Monday, February 28, 2011

Sullivan At It Again

“The true hypocrite is the one who ceases to perceive his deception, the one who lies with sincerity” -Andre Gide

We have previously written regarding the lies peddled by the lead dissolutionist, John Sullivan.  The vote against dissolution in November of 2009 did nothing to quiet Mr. Sullivan.  He continues to spread his lies and half truths.

We subsequently pointed out that Mr. apparently lives in a glass house when it comes to public wages and benefits.  Mr. Sullivan rants against public employees pay and benefits while his wife works for the Endicott School district and receives even more generous pay and benefits than he criticizes.  We went on to point out that:
"And you would never know that perhaps his interest in "secession" of a portion of JC could be at least in part fueled not by his sense of civic duty but rather his frustrated attempts to launch a development project."

Well, this latest bit of self interested hypocrisy has again come to the surface.  Previously, Mr. Sullivan attempted to develop some property above the Indian Ridge apartments.  The project was blocked by the Planning Board based upon Sullivan's inability to secure a performance bond.  Sullivan then sought dissolution with the belief that if the Village was dissolved, he would get approval from the Town of Union.  Dissolution failed and Sullivan's project was shelved.

Flash forward  1 1/2 years and we see a partnership attempting to develop this same property.  A group has proposed middle income senior housing and is seeking approval by the Broome County Industrial Development agency.  Only this time, Sullivan is not a part of the project.  And surprise...he is a vocal opponent of the project.

Sullivan has repeatedly accused public employees of greed.  However, if you track Mr. Sullivan's actions, they are driven by nothing but self interest and greed.  Public pay and benefits are fine for him but no one else.  Development is good for him but no one else.  Dissolution is the only solution...when your pet project is stalled.

It is time to unmask these duplicitous hypocrites and show them for the greedy cowards they as to better understand their hidden motives and agendas.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

It's Official...Scheme on Hold

“There are two things to be considered with regard to any scheme. In the first place, ''Is it good in itself?'' In the second, ''Can it be easily put into practice?''” - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Fire Starter noted with great interest last weeks story about promotions within the Johnson City Fire Department.  Then over the weekend, buried further in the paper, there was a story that Hannon and Bertoni's Fire District; the thrust of which was that because Johnson City and Endicott are not contiguous, it may be "more difficult than anticipated". 

We initially note that it's good to know that the Press and Sun Bulletin are reading this blog.  Maybe they will begin to report real news and expose real corruption within the local municipalities.  Certainly we make it easy for them. We do the research and get to the tough answers.  The least they could do is print the stories.

However, we were disappointed that the Press limited it's inquiry into the technical failing of this hair brained scheme.  We have provided many reasons why this is a bad idea from a financial and safety standpoint.  In case they are still reading, insurance costs, response times and expense, and the forfeiting of federal aid are all significant non-technical problem with this scheme.  This should be enough material to keep the Press and Sun Bulletin busy for a little while!

Now, with the hair brained fire district plan placed on the back burner, Johnson City has decided to promote command officers.  This is certainly a positive development.  But note that while Hannon and Bertoni were fiddling, they were burning money.  The Press story noted that while pursuing the destruction of the fire department, the Village wasted over $50,000 on overtime rather than promote firefighters.  This can only be explained by Hannon's myopic view of the fire department.  As we have pointed out in the past, for Hannon, no price is too high for the destruction of the fire department.  The Village's legal fees over the last two years easily exceed $350,000 just for fire department related matters.  And what have they got to show for it?

At some point, the madness needs to end.  But it will likely only happen when the madman leaves.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Candidates for County Executive

“Politics: “Poli” a Latin word meaning “many”; and "tics" meaning “bloodsucking creatures”.” - Robin Williams

Fire Starter was fascinated by the sudden resignation of County Executive Barbara Fiala.  In the immediate aftermath, there has been no shortage of Republicans and Democrats lining up to replace Fiala.  Maybe with these crowded fields, it is an opportunity for a third party candidate.  As you might expect, we have a few suggestions of candidates and slogans.

John Bertoni - "Take off several months- The place practically runs itself" - The Do Nothing Party

No one can certainly fault Mayor Bertoni of Endicott for overworking.  Since becoming mayor 3 1/2 years ago, he has definitely put in a solid six months worth of time in the Village. When he is not taking trips or playing cards with his cronies, he is being led around by the nose by Dennis Hannon.  His strongest selling point is that he could hardly do any damage since he is hardly around.  This may make him a leading candidate in our book.

JFA Stephen Hrustich - "Elect Hrustich - The life you save may be your own." - The Peter Principle Party

We have posted previously regarding Joint Fire administrator Hrustich's incompetence as an administrator and as a fire fighter.  He has repeatedly cut corners in Johnson City  and Endicott placing citizens at risk through under staffing and resulting delayed response times. Possibly his single greatest contribution to safety in these communities would be achieved by him leaving the fire service where his decisions have life and death consequences.  As John Bertoni notes above, government practically runs itself.

Joint Police Chief Joe Zikuski - "a penny saved is a penny that should be spent". -The Spendthrift Party

We have pointed out previously that Zikuski has been given responsibility over two police departments and substantial budgets while historically his personal finances have been a train wreck.  Having previously filed for bankruptcy and having frequently gone through financial turmoil, he has shown himself incapable of managing his personal life, much less substantial budgets for large organizations.  But both Hannon and Ryan think he has the right stuff.  And that's good enough for us.

