Tuesday, July 26, 2011

JC Police Short Staffed

"The backbone of our nation's domestic defense against terrorist attacks will continue to be the men and women in local law enforcement and emergency services."- Saxby Chambliss

Mayor Dennis Hannon has begun another investigation.  This time it is the police department.  Is it about a murder?  Illicit drug use?  Graft or Corruption?  No.  This time it is about police officers speaking to the public and telling the truth.  And since the truth often reflects poorly on Hannon and his destructive policies, you can be sure there will be a thorough investigation.

Fire Starter has written before about Hannon's dangerous cuts to public safety.  Since Hannon took office, the numbers of police officers and fire fighters has dwindled.  Whether through frivolous threats of firing or voluntary/involuntary retirements, Hannon has reduced both the police and fire departments to the point of ineffectiveness.  And those of us who have been watching this closely know that this has been his goal all along.

Well several weeks ago, Hannon's chickens came home to roost.  (Fortunately, this time, no one needed to die as a result of a mayor's recklessness.)  Because of vacations and other time off, the Village only had two officers on the road.  Not surprisingly, the need for these officers maintained at its usual level.  In such situations, calls are prioritized for the officers with the most urgent addressed first.  As a result, Village residents with less urgent business were left to wait between and 1 1/2 to 2 hours to receive the service they are paying for.

When officers arrived at the calls, they were frequently greeted by unhappy residents who questioned why it took so long to respond.  The officers explained that there were only two officers on duty and the calls were prioritized.  Apparently, residents dissatisfied with this explanation, flooded the Mayor and Village Board members with complaints.  One angry resident reportedly called Trustee Ron Davis and expressed his outrage.  Outgoing Trustee Davis effectively told him "too bad". (It is amazing how these public servants lose interest when they are not running again). 

However, Davis did go to Village Hall and demand immediate action on the issue.  He insisted that the officer who advised the resident of the limited staff be punished immediately!

Fortunately, Mayor Hannon is taking a much more proactive approach.  He has ordered an investigation of the officers involved and who would be surprised if punishment soon follows.  And he also has directed his toady chief, Zikuski, to order officers not to tell residents about staffing.  Apparently, if asked about delays, officers are now ordered to stare blankly and change the subject.  Problem solved!!

Leadership is not bullying subordinates and squelching free speech.  Leadership is taking the tough stands and then taking responsibility for the consequences.  Hannon was quick to take bows when announcing limited increases to tax rates.  But when the consequences are inadequate services, he is looking for someone to blame.  This is not leadership.  This is cowardice.

Although Hannon is not up for re-election, one of his toadies is.  Long time dissolutionist and Hannon sycophant, John Sullivan is on the ballot.  The only way residents can take back our Village is by winning a majority on the Village Board.  A vote for Sullivan is a vote for Hannon and dissolution.  Yes men like Sullivan must be defeated

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Bloody Hands

“Successful guilt is the bane of society” - Publilius Syrus

Fire Starter has written regarding the reckless cuts to emergency services in both Johnson City and Endicott.  We have repeatedly pointed the finger of blame at the respective mayors, Dennis Hannon and John Bertoni.  We have also repeatedly highlighted the toady Joint Fire Administrator, Stephen Hrustich, as the architect of the dismantling of these vital services.

The Mayors and Hrustich have been playing a dangerous game.  They have cut the fire departments nearly to the point of ineffectiveness.  And this has been the plan all along.  Once the departments can no longer function, it will be easy to eliminate them entirely.  All the while, Hannon, Bertoni and Hrustich have been crossing their fingers that not tragedy would ensue.  It now appears that their luck has run out.  And a citizen has paid the price.

One month ago, Hrustich issued an order that if staffing in the fire department fell below five on duty fire fighters, the fire fighters would vastly curtail EMS calls.  Specifically, fire fighters were ordered to no longer respond to "delta" calls if there were fewer than five fire fighters on duty.  A "delta" call is a high priority call where advanced life support is required.  An "echo" call is a maximum priority call where cardiac arrest has occurred and death is imminent.

