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Local Government Gone Wild | The Matt Masur Show Full Episode 3 1 21 – VIDEO
On today’s Matt Masur Show, Matt gives us an update on Gov. Cuomo’s newest sexual harassment allegations. Also we get into the matters going on in the Village of Ilion NY.
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The Matt Masur Show Full Episode 3-1-21
Going on everybody, Matt Masur Matt Masur show. What’s going on kind of a heavy one of those Mondays. Or I’m just not, not all awake. I was, I was awake early and I made the mistake of not actually getting up at that time.
And it was all downhill from there, but, but we’re here. We got some, uh, very interesting things going on today. Um, and, and looking at the prep, it all seems to be New York state based. So, uh, we’re calling this episode local, government’s gone wild. We’ve got some news on governor Cuomo. Uh, and then we’re going to get into our kind of top story of the day.
If you’ve been following along on social media all weekend, you know, we are all over this issue in the village of alien, uh, centered around the alien fire department. And some craziness that’s happening with that. You’re going to hear the interview a little later in today’s show. If you haven’t heard it already, we did release it early.
Cause it was, it was a big thing, but it’s, uh, it’ll be part of this episode. And then later in the week, we’re going to get even more of the story because there’s more going on in alien than just the fire department situation. But we’ll, we’ll get into that a little later. Uh, First, I want to give you a couple of little programming notes.
Um, we’re going to try a couple of different things. One is I started talking to a lot of folks, a lot of friends, and they tell me that, uh, you know, either I get busy and bringing my kids to school, I’m doing whatever. I don’t get a chance to tune into your show till about eight 30, about halfway through.
And I said, okay, why don’t we try this? And we’re going to start this today. Uh, we’re going to Tarantino it. Um, so basically what’s going to happen is. Uh, at nine o’clock when the live show was over, hang out for just a minute and I will immediately begin to replay the show at 9:00 AM. So if you caught it halfway through, just stick around and you’ll get the beginning afterwards, um, that we’ll just let that run.
I will try to keep an eye on the chat. So if people are. Are watching at 9:00 AM and they want to interact and discuss things on the chat. I won’t interject live in the stream. Obviously that’ll be prerecorded, but I will be in the chat so I can participate in that would be kind of cool. I think Jack and Mo going on, buddy, Jack, I just realized before the show that you had messaged me a few times, apparently it popped up on one computer and not all my others.
So I apologize for that, but I’ll get back with you this morning, buddy. Uh, the other thing I want to talk about is, uh, we’ve mentioned this a few times. We’re doing this thing, uh, through the merchant link. That is, uh, my merchandise store. And I’m using that as a vehicle to generate funds, to support local restaurants.
By purchasing their food, purchasing their products and donating it to nurses and frontline healthcare workers that have been really helping us through this COVID nightmare that hopefully we’re, hopefully we’re heading to the backside of, but, um, I know I’ve been saying it and it’s gotten pushed back.
Cause I keep thinking, Oh, let me get a little bit more money in this and whatever. But this week. Uh, we will be scheduling the first food delivery. I’ll be getting a hold of our man Dick at smoke incorporated. Barbecue, go check him out right now. If you need any sort of catering, obviously we’re not having a lot of parties, but quite frankly, he can make you a couple of nights meals for your family for less than takeout and 10 times the quality.
So, so check him out, smoking corporated, barbecue, uh, but we will be getting with him. At the end of the week with our, our total donation amount for the first, the first buy for these nurses. And, uh, we’re going to get that out there. So if you want to go to, uh, the merchant link.com, anything you buy, they’re a significant portion of the proceeds, uh, is going to this effort.
You can also go, um, you can click right on, uh, support our cause there. And you’ll see some donation options where you can just give a donation. You only have to buy any of our merch. Uh, you can give in a hundred percent of that will go to the, uh, the operation here.
Let’s talk about Cuomo for just a minute. So little bit of an update, you know, as we talked last week, He had a, a former aide came out and accused him of sexual harassment. And I said, at that time, this might be the end. And the reason this might be the end is because they use more fire department analogies, but where there’s smoke there’s fire.
And there is almost never just one person. Almost never sure enough, this weekend, a second accuser came out former staffer again and, uh, made the situation a little worse for the governor as I saw coming. I think a lot of people did, uh, here’s a little info from the New York times.
He’s under pressure. Um, To investigate this and here’s he started, this is kind of funny. He started the weekend with yep. We got to investigate. I’ll pick an investigator and then people went. No, no, that’s, that’s not going to work this time, bud. Um, so he has now deferred to the attorney general and told her handle it, pick the prosecutor.
I’m sorry. Pick the investigator rather. And go from there. Uh, the interesting thing is on Sunday evening, last night, he issued an apology saying I acknowledged some of the things I have said may have been misinterpreted as unwanted flirtation to the extent that anyone felt that way. I am truly sorry about that.
So if we look at the, um, politicians, lose their career over sexual harassment charges template. This is right on the list. This is, this is the correct step. Uh, you sort of have admitted in it, but he’s doing the, uh, uh, well, no, you’re the asshole move. Uh, it’s it’s your fault for taking it that way. That’s, that’s kind of the way he’s going with that.
