12-29-2004 The McGroarty Redux

Did everyone get what they were hoping for after Santa headed back North? No? What was he supposed to do, frickin' kidnap Salma Hayek? Think, kiddies! Jeez.

We sure had us one humdinger of a Christmas. It's so much fun having little ones to spoil again. When Gage arrived here at the adobe on Christmas Eve, he came through the front door, spied the massive pile obliterating the view of the tree and let loose with "Wow!" Right then and there, I knew this was gonna be fun for both he and I. When his mom and her siblings were his age we were much younger and our earning potential was somewhat limited. But these days, the finances are a bit better and we can make up for any perceived shortcomings at Christmas way back when by spoiling the grandkids silly. And for that, among other things, some cave dwellar somewhere wants to kill the lot of us. You figure it out.

What did I get for Christmas? Take a wild guess, why dontcha. Need a hint? Okay. Try Joe Nardone. Hoo-hoo!!! Yepper. U2, The Donnas, and scores of other sonic threats to my hearing. What else is there, I ask ya? What? The 'spensive headphones are being savaged of late.

I also got the Star Wars Trilogy DVD boxed set. And get this, the entire HBO series Band of Brothers in a boxed set. There's like a dozen discs or some such sh*t. I'm not sure why, but I am quite the student of all things war. I got a $50 Best Buy gift certificate. Please, please don't tell Joe Nardone Jr. on me. Suddenly, I few like a cheating spouse. Although, the gift certificates that were redeemed to grab the Star Wars set were purchased in his outlet. I even got a fierce looking Aliens figure for the computer desk. Oh, yeah. And some new socks.

I snagged this from the forum page:

Thanks Mark -- Deb, 11:38:43 12/27/04 Mon [1]

Thanks for your post of "The Paratrooper of Love".

As you know, my son and I sent over many bags and bags of toys for the Iraq children, and we felt very good about that decision. When time went by and we were treated to the killings, maimings and beheadings of our soliders and countrymen my opinion changed to a "Kill em' all and let God sort them out later" attitude. Then I wanted to cry when I saw the suidide bombers killing innocent civilians/children. All I could think of was "One of the dead children could have been holding onto one of my sons toys/stuffed animals when they were so brutally murdered. It was all just too sad. Today, with a tear in my eye, I'm proud that something so small as a stuffed bear saved many Marine lives. Could that have been one of Will's bears?? It was definetly a humbling experiance.


I thought the same thing. Was that one of ours that saved some of our troops from certain carnage? I had seen video of Iraqi kids tossing a Nerf football around and wondered if it was one of the balls that were stored in my basement for a few weeks. But to learn that some donated toy actually made a life-and-death difference was one of those moments when I'd tear up if I could.

I'm thrilled that so many of us right here in Wilkes-Barre donated what we did to hopefully brighten the lives of those unfortunate kids. I can't even imagine what it must be like to be a kid trapped in a war zone. And while I'm equally thrilled that my grandkids just about needed a U-Haul to tote their Christmas presents on home with them a few short says ago, I'd be just as thrilled if Iraq settled down and those kids were able to taste real freedom and a modicum of economic prosperity.

And yet, Americans keep having to put up with outsiders calling us this, that the other negative thing. If the folks that flippantly refer to us as "The Great Satan" could actually come to know average, down-to-Earth Americans, they'd be forced to apologize to us for being so woefully misinformed.

Consider the fact that we're being criticized by some complete needledick at the inept United Nations for being "stingy" in response to the recent tsunami nightmare. And some here at home are busting Bush's huge ya-yas for not rushing back to D.C. for a Clintonesque, trademarked bent lip "I feel your pain" press conference that won't make a difference to anyone in the least. When the tsunami disaster is all played out, it'll be obvious that America made the biggest contribution to the relief efforts. And what else is new? That's what we do.

Could that have been one of Will's bears??

Plainly stated,...Andy Reid is a freaking putz.

The biggest asswipe ever to dare to don a pen on an NFL field, "TO," (formerly known as Terrell Owens) went and got his leg all sorts of twisted out of shape. The guy brought in to make an average offense soar to new heights can no longer wiggle, shimmy or generally make a complete ass of himself on our television screens for a month. Whatever.

So, I was really looking forward to taking in the Monday Night Hip-Hop broadcast featuring the Eagles and the Rams. The Rams don't exactly possess a great defense, but I wanted to see what the Eagles would do to make up for the loss of Super Jerk.

