INAUGURATED 01/01/2010: HOW LONG CAN HANNON LAST?

Monday, August 13, 2012

Endicott Corruption Continues

"There is a difference between jaywalking and grand larceny". - Gaylord Perry


With Hannon gone and Hrustich on his way, the Fire Starter can now return its attention to King John the Nefarious. 

The Fire Starter has highlighted Endicott Mayor John Bertoni's dirty dealings and blatant nepotism. We have highlighted the many instances where public money has been spent to line the pockets of the FOJ's (Friends of John).  Many family and friends have received no show or little work jobs.  Village property has been gifted to friends and family.  While complaining about firefighters and police officers, Bertoni has systematically fleeced the village for his friends and family.  It is enough to make Boss Tweed blush!

Which brings us to the latest bit of dirty dealings by Mayor John Bertoni.  Within the last year, King John the Nepotist hired FOJ  Darin Moody, to work in the Village Street department as a laborer.  Despite the lack of any competitive testing or apparent relevant experience, this FOJ was given a job in the village.

The Fire Starter was perusing local media outlets when to our surprise we came upon the following item in the Norwich newspaper:

Village of Endicott man arrested for Grand Larceny 4th Degree and Burglary 3rd Degree

 On June 25, 2012 a Village of Endicott man was arrested for Grand Larceny 4th Degree and Burglary 3rd Degree.Deputy Loiselle arrested Darin M. Moody after concluding an investigation that started during a traffic stop.  Deputy Loiselle was assisted by Oxford P.D. during a traffic stop in which two stolen computers were located in Moody’s vehicle.  The computers were found to have just been stolen from Wal-Mart prior to the traffic stop.  Moody is charged with Burglary for allegedly entering Wal-Mart with the intent to steal property while he is currently banned from Wal-Mart stores.  Moody was arraigned in the Town of Norwich court and remanded to the custody of the Sheriff on $5,000 cash bail.  Moody is to appear in Town of Norwich Court at a later date. 

Arrested –   Darin M. Moody Age: 41 

Charges –   Grand Larceny 4th Degree and Burglary 3rd Degree.

The Fire Starter  has learned that this is not Mr. Moody's first brush with the law. Apparently, he is well known to local Wal-Mart personnel and is banned from entering any store in the area.

Mr. Moody is still a probationary employee in the Village of Endicott.  As a result, he can be terminated at any time.  In other words, the Village is still within its rights to get this bad apple out of the barrel with little effort.  But this is an FOJ.   So the rules are different.

So what action has Bertoni taken?  Has he suspended the employee? has he begun his own investigation? Has he even questioned Mr. Moody? Please...we all know that the rules don't apply to Bertoni and his gang.
The Fire Starter has reliably learned that the only action taken by Bertoni was to threatened other Street Department employees with termination if they speak of Mr. Moody's criminal dealings.

Of course none of this should come as any surprise to anyone following Endicott politics.  Nor is it at all surprising that this has not been reported in the local media.

So what about it?  Can WBNG possibly report this?  Can Steve Reilly at the Press & Sun Bulletin bring himself to report this?  He seems to have no trouble undercutting law enforcement and fire fighters.  But what about corrupt village mayors?

We have our doubts.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hrustich Gives Notice

 "Addition by subtraction." -Branch Rickey

Fire Starter recently learned that Stephen Hrustich, the chief of Endicott and Johnson City fire departments has decided to end his deadly reign.  Fire Starter has learned that Hrustich gave 2 weeks notice to the respective villages and will bless the area by his absence as soon as August 20th.

Fire Starter has been reliably informed that Hrustich handled the transition in the incompetent and devious manner to which have become accustomed.  Apparently alleging a family emergency, Hrustich asked the respective villages for two weeks off.  However, there was no family emergency.  Rather, he lied so that he could steal two more weeks from the villages and attend to arrangements for his transition to a new job in the Atlanta area.  In other words, he walked off the job in the villages to feather his next nest...at the taxpayers expense.

Not surprisingly, while Hrustich was planning his next move, he let his duties as fire chief go unattended.  The Fire Starter has learned that several months ago, Mayor Deemie instructed Hrustich to prepare a new federal SAFER grant.  The SAFER program is a federal program with the purpose of assisting local governments with funding for staffing of fire services.  Despite the explicit direction from Mayor Deemie, Hrustich failed to take any action regarding the grant application.  Only one week before the grant is due to be submitted did village officials learn that Hrustich had dropped the ball.  The scramble is now afoot to meet the August 10th deadline.

Hrustich's narcissistic and self serving reign is now coming to an end.  Anyone surprised by the circumstances of his departure has not been paying attention.  He spent the last several years padding his retirement on the backs of taxpayers and at the expense of health and safety. 

Maybe now the people of the villages will again have the kind of fire department they deserve. In part, that will depend on his replacement.


Monday, August 6, 2012

Resign

 "I think my resignation was the only way to avoid bloodshed." - EduardShevardnadze 
 

 The Fire Starter has repeatedly written regarding Chief Stephen Hrustich's incompetence.  His unwillingness to ensure proper staffing has led directly to the deaths of at least three citizens.  His technical incompetence has led directly to career ending injuries to at least one fire fighter.  His petty vindictiveness has caused him to lie under oath in an attempt to punish a detractor.  His neglect of his responsibilities caused him drive recklessly with children in his official vehicle and subsequently smash into a citizen from behind due to his inattentiveness. 

Hrustich was hired to "manage" two separate fire departments.  In theory, in return for his princely salary, he would spend a minimum of 20 hours per week at each department.  However, a review of time records reveals that Hrustich frequently claimed to be at one department or the other while he was at neither.  Frequently, Hrustich is gone for weeks at a time while submitting false time cards to the Villages of Johnson City and Endicott.

So one has to ask oneself, what does it take to get fired as fire chief in these villages?  While Hrustich has abused the public trust and placed lives in danger, elected officials have looked the other way and allowed this fiasco to continue.  There seems no limit to the cowardice of public officials.  Absent some personal affront to these elected officials, Hrustich will be allowed to continue to kill.

We have previously posited that Hrustich is soulless.  We have no doubt this is true.  No one who possesses a soul could literally walk over the bodies of the dead and the careers of his fellow fire fighters simply to make a buck.  The level of his amorality is staggering.

But in the likely futile hope that there is a glimmer of morality still residing in Hrustich, we make this plea.  Resign. 

Resign before more more are injured.

Resign before more fire fighters with superior knowledge and talent leave.