Uh, I’m listen, I’m sorry if that’s how you felt like I bear no responsibility and how I made you feel. Again, this is, this is par for the course. And, um, it’s, it’s headed right down the path that I predicted last week, which is, uh, people that do not like governor Cuomo may have reason to celebrate before too much longer, in my opinion, um, this new allegation, this woman, uh, Says that the governor was asking her about her sex life, um, asking her about these things.
The one thing to keep in mind is, okay, you know, what, what Cuomo and what many of these folks do that’s considered sexual harassment is not always the exact picture that you have of sexual harassment. You know, the picture you have is a boss, a supervisor, a governor, in this case saying. Get on my Dick or your career is over now guys, monsters like Harvey Weinstein.
They did shit like that. They were that blunt. They were that clear cut. Most people though, guys like Cuomo, they don’t, they don’t be that. They’re not that clear. Cut. They never said those words. They’d never made that demand. But that pressure is there, nonetheless, because what you have to understand is this is a guy who’s created, uh, an entire culture.
The way he operates is that you need to be loyal to him. You need to support him or he’s going against you, or you are on the outs. So when that’s just the standard, no matter what the topic is, no matter what the situation is. And then it comes to a woman who’s faced with this man now implying that he would like sexual favors or that he would like her to flirt with him or, or whatever, without him even saying the words, if you don’t do these things, your job is in trouble.
She knows if she doesn’t keep this man happy, he will come after her. And, and we see that time. And again, that’s, that’s, uh, the governor’s kind of management style. He comes after Democrats in the assembly who dare say he, maybe should’ve done something differently. You know, it’s, it’s, well-known his culture of, uh, you know, demanding, I don’t know if I want to say respect, but, uh, demanding loyalty to a fault.
And so. You know, when he starts asking these women and flirting with him and making it seem like he wants something from them, they are immediately concerned for their career, not even just their job position that day in his administration, but what the effects might be for the rest of their entire career.
It’s fucking horrible. 20 five-year-old farmer aid, 25 years old. This guy’s up in her shit. Come on, man. He was asking her about her sex life and whether or not she had been with older men. Why would a 63 year old as a 25 year old? If she had been with other men, unless he wanted to be one of those older men, I understood that the governor wanted to sleep with me and I felt horribly uncomfortable and scared.
Ms. Bennett told the times and was wondering how I was going to get out of it and assumed it was the end of my job. Exactly what I was just saying. Joseph she’s younger than me. Yeah.
It’s like the creep factor. 10 chromosomes. I never made any advances towards Ms. Bennett, nor did I intend to act any way. That was inappropriate. Yeah, he didn’t say let’s go fuck. Sure. But that’s, that’s not really a defense Andy asking a 25 year old. If she’s into older men. You don’t, you don’t have to go out of your way to draw that conclusion.
Um, and again, as I said, last week, the dam is opening. We’re now at two very troubling accusations from credible respectable women that worked for him. Will there be more. Will the details of these situations alone. Take them down. I don’t know, but it doesn’t look good. And I really hope the appropriate measures are taken.
Switching gears for a moment. Uh, another update on the COVID 19 relief package, AKA the stimulus. And the minimum wage and all these other things that we’ve been talking about.
Um, the house has passed the stimulus package. Let’s uh, let’s watch this clip president Biden’s $1.9 trillion rescue. Bill is moving to the Senate. The house passed it over. Yeah, no Republicans voted for the plan. Two Democrats broke ranks to oppose it. Now the package includes $1,400 direct checks to people making less than $75,000 annually.
Direct aid to small businesses as well, and an increase in the child tax credit, direct funding to state and local governments, funding for schools and more money for vaccines. Now there are several steps before the bill heads to the president, unemployment benefits help for small businesses. So yay. A month and a half later they passed the thing they said they were going to do immediately, as soon as they took office.
And by the way, it was supposed to be $2,000 checks. I don’t mean to beat this, this point into the dirt, but Joe Biden said, elect Ossoff and Warnock, and you will get $2,000 checks. I’ve shown the image. Many times they ran an ad with a $2,000 check from the U S treasury made out to people. And then they won that election and took off, as he said, yeah, you’re going to get your $1,400 check.
And people said, what the fuck are you talking about? You said two grand? Oh no, you already got that $600. That was, that was the down payment on your two grand that we promised, even though we showed you checks for $2,000 and Oh, by the way, this was now months and months ago, making the idea that you got that $600 even more ridiculous, but.
To the rest of the process. Some of those programs will lapse soon. There’s still significant disagreement between the parties on how much to spend and where that money should go the time for bold and decisive act. So the other thing I want to mention slightly along this topic, um, is the PPP. Uh, and I mentioned this before, and I just want to throw this out there as a quick little plug, because I’m seeing some news and updates about this.
Um, the PPP that’s the small business loan program, part of the, uh, original pandemic relief. Um, originally there was a lot of regulations and rules and you had to be certain people and you know, the corporations, the big guys that didn’t need any money at all, got a huge chunk of it. Last week. I told you they were opening this up to a smaller businesses, exclusively people, uh, I believe 20 employees or less.
It also includes independent contractors, freelancers 10 99 people, one man operations. Um, you are eligible and right now it is open, exclusively for you to get in there. I also just received an email from one of these places saying that. Um, they’ve changed the requirements a bit. So what you had to do a week ago is you get on there, you give your information, you submit your taxes.
