“It is better to be a mouse in a cat's mouth than a man in a lawyer's hands” - Spanish Proverb
Fire Starter read with great amusement the article yesterday regarding the Village of Johnson City's legal bills. As we have previously argued, no price is too high to tear down Hannon's enemies...that is so long as Village taxpayers are footing the bill.
The Press & Sun Bulletin reported that in 2010, the Village of Johnson City spent over $250,000 on Binghamton lawyers. A sizeable amount, by any measure. But what the Press failed to note is that this is on top of similar levels of legal expenditures in 2009. Since Hannon has taken the reins, the Village has spent nearly one half million dollars on lawyers. This appears to be a hefty tab for a village that previously had a $50,000 budget for legal advice. But Hannon assures us that this is all money well spent. Trust him...would he lie to you?
Lacking from the Press story was any context. For example, what are other similar sized Villages spending on legal services? The Press had no problem providing this sort of context when using deceptive numbers regarding Village fire fighter salaries. But strangely, no such context was sought or reported. Further, Hannon claims $400,00 in savings as a result of eliminating minimum manning from the fire department. But where did that number come from? There is precious little support for the claim that the Village spent this kind of money for overtime to maintain an adequate fire department. And there would have been no shortage of fire fighters had Hannon and the Village Board not illegally laid off 6 Village fire fighters. And of course, any alleged savings must be offset by the overtime expenditures made over the last two years by the failure to promote.
And of course, Hannon does not admit how many times the fire station on Floral Avenue has been closed due to his reckless layoffs and lack of overtime. The only real question is how long will the Village "skate by" before someone is injured or killed? And how will Hannon explain that to the victim's family?
This is no theoretical discussion. Several weeks ago, a retired Village fire fighter, Tim Moran, collapsed while working out at a local gym. Johnson City medics responded to the scene to find their "brother" unresponsive. Village fire fighters worked on Moran for over 10 minutes before a local ambulance company arrived on the scene. Although their heroic efforts at resuscitation were unsuccessful, the fact remains that they were the first to arrive and at least gave Moran a chance. Had the Floral Avenue station been closed due to a lack of overtime, the Village fire department would not have been able to respond and Moran would have laid on the ground for an additional 10 minutes without medical care.
So what is Hannon's response? Overspending on lawyers is a good investment. Real investment in public safety is just "something we can no longer afford".
Do you supposed Tim Moran's family feels that way? If it was your loved one, would you feel that way?