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May 21, 2009 - 12:11pm

City Manager announces interim fire chief for Batavia

posted by Howard B. Owens in batavia.

City Manager Jason Molino announced this afternoon that he's found an interim fire chief.

It's Ralph Hyde, who served the Batavia Fire Department from 1959 to 1992, taking on the role of chief in 1971.

While Hyde is drawing a pension, Molino said he does not anticipate a 211 waiver problem like the one that forced Tom Dillon to quit the job two weeks ago.  Hyde's position is clearly temporary.  Dillon's appointment was temporary, but then when the decision was made ot keep him in a permanent role, a 211 waiver was required.

For further details and comments from Molino, tune into WBTA 1490-AM at 12:30.

UPDATE: Joanne Beck has posted a nice story about Hyde taking over as chief.

''I'm getting back in the game; I'm good and healthy. I'm excited; I always enjoyed the challenge of the job,'' he said Thursday afternoon from his city home. ''If I didn't love this, I wouldn't be coming back.''

He has been working in surveillance at Batavia Downs Gaming part-time and is anxious to begin his duties Tuesday.

"I am pleased that Chief Hyde has responded to the call of duty for the community for a second time,'' City Manager Jason Molino said. ''Chief Hyde brings a life time of commitment and leadership to Batavia."

John Roach
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I thought we were told that Dillion was only temporary because of the Charter Commission and the need to wait until a Civil Service test was given. Now we are told Dillon was to be permanent? Mr. Hyde did a great job before and will now in the interm, but someboyd should get their story stright at City Hall.
Charlie Mallow
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Dillion was hired as a temporary employee and that was obvious to everyone involved. Since it also became obvious the charter commission wasn't coming back with wording that includes a public safety officer, a 211 waiver was filed for a permanent position. That request was rejected by the state. The story has always been “straight” at City Hall.
Charlie Mallow
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Maybe this old post on the Batavian will jar some memories? http://www.thebatavian.com/blogs/philipanselmo/news-roundup-city-gets-ne...
John Roach
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I agree with Mr. Mallow; it seemed obvious to all of us that Mr. Dillon’s appointment was temporary. It’s the article here on this site that stated it was meant to be permanent. Who got that wrong then? The Daily News today, 5/21/09, had an article that stated Council member Bill Cox wanted to discuss the pay for the then vacant Fire Chief position at the next Council meeting on Tuesday. Then within a day of making his request, the job is filled, killing Mr. Cox’s chance of lowering the pay. Too bad the City could not wait at least one more week until Mr. Cox had his say. Question: Will Mr. Hyde have to give up his job at the track while again working full time for the City?
Charlie Mallow
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Council has complete control of the budget and the right to set salaries. Also, Bill has an idea and wants to talk about the salary. I don’t think it’s fair to say even he has made up his mind till the topic is discussed by the whole Council on Tuesday.
Gabor Deutsch
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Question: Will Mr. Hyde have to give up his job at the track while again working full time for the City? Answer : Mr. Jeckyl says NO.
Howard B. Owens
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It's my poor wording above. Clearly, at the time Dillon was hired, it was a temporary position, and then the city decided to move forward with a permanent position, which required a 211 waiver. I'll clarify the language in the post now. Also, I thought Bill Cox wanted to talk about the car allowance, not the salary.
Dave Meyer
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Mr. Roach, Since Charlie brought it up, I'd like to follow up on the Public Safety Director position. I understand that it was the intent of the charter review commission to recommend the creation of that post but you discovered that there was a state law against it. This seems like a no brainer...combine the police chief and fire chief into one job. What's bad about that? Seems like a perfect solution for a small city such as ours. I assume changing that would require the passage of a law by the legislature. Has anyone approached our fine assemblyman and state senator regarding this?
Mark Potwora
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Why can't the city get a waiver on the Public Safety Director position since they try to get waiver for every thing else....
John Roach
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The civil service law mentioned related to the Police Department, but had the same effect. The law states we have to have a Police Chief, so creating a Public Safety Director on top of that would be an extra tax burden on the City. If the law in Albany is ever changed, then a Public Safety Director can be brought up for a vote in the future, without having to have another Charter Commission. I personally liked the idea of a single administrative head for both the Fire and Police departments. But it is typical of New York State to micromanage everything we do. This law mandating we have to have a Police Chief is just another example of Albany gone wild. To answer your last question, I don’t know if Mr. Mallow or anyone on City Council approached anyone about asking for a change in the law. You would have to ask them.
Dave Meyer
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I wholeheartedly agree. This is the kind of consolidation that our city should be doing. Typical that the state has its fingers in it. Charlie, can you comment on whether anyone from the city has, or would contact state representatives about getting that law changed?
Fred GUNDELL
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Could you imagine what we could save if we consolidated alot of positions... Like School Supts?? How about the Supt. in Pavilion getting $150,000 + per year for a district with 850 students in it??? Thats what the governor makes. I'm sure many other districts are the same. I don't see why we can't have a Genesee County School District with one Supt. (one school bus depot, one school bus garage etc,Something like the cities have. I'm sure if we look hard there are other positions around that could also be consolidated. Just a thought
Bea McManis
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It makes sense. That alone would make it unworkable. I'm just saying....
Andrew Erbell
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Say what you will about his salary but Ed Orman is doing a vastly superior job compared to David Patterson. Maybe Ed should be Governor. Aside from Mayberry RFD, what municipality of any substantive size has one person taking on the responsibilities of Fire & Police Chief at the same time? It seems to me that would be a logistical nightmare.
Howard B. Owens
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Smallness is often underestimated. Combining positions/services creates complications. Big isn't always better. Closer supervision, fewer people to supervisor per executive has huge advantages and is often more efficient, meaning more cost savings.
Fred GUNDELL
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This was not meant as an attack on Ed.(or any other Supt.) He is far superior to the mess we have running the state. I was just referring to the excessive pay structures we seem to attract here in New York. Including Fire Captians that apparently make more than the folks hiring them. Something is totally wrong with this picture. That is why we look at not planting flowers on main street as a way to cut down our tax increases, instead of paying public officials a fair and equitable wage. NOT $150,000 for 850 students.
Andrew Erbell
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I disagree, and believe it's more a matter of what the market will bear and wanting to hire/retain the best talent available. IF Public Education truly is the key to America's future then you need to be willing to spend the money necessary to ensure the process succeeds. Unlike under-performing teachers that are almost impossible to show the door once they have tenure, a School Superintendent's job security in most cases is tied directly to how well or poorly the District is doing academically.
Karen Miconi
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The story has always been “straight” at City Hall. ?????? Whatever.....
Dave Meyer
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Howard, Unless I misunderstand your post, I disagree. I prefer to think of the idea of a Public Safety Director as city taxpayers getting value for their tax $$ by eliminating one position AND increasing the expectations of existing middle management staff (police and fire lieutenants and captains) to take on the day to day management. Isn't that what they do anyway? P.S. Is there anything that can be done about thread hijacks? To the others who injected comments about school superintendents, etc. that's not the topic of this thread.
Howard B. Owens
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Well, now we're going to get off topic about staying on topic. That's hard to avoid. It's not something I've worried too much about on Web comments. I've managed a number of e-mail discussion lists over the years and it was critical to keep threads (and the list in general) on topic, because people don't like e-mail clutter of off-topic posts. On a forum like this, it's a little easier to skip past what isn't of interest. And much, much harder to manage, anyway. Also, most threads die in a day or two and then we're all on to the next post.
Dave Meyer
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"Well, now we're going to get off topic about staying on topic." Point taken :)

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