That’s how they quickly can tell you whether or not you qualify for one of these loans. It was based on line 30, one of your, of your schedule. C if you run a business, that’s the line of whether or not you made a profit. If you’re a business or you’re someone who uses. Uh, a business entity to do tax write offs.
And you, you took a loss or you had a zero or even a negative online 31 is as a lot of people do to avoid taxes. Well, you were ineligible that basically meant you made no money. So the government wasn’t going to give you any loan. They have changed that. And I believe as of today, they can base your loan on your line seven.
That’s your gross income before you make all those deductions. Um, so if you’re a small business, if you’re an independent contractor of any sort. You file a schedule C on your taxes. You are most likely eligible for this PPP loan, which keep in mind if you follow their requirements, which aren’t all that difficult.
It becomes forgiven. It’s free money. Um, as a sole provider, you can not have it forgotten if you have no, you can Jack. That’s the thing. Um, it’s basically, uh, and again, you’re going to have to look at the rules from the bank, but yes, as a sole proprietor, Um, you basically have to detail that you’ve used the money for certain things and, uh, the rules are payroll.
So I believe that means that you have to document that you’ve paid yourself again. I’m not an expert on that particular part, but they can be forgiven if you’re a sole proprietor, as long as you follow the rules. So basically it could be free money for your business. Please check that out because. Yeah, the big guys, get this free government money all the time.
This is probably one of the easiest opportunities I’ve ever seen for a smaller business to get some government funding without too many hoops. Still a few hoops, not nearly as many as, as you typically find in these, uh, grant situations, things of that nature.
Let’s talk about the village of Lillian.
I think I got a graphic for that. There we come. The village of Ilian is my hometown born and raised, graduated high school from there. My father is a retired deputy chief from the Ilian fire department. I’ve known, uh, many of the professional firefighters, many of the. Police officers, all the folks that work for the village, civilian incredible hardworking people, small town home of Remington arms, America’s oldest gun maker.
That’s been a lot of challenges over the years and unfortunately the entire region, not even just telling him, but the entire region has become incredibly economically depressed. A lot of folks have left, not come back for a wide variety of reasons. But it’s a beautiful place. It’s a historic place. And the people that still live there believe in the wonderful small knit community that it always has been enter.
Mayor Brian Lamakaan, former police officer, longtime member of the community. Well-known I was happy when the guy took office. Now to be fair. I haven’t known much of him since I was a teenager. Uh, but when I did, I always got the impression that he was a guy that could cared about the town and the people.
And so when he took office, I was very excited, quite frankly. All right. Somebody somebody’s going to do some good for the village fast forward to today. Couple years later. And I find out what seems to be happening is he’s got a agenda that he wants to implement, which is a mayor’s prerogative, but he doesn’t want to implement it in any way that is normal or legal.
In many cases, it seems to be, um, rather than even announce his plans to the public. Have public sessions have, have hearings have input. He seems to be going at these things in a very back room sort of manner. No public notice, no choice in the matter, no discussion, no debate village residents are just waking up one day and finding these things have happened.
Uh, one such thing is. A mess at the alien fire department. And in just a minute, I’m going to play the interview with Jennifer Peterson. She’s the wife of the, uh, was the fire chief Thomas Peterson. And she really gets into what’s what’s going on with that? What I want to let you know is we will be continuing on this story and not just the fire department issue.
There’s a lot of other issues going on in that village. Um, There are some, uh, big issues with the water system. In fact, the village of Allianz water system rivals Detroit, and even the famous Erin Brockovich has been known to speak out about the village of aliens water system. They just raised the prices the village did, and they got a huge grant to fix this issue.
Question is nobody’s really sure if anything’s happened in, in questions are starting to be asked. It’s about what’s up with that grant money. So there’s a lot going on in alien, uh, that we are going to keep a focus on. Jack was asking, who took the interview down? Yeah, I posted over the weekend after the interview went out and it went incredibly viral.
I think probably half the residents of the village villi and have watched it now. Um, But we started seeing it being taken down. And what do we mean by taking it down? It wasn’t like Facebook wasn’t sensor and I was there any of that type of thing, but more, it seemed like some folks that shared the interview on Facebook.
Some locals got some, some pushback from the friends that might be a, not so excited to highlight the negatives of the alien administration. It’s interesting to see what’s what’s going to happen. I’ve got some more interviews booked later this week and we will be all over these things, but for now, we’re going to queue up this interview.
Um, you can grab it in its entirety at any time. It’s already on YouTube and
I accidentally closed it. So now I gotta pull it back up. But, but check it out, share it. Tell your friends, um, this is a big thing and even bigger. Sorry.
Even bigger than that,
I cannot find my own freaking video.
Um, even bigger than that, I’m sorry is, uh, you will see Jennifer, my cousin. Damn, she’s impressive. I can’t tell you how many comments I’ve gotten from folks, uh, commenting on just how well-spoken she is, how professional she is. You know, she’s talking about, welcome to she’s talking about these very personal issues in probably the most professional way.
You could ever imagine.
And I think you’re really going to be impressed.
Give me just one second. I apologize.
so without further ado, I’m going to let this play. I will be in the chat. If you’ve got questions that will take us to the end of the show. And then I will, uh, as I promised replay the whole thing, starting at the beginning, as soon as it ends. So if you missed the start of the show, stick around at the end and you’ll catch it without further ado.