Two weeks ago, a citizen collapsed at the Schaeffer bus terminal in Endicott.  The 911 dispatch call came in as a "delta" call.  Since there were four fire fighters on duty, Endicott Fire EMS was not allowed to respond the four or five blocks to the scene.  Instead, the Union Volunteer Emergency Squad (UVES) was dispatched.  Unfortunately, the UVES ambulance was unavailable and the UVES "fly car" with one paramedic had to come from Johnson City.  As a result, the citizen waited on the ground for 5-6 minutes before he received ANY medical attention and another 5-6 minutes before the ambulance arrived.  In these precious minutes of waiting, the citizen died.

While all of this was going on, four able Endicott Fire Fighter EMTs sat by helplessly in the fire station.  Prohibited from responding by their chief, they were left to watching the clock while an elderly man's life slipped away.

There is no way to know for sure whether the fire fighters could have saved this man's life.  But a significantly shorter response time would have certainly increased his chances.

What is patently clear is that Bertoni and Hrustich's wreckless slashing of emergency services in Endicott has placed citizens at risk.  They are playing political and fiscal games with your safety for their own political and financial gain.  If a citizen dies, so be it.

Enough is enough.  If this was your husband, brother or father who laid helplessly on the ground, would you merely shake your head and remark "what a shame it is" or would you demand answers.  Would you hold the officials accountable or merely file it away as a bad memory.

The time to act is now.  Next time, it might be your mother, son or wife.  Or perhaps even you.  And the blood will be on Bertoni's and Hrustich's hands.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Endicott Follies Continue

"No poet ever interpreted nature as freely as a lawyer interprets the truth." - Jean Giraudoux

Fire Starter read with great astonishment regarding the latest scandal involving someone close to the Village of Endicott Mayor.  Saturday's Press & Sun Bulletin reported that Bertoni appointee and part time Village Justice, Michael Fauci, has numerous judgements filed against him by the State of New York.  These judgements include:
  • Fines and penalties for failing to provide Workman's Compensation coverage to protect his employees
  • Several fines for violations of the Election Law
  • Judgement for unpaid taxes
  • Judgement for failure to pay unemployment taxes.
Fauci, a practicing attorney for many years, claimed that he could not find anyone to talk to to clear up the nearly $100K judgement from Workman's Compensation so he just stopped calling.  As weak as this excuse was, at least he put in a good try.  No explanation was given regarding all of the other judgements and penalties that this officer of the court ignored.

This latest episode of arrogance by public servants is disturbing for several reasons.  Fauci is charged with judging criminal and civil cases that arise in the Village of Endicott.  If he is this dismissive of the law in his personal matters, is he fit to pass judgement on others?  When confronted about these debts, his answer was "I'll get around to it".  Would such an answer be acceptable in Judge Fauci's court?  How can this "hand maiden of the law" have any moral authority going forward?

And what about his patron, King John the Clueless?  Mayor John Bertoni has appointed Fauci to this position several times.  His best answer was these are "lawyer charges rather than judge charges".  Wait...What!?  It is as if it does not matter what Fauci does on his own time and his off bench conduct in no way reflects on his role as a judge.  We suppose it is at least a plus that Fauci doesn't claim to "own the village".  But his dismissive attitude is reflective of the same arrogance displayed by Bertoni.

In classic Bertoni-eaze, he notes "whether that transforms to him being a judge and upholding and enforcing the law, I'll talk to him once I get the official reports"  Huh??  Fire Starter is not even sure what this sentence means.  Fauci has broken and flouted the law.  What else does King John the Unintelligible need to know?

And then there is the money quote: "If this raises a red flag, we will deal with it".  Mayor Bertoni--meet red flag.  Over $100k in judgements and fines from the State of New York and the answer is "I'll get around to it".

But King John the Witless never sees the red flags.  Whether it is the reckless and incompetent Joint Fire Administrator Hrustich, the incompetent airport manager or his many other friends and family, Bertoni chooses not to see the red flags.

But it appears that residents are beginning to see red flags everywhere.  And Bertoni  the color guard.