Monday, August 2, 2010

Is Anyone Confident In Hrustich??

"Confidence is contagious. So is lack of confidence" --Vince Lombardi

Fire Starter has recently reported on the vote of no-confidence taken by the Johnson City Fire Fighters with regard to their part time “Joint Fire Administrator. We detailed on this page the many accusations of mismanagement, incompetence and gross indifference to the health and safety of the Village Fire Fighters and residents. We were only recently made aware of the fact that these shortcomings have long been understood by Endicott Fire Fighters.

Fire Starter has learned that in December of 2009, Endicott Fire Fighters passed a vote of no confidence regarding Chief Hrustich. Detailed in their vote are charges of mismanagement and incompetence similar to the indictment handed down by the Johnson City Fire Fighters. Specifically, Endicott Fire Fighters allege:

  • Chief Hrustich placed cost ahead of safety by declining to perform OSHA required inspections of ladders. He then ordered fire fighters to place inspection stickers on the ladders so as to give the appearance of legal compliance.
  • For several years, fire fighters complained of communication deficiencies which place fire fighters at risk in emergency situations. Once again, Chief Hrustich placed cost ahead of safety and has been slow to provide adequate communications.
  • Chief Hrustich has failed to properly equip the fire rescue boat with proper lighting and other safety equipment necessary for the safe operation of the craft.
  • On multiple occasions, Chief Hrustich has assumed command of a fire scene without actually being on the scene thereby making uninformed decisions which place all fire personnel at risk.
  • He has repeatedly allowed the village fire department to operate with minimal staffing creating response delays and increasing the risk to residents and fire fighters.
  • Chief Hrustich has repeatedly placed his own advancement and image over the safety of his men and village residents.

The no confidence resolution concludes:

“Chief Hrustich has shown complete disregard for the health and safety of the members of Local 1280 by his actions and inactions. He does not have the best interests of the residents of the Village of Endicott in mind and puts his career advancement ahead of those that he is supposed to serve.”

The Chief of a fire department is tasked with protecting the health and safety of fire fighters and residents. The Endicott resolution highlights numerous deficiencies in Chief Hrustich’s command of the department. It reveals a pattern of self aggrandizement at the risk and expense of the men he is supposed to lead and protect. If the men who work most closely with their “part time” chief have lost confidence in him, how is it that Mayor Bertoni is oblivious to the deficiencies? Perhaps it is because the only person dedicating less time to his “part time” job than Chief Hrustich is Mayor Bertoni.

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