Saturday, December 25, 2010


Scaling The Hill would like to wish everyone a very Merry Christmas and a happy and healthy holiday season.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Senator Knapik Named to Bi-Partisan Special Committee on Probation Department Reform

Senator Michael R. Knapik (right) has been appointed to the Special Committee on Probation Reform, which will be charged with providing recommendations to the Legislature for restructuring the embattled Massachusetts Department of Probation.

Joining Knapik on the committee are Senators Cynthia Stone Creem (D-Newton) and Brian A. Joyce (D-Milton), and Representatives Patricia Haddad (D-Somerset), Byron Rushing (D-Boston) and Jay Barrows (R-Mansfield). Also serving on the committee are three appointees of Governor Patrick, including Executive Office of Public Safety General Counsel Gregory Massing, Executive Office for Administration and Finance General Counsel David E. Sullivan, and First Assistant Deputy Legal Counsel to the Governor Abim Thomas.

"I am pleased the Senate President has asked me to serve on this committee," Knapik said. "It is imperative that we work to earn back the public's trust for this very important department."

Last month, the Supreme Judicial Court released the findings of a report that called into question the hiring practices of the Probation Department. The report, which recommended disciplinary action against department leadership, was commissioned in response to a Boston Globe "Spotlight Series" that exposed a culture of political patronage at the agency where individuals "sponsored" or connected to influential state leaders were often favored over more qualified applicants for positions in the department.

The Supreme Judicial Court has commissioned its own panel, to be led by former Massachusetts Attorney General Scott Harshbarger, to review hiring and promotion procedures throughout the entire judicial system. Harshbarger's team is expected to file a report on the Probation Department within 90 days and a report encompassing the rest of the Trial Court departments within six months.

"The citizens of Massachusetts deserve a Probation Department dedicated to the cause of public safety and ensuring that probationers are living up to the terms of their sentencing," Knapik said. "I am confident this committee will recommend reforms to the hiring process and department administrative functions with these goals in mind."

Knapik said his committee is expecting to file its report by the end of January.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Senator Tarr Holds Annual Toy Drive

Assistant Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr (left) and North Shore 104.9 FM will be hosting their 15th annual North Shore Holiday Toy Drive on Thursday, December 9.

The live broadcast runs from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m., with stops scheduled in Beverly, Lynn, Marblehead, Middleton, Ipswich, Essex, Manchester, Rockport and Gloucester. However, toy donations will be accepted at designated locations throughout the North Shore until Friday, December 17.

Be sure to check out yesterday's article from the Gloucester Times to learn more about the toy drive and how you can make a donation to brighten a child's holiday this year.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Remembering Pearl Harbor

Today marks the 69th anniversary of the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor, an event that mobilized the entire nation and precipitated America's entry into World War II.

President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared December 7, 1941 "a date that will live in infamy." More than 2,345 U.S. military personnel were killed, and another 1,247 wounded, in the early morning surprise attack.

Today, Scaling The Hill remembers and pays tribute to the many men and women who served at Pearl Harbor, including those who made the ultimate sacrifice. We also salute those who are currently serving overseas to help keep America strong.

Monday, December 6, 2010

In Case You Missed It...

Assistant Senate Minority Leader Bruce E. Tarr was a guest on the Fox 25 Morning News' "Tolman and Gray" segment last Thursday, filling in for Rob Gray. Tarr joined former Senator Warren Tolman in Fox 25's Beacon Hill studio to discuss some of the latest state and national political news, including the current stalemate in Congress over the extension of unemployment benefits, which are due to run out in just a few more weeks. Use the video link below to check out the segment in its entirety.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Senator Tisei Delivers His Farewell Speech

Senate Minority Leader Richard R. Tisei delivered his farewell address to his Senate colleagues yesterday afternoon, and the State House News Service's Mike Deehan was there to record it.

Twenty-six years ago, at the age of 22, Senator Tisei made his first successful run for elected office, winning an open seat in the House of Representatives to represent the residents of Lynnfield and Wakefield. After serving three terms in the House and 10 in the Senate, he still holds the distinction of being the youngest Republican ever to be elected to the MA House.

To hear Senator Tisei's remarks, just click on the link below provided by the State House News Service.

Senator Tisei Looks Back and Looks Ahead

Senate Minority Leader Richard R. Tisei (right), who will be ending a long and distinguished career in public service when he leaves the Senate on January 4, recently sat down for an interview with State House News Service reporter Kyle Cheney. As he prepares to return to private life, Tisei reflected on his 26 years in elected office, his recent campaign for Lieutenant Governor as Charlie Baker's running mate, and his future in politics. Click here to read the story.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

One Step Up, Two Steps Back

So much for progress on the jobs front.

Last month, Governor Patrick was trumpeting the news that Massachusetts employers had added 10,000 new jobs in October, following two straight months of job losses. But those short-term gains threaten to be swept away by a series of layoff announcements that have been making headlines since the November 2 election.

Today's announcement that State Street is eliminating 400 jobs follows reports of significant job losses at other big-name employers, including Genzyme, Biogen and Raytheon. General Electric, which has already laid off 600 workers this year, is threatening to cut even more jobs, but is asking the state for a $25 million tax credit to limit the number of new job cuts to 150.

Clearly the state's economy is not "on the mend and on the move," as Governor Patrick would like everyone to believe. Unless serious steps are taken to make Massachusetts more competitive, jobs will continue to disappear from our state at an alarming rate.