Monday, November 8, 2010

Has Hannon Lost Confidence?

"The problem is, the truth hurts. And it's even harder to admit that you're wrong." - Daniel Anglea

Fire Starter read with incredulity Mayor Hannon's statements regarding the informational brochure distributed to Village residents several weeks ago.  Rather than attempt a point by point rebuttal, he dismissed the pamphlet as a "fairy tale".  One would think that if the publication was that inaccurate, the Mayor, with all of the facts, figures and records on hand would have been able to prove the fallacy of the assertions in the pamphlet.  Instead, Hannon makes several conclusory statements with absolutely no back-up.  If the facts are unfavorable, engage in ad hominem attack.

Which brings us to the article in the Press & Sun Bulletin on Saturday.  Apparently, Hannon felt it necessary to reveal the contents of the Village Fire Fighters no confidence vote taken in December of 2009.  In the no confidence resolution, Village Fire Fighters raise numerous issues regarding the dangerous management style of Chief Hrustich.  Numerous examples of his reckless disregard for safety are provided. 

Again, rather than provide a basis for rejecting the resolution, Mayor Hannon attacks the messenger and their motivations.  Fire Starter is of the belief that if Hrustich was such a great Chief and Administrator, Hannon would have been able to list his numerous accomplishments.  However, as we know, Hrustich's accomplishments are few and his missteps many.

Fire Starter has listed numerous instances of Hrustich's poor performance.  He apparently makes life and death command decisions when he is not even at the scene of a fire.  He advocated and briefly implemented automatic first alarm response between Endicott and Johnson City; a practice which left one or both Villages vulnerable.  He has let training lapse on life saving techniques including confined space rescue and and  boat rescue.  He has made manpower cuts resulting in station closures, under manning and delayed response time.  One can only imagine how bad Hrustich would be if he was not such a great administrator as Hannon asserts.

Maybe the Fire Starter is reading too much into Hannon's fact-less and tepid defense of Hrustich.  But it certainly raises two possibilities.  Either Hannon has no facts to support Hrustich.  Or perhaps Hannon is growing tired of his pet Fire Chief and has decided to let him twist in the wind.  Otherwise, why would Hannon release the no confidence resolution to the press?  It certainly does not paint a favorable picture of Hrustich's management and command of the Johnson City Fire Department.

It is also worthy of note that in yesterday's Press & Sun Bulletin, a Johnson City resident noted the cold, callous and thoughtless way in which Hrustcih discussed a recent fire victim.  The letter writer first commended the Johnson City fire fighters for efficiently putting the fire out.  She then went on to note:
"I would like to express deep distress over Chief Stephen Hrustich's actions. He had no business announcing that a very sweet 89-year-old lady was a hoarder. If he had exhibited an iota of compassion, the TV and print reporters would have had enough for coverage of a horrific house fire. But, no, he felt it necessary to demean a woman he didn't even know."
To paraphrase former President Bush, "your doing a heckuva job, Stevie".

As a final aside, it appears that now that the election season is over, Hannon will begin to dig into his secret files and see what kind of mud he can throw at his enemies.  Unfortunately for him, the public is tired of his nonsense.  They want real answers to the challenges that face the Village.  Fire Starter believes that Hannon should use his energies to improve Johnson City rather than throw stones.  But we are not hopeful that he has heard the voters.

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