Tag Archives: John J. O’Brien

From The Secret Files of the Massachusetts Patronage Department (Formerly Known as the Mass Probation Dept.), Part 2.

April 27, 2007

To: John J. O’Brien, Commissioner

From: William H. Burke III, Deputy Commissioner

Re: Scouting “Talent” at Joe’s Bar

Dear JJ:

I’m writing this, admittedly in high spirits, after meeting at Joe’s Bar with two great prospects for Chief Probation Officer: Christopher Hoffman and Frank M. Glenowicz, both highly trained mixology Joe's Pizzaspecialists as well as all-around good guys.

I’ve known Frank and Chris for many years, both congenial bartenders and trusted employees at Joe’s Pizza in Northampton, where I more than occasionally drop in to conduct Patronage Department business with politically-connected types from the Central and Western regions of the Commonwealth.

You might ask why we would willingly give up two juicy plum positions that might be reserved for a state senator or a judge, and I would answer that these guys are absolutely fabulous at listening to hard luck stories and offering sage advice. They’ve been doing it for years across the dark oak of Joe’s bar, and I would expect them to easily translate their bartender’s insights and home-grown wisdom into valuable tools for a Chief Probation Officer. Haven’t we often wished that our CPO’s could listen to thugs, felons and thieves like a bartender without judging like a priest? Well, Frank and Chris are just the guys to take in the darkest of our clients’ stories without once copping an attitude.

I assure you these men will bring honor and tireless energy to our department, and credit to both of us at Patronage Department parties where they’ll be happy to mix up any drink you can find in the Bartender’s Bible.

Also, in keeping with Patronage Department policy, both men have serious political connections.



William H. Burke III

Deputy Commissioner and ACDJ (Assistant Chief Dispenser of Jobs)

Massachusetts Patronage Department


Christopher Hoffman, former Acting Chief Probation Officer, Hampshire Superior Court (salary $58,041) was the first conviction in the federal corruption probe of the Mass Probation Department, receiving a sentence of 2 years probation for intimidating a witness. When last heard from, he was working as a manager on a potato farm.

Frank M. Glenowicz, Acting Chief Probation Officer, Franklin Superior Court (salary $92,038) testified under a grant of immunity that his father grew up in the same town as Burke and worked on a farm with Burke’s brother. He was handed his probation officer’s badge by Burke one evening in Joe’s Bar.

 Author’s quote: You can’t make this stuff up! 

To see “Dear Whitey,” FromThe Secret Files Of the Mass Patronage Department, Part 1, click here.





FROM THE SECRET FILES OF THE MASSACHUSETTS PATRONAGE DEPARTMENT, MPD, (Formerly known as the Massachusetts Probation Department)

February 14, 2010

FROM: John J. O’Brien, Commissioner

TO: James Joseph “Whitey” Bulger, Jr.

ADDRESS: Somewhere in Santa Monica, CA (for internal use only)

RE: Your application for employment


Dear Whitey:

How wonderful to receive your application for future employment in our agency, in the event you ever return to your home state. Here at the Patronage Department we receive numerous applications, but rarely from someone so highly qualified to deal with criminals, killers and thugs. O'Brien

However, as Commissioner of the Mass Patronage Department it often falls upon me to perform the most difficult and unpleasant tasks. Thus, with a heavy heart and my hands raised high in the air, I regret to inform you I must reject your application for employment at the MPD.

Please don’t take this as a personal rejection. Far from it! With two of your nephews already on the department’s payroll, nothing would give me greater pleasure than to bring another Bulger aboard. Your brother William has written to me with expressions bordering on outright bragging of your numerous talents and accomplishments—your entrepreneurial spirit, your gang leadership skills, your hair-trigger response to challenges, your managerial finesse in parceling out punishment. All skills we could easily put to good use at the MPD.

In fact, because of the many obstacles you face in returning to Massachusetts for a personal interview, I took the liberty of having a surrogate sit through your civil service exam. And I’m pleased to inform you your score was so exceptional you already outrank almost all other applicants.

But alas, I cannot offer you a job should you eventually return to Massachusetts. Ordinarily, someone like you with glowing recommendations from the F.B.I. and the Massachusetts Senate, not to mention multiple good conduct reports from the Mass Correctional System, would be a shoo-in for almost any position in the MPD. But I cannot step aside and allow you to take the Commissioner’s job, as you requested. Not even if you hold a gun to my head as you—no doubt jokingly—suggested.

And so, Whitey, I hope you won’t hold it against me that I cannot fulfill your request for suitable employment at the MPD. As for your idea of serving our department in some security capacity, I can only reply that MPD employees are not allowed to carry loaded firearms, especially in the Commonwealth’s courthouses. Another reason why I hold our prissy, pettifogging judges in such contempt.

Next thing you know they’ll be turning patronage into a crime!

And so, Whitey, I wish you great success in finding a new career path for when you ultimately return to your home state. A career path that would support any claims of personal redemption and improved moral character you might make to offset all those murder, robbery and extortion charges.

Your nephews send their love and wish you a Happy Valentine’s Day!



John J. O’Brien

Commissioner and CDJ (Chief Dispenser of Jobs)

Massachusetts Patronage Department