphere exists on Beacon Hill that forced public employees to break federal law and commit conspiracy and wire fraud in order to appease a Legislature dominated by Democrats in exchange for budget increases? Today’s guilty verdict proves that it’s time to end politics as usual here in the Commonwealth.”
Bradley H. Jones Jr.
House minority leader
“Today’s ruling is further testament to the utter failure and negative consequences one-party government represents to the taxpayers of the Commonwealth. The jury’s verdict should serve as a loud and clear message that the way the Democratic-led state government operates desperately needs to change.”
“My office receives hundreds of requests for assistance for education, healthcare, housing, employment and more. As previously stated, I was unaware of any possible scheme or improper hiring practices at probation and, when I did learn what was going on, led a thorough overhaul of hiring at the department. The new system, which the probation department recently implemented, ensures that highly qualified probation officers are hired.”
“The jury has spoken and I respect their decision. The practices at issue were wrong and undermine public confidence in government. Fortunately, when these issues first came to light, we worked with the Legislature to reform hiring practices at Probation. I want the public to know that the practices on trial are not the practices in place today.”