Seriously, we have GOT to do better!
Where is AG, and what are our legislators doing to protect us from this?
Patricia Campatelli campaigned for Suffolk County register of probate out of an East Boston social club long associated with bookies, placing her laptop on the pool table at the unlicensed bar and working the phone amid “Vote for Patty’’ posters.
“Middlesex County Register of Probate Robert B. Antonelli was removed from office in 1999 for mistreating employees and creating a hostile work environment, but only after a two-year review and a ruling by the state’s highest court. Nine years later, Antonelli’s successor, John Buonomo, avoided a lengthy review and resigned after being caught on camera stealing money from courthouse copy machines. He eventually went to prison.
Although they are elected posts, registers of probate are purely administrative officials managing cases involving divorce, child custody, and other family issues. The vast majority run unopposed, and many voters know very little about the candidates. For instance, Buonomo managed to win the Democratic primary in 2008 even though he had already resigned in disgrace.”
The above and the following are all excerpts from the Globe article, a must read, emphasis and [outrage] added. Also worth the read are the comments on this article included below. They are from someone who worked there, but more importantly, they summarize reports indicative of a system rife with problems not being addressed that severely impact the justice people can expect from the only places we can hope to get any. This is truly indicative of serious problems that adversely affect all citizens throughout the state, whether they know it or not. CONCLUSION: “No one is accountable to manage the Trial Court as a whole…” and those who try and raise the red flags are ignored or retaliated against. There is no excuse for this, and no reason it shouldn’t be a top priority for all to want to see fixed.
Suffolk register of probate seeks end to forced leave
“… Now, weeks after allegedly punching an employee and being placed on administrative leave not once, but twice, in her one-year tenure, Campatelli hopes to meet with court officials Tuesday to clear her path to come back to her $122,000-a-year job.” Related:1/16: Campatelli placed on administrative leave ” … In fact, court officials initially tried to deal quickly and quietly with the assault charge against Campatelli … The state’s chief probate judge, Angela M. Ordonez, allowed Campatelli to return to work after just four days of paid leave. Campatelli agreed in return to get training on “how to deal with difficult employees,” [HELLO? what about the employees required to deal with difficult employers, let alone the public whose life altering divorces and child custody issues are ‘administered’ by her?!?!?] according to a Dec. 30, 2013, letter from Ordonez. She also agreed to be mentored by another register of probate to better learn how to do the job.
Little more than two weeks later, Ordonez suspended Campatelli again, saying she had received numerous reports about Campatelli abusing her office, including an allegedly implied threat to Perry, who had returned to work for one day after the alleged assault, then went on leave, according to someone with direct knowledge of his situation. Perry has still not returned.
Several employees interviewed by the Globe said they are afraid Campatelli will retaliate against them if she is allowed to return. [Is there any doubt in anyone’s mind of this happening?]
… The decision to place Campatelli on indefinite leave also came as the Globe was asking questions about the quality of the court’s investigation into the assault allegations. In the hours after the alleged attack, Perry had called several co-workers for help, including one who saved the voicemail recording, according to interviews. None of them talked to court investigator Driscoll.
READ entire article HERE.
I don’t know much about this case. I was forced to retire from the clerk’s office in August 2012 or else. The reasons why I was forced out are staggering. It should be emphasized that I was not a political hire. My last assignment was Assistant Deputy Register responsible for taking in pleadings for approximately five (5) probate court judges.
Additionally, I don’t have any negative comments about any person in the court system. However, the conduct and varying standards in administering discipline, depending on who you are, by certain senior court officials need examination. Even worse, the court’s refusal to follow its own rules is always a formula for disaster. Rewarding misconduct and egregious rule violations by top officials should not be allowed.
The Administrative Office of the Trial Court has called on Dr. Ronald Corbett to begin his “investigation” asking employees of the Suffolk County Probate Court to come forward and be interviewed concerning the “Management & Administration” operating out of the Register’s office.
In the context of Dr. Corbett’s investigation, as a former employee with direct knowledge of the management and administration in the Register’s office, here’s the record and some relevant facts.
In 2003, the Monan Committee Report issued calling for a “sweeping changes in the state’s court system…” In summary, there are no words to adequately describe the condition the court was in.
On February 27, 2008, the Supreme Judicial Court sponsored “Striving for Excellence In Judicial Administration: A Symposium on the Five-Year Anniversary of the Report of the Visiting Committee on Management in the Courts.” More than 300 people attended. At that Symposium, “top court officials recognized the significant progress that’s been made, but emphasized that there’s more work to be done.”
On May 2, 2010, the Court Management Advisory Board issued a report called, “Legislative Action Required to Achieve Managerial Excellence in the Trial Courts.” In summary the report determined that the Massachusetts Trial Court suffers from “organizational dysfunction.” Based on the title of the report, it can be concluded that management and administration of the court has gained no ground, none, except for the “metrics” technology put in place. However, metrics does little good in serving the public.
Some key findings of the CMAB report:
- “No one is clearly in charge.”
- “The Probation Department … operates with an astonishing degree of autonomy concerning its budget and hiring.” According to an August 2012 Boston Globe story, Dr. Corbett is a Harvard graduate with a doctoral degree from the University of Massachusetts. But Chief Justice Mulligan’s predecessor, John J. Irwin Jr., reduced the education requirements for the job, helping to clear the way for O’Brien’s selection. Was Dr. Corbett the same individuals who prepared the report on John O’Brien that led to the current rigging of the hires at the Probation Department? If hires were rigged, who signed off on the promotional certificates and were they fraudulent? The irony here is that the practice of ruing the educational requirement continued in the selection of the Director of Security position some years later. That meant that all of the individuals who met the basic requirement (Master’s Degree) for the position were automatically eliminated and the selection was predetermined for a candidate that was not basically qualified.
- “No one is accountable to manage the Trial Court as a whole…”
With the exception of a new automated data collection system (MassCourt) to satisfy “metrics,” which doesn’t do much to deliver a better product to serve the people, almost nothing has changed. The new MassCourt system is less than desirable.
As for “management and administration,” based on my approximate 30 years of professional experience, management and administration of the court is “ruled by a patchwork of laws, [lacks] control over a large segment of employees and have (sic) limited ability to manage.”
Investigating the management and administration of the Register’s office means that, at minimum, attention must be paid to planning, directing, organizing, training and staffing. These critical elements were operational when Register Richard Iannella was in charge. When he left, all bets were off and the general public was the beneficiaries of old fashioned court dysfunction. The court needs serious reform, but don’t count on it happening any time soon.
So, Dr. Corbett, if you are listening, please review my recommendations to the court in my letter dated in or about November, 2011. I would like to participate in your investigation.
Sworn & Commissioned Officer-Massachusetts Trial Court (Retired)
Boston State Hospital Member, Board of Directors