Monday, June 28, 2010

No Confidence, No Competence

“In a hierarchy, every employee tends to rise to his level of incompetence.” - Laurence J. Peter

Fire Starter has previously provided extensive evidence regarding the overpaid and under worked “Joint Fire Administrator”. As detailed on this page, Stephen Hrustich costs the Village of Johnson City over $83,000 per year in salary and benefits. His commitment to the village is 20 hours per week. He gets an identical package from the Village of Endicott. This places his hourly cost to the taxpayers of Johnson City at almost $80 per hour. The only “sweeter deal” is to be the Village attorney at $200 per hour!

What has not been discussed in the past is the reaction of “his men” on the Johnson City Fire Department. Fire Starter has learned that earlier this year, the Johnson City fire fighters took the unprecedented step of voting “no confidence” with regard to their part time “Fire Administrator”. In any position of public accountability, a vote of “no confidence” is a devastating indictment of incompetence. In the fire service, it is a life and death accusation of dangerous mismanagement. Among the accusations:

  • Hrustich has failed to adequately staff the department allowing as few as 4 firefighters to protect Village residents. Multiple times since the staffing reductions, village fire fighters have had insufficient personnel to respond to medical calls.

  • He implemented (and later rescinded) the “automatic first response” between Endicott and Johnson city often leaving one or both Villages unprotected while on duty personnel chased false alarms and minor fires.

  • During the height of the H1N1 outbreak, Hrustich denied fire fighters the industry recommended respirator because of cost.

  • During the N1H1 outbreak, his solution for protecting the fire fighters was to have them provide care from a distance of six feet!

  • He has denied that station closures would result from the staffing cuts but it has already happened several times since the changes were implemented.

  • He promised to apply for federal SAFER grants alleging that the money could be used for equipping volunteers while knowing that the funds were not for that purpose.

  • He later drafted sloppy and shoddy SAFER grant applications for both Endicott and Johnson City. These amateuristic submissions were rejected by the federal government while Binghamton and Kingston’s grants were approved.

  • The chief has repeatedly attempted to take charge of fires and issue orders while he is driving to the fire from his Tioga County residence thereby placing fire fighters at risk from his ill informed decisions.

  • He has stubbornly resisted utilizing the closest professional department for mutual aid, (Binghamton) in favor of various volunteer departments with slow and unpredictable responses.

    The no confidence resolution indicts Hrustich both for mismanagement and incompetence. It questions his priorities and it questions his skill as a fire fighter and chief. Overall, the no confidence resolution paints a disturbing picture of a man in whom residents and fire fighters can not have confidence.

    In the end, Joint Fire Administrator Hrustich has been willing to sell his soul and risk the lives of residents and fire fighters to advance his career and bank account. This is exactly the kind of “leadership” Mayor Hannon sought to buy. And it appears that Hrustich’s price is $83,000 per department.

    • No comments:

      Post a Comment