Friday, December 9, 2011

"Most of the energy of political work is devoted to correcting the effects of mismanagement of government." -Milton Friedman

The Johnson City Village Board on Tuesday took separate actions which, with a fair and objective media, would serve to highlight the dysfunction of the Hannon years on the village board and as mayor.  As we all know, there is no objective media in the Southern Tier.  If there was, there would be no need for the Fire Starter to consistently correct the record and tell the stories the media will not.

First, the village board approved the police contract which brings them up to date.  The Fire Starter is happy that the village and police union were able to reach an agreement.  It is patently unfair for the police to sit without raises for the past five years.  Inflation alone has worked against these fine men and women who have risked their lives daily to protect us.  It certainly was about time the village lived up to its obligations.

In reporting on the deal., the Press & Sun Bulletin made reference to the fact that the deal was worth about $1.3 million and that the village only has a fraction of that amount on hand to pay the raises.  The village will now have to borrow the lion share to pay for this agreement.  This fact is clear evidence of Hannon's mismanagement of the village over the last two years as mayor and before that as trustee.  The village should not have to borrow to pay salaries.  This should have been built into each and every budget for the last few years.  Instead, Hannon falsely claimed to be "holding the line" and limiting tax increases.  In reality, he has played a shell game that is now coming home to roost.  the taxpayers will now be saddled with this new debt and interest just to pay current obligations.  This is the equivalent of taking a second mortgage to pay for groceries.  It may be necessary but is indicative of poor planning and mismanagement.

The second issue addressed buy the board was to revise the "shared services agreement" with the City of Binghamton.  We have repeatedly outlined how this was always a good deal for Binghamton and a bad deal for the Village of Johnson City.  The village pays more money for part time chiefs than it would have for full time command in the village.  Binghamton has been able to reduce its expenses for these chief positions by about 30% at the expense of village taxpayers.  this never was and remains a bad deal for village residents.

But even more disturbing is the sweetheart deal contained in the revised agreement.  The Binghamton chiefs, like JFA Hrustich, now have a guarantee of their bloated salaries for at least one year regardless of their performance or misconduct.  These "three wisemen" could engage in the most egregious conduct meriting discharge yet they would be guaranteed their bloated salaries at Johnson City's expense.  This is the sort of back room cronyism that has been the hallmark of the Hannon years.

Hannon has been flirting with staying on with Hannon.  In one meeting, Hannon has provided all of the proof taxpayers need as to why he must go.  The village has been so severely mismanaged since Hannon has been mayor that it may not be salvageable.  Only with his departure can the village be saved.

The Fire Starter wonders who (if anyone) is encouraging Hannon to stay.  But we are quit confident that if Hannon stays, the village will go.  And maybe that answers our question about Hannon's support.

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