Resign before more die.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Training Injuries


People are always talking about tradition, but they forget we have a tradition of a few hundred years of nonsense and stupidity, that there is a tradition of idiocy, incompetence and crudity - Hugo Demartini  



When a fire chief acts recklessly such that individuals die or are injured, an investigation is warranted.  Not if you are Stephen Hrustich.

Thus far 3 and maybe 4 individuals have died due to Hrustich's mismanagement and incompetence. Yet he continues to receive his six figure salary while barely working a total 20 hours per week for the villages of Endicott and Johnson City.


The Fire Starter has learned that several months ago, Hrustich conducted an ill-fated training exercise.  Although unqualified, Hrustich supervised a"bail-out" training session where fire fighters practiced using a rope system to escape a building.  Due to Hrustich's incompetence, two fire fighters suffered serious injuries when the equipment they were using was not properly assembled and they plunged to the ground.  One injured fire fighter may well have his career cut short due to Hrustich's incompetence.  Several other fire fighters had minor injuries.


Despite Hrustich's incompetence and recklessness leading to a possible career ending injury, no action has been taken to investigate or discipline Hrustich.  
 
Recently, several North Las Vegas fire fighters were injured during a training session.  Unlike leaders in our villages, City officials have stated that the chief must be held accountable.  The chief has been placed on administrative leave pending an investigation.


NORTH LAS VEGAS (KSNV & MyNews3) -- As you're about to see, training to fight fires can be as dangerous as the real thing.

News 3’s Mackenzie Warren obtained video of an accident during a training drill in January that lead to last week's suspension of the North Las Vegas Fire Chief.

What was meant to be practice got a little too real. That day, four men were hurt—two badly. Shortly after, the exercise burned up a partnership between two fire departments and now six months later, the accident could cost Chief Al Gillespie his job.

Urgent radio calls and expletives from onlookers provide insight into the failed live fire drill. Three different cameras captured the accident, as two veteran firefighters bailed out of the drill just in time. And after the two men got out, it was a matter of seconds before the flames intensified. A camera mounted above the training exercise shows a different view of the escape—both of them suffering first and second degree burns.

As the flames continue to rip, the drama continues, when two fuel sources spontaneously ignite - they weren't supposed to - and blow the plywood windows right off the makeshift building.

North Las Vegas Fire Chief Al Gillespie is now feeling the intense heat. Because of the January mishap, the city has placed Gillespie on paid administrative leave. Gillespie’s department was in charge that day.

“As fire chief he understands his role and responsibility for all aspects of that department and he doesn’t take that lightly,” says City Manager Tim Hacker. Hacker is the one to decide whether the chief will keep his job. “To make sure that there was the appropriate level of communication and cooperation and in essence, I’m concerned with oversight,” says Hacker.

Hacker's decision will be based partly on a report ordered by the city of Las Vegas that reveals a lack of communication and no evacuation plan. A briefing was held before the live fire drill—but the report describes the meeting as “disjointed.” The report also reveals there was confusion amongst firefighters about who was in charge and a discrepancy over how many firefighters were actually in the burning building.

In all, four firefighters were hurt—two of them seriously: a Henderson and a Las Vegas firefighter. It’s likely no coincidence the city of Las Vegas has since called off an agreement to train with North Las Vegas fire. And now Hacker is left to assess the damage...

“It’s important to me that when we are working with other entities that we are holding ourselves to an even higher standard,” says Hacker. “Because we are influencing those relationships.” He will make a decision about the chief in the coming weeks. Hacker’s calling the botched training an “isolated incident” and wants all jurisdictions to have confidence in North Las Vegas.


Now we return to the Villages of Johnson City and Endicott.  3 confirmed dead.  Several fire fighters injured; one perhaps career ending.  Countless examples of recklessness.  Yet neither village has taken ANY action to protect the community and fire fighters from this worthless "leader".

The time to act is now; before someone else is injured or killed.












Tuesday, July 10, 2012

How Many Need To Die?

"A system of morality which is based on relative emotional values is a mere illusion, a thoroughly vulgar conception which has nothing sound in it and nothing true." - Socrates

 
  As incredible as it may seem, it has happened again.

We have detailed the way in which Endicott and Johnson City Fire Chief Hrustich has mismanaged the respective fire departments.  We have detailed how firefighters and residents have been placed at risk due to his reckless cutting and under staffing.  We have shown how on at least two occasions, Hrustich's "risk management" has led to the death of a resident.  Just two weeks ago, we detailed an incident where a resident collapsed on Arthur Avenue in Johnson City and due to Hrustich's order, the four fire fighters on duty were not allowed to respond to the call.  The fire fighters could have responded within less than two minutes and provided CPR and other life saving assistance.  Unfortunately EVES was busy and it took them 8 minutes to respond and the resident died.

As shocking as the incident of 2 weeks ago was, it is even more shocking that it has happened yet again.

This past Saturday evening, the Johnson City Fire only had four fire fighters on duty.  In keeping with the long discredited policy, Hrustich ordered that the fire fighters not respond to Delta emergency calls.  The fire fighters were only allowed to respond to Echo calls where cardiac arrest has occurred and death is imminent.  However, even the casual observer can see that a Delta call can quickly turn into an Echo call where death is imminent.

A call came in Saturday evening of a man having collapsed at 278 Harry L Drive.  It was initially a Delta call so the Johnson City Fire Department was not allowed to respond.  The call quickly escalated to an Echo call.  UVES responded and was on the scene withing 4 1/2 minutes.  They were unable to resuscitate the man and he died.

The response time by UVES was within normal tolerances.  UVES was available and responded promptly.  But the Johnson City Fire Station, was just 2 blocks away.  Johnson City fire fighters could have responded in less than a minute.  Instead, they sat helplessly obeying the order of an incompetent.

What will it take for the Village of Johnson City to recognize its error and terminate this sad excuse for a manager. The Village Board is responsible for the health and safety of Village residents and employees.  There is now ample evidence that Hrustich is reckless and incompetent and emotionally unsuited to a position of such grave responsibility. 

One can be sure that if this was Bruce King's twin brother, Luke Slota's father, Greg Deemie's son, Rick Balles' brother-in-law or Diane Marusich's husband, there would be action.  But why should it have to hit that close to home for action to be taken?

FIRE HRUSTICH NOW!

Thursday, July 5, 2012

Hrustich Must Go

"Facts are stubborn things." - John Adams

We have written about the many failings of Joint Fire administrator Steven Hrustich.  We have detailed the devastating effect of his mismanagement and incompetence.  We have written of his dishonesty.  We have written of his recklessness.  To date, no action has been taken by either municipality.