Here’s my interview. You may have made to show, this is a very special interview. You might be watching this during the regular live feed, or you might find this some other time, but this was a big kind of issue, big story that broke. So the normal Friday off got put on pause and we’ve got a great interview today, but we’re talking today about what’s going on in alien alien, New York.
If you have seen the local media. You’ve seen a bunch of headlines that all pretty much say what the hell is going on in alien. There’s a big shakeup, there’s some big controversy with the mayor and the fire department. And this is a little personal for me for those that don’t know I’m from alien. And my father is a retired deputy chief from the alien fire department and joining us today.
Is the wife of the alien fire, chief Tom Peterson, who is a kind of in the center of this. And she also happens to be my cousin. So Jennifer Peterson is joining us. And I thank you very much, Jen, for coming on. I know you’ve been out trying to tell the story and I appreciate you doing so here. Thank you.
Ma’am I really appreciate you asking me to come on today. Cause it’s, I think it’s a super unique thing between you and I, not just the relationship of being cousins, but also dynamic of how Tom took your father’s place. So your position as he left, when he retired 24 years, 25 years ago, whatever 24 years ago.
So it is a very unique story for both of us and near and dear to our hearts for the fire department. For sure. Cause it’s been in both of our lives since we’ve been born with your dad in the service. So, you know, it’s, it’s obviously a story that needs to get out there for sure. Absolutely. And, and just, again, just for a tiny bit more context for those that aren’t from around here, Ilene is a small village.
It’s the home of Remington arms it’s based in Herkimer County. And it’s one of the few paid fire departments in Herkimer County. But what a lot of folks in bigger cities don’t understand is there’s a lot of small towns across the country that have volunteer fire departments, departments that are staffed by spectacular people, but people that have other full-time jobs.
And that is the case in Herkimer County. Where a lot of those small towns are supported by the handful of full professional fire departments. So as we talk about how this affects the village civilian and their fire department, keep in mind, this has to do with basically the whole region because they help everybody.
It’s, it’s a kind of a community thing there. So Jen explained to us just what is going on. What’s what’s happening. It’s it’s interesting cause there’s there so many answers that we don’t have, but there’s obviously a lot of red flags. There’s a lot of red flags when it comes to some of the ethical, procedural and transparency coming from the mayor and the board of, of what is happening.
What’s going on? What are the intentions? Why are we in the state? Why is every, it’s not just the fire department and that’s the sad part. Every water police department, electric department, they’re all getting hit with very similar situations. Just nobody’s talking about it. And village taxpayers need to know this information.
The village is not being transparent of what’s going on. Nor are they following the pop, the, the, the, um, proper procedures to, to make these decisions. And that’s coming out very clearly on many levels. And so people want to get involved and, and, you know, with the fire departments specifically, there, there was an employee that left in the fall.
And upon leaving, supposedly had went to, to the village, even after he was directly asked by his chief, if there were any issues that he wanted to be followed through with, with, with what he had written down on paper that the employee stated he did not want to follow through with anything and that he wanted to leave, you know, everything the way it was hanging out with a guy still and just move on to another job.
Sure. So next thing you know, there is supposedly a formal complaint, but that came out not until December 24th. Tom, uh, acting as the chief at the time was asked to ask his employee to go home on Christmas Eve, not show up for and be put on administrative leave because there’s an investigation and that’s all they were ever told.
And, and nobody, when it comes to investigation, obviously we don’t have any details or what the complaint was, anything like that, but yeah. We do know there’s a lot of gaps in these timelines. If, if there was a complaint back in the fall, as they are very specifically stating in the news and specifically stating in their statements, why was an employee waited two months and still continue to work if they have such high concerns.
Yeah. Right. You know that that’s, that’s one of my number one questions. Why, why did it take them so long to even pursue this? And why has not all parties been in spoken to an investor? Nobody, nobody at a certain level. Of the department, some of the department has been, been spoken to and some of it to get information from, but there’s still a handful that haven’t.
And these are the, the two, two of the members that are supposedly involved in this have not been investigated or asked any questions involving the situation formally at all. So that’s, that’s very interesting gaps in the story. It doesn’t make sense. Nothing’s just, don’t line up with that. And the, you know, one of the big things, especially as Tom serving as provisional, chief, the terms that they wrote on the paper for him to be removed from his position as chief.
Sure. Really are pretty questionable on many levels professionally with legitimacy, they have nothing to do with his jobs or performance as with his chief duties and responsibilities. So there are so many things that are just not lining up to as specifically the fire department, but all of these are applicable to everything that’s going on across the entire village.
So Jen, Jen, just for people trying to keep score, let’s, let’s break down the very basic, so you’ve got Tom who was the chief he’s been. I guess suspended. He is not. And so their wording is that he has been removed from the provisional chief position and he is to very specifically report only as the deputy chief in charge of codes.
So you have somebody with the highest level of training and leadership skills. They don’t even want into the fire station, but for no reason, and they want him housed at the municipal building only for codes purposes. And Y w when the fire department is very, very huge turnover, the last three years and very inexperienced firefighters.
