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Knapik to sit on probation reform committee

Date: 12/16/2010

Dec. 15, 2010

By Katelyn Gendron

Assistant Editor

WESTFIELD — State Sen. Michael Knapik holds himself to high moral and ethical standards in his professional and personal lives. His commitment to best practices have not gone unnoticed by his colleagues in government who appointed him to the new Special Committee on Probation Reform.

The nine-member committee, announced by Gov. Deval Patrick, Senate President Therese Murray and House Speaker Robert DeLeo on Dec. 9, will labor over the ensuing weeks to provide recommendations to the Legislature on how best to reform the Department of Probation. The department came under scrutiny for improper hiring practices, according to a report issued by the Supreme Judicial Court.

"I don't know how you get to betray the public's trust or the oath of office," Knapik said. "Those of us who are entrusted with public service, we are called to a higher standard. It's the personal misconduct in your official duties I have not tolerance for. This is not the first scandal and it won't be the last. At this point, this is the agency under the microscope.

"What I hope to see happen through this reform process is that we instill the confidence in the public for this very important agency . We're charged with making good on fixing this problem, which the Legislature had a hand in creating," he continued.

"Our objective is to have a high-functioning, modern probation system," Patrick said. "The experts who serve on this working group will help reach a consensus on the best way to achieve our shared goal of restoring confidence and showing the public we're serious about bringing more accountability and oversight to the probation department."

Knapik will serve on the committee with Sens. Cynthia Stone Creem of Newton and Brian Joyce of Milton and Reps. Patricia Haddad of Somerset, Byron Rushing of Boston and Jay Barrows of Mansfield. Patrick will name three additional appointees sometime this week.

Knapik said the committee would convene for the first time this week and the Legislature's Probation Reform Bill should be drafted by January.

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