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May 18, 2009 - 12:10pm

Batavia captains who declined temporary chief position could apply for permanent job

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia, fire chief, personnel.

Any one of the four fire captains who turned down the provisional fire chief position for the City of Batavia could still take command of the department.

There is not yet an eligible list for the position, said Karen Marchese, personnel officer for Genesee County, but a civil-service exam for fire chief has been scheduled for January. An eligible list are those people who are qualified and have applied for the job.

Marchese's office handles civil-service issues for governments in the county.

Chief Tom Dillon resigned week before last, and served his last day Friday, after the New York State Civil Service Commission denied a waiver that would have allowed him to draw his pension and his full-time salary.

The waiver, known as a 211 waiver, has its uses, according to the state's Web site, but Marchese said the commission is trying to reduce the number of such waivers, especially when there are eligible non-retired candidates for the job.

The hearing in which the 211 waiver for Dillon was reviewed by the commission was available in a webcast, Marchese said (the webcast is no longer online since the commission has met again since then).

"My recollection is that they discussed the nature of fire and police service -- there's a lot of tradition, as you know, in police and fire service -- and they discussed how it's primarily a promotion-based system," Marchese said. "They discussed that there were candidates who applied for the job who are not retirees.'

Marchese said she was not trying to speak for the commission and the exact reason for the denial is not clear.

Asked if she had anything to add, Marchese said, "I work very closely with the city and other localities on issues like this. This has been rather high profile and Jason and I have worked closely on it. We've had an open line of communication about it. He's working in good faith. There is no bad faith here on his part."

As for the captains, they've been told by Jason Molino not to discuss the situation with the media, according to two sources. The captains were told this was a "personnel issue," so they were prohibited from talking publicly about it.

Mark Potwora
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Good follow up Howard..There does seem to be more to the story..Im glad to hear the State did some thing right in not granting the waiver..... Since that there were candidates who applied for the job who are not retirees..with all the people out of work why did Malino hire this guy..Poor judgement on his part..Glad we gave Malino a raise for another job well done..I hope one of those captains do get the job..I wonder how much it will cost to hire a new Chief..
Karen Miconi
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Let me get this straight, Molino consolidating to save the city money, by outsourcing the ambulance service, hired retired fire chief only to have him quit, is control of the citys spending of most of our money, records of moneys, and stimulus distribution, money lost in paperwork, and he gets a raise, in a financial crisis. Man enough is enough, oh but hes working for us ...Right? Anything wrong with this pic folks?? Nevermind discussing this with the media, how about the taxpayer. I still will be waiting with baited breath for the results of the ambulance service. I've never seen anything like it. Disgracing our emergency services, taking away their jobs, embarrassing our city with petty politics. We should be growing as a city, not regressing. Just venting Howard. Just my opinion
Andrew Erbell
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What was that council vote about disbanding the ambulance service again? I believe it was unanimous. I think I just saw that horse move slightly. Kick it some more.
Karen Miconi
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leave it to you to come to his defence. i think hes a big boy and doesnt need you to stick up for him. good morning andrew. the horse is still fighting to stay alive, and is wondering why he was shot down in the first place. maybe you should ask for a job with the city, oh and a raise... have a great day andy!!! BoooBye
bud prevost
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That horse is practically glue already
Andrew Erbell
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I'm not defending Jason Molino. The City Council has voted. Council people have posted on this site the matter has been decided and their decision is final. How can an issue that is supposed to have such a groundswell of support only have 171 signatures on a petition proving the point you're trying to make? If anything, it shows just the opposite. Move on.
Mark Potwora
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Karen the part i don't get is why was he hired in the first place..right of the bat he wanted a waiver on his pay,then he wanted a waiver so he wouldn't have to live in the city,Then they gave him a raise after being on the job for 3 months..And lets not forget the 2800 dollar car allowance...then we get No Comment from Molino..I guess he is above it all answering to the Taxpayer......
Karen Miconi
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My opinion has always been "Suspicious", from the first time I saw this young man. I hope he turns things around and answers some questions soon. He knows what went on wasn't right. If the facts above are correct, how can he live with himself, unless he just doesn't give a s***. Things that make you go Hmmmmmmmmmm Just my opinion
Dave Meyer
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Karen, I don't know you but I'm betting that you either are or are married to a fireman. As Andrew stated above (and as I wrote in a letter to the editor of the Daily News) the vote to end the ambulance service was UNANIMOUS. It was unanimous because the 9 members of council looked at the numbers and saw that it was not a sustainable proposition on paper. Do you honestly think that they would expose themselves to the kind of scrutiny they've been exposed to if they weren't absolutely sure of their decision? Sorry Karen...your argument doesn't hold water. WHY wasn't it sustainable? Could it be because of the firemen's union contract with its "minimum staffing levels" that allows a fire captain to earn $114000 a year? Speaking of things that make you go Hmmmmmmmmmm. Someone in a previous council or a previous city administrator has basically given away the farm to the firemen's union and now the city is SO SCREWED with these unsustainable costs that Council had no choice but to part with a very fine service and the people who go with it. Am I happy about that? HELL NO!! I've had more than one family member treated and transported by the ambulance. They are fantastic and they do great work. They're also too expensive under the current union contract. It's too bad, but just like the UAW that killed the golden goose in Detroit, the local firemen's union will eventually do the same for their jobs unless they come to their senses and give back on some of their "benefits". Do I expect that to happen? Probably not...after all they're a UNION and the union's job is to 'protect its members' at all costs...perhaps even the eventual loss of those jobs.

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