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Your ideas for reforming the Probation Department

By Jesse Singal
May 25, 2010

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Earlier today we asked what you thought the first step should be in reforming the state's out of control Probation Department. Here are a few of your best ideas:

springdreaming suggested reforming how the top spot in the House is assigned:

It will be be necessary to go to the source to reform the Probation Department. After reading the article on corruption in and around the department, I am more convinced than ever that the position of Leader of the State House of Representatives ought to have severe term limits, perhaps only two years, and ought to be assigned on a rotating basis perhaps based on seniority. The way people secure this position and the excessive amount of power embedded therein are antithetical to good government.

t has a four-step plan:

Top down review.

1. Any and all legislators who are related to an employee on the probation department must remove themselves from legislative oversight so as to prevent a conflict of interest.

2. Create a civil service examination to reduce the appointment of "hack" appointees.

3. Have a independent judicial body be responsible for hiring and oversight.

4. Strip pension rights and impose fines on civil servants for theft or serious ethical violations.

tomturkey wants to remake the agency from the ground up:

Create an office of probation and parole, appointed by the parole board, with a commissioner and a term of years. Better than returning power to unelected judges or to the governor. Most governors will be gone before they can wrest control of the parole board. Imperfect but better than the other two possibilities. If O'Brien goes, so should Mulligan.

Surprisingly, no one wrote in suggesting the state let John O'Brien back on the job because he's probably learned his lesson.

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