Let's review:

  • The appeals court in the Meany discipline case found that Hrustich had lied under oath.  Ironicallly, this was what Hrustich had accused Meany of doing.
  • Hrustich recklessly commands fire scenes from the road without any first hand knowlege of the fire scene.
  • Hrustich has advocated the elimination of firefighters which has resulted in under staffing which has placed firefighters and citizens at risk
  • His half-baked staffing policies have led to the death of at least two residents.  Firefighters were left to sit helplessly while a resident died on the ground unattended.
  • He is absent from both departments more than he is present.  He spends no more than an hour or two at each department per day and is paid a salary of $125,000.  he is accountable to no one.
  • He has been the subject of no confidence votes of both Endicott and Johnson City firefighters.  These no confidence votes detail numerous instances of misfeasance and malfeasance.
  • He responded to emergency calls with lights and sirens driving recklessly and at a high rate of speed placing fellow fire fighters and citizens at risk.  He even responded to a call with lights and sirens and at a high rate of speed with his children in the "Command Vehicle".
Despite the foregoing, there has been no disciplinary action taken against Hrustich.  Why should anyone be surprised that Hrustich thinks he is above the law and the rules don't apply to him.  Apparently they do not apply to him.

Recently Hrustich was involved in a motor vehicle accident while driving the Johnson City Command Vehicle.  He apparently "rear-ended" another vehicle.  Was he texting or using his cell phone?  Was he drunk or high on drugs?  Was he "otherwise distracted"?  We don't know because little or no investigation ensued. But the photo tells the whole story.

 Hrustich was obviously not paying attention and then tried to pass a vehicle in front of him on the right.

Does anyone think that if this had been one of the firefighters under Hrustich's command there would not have been a full investigation?  Do you really think that if it had been a union leader Hrustich would not have been looking to terminate them?

Enough is enough!  Hrustich has to follow the same rules as everyone else.  The sum of his offenses exceeds by an order of magnitude, everything he has accused others of committing.

The facts lead to only one conclusion.  Hrustich must be fired.

Thursday, June 28, 2012

Hrustich Kills Again

So·ci·o·path [soh-see-uh-path] n. a person with a psychopathic personality whose behavior is antisocial, often criminal, and who lacks a sense of moral responsibility or social conscience.

For the last several years, the Fire Starter has attempted to bring to the attention of the public issues that have been under reported or unreported by the local media. Incidents of misconduct by local elected leaders and their allies have repeatedly detailed on these pages. Rarely has the local media picked up on these stories. Rather, they have been willing accomplices to egregious abuses of power. Their silence has allowed petty tyrants to utilize the apparatus of government to target individuals with the well founded belief that their deep pockets and a complicit (and at times corrupt) media would shield them from notice.

We have attempted to present the misconduct in a factual yet entertaining way. (Really…who wants to continuously read the shrill reporting of a stifled blogger?) We illustrated absurdity with absurdity. There have been many instances when the use of local leaders own words appeared to be parody. Sometimes Mayors Hannon and Bertoni were our unwilling accomplices. Sometimes movie or television references illustrated the point. In short, we have attempted to inform yet never took ourselves too seriously.

Unfortunately, there is nothing funny about the latest incident in the Village of Johnson City. No pithy quotes or one liners will take the edge of the situation. There is nothing to laugh about.
We have illustrated the recklessness and self promoting behavior of Joint Fire Administrator Hrustich. He has repeatedly shown himself willing to place the public and the fire fighters who serve with him in grave danger in order to advance his own interests.


We reported that Hrustich had set a policy in Endicott that if his severe cuts to the fire department resulted in five or fewer fire fighters being on duty, they would not answer Medical calls classified as “Delta” calls which are classified as serious situations requiring advanced life support. Rather, the call would need to worsen to become an “Echo” call before fire fighters respond to the call. An Echo call is a maximum priority call where cardiac arrest has occurred and death is imminent. His cuts led to the death of an Endicott resident.

No action was ever taken to hold Hrustich accountable. The tragic death of a resident was swept under the carpet and forgotten. It was excused. It was discounted as a fluke situation.

Unfortunately, it was no fluke. Tuesday night, while most of us were home with our families, a Johnson City resident collapsed. At 9:20 PM, Broome County 911 dispatched a call of a man with breathing difficulty and loss of consciousness on Arthur Avenue in Johnson City. This was classified as a Delta priority call. Since there were only four Johnson City fire fighters on duty, Broome County dispatch knew that under Hrustich’s policy, Johnson City would not respond.

Broome dispatch sent the call to the Union Volunteer Emergency Squad (UVES). Unfortunately, they were busy answering multiple calls and were unable to arrive on the scene until 9:28 or eight minutes after the initial dispatch. The call was immediately upgraded to an Echo call as the man was in full cardiac arrest. Valiant efforts at CPR were undertaken by UVES but the resident passed away.
While all of this was going on, four Johnson City fire fighters sat a couple of blocks away, helpless. Hrustich’s order prevented them from responding to the initial call. They easily could have been on the scene in two minutes. Instead, this father, husband or brother was left on the ground a total of eight minutes before assistance was available.

Six additional minutes may seem like a minor inconvenience to some. But if you are lying on the ground and unable to get oxygen to your brain, it is life and death. 

Hold your breath for two minutes. It will seem like an eternity. Now try to hold your breath for eight minutes. 

Hrustich’s “risk management” has now led to two deaths in less than a year. If he had a soul, it would keep him up nights. However, he sold his soul long ago and we are sure that these deaths are “risks” he is willing to take. 

We know that Endicott Mayor Bertoni is unwilling to hold Hrustich to account for any misconduct. But what about Johnson City? What action will Mayor Deemie take? How about Balles, Slota, King and newly appointed trustee Marusich? After the reckless reckless cuts, wild driving, perjury and now two deaths, will they finally terminate this worthless piece of trash?

Don’t hold your breath.

***Note:  We were contacted by a neighbor who witnessed the events and advised that the event occurred on Arthur Avenue.  We have corrected the blog post. It is also worth noting that this neighbor verified the events of Tuesday night.

Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Griswold Strikes Again!

"Corruption is like a ball of snow, once it's set a rolling it must increase." -Charles Caleb Colton



It has been said that a “fish rots from the head down”. This has certainly proven true in the Village of Endicott.

