Elections for fire and water district commissioners are being held across the Town of Huntington today, with vary times and polling places. Here’s a rundown:
COLD SPRING HARBOR/GREENLAWN/HALESITE
No Challengers In Three Fire Districts’ Elections
By Chris Mellides
There are uncontested races in Cold Spring Harbor, Greenlawn and Halesite fire districts this election season.
In Cold Spring Harbor, incumbent Bruce Hafner is running unopposed for a five-year term. Polls will be open 6-9 p.m. Dec. 8 at 2 Main St. in Cold Spring Harbor, the fire department’s headquarters. There are no other items on this year’s ballot.
Incumbent William Borowy is also running unopposed for a five-year term on Greenlawn fire district’s board of fire commissioners. Polls will be open from 6-9 p.m. Dec. 8 at 23 Boulevard Ave. in Greenlawn, fire department headquarters. There are no other items on this year’s ballot.
As for Halesite, Richard Oh is running for a five-year term. Oh currently serves under the Hook and Ladder Co. 362 at the department, according to its website. Polls will be open 6-9 p.m. Dec. 8 at the fire department’s headquarters, 1 N. New York Ave in Halesite.
-With Janee Law and Andrew Wroblewski
Acker, Wertheimer to Run To Fill Zeis’ Term
By Chris Mellides
In the race for two open seats on the Centerport fire commission, one is unopposed, while two people are running to fill the remaining two years of a term held by Gus Zeis, who recent died.
First, in Centerport, incumbent Jack Geffken is seeking a five-year term reelection.
Geffken is an internist at Bethpage Primary Medical Care since 1995 and said that it was his work as an EMT with the Centerport Fire Department in 1981 that helped pave the way to a life of medicine. Geffken has sat on the board since 2002.
Also looking to fill a seat on the Centerport board is 60-year-old Harold Acker, former director of maritime services and harbormaster for the Town of Huntington.
Acker, a former chairman of Centerport’s board, is running against former commissioner Stanley Wertheimer.
Acker said he was saddened by the passing of his friend, but remained optimistic about the future of the district.
“I bring 39 years of government experience to this position, and an understanding of budgets and the mandates put on all government agencies including fire departments,” Acker said.
He added, “I’ve dealt with mostly emergencies on the water so I also understand the safety and making sure that the firemen in the district are protected.”
Wertheimer, 83, has lived in the Centerport district for the past 58 years, and has served with the fire department since 1959.
Wertheimer says his experience, coupled with a love for his community, makes him a suitable candidate for the vacant spot.
“We’re very situated here in Centerport and we’d like to keep it going and do what we can to make the community better,” he said.
Formerly in business as a painting contractor, the Centerport resident has been an active member of the Centerport Harbor Civic Association, of which his wife is president, and says he’s been “around [town] for quite a while,” which eventually led him to become a park steward.
“I feel that I can contribute and keep the taxes down and really just oversee things,” he said. “I don’t feel it’s right when everybody simply agrees, I only vote for what is necessary.”
The long-time Centerport community member said that he takes the job of commissioner very seriously and that a sharp attention to detail and a firm standing is necessary to benefit his district.
Wertheimer said as commissioner he would “scrutinize everything and make sure that everything is done according to the law and go forward,” adding, “I feel like I can make a difference.”
Polls will be open 3-9 p.m. Dec. 8 at the fire department’s headquarters, 9 Park Circle, Centerport.
Incumbent Unopposed, 2 Vie For Other Open Seat
By Andrew Wroblewski
Incumbent Commack Fire Commissioner Patrick Fazio is running unopposed for what would be a second five-year term on the board, while two other candidates are running to fill the seat of the Jeremiah “Jerry” O’Sullivan, who died in office Nov. 20, 2014. The candidates, Ed Monahan and Jerome Quigley, are seeking to complete O'Sullivan’s term, which runs for another year.
Monahan, 65, who previously ran for election in 2013, is a 42-year Commack resident and widower with one son, Matthew, who is also a member of the fire department. Monahan was a New York City firefighter for 21 years and has served the Commack Fire Department for the past 40 years.
He said he believes this experience is what makes him a suitable candidate. “I think I have a lot to offer,” he said.
Monahan added that he believes his experience is especially vital due what he said has been a drop-off in structural fires responded to by Commack.
“When I became a firefighter here in Commack, if you had five years in the fire department back then, you were a pretty well-seasoned firefighter,” he said. Today, “maybe in 20 years, you could have less than 10 fires under your belt. So training is very, very important. And I think experience helps to bring that to the table.”
Quigley, 43, grew up in Commack and served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1990-1994. He is divorced with three children and is engaged to remarry. Quigley has been a Commack firefighter for 20 years and works as a manager for P.C. Richards in Elwood, a combination he said he believes makes him a suitable candidate.
“I have a little business sense and, being an active firefighter, I’m very active with the members,” he said. “I think with the balance of that, I can weigh the needs of the members with the needs of the community.”
Quigley said managing the budget of the department is key. “From paving to building maintenance and the employees, being a boss, I have employees under me… so I feel when it comes to that I have experience in that area.”
Both candidates noted that that they have been longtime friends.
“I think he’s a good man, there’s nothing I can say bad about Jerome,” Monahan said.
Added Quigley: “Whoever wins, Commack will get a great commissioner either way.”
