Thursday, December 30, 2010

The Anti-Silas?

"All negativity is an illusion created by the limited mind to protect and defend itself." -Ambika Wauters

Fire Starter wrote of Monica Silas' corrosive negativity which has placed the Village on the brink of oblivion.  Her small minded vindictiveness kept her from seeing the true potential of our Village.  Her single minded pettiness kept her from fulfilling the will of the people.  And as a result, the voters sent her packing.

Now in contrast to Silas' "vision", attendees at the last Village of Johnson City board meeting for 2010 heard a different approach from a resident.  a tireless booster for Johnson City, Julie Deemie challenged board members and citizens to live up to their responsibilities to provide the services for which we pay. She challenged our leaders to build up rather than tear down.  And she appealed to Village leaders honor the will of the voters and stop the "slow motion dissolution".  But why describe what she said?  Here it is:

Earning the Public’s Trust

The decision that voters delivered in Nov. 2009 – rejecting the Dissolution Plan – should have served as a lesson to you. Instead the majority of this board has proceeded in 2010, as if the vote meant nothing, and the will of a vocal group of taxpayers has superseded all other voices of the village taxpayers and voters.

Johnson City’s leaders must do more to earn the public’s trust and involve them in the priority-setting process.

First, this calls for innovation and collaboration. The best ideas don’t come from the top down, rather they bubble up from people, neighborhoods and communities that have the greatest stake in the decisions that get made in your work sessions and these meetings.

Leaders should lead – but they also should listen. It’s time to engage in a real and regular conversation about what sort of Johnson City people want for their children and grandchildren. It’s time to find ways to begin this public dialogue.

The majority of Johnson City’s voters voted to keep their public services and village intact. You owe it to them to find ways to keep these services as a function of village government without compromising the safety of its residents and visitors. To simply “do away” with these departments or reduce them to inadequate levels, as you have allowed, is completely irresponsible and a risk to our families safety and well being. It appears that this board wants to wash your hands of this responsibility rather than working on creative solutions. Rumor says some of you have vendettas against these department or their employees. If this were the case then you would be sacrificing our safety for your personal gain. This would be proven as wrong doing and a clear violation of your own code of ethics as our leaders. The voters of Johnson City elected you to serve as their mayor and trustees not to act out of spite and revenge. You are obligated to serve the will of all Johnson City residents, not yours nor those who pressure you. You must be firm and move forward in a just and honorable manner in order to regain public trust.

We all must work together, government, residents, taxpayers and businesses. No single or select group of people is capable of making the proper decisions that will lead this village forward. You need to slow your course of actions, first earn back public trust by diminishing these rumors, and truly listen to the will of the people of this village. To accomplish this you must communicate to the people by publicizing board meetings, hosting public input meetings and through direct mail. Then and only then will residents of this village begin to trust that you intend to serve the properly and without bias. The Village of Johnson City will then begin to heal, make progress and begin seeking its true potential.

We, the residents and taxpayers need to feel secure in your motivations. I truly believe that each and every one of you has the potential to be a great leader. You hold the power to make lasting changes in our village. Listen to the will of the people: North side, South side, downtown, businesses, rich, poor, middle class, and then base your decisions with a pure heart and conscience for the good of all who reside here.

Well said Julie.  If one or two Board members show the same sort of dedication to the Village as you do, the Village's future may be bright. 

However, if  Davis and Balles continue to follow Hannon's destructive path, there may be no stopping the dissolution of the Village.  Once Hannon has stripped away all of the services, there will no longer be a need for a Village.

We must all rise up and challenge our representatives.  Julie Deemie can not do it alone.  Attend  meetings.  Ask questions.  Demand answers.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Silas' Bitterness was Corrosive

“Growth in wisdom may be exactly measured by decrease in bitterness” - Friedrich Nietzsche

It was with great disgust and disappointment that the Fire Starter read Monica Silas' comments at her last Village Board meeting and her comments in the Press yesterday.  Her personal attacks at the Board meeting would have gotten others "gavelled out" as out of order and in violation of the Village Board's "decorum policy".  But alas, such rules are for the "little people".  King Dennis and his court need not observe any rule they impose upon everyone else.

Silas is obviously taking her electoral loss hard.  She now has to return to her menial, dead end job and face the fact that she is merely a small and bitter person with neither status nor power.  She could not even graciously congratulate her replacement, Greg Deemie.  Instead, her bitterness shined through and suggested that Greg would see things her way once he was on the "inside".  This statement was most striking since it was this attitude that got her ousted.

Silas made a series of unsubstantiated and baseless charges against the Johnson City Fire Fighters.  The absurdity of her charges is so patent, we will not spend time addressing them.  However, we will make one observation.  Silas was obviously kicked by some "rogue fire fighter as a child".  Nothing else would explain her unbridled and irrational vitriol.

What is most shocking is the complete lack of insight Silas showed regarding the attitude of Village residents.  She has spent so much time in the echo chamber with Hannon, Balles, Sullivan and their like, that she believes her own nonsense.  Even with having been thoroughly rebuffed by Village residents, she seems to take this as ignorance on the part of Village residents rather than a rejection of her negative and destructive politics.  Such arrogance is staggering.

We have observed before that it is much easier to tear down than to build up.  Silas has proven this over the past two years.  In the last two years, Hannon, Silas, Balles have torn apart the police and fire departments.  Solid carreer professionals have been chased away and replaced with "yes men" politicians.  With the foundations dug out from under them, these departments tilt precariously on the brink.

There is still time to save the Village from the corrosive negativity of the past several years.  It is up to all of us to attend Board meetings and speak out against Hannon's destructive policies.  We must insist on proactive rather than destructive.  Economic development rather than systematic dismantling.  And we must insist on genuine cooperation instead of the unproductive muscle flexing power trips which have become the hallmark of the "Hannon Years".

We are all responsible for the future.  Silas' defeat was a good start.  There is still much work to do.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Of Fire Fighters and Police Officers

"When a man becomes a fireman his greatest act of bravery has been accomplished. What he does after that is all in the line of work." - Edward F. Croker

"The backbone of our nation's domestic defense against terrorist attacks will continue to be the men and women in local law enforcement and emergency services." - Saxby Chambliss

Fire Starter read with great interest regarding the fire tuesday in downtown Binghamton.  The fire was massive yet it was promptly controlled by "Binghamton's Bravest".  Fire Starter can not help but wonder how much of downtown Binghamton would have been lost had they been relying on volunteers to protect the City.  It certainly should give the residents in Johnson City and Endicott great pause as their relative leaders discuss a partial or complete volunteer department.

