Probation job was answer to woman’s pension play

Senate President helped Mosca land position

When Patricia Mosca came knocking on Senate President Therese Murray’s door, Murray’s staffers knew what Mosca was after: a bump in her state pension. Murray’s office went along with the pension play, and helped Mosca land a job as a probation officer in a Plymouth courthouse. Afterward, Mosca was effusive in her thanks; she knew she couldn’t have pulled off the Probation maneuver, and fattened her pension, without Murray’s help.

No state legislator is sitting among the defendants at the federal corruption trial of former state Probation Department boss John O’Brien. O’Brien and two deputies stand accused of federal racketeering, conspiracy, mail fraud, and bribery violations. Federal prosecutors made noise for years about ensnaring Beacon Hill politicians in their Probation probe. That never happened. Prosecutors contend that O’Brien and his co-defendants had high-ranking members of the state Legislature as partners in their bribery and fraud scheme, but they never charged the political half of the Probation scheme.

Instead, prosecutors have been content to swamp the Legislature with a steady stream of embarrassing Probation anecdotes. In the O’Brien trial’s first full week, prosecutors revealed that Sen. Mark Montigny had helped his then-21-year old girlfriend land a Probation job; found two Probation employees who allegedly funneled illegal campaign cash to Rep. Thomas Petrolati; and described how the Senate president’s office helped muscle the son of a state judge into a Probation job, even after he put forth a “dreadful” job interview performance.

The story of Mosca’s hiring — relayed Monday by a top aide to Murray, Francine Gannon — is another glob of mud Beacon Hill’s golden dome has collected during the O’Brien trial. Mosca was open about the fact that she was only interested in landing a Probation job to inflate her retirement check. And Murray’s office helped put her on the job for O’Brien anyway.

Gannon, Murray’s director of constituent services, said Monday that when Mosca swung by Murray’s office looking for a job, “She was looking just about everywhere.” Mosca was working, at the time, for the Department of Transitional Assistance; she wanted Murray’s help to land a better-paying job, and preferably one that would allow her to draw a bigger pension check. Related: Senate President pushed Probation on son of judge

“She stopped by and talked and talked about making a career change to increase her pension,” Gannon testified. “She just was rambling about how she wanted to increase her pension. She figured this all out.”

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Paul McMorrow

Associate Editor, CommonWealth

About Paul McMorrow

Paul McMorrow comes to CommonWealth from Banker & Tradesman, where he covered commercial real estate and development. He previously worked as a contributing editor to Boston magazine, where he covered local politics in print and online. He got his start at the Weekly Dig, where he worked as a staff writer, and later news and features editor. Paul writes a frequent column about real estate for the Boston Globe’s Op-Ed page, and is a regular contributor to BeerAdvocate magazine. His work has been recognized by the City and Regional Magazine Association, the New England Press Association, and the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. He is a Boston University graduate and a lifelong New Englander.

About Paul McMorrow

Paul McMorrow comes to CommonWealth from Banker & Tradesman, where he covered commercial real estate and development. He previously worked as a contributing editor to Boston magazine, where he covered local politics in print and online. He got his start at the Weekly Dig, where he worked as a staff writer, and later news and features editor. Paul writes a frequent column about real estate for the Boston Globe’s Op-Ed page, and is a regular contributor to BeerAdvocate magazine. His work has been recognized by the City and Regional Magazine Association, the New England Press Association, and the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies. He is a Boston University graduate and a lifelong New Englander.

At one point in her testimony, Gannon read from emails in which Mosca joked that she was up at Murray’s Boston office so often, she should bring food. She also haggled with Murray’s staffers over matters like how much of a salary bump it would take to make it worth her while to commute to a state job in Boston. In the end, Mosca wound up with a job in a Plymouth courthouse, at a salary somewhat below what she was making at DTA, but in a public safety employee pension tier that would allow her to draw bigger retirement checks.

“She’s very excited and grateful to you,” Gannon wrote in a memo to the Senate president. “Her interview was just OK, she knows it was because of your intervention that she was selected.”