"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.
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.
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.