And you don’t want to use that person back on the line as a deputy chief running shifts. And being present at which also causes natural overtime for the village when they do it like that. So there’s a lot of questions with those two and for folks don’t know annually, and for quite some time, the fire department is in charge of the codes department.
And in the fire station is the office where the codes officer generally works. That’s that’s. And what they’re saying is we want you to do this job, but you’re not allowed in your office. Yeah. And why, why would you remove, why would you remove them from that building in cause overtime purposely? What what’s the intention.
Yeah. I mean that, that whole concept is so bizarre because, so you’re not really firing these people. You still want them to work for you, but you’re going to restrict how they can do their job and make any sense. I mean, if there’s something great. And then the next question behind that is, is this. With civil service requirements, contracts, law, exceptable that you can be told to work in a different place with a different role.
Then your civil service hiring was what is he? A deputy chief. And there’s, there’s an actual, you know, written law and procedures and policies of where he can serve. What happens if he gets. Taken out of that provisional chief, does he get put back on to his last position and that’s what we’re looking into and it seems like that is the case.
So. Why wasn’t that due diligence done in that? You know, why, why aren’t we as administrators going, Oh, if we pull them out, where do we have to put him? Because there’s a separate responsibility with these civil service workers to know what you are supposed to do with those roles. And in just a second, I will give you the statement from the mayor.
And I think that it. It just speaks to everything you say. There seems to be very little procedure, very little, whatever. It’s just, this is what we’re going to do and we’ll figure it out later. But, but before that, we, we keep talking about, uh, Tom, your husband, the chief, but there’s a couple of other firefighters kind of caught up in this.
Is that accurate? So when one specific firefighter might count overs on administrative leave, he’s a deputy chief also. He is the one involved in investigation and absolutely has had zero communication regarding any of this. And it has been told he cannot even step foot on a village property unless he gets permission from the mayor specifically as if he’s a danger to society, which is absolutely insane that his family is living like this.
So, so they’ve given no cause, but yeah. And, and again, this is the thing that, you know, I’ve said, and I’ll say again, obviously I have a connection here. I know these guys. I think these are good guys at the same time, I would take the other side that if they did do something wrong, if there’s something horrible, then appropriate actions should be taken.
But there’s no appropriate action here for any situation what’s going on here is just totally inappropriate. No matter what happened. Right. There’s, there’s no transparency of anything going on. And it is, you know, just, even on the business side of it now there’s, so there’s all these ethical things of none of these decisions being appropriate ethically, but also on the business side, all this overtime that we’re causing due to this, the village is now raising taxes 2% for water, but we have no problem paying extra lawyer fees when we have a lawyer.
So we’re we’re, we have all these outside lawyers that were paying for all of this process, as well as other. There’s other employees who are filing grievances that now they have to pay out for. And we’re pulling people out of the fire station and holding this investigation really takes two months when this actually happened, that the complaint was supposedly filed in the fall.
Just none of this is making sense and it’s not fiscally responsible. It’s not ethically responsible. It’s not procedurally responsible. Well, I think, I think folks. These days are kind of conditioned to understand. Anytime you get an official statement about an investigation, that is just the easy go-to word for.
We don’t want to answer any questions and we can hide behind this. And that’s, you know, that’s, that’s kind of par for the course in any of these situations, what I am going to do here, if I can get the right one is I want to just quickly play the, the news story on this, because it gives the mayors. Okay.
Now what I’ll say is, is interesting as I’ll play the story for you here, but a lot of the comments on the story from the public were what horrible story. I can’t believe this is, this is horrible reporting. There’s so many details I don’t understand. And while I get that, what we have to understand is.
That’s not even the media’s fault there, every detail, every detail that correct. And that’s exactly how I was reached out to last night to say, they’re, they’re reporting the details they are given. So even, you know, I’ll preface a little bit of before that plays, that it States in there there’s two people under investigation.
We have absolutely no indication or communication that there are two people under investigation. So if Tom is under investigation, if he is the other one, nobody knows it. Nobody. I know nobody’s asked him any questions, huh? Well, nobody’s even told him he’s an invert under investigation. So that’s, and that’s a very bold statement, right.
And this coverage, right. Let’s see, let’s see. And I apologize if you can’t hear the audio, but I, I assure you that folks will be able to Kristin Copeland’s the alien fire department is without a fire chief and the mayor of the village has confirmed. There are two members of the department under investigation.
Two has received a number of calls and emails from viewers voicing concern about changes at the fire department. And that’s when we started asking questions. So here’s what we know so far built. Let’s say I do really appreciate the way they kind of presented this because they are, I think naturally.
Demonstrating that the lack of details that are in this story, it’s kind of interesting. Officials say a complaint was filed by a now former employee of the village alleging conduct, which could subject the village to legal liability. The investigation conducted by Indian police started in the fall, a statement obtained by news channel two from mayor Brian lanica says yes.
So this is the part right here. This, this statement is, I mean, it’s almost incredible in. How much it says absolutely nothing. She made the command structure. The department, the statement goes on to say, quote, well, some individuals may prefer that the status quo in the fire department being maintained, the board would not be fulfilling its responsibility by doing so to the contrary, the village board is United in its position that a comprehensive review and investigation, the operation of the fire department is required.
Such an inquiry by the board is necessary to protect the village from potential legal liability and ensure its compliance with applicable law rule and regulation and quote. And then there is no fire chief in charge right now, the mayor tells NewsChannel two to three, deputy chiefs are in charge of the department.
