Must Be Friday Afternoon

Let me first give kudos to Deval Patrick for going to the mat for those families in New Bedford. I don't want to dive into the whole illegal-immigrant debate at the moment, but clearly these folks don't deserve to have their families ripped apart summarily like that -- and others in the area don't need to live in terror that it will happen to them. Patrick could have stayed out of it, or could have taken the feds' word that they were being sensitive to the needs of those with children. He could even have hesitated while considering the political implications of stepping in -- which would have been understandable given the recent pounding he's taken for having a political tin ear. Instead, he saw a potentially horrible situation unfolding, and acted quickly to try to prevent it.

By the way, what does our former governor think of this? Anyone?

But now, because it's late on a Friday afternoon, we check the in-box and, why yes, it's a big announcement from the administration! Fancy that.

The director of the beleaguered state crime lab has been given the boot -- er, resigned -- and the state has contracted with a private firm to do a "complete management and operational systems analysis."

This is not a huge surprise (the bidding process for the independent analysis has been known), but the simultaneous ousting of Carl Selavka suggests that the ongoing lab review by the State Police has found enough to suggest systemic administrative problems, and not just one bad apple as some reporting has made it sound. On the other hand, the elevating of a veteran lab employee to be acting director might be a different sign.

The crime lab scandal is, in my opinion, a potentially huge and far-reaching one. We've gone through plenty of these reviews around here before -- the Chief Medical Examiner's office, the BPD fingerprint unit, etc. -- and it is never done in the kind of public, transparent way necessary to restore public confidence. I think today's announcements are generally good signs that this one might be different (although the odds are still against it) -- even if they did come late on a Friday afternoon.

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