Selected officials' connections to probation employees

A six-month investigation by the Globe's Spotlight Team has found that the state's Probation Department employs at least 250 friends, relatives, and financial backers of politicians and top court officials.

The investigation found that friends and family members of the powerful seem to have an inside track, but job-seekers also give campaign contributions to key legislators to improve their chances.

Here is a look at some of the financial and family connections that seem to lead to jobs in the Probation Department. | Related article
 
92 donations
$16,700 total raised
campaign donations from probation employees, '02-'09

Salvatore F. DiMasi

Former Speaker of the House

Donated to (# of donations)
Selected contributors employed in probation

  • Vito J. Aluia

    Salary: $97,984. Chief probation officer, Chelsea District Court

    East Boston resident.

    DiMasi (6)
  • Michael Buckley

    Salary: $65,039. Norfolk Superior Court probation officer hired in 1997.

    Father Paul V. Buckley, a former judge, is Commissioner of the Division of Industrial Accidents

    DiMasi (1)
  • Christopher J. Bulger

    Salary: $119,945. Deputy Commissioner

    Christopher Bulger is Commissioner Jack O'Brien's chief legal advisor and one of the highest paid officials in the agency.

    DiMasi (1)
  • Brian Mirasolo

    Salary: $65,112. Acting chief probation officer. Hired in 2004.

    Rep. Robert DeLeo has been a strong supporter of probation, receiving the second most donations from probation employees. His godson, the son of DeLeo aide Leonard Mirasolo, is the youngest chief probation officer in the state.

    DiMasi (2)

Sen. William M. Bulger

Senate president, 1978-1996

Donated to (# of donations)
Friends and family employed in probation

  • Son, Christopher J. Bulger

    Salary: $119,945. Deputy Commissioner

    Christopher Bulger is Commissioner Jack O'Brien's chief legal advisor and one of the highest paid officials in the agency.

  • Son, Patrick R. Bulger

    Salary: $42,285. Community service van driver.

    Hired in 2007 after retiring from the MBTA.

Mayor Raymond L. Flynn

Mayor of Boston, 1984-1993

Friends and family employed in probation

  • Son, Edward Flynn

    Suffolk Superior Court probation officer, hired in 2008.

    Edward Flynn, a former Boston city council candidate, originally applied for a probation job in Dorchester, but was not a finalist.

US. Rep. William Delahunt

Member of Congress since 1997

Friends and family employed in probation

  • Daughter, Kirsten Delahunt

    Salary: $65,039. Plymouth County Superior Court probation officer, hired in 1998.

110 donations
$20,470 total raised
campaign donations from probation employees, '02-'09

Rep. Robert DeLeo

Speaker of the House, D-Winthrop

Donated to (# of donations)
Friends and family employed in probation

  • Godson, Brian Mirasolo

    Salary: $65,112. Acting chief probation officer. Hired in 2004.

    DeLeo has been a strong supporter of probation, receiving the second most donations from probation employees. His godson, the son of DeLeo aide Leonard Mirasolo, is the youngest chief probation officer in the state.

Donated to (# of donations)
Selected contributors employed in probation

  • Jason W. Barber

    Salary: $69,686. Assistant chief probation officer, Salem District Court

    Beverly resident who makes all of his contributions to two state legislators who don't represent him.

    DeLeo (16)
  • Paul B. Cervizzi

    Salary: $102,946. Chief probation officer, Malden District Court

    North Reading resident.

    DeLeo (14)
  • Paul and Kelly Collins

    Paul Collins is associate probation officer at Framingham District Court — $33,934; Kelly Collins is associate probation officer at Suffolk Probate Court — $33,871

    Revere residents, father and daughter, who make less than $70,000 combined, write 15 checks to DeLeo for up to $500 at a time.

    DeLeo (15)
  • Arthur Sousa

    Salary: $50,348. Somerville District Court probation officer

    Somerville resident begins contributing to powerful legislative leader who is not in his district

    DeLeo (7)
336 donations
$44,875 total raised
campaign donations from probation employees, '02-'09

Rep. Thomas M. Petrolati

Speaker Pro Tempore, third-ranking House leader, D-Ludlow

Rep. Petrolati, the Speaker Pro Tempore, is widely regarded as the king of patronage in western Massachusetts for his ability to get court jobs for his supporters.