We’re going to stay up. So let’s talk about that part real quick. Gave it to you at the top of the story and the end there, they’re driving this point that there is currently no fire chief. And they’re saying, you know, that the three deputy chiefs have put, been put in charge, but it almost sounds like what they’re saying is you three guys figure it out.
And unfortunately, those were the words that were shared. Figure it out. You guys, you guys will figure it out. I mean, it’s just, it’s so ludicrous. What a liability. How do you not just say. This guy is the temporary leader. I mean, that’s, that’s the responsible thing, right? You know? Well, it come to find out behind the scenes.
And again, I don’t have facts on this. This is a rumor, but I, I I’m, it’s pretty solid that the intention was to pull in a fire chief from a different department, from a different town to serve oversee as well as where he is. And it sounds like this was already planned out prior to asking. Tom to be removed from his chief position.
It sounds like also now that the, this other chief is hearing the real story, he, it doesn’t sound like he might be doing so, and right. And you know what, here, here’s the interesting part. This has never been brought up in any of the open sessions that any of this. At all, was it consideration for the alien fire department and the taxpayers who pay for the services?
No one has been made aware that they don’t have to know all of the personnel changes, but they do have to know that the village is considering changes to their services. Yeah. I mean, what you’re talking about is, is basically a consolidation agreement, right? You’re, you’re sort of merging departments. I mean, that is a huge, huge issue that needs to be discussed in public.
Well, that’s we we’ve actually, that’s one of the things Tom’s worked very hard at is building all of these great relationships with the towns around to provide a very contractual and mutual agreement between all of them to move towards a fiscally responsible mutual type situation for services. But there’s stepping stones, there’s baby steps.
There’s things you have to do before that. Um, not like this and this isn’t how you treat, you know, your employees. Well, yeah, I mean, that’s, that’s the thing, you know, we talk about Tom’s a 20 plus year veteran. How many times has he been written up? None. He has nothing in his file. Yeah. So we go from an impeccable record to you must immediately be removed.
Yes. Right. And can I share that? So the other two reasons that they put in writing that he was removed from his chief position, one of them was that he. Did not obey a direct order from the mayor, which it was in reference to bringing files over to the village offices. And that act actually had been done and they shared that it wasn’t done on a timely manner.
Which I am not, I think a week as a timely manner, he just didn’t like how they were there. They weren’t the originals, they were copies. And that was his discrepancy with that. So he, he is stating that was a direct order that was not followed. So that was the second reason. So they want to remove the fire chief because they don’t like the way he did secretarial duties.
Correct. Gotcha. So then the third reason was a Facebook post that he posted that. Chuck Lester himself stated he did. He found offensive and cracked. He’s the deputy mayor who has been on Facebook often in a very egregious. Manner often with, with residents and very frequently, including that day that they removed him from chief, but they sh his statement was that Tom had taken his phone and went around the fire station, alien fire station, or made a recording that was offensive.
When in all actuality it was a TV clip from the show. Rescue me. Phenomenal show by the way. Yeah. Yeah. It just speaks to the culture of, you know, the fire department. So that was a third reason there. So those were there, there, there are three reasons was regarding the harassment that time did not follow through with policies properly, which he did not take the training for that, that, that complaint that came through until after the complaint came through.
So he didn’t even know at the time he wasn’t knowledgeable of certain responsibilities should at which, which was only. A very short period of time from all of that transpiring from when the employee left and told him he didn’t want anything followed through to when he was pulled in and asked, like, why didn’t you follow through dah, dah, dah.
He, in between those times is when the training happened. So there’s three things that still don’t add up to removing somebody out of a chief position. Yeah. I mean, all of it, like I’m still no write-ups and none of them are heard integrate apps into his, you know, which is a standard procedure. Even if, you know, you work at Walmart, there’s procedures for employment and reprimands and laws governing those things, you know, it just, it seems incredible.
The number of things that can, can go like this and, you know, you’ve cited some things in there that they claim are the reasons. But I, I feel like it’s a little bit telling that they’ve not cited any of those reasons publicly. I mean, usually when you have a problem with this, sure. There’s an investigation, but you know, if your excuses, they said something offensive on, on Facebook, generally, that is right out there.
They’re going to tell you, listen, this is because of a, B or C, and we’re not going to get into the details, but. You know, we are at least going to give you some sort of rational reasoning. We’re going to tell the taxpayers why your fire department doesn’t have a chief right now in alien. We’re just not going to do that.
We’re just going to, you know, literally make it up as we go. Well, yeah, we’re going to do what we want to do. Cause that’s how we want to do it. And yeah. You know, and you’re going to take somebody who you committed. To their position as a fire chief, with the intention of full-time fire chief at the end, the permanent fire chief position, she’s gone to all of the trainings.
I’ve invested huge amounts of money in the village has paid for all of these trainings. In an investment into somebody who has committed heated, he can retire anytime. Sure. And he’s chosen, he chose to stay. So this fire department in this village was not without effective leadership. It was a personal choice.
He didn’t have to stay here and do this. So it, it does it. All of these decisions that are supposed to be politically procedurally, correct, have turned into very personal power trip decisions and the administration, you know, that’s, what’s really sad here is, you know, we see a lot of people in a lot of government jobs that are very self-serving, they’re very power hungry.
