Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Hrustich Lied

“Every violation of truth is not only a sort of suicide in the liar, but is a stab at the health of human society.” - Ralph Waldo Emerson

We have detailed the misconduct of the fire chief in the Villages of Endicott and Johnson City. Steven Hrustich has placed the safety of the public and the fire fighters in jeopardy through reckless cuts and incompetent leadership. He has attempted to make command decisions and given orders while not even being on the scene. He has driven recklessly placing the public and fellow fire fighters at risk. He even responded lights and sirens and at a high rate of speed to an emergency scene while his children were in the back of the emergency vehicle.

Last week we wrote about Hrustich and his cronies using the “sick bank” as a way to lord his authority over others. Never mind that a man’s life and his family’s wellbeing is at stake. What was most important was that Hrustich could puff his chest out and prove to everyone that he is in charge.

Despite his serial misconduct, nothing has been done to rein him in. In fact, the ever clueless King John the Befuddled continues to sing Hrustich’s praises.

Hrustich’s misconduct has been largely swept under the carpet by complicit Village leaders. As long as Hrustich was willing to carry their water, Mayors Hannon and Bertoni were willing to overlook most anything.

Well a recent court decision may finally be the last straw. The Fire Starter read with great interest the Press accounts of the discipline of Johnson City Fire Fighter Martin Meaney. The Press story seemed to indicate that this was a rather simple matter of insufficient evidence. (i.e. “he may not be innocent but the Village failed to prove that he was guilty”). However, we found a copy of the actual court decision on line and it tells a very different story.

The actual court decision notes that the ONLY evidence against Meaney was a statement by Hrustich. Hrustich claimed that Meaney had complained to him that his tank had been tampered with.

Aside from Meaney’s denial of ever having an airpack problem, against Hrustich’s version of the facts were:

• A village police detective

• Two Village Firefighters who were with Meaney on the day in question.

• Evidence that Meaney did not even have access to the tank

In the end, it was Hrustich’s word against a mountain of evidence. But not only that, it is clear that Hrustich  lied. For this reason, Meaney was restored to his former rank with back pay.

But what about Hrustich? Hrustich sought a two rank demotion for Meaney’s supposed lies. What Hrustich did was the bear false witness against a subordinate to satisfy some personal grievance. What is the penalty for Hrustich’s lies? This abuse of power can not stand. Hrustich has committed criminal perjury and a breach of the public trust. It is time for a criminal prosecution and termination.

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