Mayor Matt Ryan - "I've got endless ideas for more signs" -The Rhetoric Party

We were critical of Mayor Ryan's "cost of war signs".  This political posturing on the public's dime illustrates everything that is bad with politicians.  Although being County Executive may give hm more opportunities for more signs, we somehow doubt a "cost of  health care reform" or a "cost of the stimulus bill" sign would be forthcoming.  But we do believe that his empty headed platitudes and bromides may be just what we in Broome County need.  Some good rhetoric is certainly more important than a super market on the north side of Binghamton...and much easier to achieve.  At least we would feel like something is being done about our problems...even if it's all talk.

Mayor Dennis Hannon - "I'll do to Broome County what I have done to Johnson City" - The Demolition Party

And how could any list be complete without our own little emperor, Dennis Hannon.  His systematic dismantling of the police and fire departments in the Village certainly puts him on any "short list".  His willingness to abuse power to settle years old scores and prove his certainly impresses.  If he could only be elected as Broome County Executive, he could play on a bigger stage and tear apart bigger institutions.  We could get to the point where only FOD's (Friends of Dennis) would be employed.  Although they would be over payed and incompetent, there certainly would not be a lot of them.  Who would want to admit being a Friend  of Hannon's?

These are just a few suggestions.  We are sure that as the political season approaches other ideas for candidates and slogans will arise...and we won't hesitate to share.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Fire District on Hold?

“Their insatiable lust for power is only equaled by their incurable impotence in exercising it.” -Winston Churchill

The Fire Starter recently reported on Hannon's and Bertoni's hairbrained scheme to eliminate Village fire fighters and create a fire district encompassing both Villages.  This proposed district would be composed of fully volunteer or a combination paid and volunteer fire fighters.  We pointed out that fire districts must be contiguous areas so that proper protection can be provided to all citizens within the district.  Since Endicott and Johnson City are not contiguous, Hannon had proposed including a strip of land through Endwell and along the river to connect the two villages. We pointed out that in addition to being contrary to the spirit of the state mandate, it placed residents at risk since even with this strip of land physically connecting the two villages, the villages would not be connected in any true sense.

Well apparently, for now, public safety has won.  The Fire Starter has learned that Endwell Volunteer Fire Department and its commissioners have rejected this absurd plan. Endwell Volunteer Fire Fighters were deeply concerned about  Hannon's scheme as it left large portions of the river and State Route 17 in no-man's land between the two villages.  In other words, if there was a serious accident or need for a river rescue between the villages, how long would it take to respond?  Hannon's scheme, although plausibly dealing with technical legal impediments places public safety at risk.  But of course, public safety has never been high among Hannon's priorities.

Small minded and petty vindictiveness has been the touchstone of Hannon's reign.  If this scheme fails, how will Hannon get himself back on the front page of the paper?  How long will it be before Hannon trumps up charges on Marty Maney or on of the other union leaders?  Or maybe just go after another "lowly maintenance" man.  It appears that muscle flexing and bravado is the chosen smoke screen to cover for Hannon's impotence.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

What Does Hannon Do?

“One of the surprising things in this world is the respect a worthless man has for himself” - Edgar Watson Howe

Fire Starter has focused on the numerous cuts to public safety that have been implemented since Mayor Hannon has been involved in Village of Johnson City government.  We have noted the layoffs and the abuses of discipline which have severely thinned the ranks of the Johnson City police department and fire departments.  In place of these dedicated career civil servants, Hannon has made deals where the Village has agreed to underwrite the costs of neighboring communities.  This was certainly true in the case of Joint Fire Administrator Hrustich and Police Chief Zikuski.  In feathering these two individuals' nests with taxpayer dollars, Hannon has purchased loyalty to to himself at the expense of public safety.  He has continued to underwrite Binghamton's police detectives through a "sharing arrangement" in which Binghamton "shares" JC detectives and Johnson City gets to "share" the cost.

We have pointed out that while Hannon has engaged in his backroom conniving, economic development in the village has become non-existent.  He is running up large tabs to pursue his petty schemes while doing nothing to improve revenue stream or the quality of life.  Most recently we pointed out that he seems to want to give away revenue received for fire protection to execute his destruction of the fire department.  Some would say that it is part of a bigger plan that we "mere mortals" can not appreciate.

What this "mere mortal" does appreciate is the fact that Hannon has abdicated his responsibilities as Mayor.  The first and most important responsibility of the Mayor is to provide for the public safety.  Instead, he is dismantling once great institutions. 

In the meantime, Hannon has shown himself incapable of even getting the streets of Johnson City cleared this week.  The Fire Starter took a drive through the Village on Tuesday around midday.  We were shocked to find that little had been accomplished in terms of snow removal.  Major arteries such as Harry L Drive and Reynolds Road had been untouched almost twelve hours into the storm.  Many cars were observed turning around rather than attempting to ascend Reynolds Road.

If Hannon will not provide for proper police and fire protection and can not even clear the roads, what is his purpose?  Is his only reason to be Mayor to get press coverage and persecute enemies?  It certainly is not public safety and it is not economic development. 

We deserve so much better than this petty autocrat.