We rarely have the opportunity to express admiration and respect for a local official but we are gratefully in the position to do so after having received a number of very civil, honest, and generally professional communications from Village of Ravena Code Enforcement Officer Sante Debacco.
We realize that some of our readers can get bored quickly if they see more than an article on a single subject, regardless of its importance or interest to the community, and it is to them that we’d like to recommend therapy. To those others who devour the information we put up on this blog and think about it, regardless of the “language” or the subject matter, and critically view their communities with the aim of better understanding and improvement, we suggest that Mr Debacco be appreciated as one of the more positive models of the public employee.
We are rarely positively impressed but Mr Debacco has broken the record, so to speak. He took the punches and returned them civilly and informatively. Kudos from a grateful editor and group.
We will make this a final blog article on the Debacco responses simply because Mr Debacco’s most recent communication wraps up his position nicely.
Dear Editor of the Smalbany Blog,
Just wanted to send you a final e-mail to let you know that I already broke my vow. I went on the Smalbany Blog this afternoon because I was curious to see if there was any other posts or comments on the Village of Ravena Zoning Enforcement Official Ron Hohman Article. I read though the latest blog in which my most recent comment was published. I would like to say thank you for some of the positive comments that you wrote about me – such as having the courage and honesty to go on a public forum and write about the issues involving our local governments, and having the guts to do what I have done in my writings. As I looked through the monthly archives the other night, I noted mostly negative comments about many of the public and elected officials. Perhaps some of those negative comments are deserved. But it’s good to see a positive comment. I’m glad I was the recipient of a positive comment on the blog. I have always tried to be an honest, sincere and hardworking person. I really do care about my community.
Just a few final follow-up comments:
First, of course I would always check with my supervisors to get approval if we were to have guests visit the Building Department. I would utilize that chain of command, that I preached about in a previous comment, to get that approval.
Secondly, I understand your comments about record keeping and keeping a “tight ship” in the office. In the fire service, we are trained to document everything: log books , fire incident reports, EMS reports. There’s a saying in the EMS world: “if you didn’t document it, you didn’t do it”. For example if we gave a patient oxygen at the scene of a medical emergency, but didn’t document it, then we didn’t give the patient oxygen. Hopefully that makes sense.
Lastly, the work of a code enforcement official isn’t totally thankless and negative. It does have some rewards. For example, by making sure buildings and structures are properly equipped with smoke alarms, exits are clear – typical Fire Code items – it is a rewarding feeling to know that we have ensured that people are safe in their buildings. Over the past several decades, the incidences of structural fires in America has decreased, partly due to better model codes and better enforcement of those codes. Even in the little Village of Ravena, and Town of Coeymans, I like to think that I have had a positive impact on the overall fire safety of our citizens and property.
Thank you and have a good evening.
During our exchanges with Mr Debacco we could only recall the verse from Holy Scripture:
You Will Know Them by Their Fruits
“Beware of false prophets, who come to you in sheep’s clothing, but inwardly they are ravenous wolves. You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore by their fruits you will know them.”
Matthew 7:15-20 [New King James Version (NKJV)]
When we recall the total indifference of the majority of our public officials, elected and employee, to major and minor issues in the community, and when we recall some of the idiotic comments we get from some of the very people we aim to support and to protect, we can only emphasize the timeless message of that short text taken from the Gospel of Matthew.
We don’t think that much more can be said on the subject, so we will let our readers and our public officials, elected and employees, mull about that text for a while. With some luck they may actually understand it and implement it in their work and their lives.
To the residents and our neighbors in Ravena, Coeymans, New Baltimore:
It was not our intention to tear Mr Hohman apart, since he has become a symbol of what goes on in the Village of Ravena and the Town of Coeymans. That is NOT to say that everyone in Village or Town service is a complete moron. To say something like that would be to bash (to use Mr Debacco’s preferred term) the “DeBacco’s” and the “McKenna’s” — the conscientious, honest and diligent officers and employees in public service — who regrettably get overshaowed by the evil and self-serviing ones.
Mr Hohman needs training and better supervision. Perhaps Mr DeBacco and Mr Burns can work on that project. In the meantime, as we mentioned earlier, the damage to the trust and confidence of the community must be restored, and perhaps the only way to do that is to make a public apology to the affected resident and a public commitment to the community that the Village and the Town will take steps to serve residents and taxpayers with greater appreciation and respect.
Again, Mr Hohman did violate his mandate and broke the law if the facts demonstrated in the documents and the reports we have received are given their due consideration. We cannot overlook that fact. By we must also be firm in our statement that Mr Hohman was not working alone and that Mr Burns and the hierarchy in Ravena Village Hall are also at fault and must answer for Mr Hohman’s malconduct.
As we mentioned, Hohman is a symbol now of what’s going on in the communities of Ravena, Coeymans, and New Baltimore. DeBacco is the exception to what is going on in those communities. It’s up to us citizens, residents, and taxpayers to make the DeBacco’s the rule, not the exception to the rule.
Mr DeBacco would be a good candidate for the office of mayor. We have had enough of dictators and lower life forms in the mayor’s office and in the Town Supervisor’s office; perhaps we could find someone like DeBacco who has a brain — and uses it well — has integrity, gonads, and good faith interest in his work and community. To hell with political parties and their dildo candidates! Let’s get a human being with some common sense and ethics in office and pull this community out of the filth it’s wallowing in and has been wallowing in for decades, thanks to local politics and croneyism!