And what did they do? They treated us to the recent promotees from the freakin' practice squad. So much for momentum. So much for Jolly Green Giants fearing nothing or no one. So much for re-tooling on the fly. Andy was afraid. Andy didn't want to get anyone hurt this close to the playoffs. Andy didn't want to expose to the defensive coordinators likely to still be around at playoff time that the Eagles offense sucks big ones. Again.

So what's he gonna do? Bench his starters for a month and then expect them to flawlessly perform as if they were playing all along?

Sorry, kiddies. I still maintain that Andy is a stooge. And when he eventually loses his outstanding defensive coordinator to a rival team, the clock will start ticking on Andy's predictable departure from Philthydumpia.

Sez me.

From the always over-stuffed...much-to-do-about-nothing files comes this from the Times Leader.

Posted on Tue, Dec. 28, 2004

Former Wilkes-Barre fire chief suing the city

Jay Delaney, who was backer of former mayor, claims he was discriminated against.



WILKES-BARRE - Former Fire Chief Jay Delaney filed a federal suit against the city last Wednesday, claiming he is the victim of harassment, discrimination and false accusations. The suit also claims Delaney has been deprived of his seniority within the department and was denied the equipment necessary to carry out his firefighting responsibilities.

Delaney served as fire chief for four years under former Mayor Tom McGroarty. The suit describes him as an active and well-known supporter of McGroarty's failed re-election campaign in 2003 and describes his replacement, current Chief Jacob Lisman, as a well-known supporter of Mayor Tom Leighton's campaign.

In January 2004, Delaney was relieved of his duties as chief and offered the opportunity to re-apply for the position. He did so, but failed to win the appointment.

Delaney is not suing to recover the job of chief, but rather to recover the job of battalion chief/training officer, the post he held before being elevated to chief.

The law states that Delaney cannot be demoted below the rank of his last non-appointed Civil Service rank.

Contacted Monday night and asked if the battalion chief/training officer job had been appointed, Delaney referred all questions to his attorneys, who could not be reached for comment by press time.

Leighton said he had not heard of or seen the lawsuit, but added he cannot comment on matters of pending litigation.

Delaney currently holds the rank of captain in the fire department.

Beyond rank, the suit demands lost wages and attorney's fees, and claims physical and emotional pain and suffering.

In 2005, a captain will earn $45,309, while the battalion chief/training officer will earn $49,373, a difference of $4,064 per year.

Delaney would have earned $68,190 as chief.


First off, somebody answer me this: Who in our fire department isn't suing the City of Wilkes-Barre at this point? Holy flying monkeys, Batman! Will the tons upon tons of airborne McGroarty fallout ever stop finding it's way back to Earth? Effin' A, no?

The way I hear it, when you live by the political sword, you die by the political sword. Newly sworn-in mayors routinely replace appointees from the previous administration with appointees of their own. It's all a part of growing up in small town America. To the victor goes the spoils and also the right to appoint folks they are comfortable with and trust. Which is not meant to suggest that any of our previous appointees were less than trustworthy. Bottom line, with any political purge comes the fully expected and quite often much-needed bloodletting immediately afterwards. And in a city literally teetering on the verge of collapse, should a bit of bloodletting come as a complete surprise to any of us?

I harken back to when it was announced that Tom Leighton would retain most of the employees that toiled away at city hall under the McGroarty banner. That got the SAYSO pundits spitting into their telephones in a huge hurry, and to be quite honest, it surprised the heck out of me at the time. In retrospect, it makes perfect sense to not hold all of the employees responsible for the actions of their former boss, but at the time, I was kind of put off by the "Yes Man" mentality that I suspected these folks must have been operating under. Who could stay gainfully employed while suffering with the intolerable situation that the McGroarty administration was? In my mind, at some point you either had to hand in your resignation, or at the very least, lunge for his throat with both hands. I realize that says more about me than it says about how normal, rational folks should operate under even the most stressful situations. Or does it?

I was lucky enough to be able to ask Tom Leighton why he had chosen to retain so many of the folks at the big hall. I don't remember his word-for-word response, but it was basically that there were a lot of really good people down there that could capably perform their duties if ever given the chance. And he intended to give them that chance.

I could accept that being that I trusted the guy's judgement. Are some folks employed by this city nothing more than political hangers-on? That may be, but as a newly elected mayor in a flailing city poised and ready to implode, I kinda doubted that this new mayor was in a position where politics would dominate the majority of his personnel decisions. Some folks were going to be replaced. Many were not going to be replaced. Some would lose their jobs entirely. Others would lose their positions, but not their jobs. In fluid situations such as these, it seems to me that being retained is what should matter the most to folks working towards an early retirement, but I'm prone to going Koo! Koo! for Cocoa Puffs on occasion.

