Monday, September 19, 2011

Free Speech Prevails

"All that is necessary for evil to triumph is for good men to do nothing" - Edmund Burke

At the last Village of Johnson City Board Meeting, resident Julie Deemie stood to speak to the issue of Mayor Dennis Hannon's incompetence.  She began to detail his mismanagement of the village.  She did so in a respectful tone.  She used no profanity and made no personal attacks.  Hannon, keeping true to form, "gaveled" her out of order and had the police escort her from the podium.  The bully, when confronted, showed his true cowardice.  Apparently this five foot, 90 pound women was a threat to Hannon.

Since Ms. Deemie was unable to present her petition in it's entirety, we reproduce it here for you.

Petition to:

The Village of Johnson City Board of Trustees

I, Julie Deemie, of 153 Zoa Avenue, Village of Johnson City, NY hereby petition you regarding Mayor Dennis Hannon’s malfeasance in office and misuse of taxpayer funds. I shall substantiate my claims by giving a brief history of Dennis Hannon’s actions while serving as Mayor of Johnson City.

During the time which Dennis Hannon has served as an elected official I have attended nearly all of the Village Board Work Sessions and Board Meetings. It has been my observation that his use of intimidation has been commonplace. I have observed that when another member of the board has a differing opinion, Mr. Hannon often directs authoritative and demeaning responses toward the trustee with the difference of opinion, rather than accepting the conflicting viewpoints and ensuing normal dialog. This has also been witnessed on numerous occasions in his interactions with both village employees and certain public persons at board meetings.

It is well known that Mayor Hannon exerts his authority in his relations with the public employees. Prior to Mayor Hannon taking office many public employees frequently attended board meetings. Since Hannon assumed the mayoral position, employee attendance and their speaking during public comment periods has all but ceased. This indicates a fear of retribution, which is illegal and an infringement of these employee’s first amendment rights. Employee morale is at an historic low level with many employees feeling a loss of dignity.

Mayor Hannon spoke on local television in April of this year about our fire and police staffing levels. He stated that “I wish we could continue to maintain those positions. It’s public safety, but it’s a matter of balancing what we can afford versus providing the service to our residents”. It is the mayor’s legal responsibility to provide adequate public safety services to the residents of Johnson City. This statement alone proves the mayors negligence in providing adequate public safety protection. Yet there are other examples of his negligence in providing proper public safety. During Mayor Hannon’s first half of his term the South Side Fire Station has been closed many times due to staffing shortages and many medical calls have not been responded to due to these same shortages in personnel. During board meetings the mayor has stated that he would continue to allow the fire and police forces to be reduced to a number that would render them no longer effective. This proves an intentional and conspired plan by Mayor Hannon.

Since Dennis Hannon took his oath of office, as village mayor, information is less accessible to the taxpayer. F.O.I.L. is commonplace, appointments are required to visit the mayor, doors are now locked at village hall, and an alarming number of executive sessions are conducted. The mayor is on record for attempting to limit free speech at public board meetings. He often will inform a constituent to F.O.I.L. for information, in response to questions at board meetings, rather than offering to provide information later.

A little over a year ago, the mayor assembled a “Shared Services Committee” to conduct further study into consolidating services such as streets, sewer, refuse, courts and clerical. No reports were issued prior to the mayor’s announcement that he would be presenting the board with a resolution for their consideration, to initiate a Dissolution Referendum. The taxpayers funded much the Shared Services Committee’s research, including attorney fees. The taxpayers deserve to know these findings prior to consideration of dissolution.

Mayor Hannon has proven to be financially irresponsible. The mayor has far exceeded historic and customary use of village legal services in terms of litigation and litigation expenses. I feel that many of these law suits could have been avoided if the mayor would have entered contract negotiations in good faith with a fair and open mind. His obstinate stance has cost the taxpayers hundreds of thousands in unnecessary legal expense. He voted yes to adopt the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 budgets without allocating funds for contract retroactive payments and increases. Funds were not properly allocated toward sewer expenses, substantial sewer fund balances were allowed to be spent down, and now the citizens face large increases in sewer fees. Under his watch, 50 fire hydrants were purchased prior to the funds being approved in the 2011-2012 budget, and without use of the bid process. This year’s budget increased taxes less than 2% yet the mayor now states that he sees no other way out of Johnson City’s financial crisis other than through dissolution. He has told the media that he has been contemplating dissolution for over 6 months. All of these actions prove an intentional and conspired plan by Mayor Hannon.

For all of the above reasons, I respectfully request that the Village of Johnson City Board of Trustees, and its legal counsel, recommend that Dennis Hannon resign from his duties as Mayor of Johnson City, NY.

PRINTED NAME_____________________________________________________Date__________________

Signature______________________Address _________________________________________

There is a village board meeting tomorrow.  We encourage all who value the services provided by the village government to come to the meeting and be heard.  We also encourage you to print out Julie Deemie's petition, sign it, and submit it to Mayor Hannon.  Let the village board know that Hannon and
Sullivan's view on dissolution is the minority opinion.  Do not let the bully silence you!

No comments:

Post a Comment