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.

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