As Christmas fast approaches, Fire Starter's thoughts now turn to the brave men and women who stand between us and danger.  We are mindful of the brave fire fighters and police officers who will be protecting us while we celebrate with family and friends.  We are mindful of the sacrifices they make every day to protect us from the unimaginable.

It is with this in mind that we ask everyone to keep these guardians in our thoughts and prayers now and throughout the year.  We also are mindful of the men and women who made the ultimate sacrifice.  So far in 2010,  more than 150 police officers answered their final call.  More than 30 career fire fighters answered their final alarm.  They leave behind them wives, husbands, children and parents.  Although we cannot know the family's grief, their loss is our loss.  We are all diminished by their passing.

May the peace of the Holiday Season be with all of you.  And may our heroic protectors be kept safe from harm.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Vending Machine Follies

You know he is lying because his lips are moving - Unknown

The Fire Starter reported to you about Hannon's retaliation against Bruce King several weeks ago.  And despite the lead time the Press had, they were unable to uncover the most obvious of lies and distortions offered by Hannon.  This is largely due to its failure to even investigate Hannon's assertions.

Hannon Said: "Zikuski wanted the machines removed because he was concerned about someone going through secure areas to refill them."

But sources within the police department have confirmed that it was Hannon who raised the issue with Zikuski.  Hannon objected to Bruce King in the "secured area".

Hannon asserted: "Essentially I was acting on the request of the police association to have those machines removed."

But again, sources within the police department reveal that the PBA had no problem with King's access to the "secured area".  What they objected to was Hannon's plan to have machines placed in non-secured areas.

Hannon goes on: "Although this has nothing to do with the removal of the machines, I think it's important to note that for the past year-and-a-half or so the taxpayers of Johnson City have been subsidizing Mr. King's business."

If it has nothing to do with the removal of the machines, why mention it?  But on the merits, Bruce King has confirmed that the reimbursement check was sent to the Village in March of 2010.  Perhaps the"crack" clerk treasurer, Tom Johnson, lost it or Hannon "misplaced" it.  Or perhaps it is in the evidence locker with the other unaccounted for "Hannon money".  The reality is, if Hannon is so "proactive", why did this get past him?  It's a wonder the Village has been able to pay its legal bills without the reimbursement from King of $57.04.

And then Hannon's biggest whopper: "I don't retaliate against people for anything."

Well this will certainly come as a surprise to Police Chief Doug Potts, Fire Chief Henry Michalovic, Fire Captain Marty Maney, Fire Marshal Robert Dempsey, the entire police department in the nineties.  And let's not forget the "lowly maintenance man".

Fire Starter can only imagine the sprays of coffee and choking spells in Village breakfast nooks prompted by this final assertion.

So what have we learned today, class?  Well, Hannon is a vindictive liar who will say and do anything to get is enemies.  And the Press is incapable of covering a legitimate scandal and obvious abuse of power.  Where was comment from Zikuski or the PBA?  Why wasn't any of the above researched and printed? The Press appears incapable or unwilling to attempt to verify or debunk any bit of tripe offered by Hannon.  And because of the resulting uniformed public, democracy suffers.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Incompetence or Corruption?

“What the people out there are calling for is honesty which has been missing for quite some time now. We are tired of all the deceit and incompetence of this government.” - Joseph Muscat

Fire Starter has learned that under the guise of consolidation of services, Johnson City is yet again subsidizing public safety in neighboring communities. 

We have previously highlighted Village's deal  to share a fire chief with the Village of Endicott.  In the end, the Village of Johnson city paid $50,000 more for a part time chief than it would have cost for a full time chief promoted from the ranks. Endicott reduced their cost of having a fire chief by $45,000 and went from a full time chief to a part time chief.

In the police department, Binghamton was the beneficiary of Hannon's largess.  Similarly to the shared services deal with Endicott, Johnson City is paying  $50,000 more for half of Binghamton's chief than if they promoted through ranks.  Binghamton, on the other hand saved $45,000 courtesy of Uncle Dennis from JC.  Dennis was so generous that he is also reducing Binghamton's expense for other command positions through the use of Johnson City tax dollars.

Fire Starter has now learned that Dennis Hannon is essentially gifting the services of a Johnson City Police Detective and the use of a Johnson City Police car to the City of Binghamton.  Daily, this detective now signs in at the Johnson City Police Station, signs out a JC detective car and reports to Binghamton to pick up his Binghamton counterpart.  They both spend their day in Binghamton doing Binghamton police work.  Fire Starter has learned that the JC detective has been unable to carry out his duties in the Village due to his responsibilities is the city of Binghamton.

The underwriting of neighboring communities is bad enough.  But now, village resources are being gifted to neighboring communities.  Ad this is not even to mention the complicated jurisdictional and authority issues which are sure to come to the surface.

What's hard to rationalize is why is Hannon doing this.  does he think he will someday become Broome's "supercop" or County Executive?  Dream on.  Hannon has shown himself incapable of managing his own "train wreck" of a personal life much less the Village or a county.

Which leads Fire Starter to the conclusion that if Hannon is not "on-the-take", he is being cheated.

Monday, December 13, 2010

But Did Hannon Lie??

“Whoever is careless with the truth in small matters cannot be trusted with important matters.” - Albert Einstein

Fire Starter read with great interest the latest diatribe from Johnson City resident and dissolutionist, John Sullivan.  We have addressed Mr. Sullivan's prior diatribes and really have no interest in revisiting these issues.  He really offers nothing new in this latest screed.

To read Mr. Sullivan's column, you would have the impression that he is clean as the driven snow.  You would never suspect that his wife is an Endicott school teacher who "feeds at the public trough" to borrow Mr. Sullivan's lexicon.  You would never know that he receives a Veteran's credit on his property taxes based upon his military service for a home which is in his wife's name only.  And you would never know that  perhaps his interest in "secession" of a portion of JC could be at least in part fueled not by his sense of civic duty but rather his frustrated attempts to launch a development project.

What was most interesting in this latest piece was his indignation regarding the union's lawyer calling Mayor Dennis Hannon a liar.  Recently, the Press & Sun Bulletin ran an article regarding Hannon's "investigation" of former Fire Marshal Dempsey. In that article, the Union's lawyer, Gene Faughnan said that Hannon's assertions regarding the destruction of documents was untrue.  Faughnan said: "He's saying that things were improperly not where they're supposed to be. I'm saying that's patently false. He's lying,".  In it's online edition, the Press provided copies of documents that were allegedly "missing".  A review of those documents reveals that at least four of the incidents referenced by Hannon were expunged from the records of the fire fighters by agreement with the Village.  If he lied about this aspect of his report, what else did he lie about?

Suillivan is upset with Hannon being called a liar. He says "the language used by Johnson City Fire Department union lawyer Gene Faughnan in reference to our elected officials is highly offensive on its own".