Friends and family employed in probation

  • Wife, Kathleen Petrolati

    Salary: $93,021. Regional manager of electronic monitoring program, based in Springfield. Hired in 2001.

  • Aide's husband, Robert Patrick Ryan

    Salary: $93,021. Chief probation officer in district court in Belchertown. Hired in 2005

    Husband of Petrolati's aide Colleen Ryan

Donated to (# of donations)
Selected contributors employed in probation

  • Christopher J. Bulger

    Salary: $119,945. Deputy Commissioner

    Christopher Bulger is Commissioner Jack O'Brien's chief legal advisor and one of highest paid officials in the agency.

    Petrolati (1)
  • John Crespo

    Salary: $65,039. Probation officer, Palmer District Court

    Ludlow resident.

    Petrolati (7)
  • Hector R. Gomes

    Salary: $51,293. Electronic monitoring program coordinator

    Ludlow resident.

    Petrolati (5)
  • Irene Kennedy-Murphy

    Salary: $74,350. Assistant chief probation officer Franklin/Hampshire Juvenile Court

    Athol resident receives promotion near the time of her contribution to Petrolati, who does not represent her district.

    Petrolati (2)
  • Bernadette Leal

    Salary: $37,519. Associate probation officer Springfield District Court

    Ludlow resident

    Petrolati (4)
  • Linda M. Line

    Salary: $52,446. Probation officer in Hampden Probate Court

    Ludlow resident began donating to powerful lawmaker two months after probation hired her. Line and husband have given $900 so far.

    Petrolati (3)
  • Kevin McDonald

    Salary: $65,039. Probation officer at Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown, hired in 1997

    Petrolati (2)
  • Maura McDonald

    Salary: $50,348. Probation officer in Holyoke juvenile court, hired in 2000

    Petrolati (2)
  • Sean McDonald

    Salary: $65,039. Hampshire Superior Court probation officer, hired in 1994

    McDonald and his three children have given $1,050 in recent years to Petrolati. Only Maura lives in his district.

    Petrolati (1)
  • James Muccino

    Salary: $69,686. Assistant chief of probation in Franklin-Hampshire Juvenile Court, hired in 1997

    Petrolati (1)
35 donations
$5,750 total raised
campaign donations from probation employees, '02-'09

Sen. Steven Baddour

Vice-Chair Judiciary Committee, D-Methuen

Friends and family employed in probation

  • Wife, Ann Baddour

    Salary: $34,517. Haverhill District Court, Associate Probation Officer hired in 2008.

47 donations
$5,470 total raised
campaign donations from probation employees, '02-'09

Sen. Marian Walsh

Senate Majority Whip, D-West Roxbury

Donated to (# of donations)
Friends and family employed in probation

  • Stepson, Michael Buckley

    Salary: $65,039. Norfolk Superior Court probation officer hired in 1997.

    Father Paul V. Buckley, a former judge, is Commissioner of the Division of Industrial Accidents

    Walsh (1)
46 donations
$2,820 total raised
campaign donations from probation employees, '02-'09

Rep. Michael Rush

Member, House Ways and Means Committee, D-West Roxbury

Friends and family employed in probation

  • Father, James Rush (retired)

    Salary: $76,109. West Roxbury District Court chief probation officer, retired in 2006.

    House Speaker Thomas M. Finneran persuaded Jack O'Brien to promote Rush as a favor to his son. The elder Rush retired amid accusations of sex and race discrimination from female employees.

6 donations
$1,200 total raised
campaign donations from probation employees, '02-'09

Rep. Michael Costello

Co-chair, Joint Committee on Public Safety, D-Newburyport

Friends and family employed in probation

  • Wife, Kerrin Costello

    Salary: $69,686. Probation officer in charge of community corrections center in Salsbury.

    Hired in 1991 before Costello was elected to the legislature.

46 donations
$6,375 total raised
campaign donations from probation employees, '02-'09

Rep. John Rogers

Former House Majority Leader, D-Norwood

Rep. Rogers was one of few legislators to vote against probation budget overrides in 2009. His supporters believe Commissioner Jack O'Brien helped defeat his bid for House Speaker that year.

Friends and family employed in probation

  • Brother, Matthew Rogers

    Salary: $47,670. Community service van driver. Hired in early 2000's.

John J. "Jack" O'Brien

Probation Commissioner since 1998

Friends and family employed in probation

  • Daughter, Genevieve O'Brien

    Salary: $44,123. Administrative assistant in Office of Community Corrections.

