The Fire Starter has repeatedly detailed the misuse of tax dollars in both Endicott and Johnson City. Consistently, Bertoni and Hannon have used public funds to pay off friends and family. Public funds have been used to purchase favorable press and loyalty from useful tools. Certainly, Johnson City's deal to "share" a fire administrator with Endicott has been a crooked deal.
The deal made no fiscal sense from the beginning. Johnson City paid $40,000 more for Joint Fire Administrator Hrustich than if they had promoted through the ranks. And they only have Hrustich's services half the time they would have had they promoted a Johnson City fire fighter to chief. In the end, it became clear that Hrustich was bought and paid for. He would rationalize any risk to the public or the fire fighters because he was being well paid to do so. Hrustich could be bought and Hannon was a willing buyer.
It is with this in mind that the Fire Starter took interest in a little noticed item at a recent Village of Endicott board meeting. The Village of Endicott recently approved a new municipal agreement for the sharing of Hrustich with Johnson City. It is certainly notable that this was done without public notice. The Village board rammed this through it's meeting without so much as a moment's discussion. Village resident's were caught off guard and were unaware of the details of the proposed agreement. However, this agreement has not been approved by the Village of Johnson City. The Fire Starter believes that once the details come to light, Village residents will be up in arms.
- Hrustich will continue to collect nearly $120,000 in pay and extras making him the highest paid chief in Broome County - Significantly higher paid than the Binghamton Fire Chief who commands twice as many men.
- Hrustich will continue with other benefits such as a municipal vehicle and municipal gas with NO accountability for the use of either.
- The Village of Johnson City will now indemnify Hrustich for his own potential wrongdoing and negligence and JC will also be responsible for at least 1/2 of any workman's compensation or any other disability claim.
- Probably most disturbing, If the Village terminates the contract for any reason, it must give 90 days prior written notice and must still pay Hrustich his full salary for the rest of the calendar year. In other words, Hrustich will receive his lucrative salary for up to one year after he is terminated...even if the termination is for misconduct!
It will be up to Johnson City residents to speak their minds at upcoming board meetings. Otherwise, Johnson City will attempt to pass this under cover of darkness and saddle taxpayers with at least another year of this overpaid and under worked incompetent.
If Hannon wants to give Hrustich a going away present, let him do it with his own money!