But did Hannon lie??

Sullivan says "calling our mayor a "liar" in print (without being established in court) also tarnishes the excellent reputation of his law firm".

But did Hannon lie??

He goes on to suggest "maybe the general partner of HH&K should communicate with Mayor Dennis Hannon about the veracity of Faughnan's allegations."

But did Hannon lie??

No where in Mr. Sullivan's latest screed does he try to defend Hannon's falsehood.  Maybe he already knows there is no defense.  And to the likes of John Sullivan, it really does not matter whether Hannon lied so long as it advances his dream of dissolution. 

And this sort of situational ethics is exactly why Hannon, Sullivan and their ilk are so dangerous.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

When They Came for the Firemen...

"If the freedom of speech is taken away then dumb and silent we may be led, like sheep to the slaughter". -George Washington

Free Speech is dead in Johnson City.  That is, if you are a professional fire fighter.  Tuesday night, the Village of Johnson City voted to modify the Rules and Regulations of the fire department to make it a punishable offense to criticize the Mayor and Board members.  this was done in response to alleged abusive behavior in the past.   Strangely, Hannon was unable to point to a single instance in which any fire fighter had acted in an insolent or abusive manner.

In keeping with other petty dictators such as Fidel Castro and Hugo Chavez, Hannon has sought to consolidate his power through threats, intimidation and blatant violations of civil rights.  It is not surprising that he should continue his tyrannical plan by limiting free speech.  He initially tried to silence all citizens but found enough push back from citizens that the measure had to be withdrawn.  So now, he will attempt the suppression of opposition with baby steps.  But make no mistake,  he will be coming for other village employees should they get "uppity".  And Village residents will not be far behind.  With every taste of abuse of power, Hannon's appetite is increased.  It may only be about fire fighters today, but it will not end here.

And it seems likely that the fire fighter's union will go to court to try and stop this blatant violation of the constitution.  This will result in ever increasing legal bills for the Village.  And for what?  So that Hannon can be free of criticism?

The last time Hannon attempted such a power grab, the Press & Sun Bulletin had an editorial in which it admonished Hannon to have a thicker skin.  But this time it is strangely silent.  Are they now on Hannon's payroll?  Or are they too lazy or incompetant to tell the real story?  and what of citizens who have sat by while this tyrant continues to trample fundamental rights.  It is reminiscent of the Martin Niemoler timeless warning regarding oppressive regimes:

"When they came for the trade unionists,
I did not speak out;
I was not a trade unionist.

When they came for the Jews,
I remained silent;
I wasn't a Jew.

When they came for me,
there was no one left to speak out."
So we all must ask ourselves...when do we say once and for all; enough.  We as citizens of the Villlage of Johnson City better find an answer soon.  Before it is too late.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hannon Goes After Free Speech Again

“Every tyrant who has lived has believed in freedom - for himself” - Elbert Hubbard

In yesterday's Press & Sun Bulletin, reporter Steve Reilly reported on proposed changes to the Rules and Regulations of the Johnson City Fire Department.  To read the story, one might imagine that Hannon is routinely being yelled and cursed at by Village employees.  One can imagine that Hannon is frequently assaulted by vile language and threats of violence at Village Board meetings.  You can even imagine that poor Hannon is in fear for his safety because of unruly Village employees.  And you would be wrong.

Fire Starter reviewed the proposed regulations and the former regulations on the Press Connects web site.  What is apparent is that the proposed changes to regulations seeks to penalize fire fighters who CRITICIZE the mayor or the Village Board.  It is not abusive or insolent behavior that Hannon is trying to stop but rather mere CRITICISM.

Taken in isolation, this would be disturbing enough.  However, with Hannon's track record of attempting to squelch free speech, it is nothing short of shocking.  Let's now take a stroll down memory lane and revisit Hannon's repeated assaults on the first amendment:
  • In Late 2009, Hannon attemted to discipline Captain Marty Maney for speaking at village board meetings and being CRITICAL of reductions in the size of the department.  he ultimately had to surrender this assault as it was clearly violative of the Unted States Constitution.
  • In January of 2010, Hannon attempted to limit citizens ability to ask questions at board meetings during the "privilege of the floor".  Hannon again surrendered in the face a public outcry against this unconstitutional assault on Village citizens.
  • Several months ago, Hannon threatened Village firefighter and resident Marty Meaney when he asked questions regarding unaccounted for money in the police department.
  • Just a few weeks ago, former trustee Bruce King posted a piece on Press Connects that was critical of Mayor Hannon and set the record straight regarding Hannon's bald faced lies.
Which now brings us to Hannon's latest assault on the constitution.  At this point, Hannon has been brushed back enough times on this issue that he should have the understanding of a constitutional lawyer.  Most lay people understand that this sort of jack-thuggery is not permissible.  However, it seems that Hannon has again decided to roll the dice on another legal battle and let the Village residents bankroll him.  Yet everyone understands that snake-eyes are in his future. 

Which brings us to the press coverage of the issue.  Mr. Reilly is either incompetent or on the payroll; much like his fellow media hack, Scott Gallagher of WBNG.  How Mr. Reilly could look at a rule which makes it a punishable offense to CRITICIZE the Mayor or the board and allow the mayor to say he is not trying to squelch CRITICISM is beyond our comprehension.  Frankly, most grade school children would recognize the absurdity.  But apparently not Mr. Reilly.

Which is why the Fire Starter began posting seven months ago.  It became apparent that we could not rely on anyone else to tell the truth about local government.  And this is why we will continue to post regarding outrageous conduct by our local leaders.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Hannon Violates Rules Again

"A fish rots from the head down" - Chinese Proverb

Fire Starter considered addressing Mayor Hannon's latest smear with a detailed point by point response.  However, his smear of the fire department was so vague and redacted that there was no way that one could go line by line to refute his allegations.  And this was exactly Hannon's intent.  He is such an unmitigated coward that he is unwilling to hold his allegations up in the bright sunshine to allow for a full and fair evaluation of his claims.  Rather, he would prefer to indict through suggestion and innuendo.

But Fire Starter has been looking at another aspect of Hannon's latest petty thuggery.  Hannon seems to be a man who knows every letter of the rules but has no concept of justice.  This is why it is somewhat surprising that he is so blindly unaware of the Village of Johnson City Code of Ethics.

Under Section 2 of the Code of Ethics, the code is clearly states that it is to apply to "every officer or employee of the Village of Johnson City...".  One proscription in the Code notes "he/she shall not disclose confidential information acquired by them in the course of their official duties or use such information to further their personal interest".  Section 5 of the Code, entitled "Penalties" holds that "In addition to any penalty contained in any other provision of law, any person who shall knowingly and intentionally violate any of the provisions of this code may be fined, suspended, or removed from office or employment...".

