Monday, August 29, 2011

Retired Employee Speaks Out

“The power of the periodical press is second only to that of the people.” - Alexis de Tocqueville

The Fire Starter blog started nearly 17 months ago.  The idea was hatched because of frustration with the local media and its failure to report the whole story.  Much of the local media seems to be aligned with the "consolidate at all cost" crowd.  Whether it saves any money is entirely beside the point.  In its fervor to support consolidation, the local media either ignores or sugar coats stories which reflect poorly on the local politicians who advocate consolidation.  The Fire Starter has appointed itself the counterweight to this biased media.

It is with this in mind that we wrote last week's post regarding Hannon's call for dissolution.  We pointed out the numerous misteps by Mayor Dennis Hannon over the last 2 years..  We provided the factual background for each incompetency that has now brought the Village of Johnson City to the brink.  This was a surprisingly easy task since the Fire Starter has been writing about Hannon's wasteful ways from the beginning.  It apparently was a very hard task for the Press & Sun Bulletin since little or few of Hannon's follies were included in coverage of his call for dissolution.  It would be easy to excuse the Press and other media for mere incompetence.  But we now have proof that this an intentional bias.
The Press recently published an opinion piece from dissolutionist and Village Board candidate, John Sullivan.  In his column, he set up every strawman argument which ultimately led the reader to the erroneous conclusion that the village unions are bad and dissolution is the only answer.  Former Village police officer and current local elected official, Mike Cashman wrote a piece which highlighted Hannon's mismanagement and malevolent conduct.  To no one's surprise, despite being submitted three times, the Press declined to publish it.  Fire Starter has come into possession of this piece and without further ado, we present it in it's entirety:

Villages where formed to provide additional services for its taxpayers.

Mayor Hannon has done his best to destroy this great place. Taxpayers should know that all of the Village unions attempted to make concessions to the Village. Mayor Hannon refused to even entertain them saying "strings attached", not true.

The Police Union tried for 5 years to deal with the Village and were forced into arbitration twice. The fact that the Village leaders knew what the outcome of arbitration would be and failed to budget the money is poor management. Mayor Hannon's true colors have finally been made clear. Mayor Hannon pays a local law firm $200.00 an hour when the county attorney’s office offers to help for $50.00 per hour. Mayor Hannon paid close to $1,000,000.00 to the same law firm last fiscal year to fight the unions rather than sit down and talk with them.

DPW gives Village zero percent wage increase. Fire Dept offers $500,000 in give backs. Police offer 5 or 6 year deal with wage increase of less than half of cost of living and just over what the two year arbitration award ends up being. Police offer to increase contributions to Health to help share the burden with Village taxpayers.

Don’t kid yourself your town taxes will go up if the Village dissolves. You will pay more than town residents if you want your own police force and or fire department.

What did Mayor Hannon do with the all the money he saved with employee retirements? These are employees he has not and will not replace. The money is in the budget for salaries he no longer has to pay and adds up to several hundred thousand dollars.

Most Village Mayors are “doing more with less”. Our mayor is bankrupting the Village instead of leading the Village into the future. The businesses on Harry-L-Drive, Main Street and now CFJ Blvd/ Lester Avenue, and the people that live and shop in Johnson City deserve better than the leader they have.

Nicely done Mike.  The Press' refusal to print anything which casts an unfavorable light on Hannon is obvious to all but his most ardent supporters.  This is why we began this blog.  But it also remains incumbent upon all who reject Hannon's destructive ways to continue to write the Press and voice your opinion.  And most importantly, we must all vote.

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