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.