On numerous occasions, we have detailed the misconduct of King John the Malaprop. (Yes mayor, if you can find your dictionary you will find the definition). Whether it is his nepotistic hiring of family members, abuse of citizens or his misappropriation of Village resources for FOJ’s (friends of John), it is clear that his disregard for ethics and the law runs wide and deep. We won’t even begin to address his crimes against the English language.

Likewise, Bertoni’s golden boy, Fire Chief Steven Hrustich, has a long string of misconduct that has gone unpunished. Whether it is his lying under oath or his reckless driving or his neglect of safety issues, Hrustich has shown himself to be the kind of leader you would expect to get from Bertoni. The only wonder is that Johnson City has not yet figured this out and excised this cancer.

Which brings us to the next in line in Endicott; Joe Griswold. Griswold has been Fire Marshal in the Village of Endicott for a number of years. During that time, he has, much like the Mayor and his Chief, acted like the rules do not apply to him. We recently reported on Griswold’s neglect of the codes office (one of his primary duties). We also reported on Griswold going AWOL to answer a volunteer fire call. Apparently his misconduct runs much deeper. And the worst part is that he is not punished for his misdeeds and continues to receive praise from Hrustich and Bertoni.

Griswold has shown himself to have an “anger management” problem. He apparently has limited control of his emotions (not exactly the kind of person you would want in an emergency situation). He has cursed at citizens seeking assistance at the codes office. In one instance, he reportedly screamed at the top of his lungs and told a citizen to “get the F*** out of my office”! No punishment has befallen Griswold for this or any other incident.

So no one should be surprised to learn that Griswold believes he can speak to anyone in any way he wishes while in uniform. At a recent Village Board meeting, a citizen, Pat McVannan, questioned Bertoni regarding what if any action had been taken with regard to Griswold’s AWOL incident. Griswold was apparently lurking behind the door like Boo Radley and felt he was at liberty to interrupt the meeting and shout the village resident down. Fortunately, it was all caught on video. However, the video can not convey the shock experienced by those of us in the audience. The Fire Starter was concerned for Ms. McVannan’s safety.

What was most ironic was that Bertoni had just lectured Union President Paul Higgins about civility. Fortunately, this was also caught on tape. Review the video and judge for yourself.


video

The shocking video brought to mind one of our favorite movies. Griswold acts eerily like another “leader” who has completely lost his grip on reality.


video

The bottom line is that the corruption in Endicott starts at the top and is reflected in the management of the fire department. Bertoni, Hrustich and Griswold are accountable to no one for their misconduct. As a result, the misconduct has continued to expand in seriousness and frequency.

Endicott is most assuredly rotting from the head down. It is time for citizens to stand up and demand better!

Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hrustich Lied

“Every violation of truth is not only a sort of suicide in the liar, but is a stab at the health of human society.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

We have detailed the misconduct of the fire chief in the Villages of Endicott and Johnson City. Steven Hrustich has placed the safety of the public and the fire fighters in jeopardy through reckless cuts and incompetent leadership. He has attempted to make command decisions and given orders while not even being on the scene. He has driven recklessly placing the public and fellow fire fighters at risk. He even responded lights and sirens and at a high rate of speed to an emergency scene while his children were in the back of the emergency vehicle.

Last week we wrote about Hrustich and his cronies using the “sick bank” as a way to lord his authority over others. Never mind that a man’s life and his family’s wellbeing is at stake. What was most important was that Hrustich could puff his chest out and prove to everyone that he is in charge.

Despite his serial misconduct, nothing has been done to rein him in. In fact, the ever clueless King John the Befuddled continues to sing Hrustich’s praises.

Hrustich’s misconduct has been largely swept under the carpet by complicit Village leaders. As long as Hrustich was willing to carry their water, Mayors Hannon and Bertoni were willing to overlook most anything.

Well a recent court decision may finally be the last straw. The Fire Starter read with great interest the Press accounts of the discipline of Johnson City Fire Fighter Martin Meaney. The Press story seemed to indicate that this was a rather simple matter of insufficient evidence. (i.e. “he may not be innocent but the Village failed to prove that he was guilty”). However, we found a copy of the actual court decision on line and it tells a very different story.

The actual court decision notes that the ONLY evidence against Meaney was a statement by Hrustich. Hrustich claimed that Meaney had complained to him that his tank had been tampered with.

Aside from Meaney’s denial of ever having an airpack problem, against Hrustich’s version of the facts were:

• A village police detective

• Two Village Firefighters who were with Meaney on the day in question.

• Evidence that Meaney did not even have access to the tank

In the end, it was Hrustich’s word against a mountain of evidence. But not only that, it is clear that Hrustich  lied. For this reason, Meaney was restored to his former rank with back pay.

But what about Hrustich? Hrustich sought a two rank demotion for Meaney’s supposed lies. What Hrustich did was the bear false witness against a subordinate to satisfy some personal grievance. What is the penalty for Hrustich’s lies? This abuse of power can not stand. Hrustich has committed criminal perjury and a breach of the public trust. It is time for a criminal prosecution and termination.

Wednesday, June 6, 2012

Cold Hypocrisy



"Hypocrisy is the homage vice pays to virtue." - Francois de La Rochefoucauld


Just as the sun seems to be setting on the Johnson City follies, it is simultaneously rising in Endicott. It is probably no coincidence that the now discredited tactics are being tried out in Endicott by a different Mayor but the same fire chief and the same lawyers. The abuse of taxpayer dollars to pursue personal agendas is always disturbing. When chief Steven Hrustich and King John the Unscrupulous attack the most vulnerable as a tactic, it is unconscionable.

This brings us to fire fighter Dana Stockton. By all accounts, Stockton is a “fire fighter’s fire fighter”. Always willing to do the heavy lifting. Always willing to go the extra mile. Always willing to place himself on the line for the citizens he serves. His beautiful wife and three daughters fill out the picture of a man of perfect balance. Always there for his brothers and always there for his family.

In January, Stockton and his family received news that turned their world upside down. Dana was diagnosed with a rare form of blood cancer. In the blink of an eye, all of their dreams and hopes were placed in doubt.

Since that time Dana has undergone surgery and aggressive treatment. And although it is still early in the process, he is showing signs of improvement. He is hopeful of a return to duty as early as August. From our keyboard to God’s ears.

Since the diagnosis and beginning of treatment, Dana has had to use accrued sick time, vacation time and all other means at his disposal to continue to maintain his income and benefits. As his time began to run out, other fire fighters volunteered to work his shifts to insure that his family would survive financially and he would continue to have the health insurance needed to pay for his lifesaving care. In addition, an application was made to the “sick bank” so that he could borrow additional sick time to bridge the gap to his August return.

