Commissioner Jack O’Brien has been suspended. There’s a chance for genuine reform. And the absurd gubernatorial candidacy of hacked-up state treasurer Tim Cahill has been brought to a merciful end, even if he doesn’t know it yet.
But credit should also go to CommonWealth Magazine and its blog, CW Unbound, which has been beating the drums about the Probation Department for months. CommonWealth, published by the nonpartisan Massachusetts Institute for a New Commonwealth (MassINC), has put together a compilation of stories it’s posted on the Probation Department mess. (Disclosure: I used to be a regular contributor to CommonWealth, and I’m still listed on the masthead.)
On May 3, for example, CommonWealth reporter Jack Sullivan wrote about a court case involving Stephen Anzalone, who was challenging his rejection as a probation officer even though he would have been the seventh member of his family to draw a paycheck from the agency.
And on April 14, editor Bruce Mohl interviewed House Ways and Means Committee chairman Charles Murphy on why he opposed a plan by Gov. Deval Patrick to bring the out-of-control agency under the executive branch’s wing.
The Globe, as the region’s largest and most influential news organization, is doing what it does best: driving the agenda and forcing public officials to do what they should have done a long time ago. And CommonWealth, like other smaller players, is performing its role admirably as well: by keeping the story simmering until it was ready to come to a boil.