That the document released by Hannon contained confidential information is without  question.  In addition to the various claims of misconduct by various fire fighters, it discloses specific allegations against retired Fire Marshal Robert Dempsey.  Such matters, as we are constantly advised by Mayor Hannon, are confidential and can not be disclosed.  That is unless there is something to be gained by Mayor Hannon.  Then the rules no longer apply.

Only the rules do apply.  Hannon is an officer of the Village.  The code applies to "officers and employees".  The Code prohibits the disclosure of confidential information acquired in the course of "official duties".  Hannon clearly disclosed confidential information regarding Dempsey and perhaps a number of other current and past fire department employees.  And Hannon seems to have done so for his own personal political benefit.  Three strikes and you're out.

Which brings us to the penalty phase.  Under penalties, violators may be "fined, suspended or removed from office...".  Perhaps we ought to start with the 30 day suspension that Hannon seems so fond of and investigate his removal from office in the meantime.  Certainly, we would not want to hold Hannon to any lower standard than he has applied to other Village employees and officers.

As evidence of the multiple abuses of power mount, it is time to consider whether Hannon needs to be removed from office.  He has lost all moral authority (if he ever had any).  The Village can not move forward with such corruption at the top.  It is time for Hannon to step down or be removed.

Monday, November 29, 2010

Hannon Continues Abuse

“Since the things we do determine the character of life, no blessed person can become unhappy. For he will never do those things which are hateful and petty.” - Aristotle

While Fire Starter was contemplating the many blessings to be thankful for, Dennis Hannon was plotting his next abuse of power.

You will recall that two weeks ago, former Johnson City trustee and local businessman Bruce King posted a detailed article on Press Connects which corrected many of the misrepresentations made by Dennis Hannon in a prior Press article.  We were so impressed by the information that we re-printed the post here with Mr. King's permission.  Well, it did not take long for Mayor Hannon to abuse his power as mayor and go after Mr. King.

Bruce King owns and operates a successful vending machine business.  Mr. King has soda and candy machines in businesses throughout the southern tier.  Included in his list of sites was the Johnson City Police Department.  Well no longer.

Within hours of the publishing of King's piece in the Press & Sun Bulletin, King received word from Dennis Hannon that his machines are to be removed from Village property within 24 hours.  No explanation.  No justification.  Just "remove the machines".

Fortunately for Bruce King, these machines are but a small cog in the wheel of his business. But again, this highlights Hannon's willingness to use his power to punish his enemies.  But what is most disturbing about this latest incident is Hannon's willingness to abuse his power without even a shred "cover".  In his current delusional state, he seems to think he has a right to abuse the public trust to pursue his personal enemies.  The voters rejected this sort of approach when it rejected Hannon's partner in buffoonery, Monica Silas.  Hannon should be aware of the election results.  Which leads us to believe that he has begun to lose his grasp on reality.

Which also leads us to believe that there will be more of this nonsense to come.

Monday, November 22, 2010

Giving Thanks

“What we do for ourselves dies with us. What we do for others and the world remains and is immortal.” - Albert Pine

As we enter Thanksgiving week, Fire Starter has a few thoughts about the Holiday and the months to come.  Thanksgiving is a time when we slow down, count our blessings and attempt to place adversity in perspective.  With this in mind, Fire Starter has a few thoughts on things we can all be thankful for.

The United States Military - These brave men and women travel the the far reaches of the world to protect our freedom and our way of life.  They sacrifice family, careers, and sometimes their lives to allow us to live our lives in safety with our families.  Their unselfish service is awe-inspiring.

Police Officers - Police officers go to the dark corners of our society so that we do not have to.  They protect us day and night.  While we eat turkey, they patrol so that we can relax and enjoy family.  We often deal with them on the worst days of our lives, yet forget that this is what they deal with every day.  They stand between us and societal chaos.  And for that, we should all be thankful.

Fire Fighters - When all are running from the fire, they are running toward it.  They place their lives at risk to protect ours.  They leave family behind on holidays since there are no "scheduled emergencies".  They do not regard themselves as heroes as they are doing what their career requires.  But we all know the heroism of their daily service.

Medical Professionals - Whether doctors, physicians assistants, nurses or other medical professionals, these men and women serve 24/7.  They provide care and comfort when we and our love ones are at our most vulnerable.  They are at the ready no matter the illness or injury. And they provide the care with skill and compassion.

These are but a few who will be serving us while we are serving ourselves turkey and stuffing.  Fire Starter urges everyone to pause for a moment and give thanks for these dedicated and diligent professionals.  Their service allows us to live in safety and security.

And for that, we should all be truly thankful.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Learn to Lose Gracefully

The following was submitted to Pressconnects by Former Johnson City Trustee and local businessman, Bruce King.  It addresses Mayor Hannon's smears and distortions which were recently printed on the OpEd page of the Press & Sun Bulletin.  We reprint it here with Mr. King's permission.

Learn to lose gracefully. 11/16/2010

Mayor Hannon's Guest Viewpoint, dated November 11th, says that it is the other guys fault. Here is my viewpoint having served on the board longer than anyone that is there now with the exception of Trustee Balles. Mayor, you didn't “take your seat”, you were voted into office. Had the voters known that you were going to cost them the vote in 2008 would have been different. I call it irresponsible to spend hundreds of thousands, possibly a million dollars in attorney fees, court awarded settlements, and probably two years salaries for six firefighters who didn't have to come to work but will get paid.

I do not believe that all village departments were being mismanaged. I believe that there was/is an issue in the courts, issues in the clerk/treasurer office, and yes there were issues not being properly addressed in the fire department.

As for meeting minutes I have talked with former Mayor Lewis and he says “that's a lie, he never instructed his clerk to not record specific things”. I remember, from my four years on the board, in a work session clerk Kakusian took some notes on her computer as was the case of her predecessor Mr. Augostini although he didn't use a computer. They didn't take down any word for word work sessions conversations. As for the regular meetings, Clerk Kakusian's printed minutes of the meetings had much more information than when the previous clerk printed them. The tape backups of the regular meetings are there for review and to listen to the tone of the meetings. (Or are they?) Where are they and are they available to be reviewed?

The Fire Department did have what was called Chief's Time, another form of compensatory time. It would be awarded to those who came in on their own time to do additional work on such things as rebuild the kitchen on the SS Fire station, to work as Fire Safety Instructors in our schools and Fire Starter Intervention Officers. These times were all recorded and used as they needed to take an hour or two to go to the Doctors or to pick up a sick child and take them to the sitters etc.

