The Boston Herald is reporting that both Federal and State prosecutors have granted two of Probation Commissioner Joseph O'Brien's deputies immunity from prosectution. The two are Edward P. Ryan and Francis Wall. Ed Ryan was mentioned 57 times in the Ware Report on the probation scandal.
The Ware report mentions Ryan as one of the keeper's of the sponsor list, at the heart of the scandal. Where the names of candidates and their legislative sponsors were kept.
Corruption in the hiring and promotion process at the Probation Department is systemic. When Departmental hiring is authorized (typically following completion of annual appropriations), hundreds of calls on behalf of candidates are received by the Office of the Commissioner. These calls come from individuals in all walks of life, notably state legislators, but also judges, mayors, city councilors, prosecutors and other members of the executive branch. Many candidates for positions have numerous letters of recommendation submitted on their behalf. Some letters of recommendation are based on personal knowledge of the candidate and his or her work experience, though others (particularly from legislators) are form letters.
From these recommendations, the Commissioner's office selects certain contacts to log on spreadsheets known as the Sponsor Lists. The Sponsor Lists contain the name of the sponsor, the name of the applicant, and the position for which the applicant is applying. The Sponsor Lists are extensive, with some sponsors supporting numerous candidates. Two of the legislative liaisons, Maria Walsh and Edward Ryan, produced over 130 pages of Sponsor Lists for the 2004-2007 time period.
Although witnesses repeatedly testified that recommendations were received from a broad array of individuals, the great majority of candidates were sponsored by state legislators, with judges and others making up a small minority. For example, on the spreadsheets for fiscal years 1999-2001 all but 13 of the 119 unique sponsors is either a state representative or senator. - (Ware Report page 9)
Ed Ryan also testified to Paul Ware that unqualified, legislatively sponsored candidates were given priority.
This systematic recording and processing of the names of hundreds of candidates
sponsored by influential politicians was necessary because fraudulent interviews occurred on a grand scale. Some witnesses advised Independent Counsel that they received the names of preferred candidates for nearly all of the positions for which they interviewed. As a result, most entry level and promotional positions within the Department went to Commissioners Choice candidates:
Q. All right. I understood you to say that the people that get hired or got hired in Probation during the 2005 to 2007 time period were by and large most of the time people who had political recommendations behind them, correct?
A. Yes, correct.
Q. Candidates who had no political connection were unlikely to be hired if there were candidates with political connections, is that fair to say?
A. Yeah, I would say that that was the way it is.
Testimony of Edward Ryan, June 29, 2010 (Exhibit 131), at 99-100. (Ware Report page 10)
According to Paul Ware, Speaker DeLeo had a great success rate on the Sponsor Lists kept by Paul Ware that he saw. Ryan Testified to Paul Ware that Legislator's in leadership had the "greatest sway". This included Sal Dimasi, Senate President Murray, and Bob DeLeo.
Underscoring the quid pro quo nature of the arrangement, one of the legislative liaisons tasked with helping create the Sponsor Lists testified that the legislators with the greatest sway were those in leadership positions or seats on the Ways and Means and Judiciary Committees:
Q. Was there an understanding within the Probation Office that certain politicians were to have more clout in the hiring process than others?
Q. And what was the hierarchy in terms of preferences given to candidates sponsored by politicians?
A. I think the leadership would have more say, and I also -- I would say, yeah, I would say the leadership would be able to carry more weight with the Commissioner.
Q. During the period in which you were involved in these preferential lists, what was the leadership to which you're referring?
A. The Senate president, Senate Ways and Means.
* * *
Q. On the House side, what was the leadership to which you refer?
A. The House side was, when I came in, Speaker DiMasi. House Ways and Means was the now-Speaker DeLeo. The chair of the judiciary was, is Gene O'Flaherty.
Testimony of Edward Ryan, July 15, 2010 (Exhibit 131), at 153-54, 164. - (Ware Report page 22-23)
Paul Ware makes the case that Edward Ryan as the legislative liason was the person charged with making sure that legislators were taken care of in regards to their picks for probation. Ed Ryan is the man who knows where the bodies are buried, because he did the digging. Terry Murray, Bob DeLeo and Gene O'Flaherty must be having some sleepless nights right about now.