All in all, if I was a city employee late last year and Tom Leighton sat me down and told me I was losing a few stripes, but retaining my job and 90% of my salary; he would have been the very first man I would have attempted to kiss directly on the lips. Despite being from a parallel Alice-in-Wonderland universe and being superior in every way to you silly Earthlings, my ego is about as big as a newt's testicle. Still other folks possess egos large enough to cause a sudden and unexpected lunar eclipse if they ever managed to escape the Earth's rapidly warming (?) atmosphere.

Consider what was going on in this city during the painful death throes of the McGroarty years? We had so many shootings in this town, the homeless stopped collecting aluminum cans and took to carting spent shell casings up to Bieleckis. We had hookers and pimps openly threatening residents on Franklin Street, and the police chief stood elbow-to-elbow with our mayor as we were told to frickin' lighten up already. And while Wilkes-Barre's image as a lawless place was reinforced for our neighbors on a near daily basis, our police chief decided to crack down on the productive, law-abiding folks parking at the Y.M.C.A.. There was never a question about whether we had a crack house nearby. The more pertinent question was how many crack houses we had nearby. And he had to put up with this completely untenable situation despite having had one well-trained, highly motivated, but short-handed police department.

If he hadn't decided to abruptly retire right before Leighton took the bent and broken keys to city hall, should our former police chief have been retained in that position? And if he hadn't retired and Tom Leighton decided that the police department needed to go in another direction without him at the helm, should that decision have ended up resulting in a federal lawsuit? Methinks otherwise. When the populace starts doing Google searches looking for inexspensive body armor, a change is clearly called for.

And it wasn't very long ago that the good folks in Red China were complaining to our very own state department about the collective morale of our fire department bubbling to the surface all over their expansive country. And when the morale of an entire organization goes down the sh*tter regardless of whether the toilet seat is up or not, it suggests that the leadership of that outfit is severely lacking to a very great degree. I don't care if we're talking about a small town fire department, a vibrator factory, or a restaurant that can't get a freakin' grilled cheese right. If nobody wants to work there anymore, where once they did, the management comes into question faster than abandoned homes in the Nord End can magically go Poof! in the middle of the night.

Our fire department was portrayed to the residents of this city as being lazy folks running small businesses from inside our firehouses. We were told by our mayor at that time that they do little more than sleep for a living. A few of them were denied veterans benefits by said mayor that would have been paid to them at no expense to this city had he merely signed on the line and made it happen. He chose otherwise which was a complete and inexcusable travesty previously unheard of in these retarded parts. Our apparatus and firefighters were frequently caught out of position when emergencies presented themselves, only because a vindictive politician decided to employ them as errand boys, or have them perform duties that the water company performs everywhere, that's everywhere, else.

Now I ask you, where was the fire chief when the men serving under him became the ex-mayor's favorite whipping boys? Where was he when folks hailed as being heroes in most communities got beat up day in, day out and made to look like self-serving, greedy and uncaring bastards to the residents of this city? Where was he? In my tattered book, if you won't protect your employees from needless abuse, you need not ask them to follow you into battle. Or anywhere else, for that matter. Covering one's ass is perfectly understandable in a super-heated political climate, but if you won't cover the asses of your employees; you are not fit to lead them anywhere. Especially into working structure fires.

Commander Spock once stated: "Logic suggests that it's easier to destroy than to create." And from where I'm sitting, the folks that haphazardly presided over Wilkes-Barre's senseless destruction should be moving on and looking to create somewhere else.

And as far as this frivolous lawsuit is concerned, let's revisit what wasn't covered in that Leader article:

The law states that Delaney cannot be demoted below the rank of his last non-appointed Civil Service rank.

Contacted Monday night and asked if the battalion chief/training officer job had been appointed, Delaney referred all questions to his attorneys, who could not be reached for comment by press time.

A really quick check with our Wilkes-Barre Online legal department brought to light the fact that the suddenly much-coveted "battalion chief/training officer" position is an appointed position. Uh...I mean, there is absolutely no legal basis for this federal lawsuit.

Throw it the funk out.

Yikes! This is surreal times 1,000,000. Scanner land just about upped and shocked me into the next life. Wifey's sister just got shot by her ex-asshole.

Gotta roll.