As far as a Fire Administrator and unearned compensatory time the Village Board pushed hard to clear up the misunderstanding of who was entitled to what. We had an agreement that the money was to be paid back and he would retire the next year. Trustee Hannon wouldn't hear of it and started his own investigation. More attorneys' fees same end result, money paid back and retirement.

Mayor Lewis says “I never lied to him about mutual aid just explained to him that the current and previous chief's preference was to call in JC FFs because of their response time and familiarity with the Village”. Yes it caused overtime and yes we did need to change the way we called for mutual aid because of the cost of overtime. Question: How long are we going to count on mutual aid from the Volunteer Departments if we don't reciprocate, especially if we are doing it just to save money?

I do agree with you that you “TOOK over” in 2009 by whatever you promised Trustees Balles and Silas. Last fall you told me you hadn't realized how much stuff comes across the Mayor's desk. Had you ever gone into Mayor Lewis's office and sat and talked about the job you would have known that it was much more than you had anticipated.

You have been on a vendetta against Mayor Lewis since you were Chief of Police. I'm not sure when you started hating the Fire department but it was clear from the start of your first term you had no serious interest in sitting down and working anything out.

That pattern is even clearer now that the JC Police offered a good contract with a smaller percentage pay increase than even Binghamton got and you said no. That means more money for the attorneys. You didn't even budget for years 3 thru 5 of their increases. That will be the next Mayors problem.

I did agree we needed an outsider to come in and recapture control of the Fire department. I voted to hire Chief Hrustich not knowing he was part of your plan to tear apart the JCFD. As to the letters of “No Confidence” as a taxpayer I expect the Mayors of JC and Endicott to have their respective fire committees investigate. This isn't from one or two fireman it's from 60 plus firefighters. It is a personnel issue but all board members should know and understand the charges and the results. I mean no disrespect to Chief Hrustich; I found him to be very knowledgeable and by all accounts he is a good firefighter.

As for the manning clause, you be the judge.

Contract Article 27

“The Village shall maintain the current and actual level of firefighters throughout the term of this contract.”

This clause has been in the contract since 1984, manpower was at 44 and had to be maintained till this clause was changer or removed.

Mayor Lewis, Trustee Adams, and I did not shove this down anyone's throat. Trustees Hannon and Balles were there at the meeting and both chose not to table the resolution or hold it over to the next meeting. Instead they chose to vote no, knowing that it would pass. I can't speak to their motives of allowing this to happen if they were so convinced it was a bad contract.

We are by some standards a small community and as such if you are in public service you get to know many people. Many people choose to follow in their family's business whether it's a restaurant, police, fire DPW, factory, or education. It is not a surprise that a 65+ year old Mayor with over a dozen grandchildren may have a relative working for the municipality he governs for. It's not nepotism when to obtain a job the applicant must pass State exams and physicals. The family members referenced in the minutes were a son-inlaw's brother and a daughter-in-law's brother, hardly close family. Harry Lewis is not the type of man that would vote to benefit a certain person or persons; he always did what he felt best for the community. Please remember that the job is to protect and serve the community not just the loudest residents.

In closing let me address two final items. The fire contract was not a scam, it was a tough contract and had we been able to work with the firefighters through the months after it was signed without the heavy-handed tactics of Trustee/Mayor Hannon we would not be the center of attention in the paper and your taxes would be the same or less with the 6 laid off firefighters earning the money they will be paid. Secondly to me the term “comrades” has a very negative connotation. Former Mayor Lewis and I take great offence at such a reference having served in the military to protect our great country from such tyranny. Trustee Adams served his whole career protecting and serving the people of JC. It is also an insult to him.

Mayor Hannon: You are not a police officer anymore, it is past time to put away the Billy-club and try honest and open negotiations and communications.

Former Trustee Bruce King, www.letstalkjc .org

Well said Bruce.  And we commend Bruce's web site,, to all of our readers.

Monday, November 15, 2010

Gifting Village Assets

“The accomplice to the crime of corruption is frequently our own indifference” - Bess Myerson

Fire Starter reported several weeks ago about Mayor John Bertoni gifting Village assets in the form of excess millings from road work.  Since then, some have suggested that this is "no big deal" since the millings would have to be disposed of if not gifted to FOB's (Friends of Bertoni's). However, this misses the point.  First, if the millings were worhtless or a burden, no one would want them.  Obviously that is not the case.  The excess millings are useful and sought after since several local businesses utilized the Village's property to enhance their own.  Second, it ignores the fact that Village employees utilized Village time and equipment to deliver the material.  In at least one instance, Village employees spread the material for the local business.  From Fire Starter's point of view, this equals conversion of public property and possibly graft.

Fire Starter now has further information regarding the businesses which benefited from the FOB millings plan.  Two businesses that benefited from the FOB plan are Felix Roma Bakery on South Page Avenue and Big Daddy O's on Jennings Street.

Felix Roma Bakery Lot with Village Millings

Big Daddy O's Lot With Village Millings

Extra Millings for Future use at Big Daddy O's

The Bottom line is that local businesses are being gifted Village resources in the form of extra millings and Village employee work.  This is wrong and corrupt.  And it certainly begs the question, what is Bertoni getting in return?

But if you need some material for your driveway, call Mayor Bertoni today (757-2420) and get your name in for next spring.  I am sure Village employees will be right over to take care of the job.

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Hannon's Rant

"Our society is run by insane people for insane objectives..." - John Lennon

Mayor Dennis Hannon published an opinion piece in yesterday's Press & Sun Bulletin in which he attempted to respond to the pamphlet sent to Johnson City residents several weeks ago.  Fire Starter read with great excitement and anticipation Mayor Hannon's rebuttal to the detailed and factual account provided by the State Association of Fire Fighters.  We could not wait to see all the facts and figures that prove once and for all that the pamphlet was just a "fairy tale".

Imagine our disappointment when we realized that this was yet another fact-less screed intended to distract voters and deflect justifiable criticism. 

It was a "hit piece" on Harry Lewis.  The Mayor accuses former mayor Lewis of lying to him regarding "mutual aid".  No details of what this lie was or proof that it occurred.  Only Hannon's unsubstantiated assertion.

It was another tepid defense of  Joint Fire Administrator Hrustich.  No facts.  Just an undeserved and unsubstantiated "attaboy".

It was an attack on the vote of  no confidence taken by the fire fighter's union.  The no confidence resolution details the misfeasance and malfeasance of Hrustich.  Again, no facts.  Just the assertion.

He then concludes that "the firefighter's contract was the greatest scam ever perpetrated on the people of Johnson City".  But of course, no factual back up.