They’re very whatever. And you can get into that. That’s a whole nother debate, but the fire department. And specifically these guys in Ilion, they sign up every day to help people. No, they don’t play politics. They don’t run their mouth. They’re not trying to be the head of the town. You don’t get paid much.
No, they do a job where they are there to help you in an emergency. And they jump at that without asking questions. They don’t care who you are. They don’t care how much money you got. They don’t care. What color your skin is. When that phone call rings, they’re on the rig and they’re jumping in, run into a burning fire and saving people’s lives.
Correct. And these are the folks we’re going to go after and attack. And again, so, you know, this would be just pure speculation, but yeah. In your estimation, what do you think that the real goal here is? Is it, is it some sort of, you know, way just to cut costs? Is that, is that what is going to be his, you know, the mayor’s answered all this.
This is why we’ve got to make all these changes or is it just a matter of, I want to make things my way. I, I think, I think it’s the latter. I really think it’s I, this is the way I want things to go. I’ve got two more years in office. I have intentions of saying I did this, this and this as if they are improvements in actuality, it’s harming the entire village with.
With every department that is getting effective and Morel, and even the fiscally, if you’re going to say you’re going to save money by doing these things, let’s really look at where the money is going because there’s even discrepancies and misappropriations that are coming out factually for people, from people that are attending these meetings now, because they’re, so after all of those years of coming out with all the departments that are affected, people are starting to show up to these meetings and they are seeing there.
Discrepancies, like I said, in the money and the way the meetings are held, there’s, there’s a legal obligation to hold village, open meetings, a certain way, and executive sessions a certain way. And what is discussed in both are not being followed there. I’ve had people, you know, left and right, reaching out saying I was at this meeting, this happened and it’s illegal.
I was at this meeting, this happened, it was illegal. So if we’re making decisions during times when you’re legally not supposed to, or not informing people, people were supposed to be openly informed that they were going to make changes. And the fire department and, and that did not happen at the Monday night meeting.
And Tom was let go on Tuesday for that chief position. He was also told that if he did not take the deputy chief of code’s position, as they told him he had to, that he would be suspended for 30 days and put out for an article 74 review. So except our demotion. Or we’re going to come after you further that’s even though he’s asking to go back to serve the fire department as a deputy chief and not going to even argue that that’s, but they, they want to suspend him for 30 days and do an article for what, what are they going to do an article, somebody for, for what investigation, what radio do they need to do?
There’s nothing in his file. It seems clear that this is a situation where they’ve decided that. They don’t want him there and they work backwards from that decision. Yeah. And they, they, he doesn’t go with the flow with them. He questions things. And if they say he has to do X, Y, and Z, he does it, but he questions that any questions in writing.
So there’s quite a bit of communication and writing to back up everything that has happened over specifically, probably this past year, maybe a little bit less. But everything that he has questioned is in writing. And most of the decisions that have been made, especially those last six months were against his own advisement of running the department.
But the mayor chose his way. That’s, that’s truly incredible. You know, again, it’s, it’s, it’s really sad to see. And, and you know, if you’re seeing this, you don’t, you don’t know Tom, you might think, well, Man, it sounds like maybe is this guy like a rebel? Is that, is he, you know, it couldn’t be further from the truth.
He’s probably one of the most easygoing, friendliest guys you could ever meet. And you can see that in the response all over social media, where people are talking about it, everybody knows Tom, everybody knows the other firefighters. And they’re shocked that you could treat folks that have dedicated themselves to this town in such a way.
Yeah. Um, it’s again, if you have an agenda, you have a plan. You want to do something differently. You know, that is to some degree, the prerogative of a mayor and a village board, but there’s procedures. Right. And this thing just reeks of inappropriateness and, and just reeks of all kinds of questions that Hmm.
You know, maybe aren’t there. Maybe there’s maybe there’s no corruption, maybe everything’s above board. And the mayor’s really trying just to do the best for his town, but man, he is not going about it the right way. No, and here’s the deal, you know, there’s absolutely nothing wrong with doing a review of a department and procedural reveal.
I need an operational review. There’s nothing wrong with that. But for one reason why you have to pull a chief out to do so. And two, if that’s the case and we have all these discrepancies at the village, Board and the mayor. So office and their procedures. Why w if that’s the responsible thing to do, and you’re stating that in your, uh, press release, that that’s what you need to do because it’s responsible for the village.
Why are we not doing that back on their end also? Exactly. Are there, are there double standards? And clearly, clearly there are, because they, we also have the deputy mayor who threatened somebody in a village e-mails to physically harm them, but he’s still sitting in his position. He also threatened somebody Monday morning on Facebook, a village resident, and told the village residents to build a well in their yard.
If they don’t like what’s going on with the water. That’s what the deputy mayor’s response was to village residents that don’t agree with some of the things or questioning things. And, you know, there’s actually stuff that came out this morning. I won’t share yet. I have another verbal, very aggressive thing.
So the resident nobody’s questioning that or revealing that, or, or investigating that that’s a story that’s in the media. You can look it up and I apologize for not having the exact quote ready, right this second. But I believe this man said something to the effect. Again, this is a village board member speaking to a citizen of taxpayer, something to the effect of if I ever see when public I’ll cut your fingers off craft, which is just most random insult, like never imagined, but like, and eventually followed up.
