Patrick still undecided on DCF's Roche while politicians call for her ouster


BOSTON ( -- Governor Deval Patrick met with the Department of Children and Families Commissioner Olga Roche and Health and Human Services Secretary John Polanowicz Monday afternoon to discuss the deaths of two babies in Grafton and in Fitchburg. 

According to a statement sent by the governor's office, Patrick is now reviewing information provided to him at that meeting before deciding on what's next.

Right now, calls are getting louder for the governor to fire the DCF commissioner, and yet, he has not. 

Monday, House Speaker Robert DeLeo and Senate President Therese Murray both called for Roche to step down. 

"As Speaker of the House, I think it is incumbent upon me to call upon commissioner of DCF Olga Roche to resign," DeLeo said at a news conference outside his State House office.

Citing a complete failure of management, DeLeo said it's high time that Roche stepped down, especially now after the deaths of two babies in Fitchburg and Grafton.

 Of course there's also the troubling case involving 5-year-old Jeremiah Oliver. That child's body was found weeks ago, by the side of the road in Sterling after he'd been missing for months. 

"I am angered. I'm very much angered to see this continuing to happen. It shows to be a complete mismanagement on behalf of DCF," DeLeo said. 

So why now? For months, Governor Patrick has refused calls for Roche's resignation. 

DeLeo says it's the "culmination of events," telling FOX 25 political reporter Sharman Sacchetti, "Was it Saturday morning or what not that we had a child who's deceased because a fax was not checked? Was lost or misplaced? That was the end of the line for me."

Patrick says his "confidence in that whole organization has been rattled," but stopped short of calling for Roche's resignation.

When asked if he'd fire Roche, he said, "I think the question is, ‘how do we get to the solutions,’ and I'm not confident that that is an adequate solution. But she has some questions to answer for me."

 When asked what it would take for him to let her go, he appeared defensive.

"It will take the view that it actually does something other than just throwing another scalp to the public," said Patrick.  "You've seen before, I’m prepared to fire people who are not doing their job. You've seen that," he told reporters.

House Post Audit Chairman David Linsky tells FOX 25 that lawmakers will make sure DCF gets increased funding and technology, but adds, it's time for new leadership.

"The governor needs to do it today.  He needs to put a new team in place there today," Linsky said.

FOX 25 has repeatedly requested sit down interviews with Olga Roche over the last few months, and asked again today.

 DCF is not making her available to speak, and won't say why.

The union representing social workers released a statement Monday that states the announcement by the speaker "reinforces their call for true accountability."

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