Monday, March 7, 2011

District Propososal Rejected Again

“A man's reputation is what other people think of him; his character is what he really is.” - Unknown

We recently noted that the Mayors of Johnson City and Endicott have resolved to destroy their respective fire departments and replace them with either a volunteer department or a combination volunteer/paid department.  Although the public will lose in effective response time, effective fire fighting and insurance costs, both Hannon and Bertoni seem bent on destroying this valuable service.  Although they preach fiscal austerity, it really seems to be more an issue of personal grievances and payback.  No other explanation makes sense since service will diminish and the total cost to the taxpayer will be roughly the same.

We have reported that the idea of of a Johnson City/Endicott fire district has been temporarily shelved.  In addition to being costly and inefficient, it also does not comport with the reality that the two communities are not contiguous.  Hannon was "too clever by half" and thought that if the new district could just include a small strip of land along the river in Endwell, he could claim contiguity.  This plan was rejected by Endwell because of safety concerns.  But Hannon and Bertoni do not care whether this model makes any sense from a public safety standpoint.  The important thing is to destroy the fire departments.

Publicly, Hannon has acknowledged that the process is not moving as quickly as he would like.  However, Fire Starter has learned that Hannon dispatched his over paid and under worked joint fire administrator, Hrustich, to again attempt to influence the Endwell Volunteer Fire company chief, Jeff Winchell.  Hrustich was given a basket of goodies to offer Endwell including promises of money and territory Johnson City would cede to Endwell.

Imagine Hrustich's surprise when he encountered a man of character and principle in the person of Chief Winchell.  Chief Winchell reportedly again cited concerns over safety and efficiency.  Winchell was reportedly not willing to compromise safety so as to allow Hannon's hairbrained scheme to go forward.  Perhaps most perplexing to Hrustich, Winchell told him that he did not believe the plan was ethical.  Hrustich likely had to look this one up in the dictionary as it is clearly a concept completely foreign to him.  At the very least, Hrustich would need to gain some understanding of the ethical concerns since he would later need to explain the concept to the ethically challenged Hannon and Bertoni.  One can only imagine how those conversations went.

The extreme steps being pursued by Hannon and Bertoni in pursuit of this foolish and unworkable fire district "plan" highlight the petty desperation of both men.  If they are successful, all three communities will be harmed.  But the process itself provides a small window into the dark place in Hannon, Bertoni and Hrustich...the place where their soul is supposed to be.

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