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.

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