Fire Starter has always endeavored to provide fact based analysis of Hannon's destructive behavior.  We have provided facts and figures regarding fire fighter salaries, the cost of the shared police chief and the Joint Fire Administrator.  We have provided figures regarding the cost of the endless litigation and the lack of economic development in the Village.   We even provided evidence to show that Hannon's incompetence started while he was Village Police Chief.  It may not have won us a Pulitizer Prize, but it has always been fact based.

As a rambling rant, we give Hannon an "A".  As anything resembling a reasoned argument or a fact based advocacy piece, he gets an "F".

Which causes Fire Starter to wonder whether Mayor Hannon is beginning to lose his grasp on reality.  Perhaps his destructive approach to Village government is beginning to catch up to him.  Perhaps he realizes that the end of his reign of pettiness is close at hand.  The fact that voters rejected Hannon's crusade to destroy the Village may be too much for him to handle.  Suddenly, he finds that he is not the Sheriff of Johnson City but an impotent little man. 

And unfortunately for Hannon, everyone else sees the same thing.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Has Hannon Lost Confidence?

"The problem is, the truth hurts. And it's even harder to admit that you're wrong." - Daniel Anglea

Fire Starter read with incredulity Mayor Hannon's statements regarding the informational brochure distributed to Village residents several weeks ago.  Rather than attempt a point by point rebuttal, he dismissed the pamphlet as a "fairy tale".  One would think that if the publication was that inaccurate, the Mayor, with all of the facts, figures and records on hand would have been able to prove the fallacy of the assertions in the pamphlet.  Instead, Hannon makes several conclusory statements with absolutely no back-up.  If the facts are unfavorable, engage in ad hominem attack.

Which brings us to the article in the Press & Sun Bulletin on Saturday.  Apparently, Hannon felt it necessary to reveal the contents of the Village Fire Fighters no confidence vote taken in December of 2009.  In the no confidence resolution, Village Fire Fighters raise numerous issues regarding the dangerous management style of Chief Hrustich.  Numerous examples of his reckless disregard for safety are provided. 

Again, rather than provide a basis for rejecting the resolution, Mayor Hannon attacks the messenger and their motivations.  Fire Starter is of the belief that if Hrustich was such a great Chief and Administrator, Hannon would have been able to list his numerous accomplishments.  However, as we know, Hrustich's accomplishments are few and his missteps many.

Fire Starter has listed numerous instances of Hrustich's poor performance.  He apparently makes life and death command decisions when he is not even at the scene of a fire.  He advocated and briefly implemented automatic first alarm response between Endicott and Johnson City; a practice which left one or both Villages vulnerable.  He has let training lapse on life saving techniques including confined space rescue and and  boat rescue.  He has made manpower cuts resulting in station closures, under manning and delayed response time.  One can only imagine how bad Hrustich would be if he was not such a great administrator as Hannon asserts.

Maybe the Fire Starter is reading too much into Hannon's fact-less and tepid defense of Hrustich.  But it certainly raises two possibilities.  Either Hannon has no facts to support Hrustich.  Or perhaps Hannon is growing tired of his pet Fire Chief and has decided to let him twist in the wind.  Otherwise, why would Hannon release the no confidence resolution to the press?  It certainly does not paint a favorable picture of Hrustich's management and command of the Johnson City Fire Department.

It is also worthy of note that in yesterday's Press & Sun Bulletin, a Johnson City resident noted the cold, callous and thoughtless way in which Hrustcih discussed a recent fire victim.  The letter writer first commended the Johnson City fire fighters for efficiently putting the fire out.  She then went on to note:
"I would like to express deep distress over Chief Stephen Hrustich's actions. He had no business announcing that a very sweet 89-year-old lady was a hoarder. If he had exhibited an iota of compassion, the TV and print reporters would have had enough for coverage of a horrific house fire. But, no, he felt it necessary to demean a woman he didn't even know."
To paraphrase former President Bush, "your doing a heckuva job, Stevie".

As a final aside, it appears that now that the election season is over, Hannon will begin to dig into his secret files and see what kind of mud he can throw at his enemies.  Unfortunately for him, the public is tired of his nonsense.  They want real answers to the challenges that face the Village.  Fire Starter believes that Hannon should use his energies to improve Johnson City rather than throw stones.  But we are not hopeful that he has heard the voters.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

A New Dawn?

“However long the night, the dawn will break.” - African Proverb

Election day results are still "unofficial".  One can only guess how they may change over the next few weeks. 

Endicott had candidates for Village Board who ran unopposed.  Some might view this of an affirmation of Mayor Bertoni and his corrupt practices.  Fire Starter views this more of a statement reflecting the dysfunctional status of the Republican party in Endicott.  The Endicott Republicans are still be reeling in the aftermath of the Colella debacle.  However, in the meantime, the Bertoni debacle is unfolding before our eyes.

In the City of Binghamton, there were no City elections.  Therefore, at least for now, the price of fiscal irresponsibility and "cost of war" clocks remain to be paid in 2011.

In the Village of Johnson City, residents were given very limited choices.  Voters were allowed to choose two trustee candidates.  There was Rick Balles who is always on the winning side of any vote...even when he has to change his vote to accomplish this feat.  There was the uncontrite suspended lawyer who mishandled client funds but thought he was "just the guy" the Village needed.  There was Monica Silas, the Board member who was unable to look beyond her petty grudges to find the greater good for the Village.  And there was the one candidate with integrity and a devotion to the Village, Greg Deemie.

For now, it appears that Village residents made the best of their choices and selected Rick Balles and Greg Deemie.  They rejected the crooked lawyer.  And they may well have rejected the destructive policies and approach of Monica Silas.  It appears they turned to the optimistic and forward thinking Deemie.  Balles was the least of three evils.  His quiet support of Hannon's destructive policies allowed him to "fly under the radar".  Monica may well pay the price for her unerring support of Hannon's chicanery.

If the election night results stand, there will be two solid Board members who are willing to roll up their sleeves and move the Village forward and ensure that the services we pay for are provided.  Novobilski and Deeemie will hold Hannon's feet to the fire and try to stop his petty pursuits and wasteful spending.  And Balles will no longer be able to hide.  He will be the deciding vote.  He alone will determine whether the Village thrives or whithers. 

Fire Starter believes that the Village Board should force a halt to the lawsuits and legal spending.  Concentrate those dollars on economic development.  Make peace with the fire fighters.  Find common ground. Get the police officers up to date on their contract (now five years in arrears).  Eliminate the wasteful spending on part time "shared services" in the police and fire departments.  This means sending over paid and under worked part time Joint Fire Administrator Hrustich and Joint Police Chief Zikuski packing.  And perhaps...just perhaps... Hannon will get the hint and follow them.

