Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Where is Hannon??

Heroes are not known by the loftiness of their carriage; the greatest braggarts are generally the merest cowards”  - Jean-Jacques Rousseau

Fire Starter recently noticed that mayor Dennis “Megaphone” Hannon has been quieter than usual. In the past, Hannon reveled in his ability to throw mud at his foes and perceived foes. Hannon never missed an opportunity to make an unsubstantiated accusation or paint the cloud of suspicion over otherwise innocent residents and employees. However, as of late, Hannon has receded into the background amid various controversies arising within the Village. When it comes to the misfeasance or malfeasance of Hannon and his cronies Hannon has had little to say publicly.

When the Press & Sun Bulletin revealed that the Village had a large expenditure for a fire hydrants through a “no bid” sweetheart deal, Hannon promised to “get to the bottom of it”. It was unclear why the sleazy backroom deal was made. However, what was clear is that in the end, the Village of Johnson City spent in excess of $100,000.00 on enough fire hydrants to last it for the next 5 to 10 years. Something was clearly wrong with this deal. Yet Hannon has been uncharacteristically silent since his initial comments.

Then there is the reckless behavior of Dennis Hannon’s golden boy, Joint Fire Administrator, Hrustich. Both the Johnson City and Endicott Fire Departments took votes of no confidence in which Hrustich’s dishonesty and reckless disregard for safety were featured. More recently, it has come to light that Hrustich’s reckless ways have not abated. His reckless driving while responding to a fire call and endangering the welfare of his own children has been highlighted here in recent weeks. Again, strangely, Hannon has been silent.

Fire Starter has recently learned that Hrustich placed Johnson City firefighters in danger at the funeral of a well–liked local official. Hrustich had agreed to deploy a flag from an aerial ladder in honor of this public servant.  Unfortunately, this required a fire fighter to be in the aerial bucket.  Completely disregarding safety, Hrustich ordered Johnson City Firefighters to deploy an aerial ladder while the fire truck was parked on the side of a hill.  The direction needlessly placed Johnson City Firefighters and a Johnson City aerial truck in great danger of “rolling over”.  This maneuver is contrary to factory recommendations and contrary to good common sense.  However, we have yet to hear any comment from Mayor Hannon.

And then there is the matter of the Sewage Treatment Plant. Both as a Trustee and as Mayor, Hannon is up to his ears in… well you know. He and his cronies, Monica Silas and Rick Balles ignored repeated warnings regarding the impending failure of the retaining walls at the Sewage Treatment Plant. In evidence going back as far as 2008, Village Board members were warned of the serious problem at the Sewage Treatment Plant. Rather than deal with this important matter, Hannon and his friends were pursuing personal vendettas and proving to everyone who’s in charge. However, when the “sh*t hit the van”, so to speak, Hannon gave a resounding “no comment”.

In the midst of these various crises and scandals one would expect that a true leader would be spending his time gathering facts and seeking solutions. However, Fire Starter has learned that instead, Hannon has gone on an extended vacation to his 1000 Islands retreat. Now that is leadership!

Mayor Hannon should know that he can run but he cannot hide. The issues he ran from will be there when he returns and the Fire Starter will be there to hold him responsible. His retreat from scandal will not result in the scandals dying. Fire Starter is committed to continuing to reveal Hannon for the incompetent coward he is.

None of this should come as any surprise to those who have watched Hannon bully his way through life. Our mothers always told us that underneath it all, bully’s are cowards. Is there any doubt about Hannon?

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Hrustich's Recklessness Criminal?

Hubris: - n - Exaggerated pride or self confidence - Merriam Webster Dictionary

Fire Starter recently reported regarding Joint Fire Administrator Hrustich's reckless and high speed driving.  Of significance was the fact that neither incident involved an emergency in the Villages of Johnson City or Endicott.  Despite this, Hrustich drove at a high rate of speed with lights and sirens and endangered the lives of Endwell Volunteer Fire Fighters and in one case, placed his own children in harms way.  Hrustich sped to the scene of a body recovery from the river at a high rate of speed with his young children in the fire command vehicle.  He then had the arrogance to photograph his children in the command vehicle.

Fire Starter has done a little amateur lawyering and found some suprising information.  Under New York Criminal Law, Hrustich may well have committed a crime by proceeding lights and sirens and at a high rate of speed with his minor children in the vehicle.  Under Section 260.10,a person is guilty of a crime if he:

"knowingly acts in a manner likely to be injurious to the physical, mental or moral welfare of a child less than 17 or directs or authorizes such child to engage in an occupation involving substantial risk of danger to his life or health"
A reading of some of the writings on this law reveals that actual harm is not necessary.  Rather, merely placing a child in a potentially dangerous situation is sufficient to result in a conviction.  A violation of this section is a Class A midemeanor and can result in incarceration. 

Proceeding to an emergency scene is always a dangerous propostition.  Many fire fighters have lost their lives long before arriving at the scene of an emergency.  Add in reckless driving and a high rate of speed and there is more than the potential for injury.  It was mere dumb luck that somewone has not been injured or killed by this unprofessional yahoo.

So why would Hrustich place his own children and the lives of citizens and fellow firefighters at risk?  Especially when he was responding to a call where "his men" were esentially waiting for a body to float by?  Hubris.

Hrustich is the grand high exalted poobah amongst chiefs.  No emergency scene can operate without him.  So much so that the prior no confidence votes taken by both departments complained of him giving orders before actually being on the scene.

