Several years ago Commissioner Kathleen Dennehy was interviewed by CBS 4’s Joe Bergantino.
The substance of the story was an investigative report concerning charges of wasted money in the Mass. Department of Correction (DOC) through that agency’s funding out-of-state conference trips for upper-level department employees, and a tab of $40,000 for hosting a conference for the US Deputy Warden’s Association in Worcester last August.
Several people have emailed this office concerned that the story might have been suggested by the union for Correctional Officers in an ongoing effort to confront the Commissioner. Union President Steve Kenneway was interviewed in the course of the story and provided corroborating testimony.
Whether or not the union was involved in providing the basis for the story it does raise a question of why the final report of the Governor’s Commission on Corrections Reform (GCCR) did not examine the pay scale and perks of upper management for the Department, but focused exclusively on the pay and perks of the line officers. If management-level expenses are not out of line, the GCCR report could have presented data to support that conclusion. Indeed, CJPC’s published evaluation of the GCCR’s final report failed to note the uneven treatment and , to our knowledge, no other outside organization raised this concern.
Waste and misappropriation may be inevitable in conducting business. However, not to look equally at every level of staffing does not comport with the DOC ’s professed mission statement ideal of being an “open” organization. In addition, the incomplete review of this agency suggests a bias that belies the cohesion that the Department desperately needs.