Monday, October 4, 2010

All In The Family

“Corruption and hypocrisy ought not to be inevitable products of democracy, as they undoubtedly are today” - Mahatma Gandhi

Fire Starter has noticed a disturbing trend in local government.  Supposed fiscal hawks have cut public safety to the core while placing various friends and family on the public payroll.

In Endicott, Mayor Bertoni has placed numerous family members on the public payroll while slashing police and fire budgets.  John Green, an ersatz brother-in-law was hired to work at the waste water treatment plant.  This was done despite the fact that Mr. Green had no qualifications or experience for this position.  Prior to taking this position, Mr. Green was a sporting goods salesman.  Mr. Green was hired over Carmen Grecco, a former IBM chemist.

The Mayor's son, Brian Bertoni has also been placed on the Village payroll.  He apparently worked as a baker for a local bread company.  This apparently qualified him for a position in the Water Department.  Bertoni's son was hired over Greg Diaferio.  Mr. Diaferio has over 16 years experience in the field.

Mayor Bertoni also has a relative working in public works for the Village of Endicott.  Fire Starter will continue to dig for the details regarding this individual.

Johnson City Mayor Dennis Hannon enjoys crowing about his "fiscal responsibility"  What we didn't know was that he was talking about his family.

The Mayor's daughter, Kayla, works in the Village Court as a clerk.  She has no background or experience that would qualify her for such a job.  In addition, she is one of three clerks in a Village of  a little over 14,000 residents.  This doesn't even include "Senior Clerk" Rachelle Gallagher, about whom we have written in the past.  You'll recall that Rachelle's husband, Scott is an assignments editor at WBNG and ALSO on the Village payroll.

Fire Starter has recently learned that Mayor Hannon is proposing a take back of dispatching for the police department.  As part of past consolidation efforts, Broome County has taken over dispatching in conjunction with the local departments.  Under the guise of "putting more officers on the street", Hannon will propose sending the one officer in the station out on the street and hiring several civilian dispatchers to take his place.  In addition to not being cost effective and possibly detrimental to proper police supervision, it also appear to be self serving.

Fire Starter has learned that one of the leading candidates for one the dispatching jobs are Hannon's wife, and current Broome 911 dispatcher, Tammie Hotaling.  The other is retired Johnson City Police  Darren Hannon.  The last name is not a coincidence.  Darren is Dennis Hannon's brother.   Although both may be qualified, it certainly raises questions regarding priorities in these difficult economic times.

What all of these instances highlight is the arrogance of power and abuse of the public trust.  These go beyond the appearance of impropriety and approach corruption.  Public office is a sacred trust.  Not a trough for mayors to feed their family and friends.

If we can't afford essential public safety services, we certainly cannot afford this sort of graft.

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