Sick bank time is “banked” when fire fighters leave service and have time left on the books. This is all time earned by Dana’s retired brothers. A panel including Fire Chief Steven Hrustich and Joseph “Blue Light Special” Griswold was given the task of evaluating the application. The Fire Starter has been told that this has been historically a rubber stamp. Who would deny a disabled brother the right to borrow time?

Well we recently got the answer. The panel voted to deny Dana Stockton Access to the sick bank time. The first reason given was the belief that he would not be able to repay the time due to the nature of his illness. Putting aside the heartless coldness of this calculation, it totally ignores his improving prognosis and the possibility of an August return.

The second reason given was an assessment Hrustich and Griswold that Stockton had been a sick time abuser. Over a six year period, he used 27 sick days or roughly 4 per year. No analysis was undertaken as to the nature of the sickness involved. Strictly the numbers. But even examining the raw numbers, it is hard to conceive of 4 sick days per year constituting “abuse” considering he has three young children who presumably accounted for at least some of the illnesses.

But apparently Hrustich knows sick time abuse when he sees it. During one recent three and one half year period, Hrustich utilized 35 sick days or an average of 10 days per year! The hypocrisy is staggering.

As mentioned above, Dana’s brother fire fighters began working his shifts to ensure that he could support his family and maintain his health insurance. Well Hrustich would not let them get the better of him, so he issued an order “outlawing” the practice. No longer could his brothers use their own time and sweat to help Stockton. Hrustich had won again.

The fact that Hrustich is heartless is undeniable. The fact that he would attack a vulnerable family is unforgiveable. It is plainly an abuse of power which reveals his true lack of character. Such an individual should not be a leader of men. It is time for the Village Boards to wake up and take swift action.

And for Hrustich…there but by the grace of God go I.

Friday, June 1, 2012

Griswold is AWOL

"The essence of immorality is the tendency to make an exception of myself". - Jane Addams




The Fire Starter took a hiatus from publishing after the departure of Johnson City Mayor Dennis Hannon. After over 140 columns over 2 1/2  years, it was time for a break.

We were also naive enough to believe that other local leaders like King John the Dimwitted would get the message that the slash and burn style of leadership was costly to taxpayers and ultimately unproductive. We truly believed that the use of public power to settle personal grievances was over. We thought that everyone would be treated fairly and each matter would be judged on its own merits. We were wrong.

It has come to our attention that the command officers in the Endicott Fire Department have been running amok and King John continues to turn a blind eye toward the misconduct of his flunkies.

Allow us to introduce to you Endicott Fire Marshal Joseph Griswold. Mr. Griswold has been fire marshal in the Village for a number of years. In that role, he oversees fire investigation, inspections and is in charge of the codes office. It is with regard to this last position that Mr. Griswold has come to our attention before.

In the past, Mr. Griswold has shown himself to be an absentee administrator of the codes office. This has resulted in a secretary evaluating and granting final approval on construction plans for projects in the Village. In at least one instance, final approval was given without any plans having been filed. Griswold has been accountable to no one. He comes and goes as he pleases and if he has “something better to do” he simply closes the codes office. Not bad for over $82,000 per year.

The Fire Starter has recently learned that Griswold has really “upped his game”. Several weeks ago, while on duty in the Village of Endicott, Griswold heard a fire call for the Port Dickinson volunteer fire company. Although no mutual aid call went out to Endicott, Griswold took it upon himself to abandon his post in Endicott to respond to this call. Griswold left the Village of Endicott for several hours and participated in the internal attack of a fire 10 miles away from the Village he is paid to protect. He utilized Village provided gear and did not “clock out” while pursuing this fancy.

While Griswold was chasing blue lights, the codes office in Endicott was closed. (Yes, closed to serve you better!).

In about this same time frame, Griswold was again absent for a solid week while he attending firearms recertification through Broome County. During the week of April 16, 2012, while being paid his full and regular salary from the Village of Endicott, Griswold was almost entirely absent from the Village. Although Joe can now reportedly shoot the head off a match stick, this had absolutely nothing to do with his position of Fire Marshal. Yet the Village paid Griswold his full and regular salary while he qualified for his “second job” as a security guard. Yes…your tax dollars at work!

What is most appalling in this situation is that despite having abandoned his post on numerous occasions, no disciplinary action has been taken. And don’t expect to read about any action anytime soon. Joe is a good soldier who does the bidding of King John and Fire Chief Stephen Hrustich.

It may be good to be the King. But it is also good to be the Fire Marshal when you can pursue your personal agenda on Village time without repercussions.

So the long and the short of it is this. We are back. So long as the mice play, the cat will remain vigilant.

Thursday, March 15, 2012

Born Again Deficit Hawks

"The difference between 'involvement' and 'commitment' is like an eggs-and-ham breakfast: the chicken was 'involved' - the pig was 'committed'". - Anonymous


The Fire Starter read the letters to the editor in the Press & Sun Bulletin this morning with great interest.  A letter from a "concerned citizen" Rodney Jewett graced the pages of our local rag.  Mr. Jewett made conclusory statements about what the Village of Johnson City could and could not afford without providing any basis and then went on to praise Mayor Hannon and Trustee Ball-less for their "fiscal responsibility".  It was all we could do to keep from choking on our coffee.

It would probably be instructive to explore who Rodney Jewett is.  Rodney Jewett sucked hundreds of thousands of dollars out of the Village of Johnson City as a village police officer and ultimately its chief.  He holds himself out as some neo-conservative deficit hawk, but in addition to his salary and benefits, Jewett has been collecting a New York State Retirement benefit (funded by village taxpayers) for the last 15 years.  He retired at the ripe old age of 49 and has been sucking at the trough since.  He has enjoyed health insurance and other benefits, all courtesy of the Village of Johnson City.

The Fire Starter does not begrudge anyone the benefits guaranteed them by union contracts.  We are great believers in a system that places public employees on a level playing field with public employers.  What we object to is the hypocritical rantings of a selfish former public servant who "got his" and everyone else be damned.  Perhaps when Mr. Jewett is willing to give back his public benefits we will be willing to take him a bit more seriously.

Which brings us to his praise of Mayor Dennis Hannon.  Much like his predecessor Jewett, Hannon sucked the village for hundreds of thousands of dollars over his career.  He retired at the ripe old age of 46 and has collected New York State Retirement and village health insurance benefits for the last 13 years. While ripping public employees and their unions, he has continued to feather his nest at Village taxpayer's expense.  I guess it is true what they say about "birds of a feather".