And of course, if there is the possibility of media being present, Hrustich needs to arrive as quickly as possible to "address his public"   When Hrustich is at a fire scene, the most dangerous place to be is between him and the television cameras.

As foolish and pathetic as this over paid and under worked joint fire administrator is, he is not to be pitied.  It is those who must follow the orders of this arrogant and reckless "public servant" who deserve our concern.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Sullivan to Run

A man is called selfish not for pursuing his own good, but for neglecting his neighbor's. - Richard Whately

Fire Starter has just learned that long time dissolutionist and purveyor of false information, John Sullivan, will be running for Johnson City Village Board.  Fire Starter has highlighted some of the low-lights of this self serving hypocrite here and here.  Fire Starter believes that Sullivan represents everything wrong with many who seek public office.  For Sullivan and his ilk, it is not about public service but about getting what he believes is his.

He now apparently believes that the public will forget his talk of seceding from the Village.  He must believe the public will forget his lies regarding the the pay and benefits of Village employees and the savings from dissolution.  He must believe the public will forget that while he rails against public employees, he happily laps at the public trough.

One might easily believe that Sullivan is a well intentioned but misguided or misinformed resident.  Unfortunately, the facts point to a different conclusion.  When Sullivan sought dissolution of the Village, it was not out of some high minded  concern for taxes or services.  Mr. Sullivan sought the dissolution out of greed.  Sullivan was frustrated with his inability to launch a development project off of Reynolds Road.  Having been blocked by the planning board, Sullivan believed the only way to push the project forward was to eliminate the Village and take his chances with a more sympathetic Town of Union planning board.  This sort of self interested motivation is exactly what is wrong in local government.  Far too many of our local politicians have feathered their own nests and the nests of friends and allies on the public's dime.

Bertoni has secured full employment for his family and friends.  Hannon has done likewise while using his power and public funds to attack and destroy his enemies.  Both have advocated the reckless spending of hundreds of thousands of dollars on lawyers to pursue their petty plans.  And where has Sullivan been with regards to Hannon's reckless and wasteful spending?  Right there on the sidelines cheering.

One could assume that Sullivan merely believes all of Hannon's actions were proper and legitimate.  But based upon Sullivans prior actions and motivations, it is clear that he sees another way to dissolution.  A vote for Sullivan will be a vote to continue the financial ruin of the Village.  Whether it is mismanagement of the sewage treatment plant or reckless spending on lawyers and fire hydrants, Sullivan will be a rubber stamp on all of Hannon's vindictive schemes.

And why not?   Dissolution failed almost two years ago.  The next best thing would be to cause the financial collapse of the Village.  Hannon has gotten a pretty good start.  Now all he needs is another ally like Sullivan to finish the job.

Sullivan now runs for Village Board to do what he was unable to to do through the dissolution vote.  But in the end, for John Sullivan, it is not about good government.  It is just about John Sullivan.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Complaint Filed Against Hrustich

Arrogance diminishes wisdom” - Arabian Proverb

A number of  months ago, the Fire Starter reported regarding the no confidence votes taken by Johnson City and Endicott fire fighters.  Unlike the local media, we went into great detail regarding the specifics of the charges.  We reported on the Johnson City no confidence vote here and the Endicott no confidence vote here.  In both instances, fire fighters raised grave concerns regarding the Joint Fire Administrator.  Issues regarding safety and competency were detailed for the respective Village Boards.  To date, neither Board has taken action.  At the very least an investigation should have occurred.  The OSHA violations alone should have been cause for concern on the part of elected officials.

More recently we reported regarding the Joint Fire Administrator placing members of the public, fellow fire fighters and his own children in danger.  Joint Fire Administrator Hrustich raced to the scene of a river rescue originating in the City of Binghamton while his children were in the back seat of his taxpayer provided vehicle.  With full lights and sirens and at a high rate of speed, Hrustich sped to the riverbank while his children sat in the back seat of the fire command vehicle.  Along the way, Hrustich nearly collided with a responding rig from the Endwell fire Department.

The JFA apparently is so devoid of judgement and common sense that he thought it was "cute" that his children accompanied him to this emergency scene.  He even took pictures of his children in the command vehicle at the scene! (Fire Starter has seen the pictures but is withholding their publication to protect the children).   Fire Starter is unsure which represents the greater lapse in judgement.  Responding to the fire scene with children may have been a momentary yet dangerous lapse in judgement.  But upon arriving at the scene, it apparently still seemed perfectly fine such that he memorialized the event with photos taken with his village paid cell phone.

Fire Starter has learned that a formal complaint against Hrustich has been filed by the Endicott Fire Fighters.  The Fire Fighters Association has detailed this most recent reckless (arrogant?) behavior and asked for a formal investigation by an outside party.  The Association specifically charges Hrustich with poor judgement, poor leadership and overall recklessness and asks that this most recent incident be examined along with the prior no confidence charges.

Fire Starter agrees with the Association.  It is imperative to the safety of Village residents and fire fighters that these serious charges be investigated.  The village has given life and death responsibility to Hrustich.  If he is incapable of exercising reasonable judgement to ensure the safety of his own children, it it not unreasonable to assume that this recklessness will place others in danger.

The time to act is now.  An outside investigation is fully warranted based upon the evidence of Hrustich's dereliction of duty.  Now the question is whether the respective boards will be derelict in their duties.