He followed up with a few threats with that same citizen on, through that email in different ways, as well as on a radio show afterwards. But there’s no investigation for that guy. No, he’s still, he’s still serving our community. Cool. Maybe, maybe it’s the problem. Maybe Tom should, you know, be obnoxious in public more and he would be more popular with the village.
I don’t know. It’s it’s truly incredible. We are going to keep track of this story here on three, one five live. We’re going to try to figure out what’s going on. Ilian is an incredible place. You know, unfortunately through economic downturns and things like that has, has lost a lot. They don’t have a lot of money.
There’s a lot of challenges, but this is no way to run it. You know, the fire department is one of the best assets in the village. It is one of the most well known in the state. It’s one of the most recognized departments in the state for how they run it. It’s just. It’s very sad. It’s, it’s a sad situation right now.
And, and you mentioned it slightly off topic, but you mentioned the water real quick. Let me ask you, is, is the water situation fixed in Elliot? No, it’s not fixed. It’s not fixed. And they’re raised and they’re raising rates without which, you know, that, that, that comes with the territory. But at the same time, I’d like to question.
What happened with money this past year? Have, have we been fiscally responsible? Could we have avoided a tax raise for our water specifically? That is hitting everybody really hard in the first place, because everybody already has to mostly buy their own separate drinking water for almost every household already.
So what other places could we have saved such as all of these lawyer fees, things like that. So the tea, excuse me. The tap water is undrinkable. Uh, it is, but it’s Brown. This is something that Erin Brockovich, the Erin Brockovich has talked about. The village of alien, New York. That’s how bad the water is.
It’s Detroit scale. And our focus is a fire department that, you know, based on, it sounds like if you boil this all back, Uh, go to their excuse. This is all based on the account of a disgruntled employee. I mean, it’s, that’s really rounding of these decisions based on the investigation. So all of this investigation, the investigation, which fine, that’s fine that they need to go there, but there are so many other moving pieces that they’re not speaking to that do exist.
So that’s the issue we understand that can not speak about the investigation, but we only have one member under investigation as of our knowledge. So anything else that applies to that or outside of that we are speaking to because. These are taxpayers who are, don’t know what’s going on, and this is their money and their services.
I, they deserve to know crazy, crazy times happen in the small village of Lillian, but I’m, I’m cautiously optimistic that the people of the town now kind of becoming aware of these things is going to make a big impact and hopefully in the right direction, you know, like I said, everybody knows you, they know the other folks aside from.
You know, in public service and the fire department, all of these guys are heavily involved in the community, doing all kinds of things and charities and fundraising events and just helping other, you know, there’s, it’s endless close knit community and they all know that, that these gentlemen in particular do not deserve this type of thing.
So we’ll, we’ll be interested to see where it goes from here. What, what excuses and explanations. Come from this, especially after this kind of media blitz, that’s taking place right now and, and we’ll, we’ll keep on it and it’s all we can do, I guess. Well, I appreciate it. I appreciate you letting me come out and voice some of this.
It needs to get out there in the right ways and the responsible ways this isn’t a personal tack on people. This is P you know, administration messing with people’s lives very specifically and in many improper ways. So we need to. We need to make a change. And the last thing I’ll say is I got to commend you for that because a lot of other people would handle this in another way.
A lot of people would go right for attacking the mayor in ways that he is potentially personally attacked others. You know, you’ve seen other people embattled. Folks like this lashing out on Facebook and doing all these things, none of these firefighters are doing it. And you’ll know, we’re, we’re talking to a wife of a firefighter and a lot of the social media buzz has, has come from the wives.
You know, these gentlemen are doing everything they can to be professional and act, right. And not make things worse. At the same time, you know, they’re getting their, their faces beat in by the village and, and yeah, and I, and I kept my, you know, I kept quiet for a really long time cause Tom held the position of chief and it just, it wasn’t responsible of me to speak up.
And I knew, um, the backlash he was already getting without me speaking up, but things have changed and they changed very drastically this week. And. The only way to make a change is to get people informed. It’s not to, you know, it’s not to demean people that are in these positions, but it’s to get people informed and making sure everything is just an, everything is right by these public servants.
Well, I think that’s the key. And I think what we’re both saying here is if there’s one piece of advice for the people in the village of Lillian, it’s attend these meetings. Yeah, I think there was mostly virtual now. They’re they’re holding in-person meetings now. They are a mix of both. So they do some zoom.
Some, some in person sounds like they’re going to get a lot more in attendance. So it’s, we’ll see how this goes. And I have posted on my own Facebook page, a list of questions that people should be asking to answers. So they know, you know, we’re not just going in with emotion because that’s not going to get us anywhere.
If we want our voice heard, we, we need to ask questions, but people need to know what questions to ask. And they just don’t because they’re, they don’t know the situation. So hand any questions to ask and let’s ask them that’s good answers. That’s that’s great, Jen, thank you so much for joining us. I really hope that again, the situation gets, gets ironed out and we can get back to just enjoying things and.
You know, making the town a little better place to live rather than fighting for the basics. But yeah, I know. I appreciate it. Thanks for, you know, calling me in here today. Anytime, anytime.
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