Both Hannon and Jewett seem to have no problem "goring" someone else's ox.  As long as they have no skin in the game, they are for a "no holds barred" solution.

And what great work has Hannon been doing  for the village of Johnson City lately?  Hannon announced his resignation last fall but later said he would stay on "month to month".  Well apparently he has forgotten this pledge.  Since announcing his resignation, he has missed more board meetings than he has attended.  He has spent more time at the "Southern Village Hall" in Ocala, Florida than he has spent in the village he was elected to lead.  If there is wasted money in the village, it is continuing to pay the salary of the absentee mayor.

If you believe the mayor should be doing  the job he is being paid to do, call him at his home on North Broad Street and tell him so.  His number is 797-3738.  Only you will find the number has been disconnected. Much like Hannon's rhetoric and actions.

Thursday, March 1, 2012

King John the Incompetent

"If a man is tongue-tied, don't laugh at him, but rather feel pity for him as you would for a man with broken legs". - Abraham Cahan

The Fire Starter was intrigued by the state comptrollers report regarding the Village of Endicott.  Our interest took several different tacks.  Last week, a report of the New York state Comptroller's Office found deficiencies in the Village's financial controls such that employees were overpaid and no one apparently was the wiser.  In addition,  the Village under reported the supervisor of Tri-Cities airport by thousands of dollars due free airplane hangar Corprew was given for his personal use.  The report also noted that a stipend of over $10,0000 was given to the Mayor's "personal" secretary without any Board action.  In sum, the Village's handling of finances was shoddy to say the least.

What first intrigued us was the fact that the initial reporting in the Press & Sun Bulletin was only about 150 words long and failed to give details of the offenses.  In short, the Press was willing to bury the story in a small "side column" piece on a Friday.  However, when Bertoni put forth his defense, it was a full blown thousand plus word story with full throated defenses of the great work he and the Board are doing.  This is exactly why the Fire Starter exists.

We were next intrigued by the fact that at least some of the criticisms from the comptroller were first lodged here on  these pages.  We have consistently pointed out Bertoni's self serving and autocratic management style. Our first story about the mismanagement of the airport dates back nearly 10 months.  Apparently the Press did not deem it newsworthy until it was in black and white from the Comptrollers office.

What was also striking was the fact that the Comptrollers office (and the Press)  completely dropped the ball on the rampant cronyism and nepotism that has been the hallmark of King John's reign.  Other than picking up on the "personal" secretary's stipend, the issues regarding friends and relatives of Bertoni have gone largely ignored.

However, what was most interesting was King John the Tongue Tied's hapless attempt to defend his misfeasance and malfeasance.  First there was his cutting criticism of the process: "They write the paper and they ask you questions".  Wow!  How is a lowly mayor to stand up to such tactics!  There really should be a law!  Then he defended the "stipend" since apparently the only other option was to hire someone else. Really?  The King's receptionist could not get the work done during a normal work week?  Then came the coupe de grace.  King John really sunk the knife deeply in the Comptroller when he exclaimed "I counter criticize them".  I see that counter criticize and raise you a double-dog-dare!

What is apparently lost on his heiness is that in addition to representing a misappropriation of Village funds, it was done without Board approval.  The fact that Board members "knew about it" is really of no consequence.  By not bringing this before the Board, Village residents did not know about it.  This is the real reason for having Board meetings and resolutions.  Accountability.   But apparently in King John's corrupt world, "...if the money was allocated and you maneuver it around to save money, it's not like your spending unauthorized money".  And yet...that's exactly what it is.

Update: Hannon has Left the Building :  Apparently with a solid two board meetings under his belt for 2012, Hannon has again left town for the next three weeks.  Reportedly Hannon jetted to the "Southern Village Hall" in Ocala, Florida this week.  Never mind that he is being paid to run this Village.  But have no fear, the Village is in the capable hands of Deputy Mayor Rick Ball-less.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Hannon Briefs...Half Off

"Nearly all men can stand adversity, but if you want to test a man's character, give him power". - Abraham Lincoln

**Water Department Update

The Fire Starter posted last week about the water department employee who was publicly having his "pipe" serviced while on duty and in the view of a woman and small child.  We were struck by the lenient treatment of this public employee who used village time to pursue his sexual activities.  It was particularly striking when compared to the treatment of a Johnson City fire fighter who was accused of engaging in a private sexual act on his own time in his home.  The waterboy gets two days suspension and the fire fighter gets fired.

Apparently this struck Trustee Bruce King as odd.  Fire Starter has learned that he approached Mayor Hannon for an explanation.  Our arbiter of morality Hannon only responded "what's done is done".  Even Hannon could not defend the indefensible.

Hannon's Flood

The Fire Starter has learned that during the flood, Mayor Dennis Hannon had several feet of water in his basement.  As a result he "evacuated" himself to the Best Western in Johnson City. 

While staying there, Hannon had repeated visits from a "special" village employee.  These visits occurred at all hours of the day and night and seemed to coincide with Hanon's wife's absence.  We are not sure what late night work was going on but based upon his history, it is not hard to guess.

Police Contract

The Johnson City Village Board recently approved the hiring of four police officers.  The ranks of the police department, much like the fire department, have grown thin.  In addition, Binghamton officials have grown increasingly unhappy with underwriting Johnson City's police protection.  The hiring measure garnered affirmative votes from Trustees Slota, King and Deemie.  Voting against were Hannon and Balles.

On the surface, the village board's vote would seem to be business as usual.  But the Fire Starter has learned that this is yet another case of Hannon double dealing.  Hannon negotiated a resolution with the police union which resulted in substantial retroactive pay for the existing officers.   Hannon hailed the deal as saving taxpayers from the crush of the judge's decision which ordered over a million dollars in back pay for just two years.

What Hannon did not reveal was the fact that as part of the deal, he agreed to hire four more police officers to replace retiring officers.  In other words, to avoid paying large retroactive payments, he agreed to take on a twenty plus year liability by hiring new officers.

The Fire Starter is fully supportive of the new hiring.  Police staffing levels have reached dangerous levels.  What strikes the Fire Starter is the fact that Hannon brokered the deal, then voted against it and publicly criticized those who supported the hiring.  Now that's character.

Also striking was the fact that Hannon assured taxpayers that he had the money to pay the deal.  Yet at Hannon's last meeting of the year in 2011, the village board voted to bond for $500,000 to cover retroactive pay.  In other words, Hannon lied and then took on long term debt to pay a short term liability.  Again, character.

