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General Laws

Section 83. (a) Each applicant for initial appointment as a probation officer within the office of the commissioner of probation shall pass a written examination established and administered by the court administrator, after consultation with the personnel administrator, who shall determine the form, method and subject matter of such examination. The examination shall test the knowledge, skills and abilities which can be objectively and reliably measured and which are required to perform the duties of the position of probation officer. The court administrator, in consultation with the personnel administrator, shall establish a uniform minimum score needed for further consideration of the applicant for consideration as a probation officer.

(b) The name of each applicant for initial appointment as a probation officer within the office of the commissioner of probation who has successfully completed the examination under subsection (a) shall be forwarded to the court administrator or a designee who shall objectively screen the applicant to determine whether the applicant meets the minimum criteria for appointment as a probation officer.

(c) Those applicants who have passed the examination under subsection (a) and deemed by the court administrator to have met the minimum criteria for appointment under subsection (b) shall be subject to an investigative and interview process conducted by the commissioner of probation in consultation with the CJAM/Court Administrator, which shall include, but not be limited to: (i) inquiry into and review of the applicant’s education, prior work history and other accomplishments to ensure that the applicant is well suited for the culture of the organization and will further the organization’s stated goals; (ii) behaviorally-based interviews; and (iii) candidate assessments, including case study, presentation and writing assessments; provided, however, that the candidate assessments shall focus on the specific requirements of the position.

(d) Recommendations for employment submitted in support of candidates applying for employment by the trial court shall not be considered by a hiring authority until the applicant has passed the examination under subsection (a), been deemed by the court administrator to have met the minimum criteria for appointment under subsection (b) and has successfully completed the interview and investigative processes under subsection (c); provided, however, that the hiring authority may, in accordance with the trial court’s regular practice for conducting reference checks, contact and speak with a reference provided to it by a candidate, or contact and speak with any person who has submitted a written recommendation on behalf of a candidate.

(e) Notwithstanding any general or special law, rule or regulation to the contrary, recommendations for employment submitted in support of candidates who are hired as probation officers shall be considered public records under section 7 of chapter 4 and chapter 66; provided, however that this shall not apply to internal communications.

(f) Those applicants who have passed the examination under subsection (a) and were deemed by the court administrator to have met the minimum criteria for appointment under subsection (b), and who have successfully completed the interview and investigative processes under subsection (c) shall be eligible for appointment by the commissioner as a probation officer. The commissioner may appoint probation officers to the several sessions of the trial court as the commissioner deems necessary, with the approval of the court administrator.

(g) A probation officer seeking a promotion within the office of the commissioner of probation shall pass a written examination established and administered by the court administrator, after consultation with the personnel administrator, who shall determine the form, method and subject matter of such examination. The examination shall test the knowledge, skills, and abilities which can be objectively and reliably measured and which are required to perform the duties of the position being applied for. The court administrator, in consultation with the personnel administrator, shall establish a uniform minimum score needed for further consideration of the applicant for consideration for promotion.

(h) The name of each applicant for promotion within the office of the commissioner of probation who has successfully completed the examination under subsection (g) shall be forwarded to the court administrator or a designee who shall objectively screen the applicant to determine whether the applicant meets the minimum criteria for promotion.

(i) Those applicants passed the examination under subsection (g) and were deemed by the court administrator to have met the minimum criteria for promotion under subsection (h) shall be subject to an investigative and interview process which shall include, without limitation: (i) inquiry into and review of the applicant’s education, prior work history and other accomplishments to ensure that the applicant is well suited for the culture of the organization and will further the organization’s stated goals; (ii) behaviorally-based interviews; and (iii) candidate assessments, including case study, presentation and writing assessments; provided, however, that the candidate assessments shall focus on the specific requirements of the position.

(j) Recommendations for promotion submitted in support of candidates applying for a promotion by the trial court shall not be considered by a hiring authority until the applicant has passed the examination under subsection (g), been deemed by the court administrator to have met the minimum criteria for appointment under subsection (h) and has successfully completed the interview and investigative processes under subsection (i); provided, however, that hiring authority may, in accordance with the trial court’s regular practice for conducting reference checks, contact and speak with a reference provided to it by a candidate, or contact and speak with any person who has submitted a written recommendation on behalf of a candidate.

(k) Notwithstanding any general or special law, rule or regulation to the contrary, recommendations for employment submitted in support of candidates who are promoted as probation officers shall be considered public records under section 7 of chapter 4 and chapter 66; provided, however that this shall not apply to internal communications.

(l) Those applicants who have passed the examination under subsection (g) and were deemed by the court administrator to have met the minimum criteria for appointment under subsection (h) and successfully completed the interview and investigative processes under subsection (i) shall be eligible for promotion under subsection (m).

(m) In any court having 2 or more probation officers, the first justice, subject to the approval of the court administrator and the commissioner of probation, may designate 1 probation officer to serve as chief probation officer and may designate other probation officers to serve as assistant chief probation officers, as the first justice deems necessary for the effective administration of justice.

A first justice may recommend to the commissioner of probation the initiation of disciplinary proceedings against a probation officer so promoted under this section; provided, however, that such probation officer shall receive a hearing by the commissioner of probation prior to being discharged; and provided further, that such probation officer may appeal any suspension, discipline or discharge to the court administrator.

(n) The compensation of probation officers in the trial court shall be paid by the commonwealth according to schedules established in section 99B or in a provision of an applicable collective bargaining agreement.

(o) All probation officers shall devote their full time and attention to the duties of their office during regular business hours.

(n) all personnel standards developed under this section shall ensure that all appointments, promotions and increases in compensation of personnel within the trial court are merit based and maintain internal and external integrity with regard to their processes. Such standards shall be made available to the public and promulgated prominently on the website of the trial court.

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