"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.
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.
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!