Monday, September 20, 2010

Hannon Poised to Reject Federal Grant

Character is doing the right thing when nobody's looking. There are too many people who think that the only thing that's right is to get by, and the only thing that's wrong is to get caught. - J.C. Watts

Previously, the Village of Johnson City announced with great fanfare that they were taking every step to protect village taxpayers by applying for a SAFER grant from the federal government.  These grants are intended to provide funds to pay salaries for fire fighters for the next two years.  The idea is that this will help cities and villages maintain adequate fire service while we all weather the economic downturn.

Joint Fire Administrator Hrustich completed the grant application on behalf of the Village of Johnson City.    JFA Hrustich was seeking approximately 1.3 million dollars to fund 6 firefighter positions for the next two years.  Because the grant was poorly written and poorly documented, the grant was rejected in the first round of awards.

The federal government recently contacted the Village of Johnson City regarding a "second chance" grant.  In other words, since there was grant money remaining, the federal government is going back to those cities and villages that were previously denied and inquiring whether they would accept the grant if offered.

Fire Starter has learned that Mayor Hannon is advocating for the rejection of any grant money to preserve fire fighter positions.  He is alleging "additional expenses" associated with taking the grant money as his reason.  However, he apparently is incapable of expressing the nature and extent of these phantom "additional expenses".

In fact, the federal grants would likely fund these positions in their entirety.  In addition, contrary to prior allegations by Hannon, there is no requirement that the Village commit to funding a third year after the grant money runs out. Rejecting this federal money is fiscally irresponsible and Hannon knows it. Don't hold your breath for any grand announcement of this decision.  Hannon will likely try to execute this latest gambit in the dark of night.

This is further proof that Mayor Hannon's goal from the beginning has been the destruction of the fire department and the dissolution of the Village.  Once he is able to create a hobbled fire department that is incapable of fulfilling its duties, the case for dissolution becomes stronger.  The reasons for living in a village are the services provided.  Hobble or remove services and there is no reason to continue the Village.

Fire Starter has consistently held out hope that Mayor Hannon would be up front in his goals and desires.  If his goal is dissolution, he should come out and say so.  However, this would mean that Hannon would have to show courage and character.  And history has shown little evidence that he possesses either.

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