Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Standing Up

“If you let a bully come in your front yard, he'll be on your porch the next day and the day after that he'll rape your wife in your own bed.” -Lyndon B. Johnson

bul·ly  [bool-ee]

a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.


1. to act the bully toward; intimidate; domineer.

2. to be loudly arrogant and overbearing.

Fire Starter read with great interest the Press & Sun Bulletin's articles on bullying. They highlighted a growing problem in our schools, work place and society in general. Unfortunately, thus far, the Press has failed to recognize the bully in its own backyard, Dennis Hannon.

We can start with Marty Maney, a Johnson City Fire captain and Union President. He raises concerns regarding the safety of Village fire fighters and residents. Does Mayor Hannon take these concerns to heart or attempt to find common ground with the union? No! He seeks to bully Maney into submission by suspending him for 30 days without pay (at Christmas time) and threatening his job.

Fire Marshal Robert Dempsey. He questioned the Village's decisions which left fire fighters short staffed and the public vulnerable. He is suspended twice and his job is threatened.

Doug Potts, the former Johnson City Police chief. His offenses started with the Mayor taking as a "personal affront" the fact that 1/8" of snow on New Year Day was not cleared from in front of the police station. As a result, the witnesses to Hannon's coronation were forced to "brave" these ungodly conditions. He then questioned the need for a K-9 unit in the JCPD and this was the last straw.

And what of the lowly maintenance man Fire Starter wrote of recently? Apparently he would typically be responsible for snow removal (even of the 1/8" variety). But he had the day off. So Recreation Director Gallagher (who could use the exercise) was "forced" to sweep away this 1/8" snow drift. What an outrage! At about this same time, Gallagher is trying to get the lowly maintenance man fired from his second job. Not too long after, when Gallagher's scandal begins to see the light of day, Hannon gets his revenge on the lowly maintenance man and terminates him.

The pattern that has emerged clearly makes the case for classic bullying. Hannon's misuse of the power with which he has been entrusted continues to grow. His arrogant and overbearing approach seeks to eliminate enemies and intimidate potential foes.

The answers to bullies are time tested and timeless. We must all stand against the bully. We must identify it and condemn it when we see it. We must not allow the bully to think that his actions are going unnoticed. And finally, we must strike back wherever possible and show Mayor Hannon to be the coward that he is.

Johnson City deserves so much better than Mayor Hannon has the character to deliver.

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