    Chief Justice Robert Mulligan warned O'Brien that hiring his daughter might be a violation of the court's anti-nepotism policy.

John J. Irwin Jr.

Former Chief Justice for Administration, deceased

Judge Irwin named Jack O'Brien Probation Commissioner in 1998, bypassing a candidate with stronger academic credentials. Probation hired two Irwin relatives by 2001.

Friends and family employed in probation

  • Daughter, Christine Irwin

    Salary: $61,307. Program manager in Office of Community Corrections, hired early 2000s
  • Nephew, Eugene Irwin

    Salary: $83,095. Regional manager of electronic monitoring

William H. Burke III

Deputy Commissioner, retired

Donated to (# of donations)
Friends and family employed in probation

  • Daughter, Mindy L. Burke

    Salary: $69,534. Program manager for electronic monitoring, hired in 1998.

    Burke played a lead role in interviewing candidates for western Massachusetts probation jobs, but said he played no role in hiring his daughter.

  • Ex-son-in-law, James Muccino

    Salary: $69,686. Assistant chief of probation in Franklin-Hampshire Juvenile Court, hired in 1997

    Promoted around time of Burke's retirement in 2009, but Burke said he had no role.

Judge Alfred A. Barbalunga

Pittsfield District Court Judge, retired

Friends and family employed in probation

  • Son, Alfred E. Barbalunga

    Salary: $102,946. Great Barrington District Court chief probation officer, promoted in 2002

    Judge recommended dismissal of Barbalunga for issues including time and attendance in 1999. Instead, he was transferred and promoted.

Judge Paul Losapio

Uxbridge District Court First Justice

Friends and family employed in probation

  • Stepdaughter, Ashley Losapio

    Salary: $37,518. Associate probation officer at Westborough District Court, hired in 2006.

    Worcester detectives say she compromised police investigation by tipping off alleged criminals, said she was unfit to be a probation officer. She was transferred instead of fired.

Judge Mark E. Lawton

Bristol County Juvenile Court Judge

Friends and family employed in probation

  • Son, Patrick O. Lawton

    Salary: $48,251. Probation officer in Brockton probate court, hired in 2007.

    Resigned as assistant district attorney in Plymouth County after alleged improper use of computer in 2007. Probation promptly hired him. He now faces serious drug charges.

Paul McDonald

Greenfield District Court Chief Probation Officer, retired

McDonald and his three children have given $1,050 in recent years to Rep. Tom Petrolati, widely regarded as the king of patronage in western Massachusetts. Only Maura lives in his district.

Donated to (# of donations)
Friends and family employed in probation

  • Son, Sean McDonald

    Salary: $65,039. Hampshire Superior Court probation officer, hired in 1994

  • Son, Kevin McDonald

    Salary: $65,039. Probation officer at Eastern Hampshire District Court in Belchertown, hired in 1997

  • Daughter, Maura McDonald

    Salary: $50,348. Probation officer in Holyoke juvenile court, hired in 2000

Stephen P. Anzalone Sr.

Malden District Court first assistant chief probation officer

Anzalone Sr. played football at Boston College with Commissioner O'Brien. In addition to Anzalone's children, two other relatives also work for probation.

Friends and family employed in probation

  • Daughter, Kathryn Anzalone

    Salary: $37,518. Associate probation officer in Plymouth District Court hired in 2006.
  • Son, Stephen P. Anzalone Jr.

    Waging court battle for job in probation

Gerald W. Buono Jr.

East Brookfield District Court chief probation officer

Friends and family employed in probation

  • Son, Gerald W. Buono III

    Salary: $34,517. Associate probation officer in Worcester Juvenile Court, started in 2008.

    Arrested for disorderly conduct in a bar brawl within two months of starting job. Criminal charges later dismissed.

Robert Teixeira Jr.

Falmouth District Court chief probation officer

Friends and family employed in probation

  • Daughter, Andrea E. Teixeira

    Salary: $37,518. Associate Probation Officer in New Bedford Juvenile Court

    She and twin sister Leanne started work for probation on the same day, April 3, 2006.

  • Daughter, Leanne G. Potter

    Salary: $48,251. Plymouth County Juvenile Court probation officer

    She and twin sister Andrea started work for probation on the same day, April 3, 2006.

Compiled by the Spotlight Team. Salary data from the most recent year available

Tom Giratikanon/Globe Staff