And perhaps Endicott and Binghamton will also get the message.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Hope for Change

“Be the change you want to see in the world.” - Mahatma Gandhi

The Johnson City Village Board election is upon us.  So who should be surprised by the underhanded dirty dealing occurring in the Village.

Prior to yesterday afternoon, Fire Starter thought the worst had come and gone.  A sitting Board member was blatantly telling lies about her opponent.  Another Board candidate was suspended from the practice of law and the media yawned.  Campaign signs were stolen and destroyed.  In other words, a normal election cycle for the "corruptacrats".

Yesterday, the campaign took a new and even uglier turn.  The Fire Starter found an anonymous flier on the doorstep which featured photos of current and retired fire fighter's houses and the legend "a vote for Greg Deemie is a vote for the Fire Department".  This seems to follow up on Silas' lie previously debunked on these pages.  Somehow, because Greg Deemie had recordings of Village Board meetings and was subpoenaed to verify the contents of those recordings, he is a "vote for the Fire Department".

What is most stunning is that this is at least the second time Silas, Balles and their supporters seem to cast the conflict as the Village versus the Fire Department.  As previously noted, the Fire Department is a department within the Village.  However, this certainly does provide some insight into the thinking of these candidates.  So when Silas and Balles tells you they are for public safety, remember these facts:

  • Silas and Balles approved reductions in police staff in the face of the rising crime problem in the Village.
  • Silas has supported combining the Village police department with the Binghamton police department despite the risks to public safety from the resulting under staffing.
  • Silas and Balles supported the "shared" police chief concept with the accompanying increase in cost and decrease in service.
  • Silas initiated and Balles supported the idea of illegally laying off six fire fighters despite offers from the fire fighter union which would have reduced costs and maintained appropriate staffing.
  • Silas and Balles supported the "shared" fire chief concept with the accompanying increase in cost and decrease in service.
  • Silas opposes any proposal regarding fire service which would keep a professional fire department protecting Village residents.
  • Silas advocated for rejecting the 1.3 million SAFER grant which would have reinstated the six laid off fire fighters at NO COST to the Village.
With this record, it is a small wonder that Balles and Silas do not wish to address the issues facing the Village.  However, this "Fire Department vs. Village" mentality reveals far more of their mindset than any campaign literature or promise.  It reveals a mindset bent on tearing down rather than lifting up.  Economic development and safe neighborhoods take a back seat to petty squabbles and power plays.  Hannon, Balles and Silas fiddle while JC burns.

The Hannon, Silas and Balles years have been marked by unprecedented acrimony and wasteful and vengeful spending with little to show for it. Crime is on the rise.  Neighborhoods have deteriorated.  Code enforcement is a joke.  Hannon, Balles and Silas have a lot to account for.  And tomorrow is your chance to send a message.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

Shady Lawyer Gives Shady Explanation

"Lawyers spend a great deal of time shovelling smoke." - Oliver Wendell Holmes

Fire Starter first reported on October 1, 2010 regarding the shady backround of Johnson City Trustee candidate Shawn O'Buckley.  Fire Starter learned that O'Buckley's law license in the State of Colorado was suspended because he:

"...recklessly failed to diligently represent or adequately communicate with a number of clients. He also recklessly charged unreasonable fees, failed to communicate the basis his fee, and failed to safeguard client funds."
These were not mere allegations.  Mr. O'Buckley admitted the misconduct and surendered his license to practice law.

The local media has finally begun to notice this shocking information and report on it.  What took so long is really hard to fathom.  All of the relevant information is freely available from official sources on the internet.  One can only imagine the headlines had the misconduct involved a Village employee.

Mr. O'Buckley now tries to say that he did nothing wrong.  This would seem to be contradicted by his admission of guilt to the Colorado Supreme Court.  So, as the saying goes...was he lying then or is he lying now.  As we have pointed out before, either way, this makes him a liar.

However, upon further review, we are convinced that he is at least as qualified for a Village Board seat as Balles and Silas.  All three mishandle other peoples money, make false public statements and  run from their record.  Based upon Balles and Silas' history, O'Buckley appears to be a piker.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Further Endicott Corruption

“Corruption is authority plus monopoly minus transparency.”
- Unknown
Fire Starter reported several weeks ago about the corrupt nepotism in the Village of Endicott and the Village of Johnson City.  It appears that the number one priority of both Mayor Bertoni and Mayor Hannon is to take care of family and friends.  And shockingly, the respective Village Boards sit idly by as these two abuse their positions of public trust.

Fire Starter has now learned that the corruption in Endicott goes much deeper.  This past summer, Endicott engaged in milling activity to improve the streets of the Village.  This process involves grinding up paving material, mixing it with new material and repaving.  This process results in some left over paving material which can be used as fill or for parking lots and driveways much in the way one would use gravel or cinder.  The material obviously has use and value.

However, in Endicott, this material has become another goody for Mayor Bertoni to give to his friends gratis.  Fire Starter has been reliably informed that at least several Village businesses were given this material at not charge.  In each case, the material was used as a base for a parking area.  In at least one instance, Village employees were instructed to spread the material for the business owner.  We are continuing to dig and will provide specifics regarding the businesses involved in the near future.

The gifting of Village assets to local business is clearly improper.  There can be no explaining away this conduct.  The use of Village trucks and equipment is also improper.  The use of Village employees by private businesses is probably most disturbing.  These employees were being paid by ALL of the taxpayers but apparently providing services to FOB's (Friends of Bertoni).  One can only speculate as to what Bertoni got in return for these Village assets.

The days of this sort back room corruption have long since past.  Endicott is not Mayor Bertoni's personal cookie jar out of which jobs and services are doled to his friends and family.  It is time for Bertoni to come forward and explain his hand in this theft.  And in all likelihood, it is time for Bertoni to step down.

However, Maybe this is some sort of new program in Endicott.  Therefore, we would encourage anyone needing a new driveway to call Mayor Bertoni and put in your order at 757-2420.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Economic Development...JC Style

"Where there is no vision, the people perish." - Proverbs 29:18

You may recall that several weeks ago, the Village of Johnson City Board was asked to describe their accomplishments in economic development in the Village.  Each Board member took their turn and attempted to justify their existence.  That is, each Board Member other than Trustee Silas.  Instead of outlining her "many" accomplishments, she "turned the question back" on community activist and Johnson City Booster, Julie Deemie.

Fire Starter speculated that Silas really had nothing to say in defense of her tenure and resorted to an "I know you are, but what am I" sort of defense.  Sadly, we were mistaken.  Hannon, Balles and Silas have many accomplishments as evidenced by the following photo array:

Hannon, Balles and Silas have done a remarkable job of economic development.  Should several dozen retail businesses magically elect to open businesses in the Village of Johnson City, the retail space is open and waiting for them.  Hannon, Balles, and Silas have done a remarkable job of presiding over the urban "Mumbai-zation" of Johnson City.