**Update:  The Fire Starter received an email from Trustee King advising that he did not approach Mayor Hannon about the quick and dirty discipline of the waterboy.  We take him at his word.  And are a little disappointed that he did not stand up to Hannon.  Unless someone in a position of authority stands up for what is right, nothing will change in Johnson City.

Trustee King raised issues of privacy regarding this story.  But apparently, with Mayor Hannon, these matters are only private when they involve non fire fighter employees.  And besides, the waterboy was on the clock when he was receiving "his service".  And the disparity in treatment remains.  For this reason, apologies to the waterboy, but the public deserves to see Hannon's hypocrisy.

Wednesday, February 8, 2012

Tale of Two Departments

"Ethics is knowing the difference between what you have a right to do and what is right to do". - Potter Stewart

The Fire Starter has previously posted regarding the Johnson City fire fighter who was terminated for engaging in a private sexual act in the privacy of his home.  He was not on duty.  The act had nothing to do with his job as a fire fighter.  There was no proof that he was seen by anyone.  There was no proof he intended to be seen by anyone.  He was cleared by a judge who found there was no evidence that he intended to be seen.  Despite this, Mayor Dennis Hannon chose to terminate the fire fighter.

The fire fighter appealed and the court found that there was no evidence that he intended to be seen and that Hannon's conclusions were unsupported by evidence.  The court ordered reinstatement with back pay.  Rather than learn their lesson, the village has opted to appeal.

The Fire Starter has learned that there was recently a similar event occurring in the water department.  Only that incident had several key differences.

The Fire Starter has learned that a village resident reported to Mayor Hannon that she and her small child witnessed a water department employee pull up in a village vehicle, and get into a private vehicle driven by a female.  The female proceeded to perform oral sex on the village employee in plain sight of this women and her child.  The resident was understandably upset and complained.

Unlike the fire fighter, the water department employee was on village time and driving a village vehicle.  He was not in a private residence but in a public parking area.  And finally, unlike the fire fighter, there was actual proof the water department employee was seen by a resident and her child.

There is one more important difference between these two cases.  The fire fighter was summarily fired despite the lack of evidence.  Despite the overwhelming evidence and the fact he was on village time, the water department employee merely received a 3 day suspension.

Apparently, that paragon of righteousness, Rick Ball-less went to bat for his high school buddy in the water department.  And the equally righteous Hannon went along with the slap on the wrist.

So...the next time someone tells you Hannon is merely cleaning up the mess left to him, remember the messes Hannon is creating.  And when they tell you he does not have any grudge against the fire department, inquire about the differential treatment of village employees.

And when they ask you to vote for Rick Ball-less in the fall, remember his shifting ethics.

Thursday, February 2, 2012

King John the Misogynist

“When a man gives his opinion, he's a man. When a woman gives her opinion, she's a bitch.” ― Bette Davis


Apparently King John the Clueless is feeling left out.  While his philosophical twin in Johnson City is getting all of the attention, John Bertoni is drowning in anonymity in Endicott.  Surely he can be as petty as Dennins Hannon.  Surely there must be employees he can harass to prove to all he is as small as Dennis Hannon.  Surely the man who "owns the Village of Endicott" can put in a couple of hours at the village and find someone to lord his power over.

Surely he can. In December, King John the Diminutive found his target.  Kathy Utter, Director of the Endicott Visitor Center for nearly a decade, was summarily dismissed.  During her tenure, Ms Utter transformed the center from a dreary and under utilized facility into a first class museum of Endicott history.  at the same time, she made the Center a revenue source by tirelessly seeking bookings and events for the events room.

There was no reason given for the termination.  Bertoni may have had personal disagreements with the director.  Utter placed the Visitor Center first and was unwilling to dish out favors to Bertoni's cronies.  However some suspect that the decision arises out of Bertoni's inability to deal with a strong female in a leadership position.  Bertoni's misogynistic attitudes have long been known by those having even the most limited dealings with King John.  And with this move, there are no women department heads in Endicott.  (Watch out Cheryl, You are next!)

The Fire Starter has learned that Bertoni has designs on the position previously held Ms Utter.  As part of Bertoni's "friends and family" plan, don't be surprised if a relative or close friend ends up taking over the position. And don' be surprised if the Visitor Center falls into disrepair and disuse.  To Ms Utter, the Center was a labor of love.  To Bertoni, it is just another favor to dole out.

Since Ms. Utter's dismissal, many individuals who loaned items for display have demanded they be returned.  Many lifelong Endicott residents, knowing of Bertoni's incompetence and corruption, collected their historical items for fear of Bertoni's next move.  In the end, Bertoni has taken one of the better run departments in the Village and  wrecked it to satisfy his personal animus and corrupt designs.

At a recent Board meeting, Village resident and former trustee Alberta Fiori-Gazda stood to speak in Utter's defense. Her comment is printed below, unedited.

The termination of Kathy Utter, Director of the Endicott Visitor Center was a result of continued harassment by the Bertoni Administration. Mayor Bertoni micro-managed Mrs. Utter in her role as Director of the facility for years and despite urging by the Board of Trustees and the public, the Mayor never allowed Mrs. Utter to speak to the Board to answer the Mayor’s complaints. She was given no reason for her dismissal. This demonstrates a true lack of executive leadership ability.


During the last nine years, Kathy Utter has exemplified the unique qualities and dedication it takes to successfully operate the Visitor Center and Community Meeting Hall: coordinating and training volunteers, scheduling events, developing changing historical exhibits, cataloging donations, establishing a gift shop, maintaining the facility, interacting with community organizations, residents, businesses, developing programs for school students, working with NYS agencies and organizing fundraising events…to name a few of her responsibilities. We are proud of the Visitor Center and grateful to her for her hard work. Thanks to her efforts, the Visitor Center and Community Meeting Hall is the most notable “showplace” in Endicott.

We object to the decision by the Mayor to fire Mrs. Utter and deplore the way it was handled. One, who has served the Village with dedication and distinction for nine years, in a supervisory position, deserves better. Our question to the members of the Board of Trustees is, “why was there no vote taken by the Board?” We must conclude in the absence of such a vote, that the entire Board of Trustees agrees with the Mayor’s decision.


In 2002, Mrs. Utter’s appointment was approved by a vote of the Board of Trustees and Mayor Colella. Under Village law the Mayor has the responsibility “to appoint all department heads and non-elected officers and employees, subject to the approval of the Board of Trustees.” (Village Law Section 4-400 (1) (c)). Additionally, VIL. LAW § 4-412 : NY Code - Section 4-412: The Board of Trustees. The first line of the section reads: “a. In addition to any other powers conferred upon villages”… giving the Village Board of Trustees broad power and responsibility for managing the affairs of the Village. Where is the Village’s code of ethics?

