Monday, August 13, 2012

Endicott Corruption Continues

"There is a difference between jaywalking and grand larceny". - Gaylord Perry

With Hannon gone and Hrustich on his way, the Fire Starter can now return its attention to King John the Nefarious. 

The Fire Starter has highlighted Endicott Mayor John Bertoni's dirty dealings and blatant nepotism. We have highlighted the many instances where public money has been spent to line the pockets of the FOJ's (Friends of John).  Many family and friends have received no show or little work jobs.  Village property has been gifted to friends and family.  While complaining about firefighters and police officers, Bertoni has systematically fleeced the village for his friends and family.  It is enough to make Boss Tweed blush!

Which brings us to the latest bit of dirty dealings by Mayor John Bertoni.  Within the last year, King John the Nepotist hired FOJ  Darin Moody, to work in the Village Street department as a laborer.  Despite the lack of any competitive testing or apparent relevant experience, this FOJ was given a job in the village.

The Fire Starter was perusing local media outlets when to our surprise we came upon the following item in the Norwich newspaper:

Village of Endicott man arrested for Grand Larceny 4th Degree and Burglary 3rd Degree

 On June 25, 2012 a Village of Endicott man was arrested for Grand Larceny 4th Degree and Burglary 3rd Degree.Deputy Loiselle arrested Darin M. Moody after concluding an investigation that started during a traffic stop.  Deputy Loiselle was assisted by Oxford P.D. during a traffic stop in which two stolen computers were located in Moody’s vehicle.  The computers were found to have just been stolen from Wal-Mart prior to the traffic stop.  Moody is charged with Burglary for allegedly entering Wal-Mart with the intent to steal property while he is currently banned from Wal-Mart stores.  Moody was arraigned in the Town of Norwich court and remanded to the custody of the Sheriff on $5,000 cash bail.  Moody is to appear in Town of Norwich Court at a later date. 

Arrested –   Darin M. Moody Age: 41 

Charges –   Grand Larceny 4th Degree and Burglary 3rd Degree.

The Fire Starter  has learned that this is not Mr. Moody's first brush with the law. Apparently, he is well known to local Wal-Mart personnel and is banned from entering any store in the area.

Mr. Moody is still a probationary employee in the Village of Endicott.  As a result, he can be terminated at any time.  In other words, the Village is still within its rights to get this bad apple out of the barrel with little effort.  But this is an FOJ.   So the rules are different.

So what action has Bertoni taken?  Has he suspended the employee? has he begun his own investigation? Has he even questioned Mr. Moody? Please...we all know that the rules don't apply to Bertoni and his gang.
The Fire Starter has reliably learned that the only action taken by Bertoni was to threatened other Street Department employees with termination if they speak of Mr. Moody's criminal dealings.

Of course none of this should come as any surprise to anyone following Endicott politics.  Nor is it at all surprising that this has not been reported in the local media.

So what about it?  Can WBNG possibly report this?  Can Steve Reilly at the Press & Sun Bulletin bring himself to report this?  He seems to have no trouble undercutting law enforcement and fire fighters.  But what about corrupt village mayors?

We have our doubts.

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Hrustich Gives Notice

 "Addition by subtraction." -Branch Rickey

Fire Starter recently learned that Stephen Hrustich, the chief of Endicott and Johnson City fire departments has decided to end his deadly reign.  Fire Starter has learned that Hrustich gave 2 weeks notice to the respective villages and will bless the area by his absence as soon as August 20th.

Fire Starter has been reliably informed that Hrustich handled the transition in the incompetent and devious manner to which have become accustomed.  Apparently alleging a family emergency, Hrustich asked the respective villages for two weeks off.  However, there was no family emergency.  Rather, he lied so that he could steal two more weeks from the villages and attend to arrangements for his transition to a new job in the Atlanta area.  In other words, he walked off the job in the villages to feather his next the taxpayers expense.

Not surprisingly, while Hrustich was planning his next move, he let his duties as fire chief go unattended.  The Fire Starter has learned that several months ago, Mayor Deemie instructed Hrustich to prepare a new federal SAFER grant.  The SAFER program is a federal program with the purpose of assisting local governments with funding for staffing of fire services.  Despite the explicit direction from Mayor Deemie, Hrustich failed to take any action regarding the grant application.  Only one week before the grant is due to be submitted did village officials learn that Hrustich had dropped the ball.  The scramble is now afoot to meet the August 10th deadline.

Hrustich's narcissistic and self serving reign is now coming to an end.  Anyone surprised by the circumstances of his departure has not been paying attention.  He spent the last several years padding his retirement on the backs of taxpayers and at the expense of health and safety. 

Maybe now the people of the villages will again have the kind of fire department they deserve. In part, that will depend on his replacement.

Monday, August 6, 2012


 "I think my resignation was the only way to avoid bloodshed." - EduardShevardnadze 

 The Fire Starter has repeatedly written regarding Chief Stephen Hrustich's incompetence.  His unwillingness to ensure proper staffing has led directly to the deaths of at least three citizens.  His technical incompetence has led directly to career ending injuries to at least one fire fighter.  His petty vindictiveness has caused him to lie under oath in an attempt to punish a detractor.  His neglect of his responsibilities caused him drive recklessly with children in his official vehicle and subsequently smash into a citizen from behind due to his inattentiveness. 

Hrustich was hired to "manage" two separate fire departments.  In theory, in return for his princely salary, he would spend a minimum of 20 hours per week at each department.  However, a review of time records reveals that Hrustich frequently claimed to be at one department or the other while he was at neither.  Frequently, Hrustich is gone for weeks at a time while submitting false time cards to the Villages of Johnson City and Endicott.

So one has to ask oneself, what does it take to get fired as fire chief in these villages?  While Hrustich has abused the public trust and placed lives in danger, elected officials have looked the other way and allowed this fiasco to continue.  There seems no limit to the cowardice of public officials.  Absent some personal affront to these elected officials, Hrustich will be allowed to continue to kill.

We have previously posited that Hrustich is soulless.  We have no doubt this is true.  No one who possesses a soul could literally walk over the bodies of the dead and the careers of his fellow fire fighters simply to make a buck.  The level of his amorality is staggering.

But in the likely futile hope that there is a glimmer of morality still residing in Hrustich, we make this plea.  Resign. 

Resign before more more are injured.

Resign before more fire fighters with superior knowledge and talent leave.

Resign before more die.