But there is still much work to be done.  There still are a handful of business which need to be chased from downtown Johnson City.  This is why Balles and Silas believe their re-election is so critical.  Only they have the skills to critically degrade police and fire service, pursue petty grievances at great cost and "fiddle" while businesses flee from the mess they have made.

As far as the Fire Starter can tell, the one economic development that Hannon, Balles and Silas have triggered was the creation and promotion of this blog.

Hannon, Balles and Silas lack the vision and leadership to move the Village forward.

It is time to send Silas and Balles packing.  Since there is only one qualified candidate on the ballot on November 2nd, we again urge you to only "vote for one".  This will send an unmistakable message to these petty autocrats.

Monday, October 18, 2010

Deemie Responds

“Corruption is nature's way of restoring our faith in democracy.”- Peter Ustinov

Fire Starter recently detailed the lies being told by Johnson City Village Board member and candidate Monica Silas.  Apparently unable to defend her own record, she made false accusations against one of her opponents, Greg Deemie.  In  a Facebook post, she accused Deemie of testifying against the Village at a recent court proceeding.  This was patently false and she knew it.  She was there.

Now Greg Deemie has written a letter to the press confiming what the Fire Starter reported last week.

Dear Editor,

I am a candidate for Johnson City trustee in this year's election. Misinformation has been circulated about me testifying against the village. Please allow me to set the record straight.

I was subpoenaed by the law offices of Hinman, Howard & Kattell to testify in the Public Employment Relations Board court in Albany on Sept. 20. I also was subpoenaed by the Village of Johnson City's attorney for their federal case.

I legally record the Johnson City board meetings; therefore, both sides demanded copies of my recordings. Because I received a subpoena, I was bound by law to appear in court. I was not there to testify against either side; I was there to authenticate my recordings. I was following the order of the law. I never testified because the PERB case was settled out of court and the federal case was dropped.

If those responsible had conducted themselves ethically, the truth would have been known.

Greg Deemie

We await any sort of contridictory evidence from Trustee Silas.

And while we are speaking of the Village of Johnson City, what's happening with Silas' Democratic running mate, Shawn O'Buckley?  As you will recall, Silas passed joint election petitions with Mr. O'Buckley.  Fire Starter later learned that Mr. O'Buckley was recently suspended from the practice of law in the state of Colorado.  Mr. O'Buckley admitted to failing to properly safeguard client money and overcharging clients. We now have the Court Decision regarding O'Buckley.

This guy is a real class act.  And a fitting running mate for Monica Silas.  It's easy to see why she would be confused by a person of integrity like Greg Deemie.

On November 2nd, you will have your chance to restore Democracy in the Village of Johnson City.  Use your vote wisely.

Thursday, October 14, 2010


"Man can not live by incompetence alone". - Charlotte Whitton

The State Comptroller issued a report last week regarding the financial operations of the Village of Johnson City.  Although Mayor Hannon tried to argue that the shortcomings in village finance were someone else's responsibility, a review of the Comptroller's report would reveal otherwise.  The Audit covered the period from June 1, 2008 to August31, 2009.

At the outset, the Comptroller correctly points out that the Village's "..elected five member Board of Trustees is responsible for the general management and control of the Village's finances and operations.  The Mayor, who is a member of the Board, serves as the Village's chief executive officer".  In other words, all five Board members (including the Mayor) share responsibility for all Village finances. 

Hannon, Silas and Balles were all Village Board members during the relevant time frame. Balles has been on the Village Board since 1998.  Hannon was first elected to the Board in 2007 and became Mayor June of 2009.  Silas was elected to the Board in 2008.  If there were deficiencies in the way Village finances were handled during the relevant time frame, these three bear a significant share of responsibility. 

The Comptroller found in relevant part that:
  • The Board failed to provide proper training to the former clerk treasurer and current accounts payable clerk.

  • The Board failed to fulfill its responsibility of  fiscal oversight.

  • The Board did not utilize accurate information as the basis of its budgeting.

  • The Board had no process in place to determine the appropriate balance for reserve for encumbrances.

  • The Board over expended 21 separate budget lines during fiscal year 2008-2009.

  • The Board failed to ensure that Village accounting records were accurate and current.
In short, the Village Board failed to meet its most basic responsibilities to the taxpayers.  Instead of safeguarding the taxpayer's money, Hannon, Silas and Balles have been distracted by petty squabbles and heavy handed power plays.  They pursued frivolous vendettas while the Village finances went unattended.

So now Balles and Silas believe that their performance deserves another term as Village Board members.  It is hard to fathom the arrogance that would lead these two individuals to this conclusion.  But the taxpayers know better.  It is time to turn out the incompetents.  And send a message to the lead incompetent, Hannon.

Monday, October 11, 2010


"He who permits himself to tell a lie once, finds it much easier to do it a second and third time, till at length it becomes habitual." - Thomas Jefferson

Fire Starter knows that this is no real news flash.  Trustee Monica Silas has repeatedly shown herself to be a characterless liar who will do anything to promote Mayor Dennis Hannon's destructive agenda.  We just have new evidence of her deceitfulness.

Silas recently posted on her Facebook page that her opponent, Greg Deemie, testified against the Village of Johnson City at a recent hearing pertaining to the suspension of Captain Marty Maney.  See for yourself.

First, Fire Starter has confirmed that NO ONE testified in Albany.  The Village surrendered in the face of certain defeat.  Fire Starter has learned that Monica Silas was in Albany for the hearing and clearly knows that NO ONE TESTIFIED.  This makes her Facebook statement nothing short of a lie.  Not spin.  Not an exageration.  A LIE.

Second, Fire Starter has reliably confirmed that Greg Deemie had been present in Albany under subpoena by both the Village and the Village Fire Fighters.  We can only guess as to the reason for his appearance, but it may have been because he and his wife Julie are regular attendees at Village Board meetings.  

Third, had Deemie testified under oath, he would neither be testifying for or against anyone.  He would be telling the truth; something that Silas does have even a passing familiarity with.

And finally, Silas seems to make this out as the Village versus the Fire Department.  Last time we checked, the Fire Department is part of the Village government.

Silas seems to believe she deserves another term as Village Trustee.  She certainly fits in with Hannon and Balles and the suspended lawyer, O'Buckley.  But Village residents deserve better than they have been getting from the Village Board.  Village residents deserve integrity in their leaders.  Silas must go.

On November 2nd, send a message to the dishonest, self dealing politicians and vote for only one candidate for Johnson City Village Board.