Therefore, since the Board of Trustees hired Mrs. Utter in 2002, it is only proper and lawful that the Board of Trustees discuss this issue and publicly bring it to a vote.
Well said Alberta! 

King John should know that many will be watching his next moves.  The replacement director will come under significant scrutiny.  And we will be monitoring the decline in bookings and the overall decline of the center.  And we will hold you accountable.

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Hannon Still Missing...But Collecting Salary

"I dote on his very absence." - William Shakespeare

Dennis Hannon is still missing.  He has not been seen in Johnson City for several months.  He is reportedly still drawing his Village funded paycheck and taxpayer funded state pension.  But he is not currently residing in New York State.  He has not performed the work of Village Mayor in four to five months yet is happily collecting his pay check.  This may have many names but it clearly is theft.

Despite Hannon's absence, his presence is still felt.  Many spineless lawmakers cower at the thought that Hannon may someday return.  On Tuesday, the Village Board voted to appeal the Rauschmeier case to the court of appeals.  In so doing, they continue to commit village resources to the petty vindictive prosecution of a absentee mayor.  They also allow the back pay bill to mount.  Only one Board member, Bruce King, saw the folly of continuing down this road.  King argued that they would be better off getting work for the money they will owe this fire fighter.  The others just fell in line behind the absent tyrant.

In the meantime, other Village business continues to stack up.  The Joint Sewage Board is fielding bids for demolition of the damaged portions of the sewage treatment plant.  Bids ran from $200,000 to over $800,000.  Where will this money come from? And what is Hannon doing to plan for it?

The tab for Hannon's bargain with the police union will also be coming due in several months. What is Hannon doing to plan for this?  Will there be borrowing?  Will the Village need to exceed the tax cap?

And what about the sweetheart intermunicipal agreements for Joint Fire Administrator Hrustich and Police Chief Zikuski.  Will the village board hold Hannon to account for this?  Will they vote to rescind these sweetheart deals and send these two clowns packing back to their municipalities of origin?

The Village seems frozen in place while Hannon  extends his absence week by week.  It is time for the board to force Hannon to return or resign.  And if he returns, most of the board members will need to find their spines and remember that they do not work for Dennis Hannon, they work for the residents of Johnson City.  And if they forget this, the voters will remind them on election day.

In the meantime, if anyone wishes to visit Mayor Hannon at his "southern village hall", we have a photograph of his Ocala, Florida home.


Drop in anythime!  I am sure he will be as glad to see you!

***********************************************

Editor's Note: Fire Starter has repeatedly tried to reach Mayor Hannon at his home on North Broad Street only to find his phone disconnected.  Does this sound like someone who is interested in the future of the Village?

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Village Loses in Court

A winner rebukes and forgives; a loser is too timid to rebuke and too petty to forgive. - Sydney J. Harris

The Fire Starter has been extremely critical of Mayor Dennis Hannon's management style in general.  His "my way or the highway" approach has cost village taxpayers hundreds of thousands of dollars with little or no tangible benefit.  This has been further exacerbated by his petty and vindictive use of his "powers" as mayor.  Most recently, we have criticized his absenteeism in the face of serious issues facing the village.  His absence has also created something of the crisis for the Fire Starter.  Without his childish and petty antics, what do we have to write about?

Well fortunately, we have been saved, for now, by the Rauschmeier case.  It appears that Hannon has banked some of his lunacy and it seems clear that his mismanagement will reverberate for years after he finally leaves.

Last week, an appeals court reversed his decision to terminate a village fire fighter.  The village fire fighter was terminated for engaging in a sexual act in the privacy of his home.  According to the court decision posted here, the village sought Rauschmeier's termination but failed to offer any evidence in support of their position.  The case went before a hearing officer who ultimately ruled that there was no evidence that Rauschmeier intended to be seen and therefore, Hannon's termination was baseless.  The court ordered reinstatement with back pay and benefits for almost three years!

The court, in overturning Hannon's decision found that his decision was not based on "substantial evidence".  It defined "substantial evidence" as the "relevant proof that a reasonable mind may accept as adequate to support a conclusion".  The court, by implication held that Hannon lacked a reasonable mind.  Anyone who has observed his antics over the past few years could have attested to this.  But now we have a court reaching the same conclusion.

The take away is that once again the village has spent tens of thousands of dollars on a fools errand.  They will now owe this fire fighter hundreds of thousands of dollars in back pay and benefits.  And all of this was done to further Hannon's senseless battle with the fire department.  What did the village get?  More legal bills and an employee who will be paid three years of wages for a time frame he was not allowed to work.

We lamented Hannon's extended absence from the village as irresponsible and a dereliction of duty.  On second thought, maybe Hannon should take a couple more weeks off and then come back and quit.

Thursday, January 5, 2012

Where in the World is...Dennis Hannon

"It is neglect of timely repair that makes rebuilding necessary" - Richard Whatley

The Fire Starter commented recently regarding Dennis Hannon's decision to stay as Johnson City's Mayor.  It was our conclusion that Hannon is a coward who was looking for cover to slink away into the night.  When the appeals court decision was handed down on the lay off case, he suddenly had improved health and family situation.  Just as conveniently, should matters turn against him again, he will claim "health and family matters" have worsened.  It is really transparent and pathetic.

However, some recent developments have Fire Starter questioning what is really happening. Since November of last year, Hannon has been notably missing from the Village.  He has spent an inordinate amount of time in Florida.  He has missed multiple village board meetings.  The only "official" duties he seems to carry out are the issuance of press releases criticizing the fire fighter's union. 

Fire Starter has learned that a village hall employee has become distraught with Hannon's absence.  Who will she turn to on these cold winter evenings?  She certainly is not interested in "working late" with Deputy Mayor Ball-less.

The bottom line is the village does not run itself.  Press releases do not equal leadership.  Hannon has made numerous messes since becoming a trustee and later mayor.  He presided over the sewage treatment plant debacle, the runaway lawyer bills, and the police contract debacle just to name a few.  In the meantime he is trying to enrich his friends at resident's expense.  And all the while economic development has been non-existent.  He needs to do the job village residents are paying him to do or leave.  Otherwise, he is nothing more than a common thief.

Hannon should not hold on to the office of mayor out of vanity or ego.  The Village deserves so much better than it has gotten from Hannon.