January 14, 2013

Chief Justice of the Trial Court Robert A. Mulligan and Court Administrator Harry Spence have appointed Ellen G. Slaney to serve as the Acting Commissioner of Probation on an interim basis until a permanent commissioner is named in the spring. Ms. Slaney has served as the First Deputy for Acting Commissioner Ronald P. Corbett, Jr., who retires this week after a two-year term as Acting Commissioner during which he initiated management reforms to restore professionalism and effectiveness to the state’s probation service.

“Ellen Slaney has demonstrated leadership and integrity throughout her Probation career and has assumed a greater role in the management of Probation in the last few years," said Chief Justice Mulligan. “We are very pleased that she has agreed to take on the additional responsibility of Acting Commissioner for the next several months.”

Ms. Slaney was appointed as a Probation Officer in Roxbury in 1974 and became the Assistant Chief Probation Officer there for the Juvenile Court in 1986. She was named Chief Probation Officer for the Wrentham District Court in 1990 and Regional Supervisor in 1997, prior to her appointment as First Deputy Commissioner in 2011. Ms. Slaney holds a B.A from the University of Connecticut and an M.S. from Simmons College School of Social Work.

Chief Justice Mulligan commended the work of Acting Commissioner Corbett. “Ron Corbett brought a depth of knowledge on best practices along with extensive management experience and partnerships in the criminal justice community which strengthened this key public safety entity at a very challenging time. We were fortunate to have a manager of his caliber to lead the many hardworking probation officers across the state. We thank him for his extraordinary service and wish him the best of luck in all his future endeavors.”

Dr. Corbett served as Deputy Commissioner of Probation from 1993 to 2000 when he was named Executive Director of the Supreme Judicial Court. He was appointed as a Probation Officer in 1974. He teaches criminal justice at UMass/Lowell and in retirement plans to do more teaching, research, and writing, including an examination of the impact of probation from the perspective of probationers.

Recent management initiatives led by the Commissioner’s Office included introduction of performance management metrics and accountability, a new, validated risk/need classification instrument, merit-based hiring and promotions utilizing best practices, and enhanced partnerships with criminal justice agencies.

Last fall, the Trial Court retained Isaacson Miller, a nationally-recognized firm, to lead the search for a new Commissioner of Probation. Chief Justice Mulligan and Court Administrator Spence expect to make an appointment this spring.