Polls will be open 3-9 p.m. Dec. 8 at the fire department’s headquarters at 6309 Jericho Turnpike in Commack.
Plumitallo Seeks Fourth Term As Fire Commissioner
By Andrew Wroblewski
Three-term incumbent Michael Plumitallo is running unopposed for reelection to the Dix Hills fire district’s board of fire commissioners.
Plumitallo, 55, has been a Dix Hills resident for the last 45 years. He’s married to wife Hope and the couple has a 17-year-old daughter, Victoria. Over the last nine years, the family has also worked to organize the Sunshine Toy Drive, an annual drive that has helped thousands of children.
Plumitallo said he’s a retired New York City Police Officer and has been in the fire service for 35 years. “I just like helping. It’s good to give back.”
Plumitallo is seeking a five-year term.
During his time on the board, Plumitallo said he has helped to upgrade the district’s fire houses, part of an overall push to upgrade the district’s technology to 21st-century standards.
Also, he said, “We were the first in Huntington to institute a paramedic program; we have paramedics 24/7; we have the best equipment for EMS in fire service and we keep it within the governmental tax cap every year. So we’re giving the best service and staying within the governmental increase.”
Moving forward, he said the district is dealing with “unfunded mandates out there that we have to find money for. They’re hurting us. They put requirements on us that run hundreds of thousands of dollars and we have to find the money for it.” This has forced the district to find ways to cut back, he said.
Even though he’s running unopposed, Plumitallo said that doesn’t change his campaign strategy. “I run very hard and I appreciate people coming out. I appreciate no one running against me. I think it’s saying that I’m hopefully doing a good job.”
Polls will be open 4-9 p.m. Dec. 8 at Dix Hills Fire Department headquarters, 115 East Deer Park Road. There will be no additional items on this year’s ballot.
Carr Runs Unopposed For Fire Commissioner
By Janee Law
Lifetime Eatons Neck resident Edward A.T. Carr is running unopposed for an open fire commissioner seat at the Eatons Neck Fire Department.
Currently the director of maritime services for the Town of Huntington, Carr, 47, said he is running for fire commissioner to serve the community and bring a good perspective to the board.
“There’s no commissioner from the two-acre zone area, which is about half the district, so I can basically bring a perspective for my section of Eatons Neck,” Carr said, noting that of the fivecurrent commissioners, all are from the west side of Eatons Neck.
He’s also running to offer his skills in writing grants, which he would use to apply for state and federal funding.
“There’s very small tax space and, as a result, Eatons Neck has the highest tax rate of any of the district in the town,” Carr said. “So I think the district needs to rely more on grants federal and state and I think that’s where I can be helpful.”
Married with three kids, Carr was the former president of the Civic Association for the two-acre zone section of Eatons Neck, which he said has about 170 families. Carr also serves as the Asharoken village historian and has been in the U.S. Naval Reserve for 25 years as a commander, specializing in military sealift for the reserve unit at Fort Schuyler in the Bronx.
Polls for the Eatons Neck fire commissioner election will be open Dec. 8 from 6-9 p.m. at 55 Eatons Neck Road in Northport.
First-Time Candidates Vie For 1 Commissioner Spot
By Janee Law
First-time candidates William Reynolds and Jamie Molesso are competing for one open East Northport Fire Department fire commissioner seat.
As a volunteer firefighter for 28 years in the department, Reynolds, 50, served as a trustee for the department for seven years, including two years as president.
“It’s a great organization and I’m just trying to do whatever I can for the taxpayers and try to get the men and women of the fire department the best equipment they need,” said Reynolds, who’s a lifelong resident of East Northport.
Married with three kids, Reynolds has been working for 33 years as a supervisor for the Town of Huntington’s Highway Department.
Working with trucks and equipment, Reynolds said that his skill set in management is an aspect he can bring to the board if elected.
Molesso has been serving the department for 20 years and obtained his position as fire police in 2014.
In addition, Molesso, 42, was previously the assistant chief mechanic and chief mechanic for the department.
“My thought was to run for the position to try to save the taxpayers money on the same side as giving the department members training,” Molesso said, adding that his skills in financial management and time management are useful skills he can apply to the position if elected.
Married with two children, Molesso has been a lifelong resident of East Northport and has been a coach in the Northport Youth Center Soccer League since 2005.
Molesso has worked in in sales and marketing at Florence Building Materials for the past 20 years, which he said is valuable experience for the commissioner position.
Polls for the East Northport fire commissioner election will be open Dec. 8 from 3-9 p.m. at 1 9th Ave. in East Northport.
Incumbent Commissioner Faces Challenger
By Chris Mellides
With the Dec. 8 election for the Huntington fire commissioner race nearing, six-term incumbent Thomas Brown is facing former chief and 31-year member of the Huntington Fire Department Jimmy C. Martin.
Brown, 80, is a resident of Lloyd Harbor and was a member of the Lloyd Harbor police department. Roughly 30 years ago Brown said he had been asked if he would like to run for the title of commissioner, and after some “careful consideration” he ran and consequently won.
“I retired in 1996 from the Lloyd Harbor police department and I’ve been with the fire department in the district or administrative part of it ever since,” Brown said. “These guys are just great, the ones that go out and fight the fires and run the equipment.”
He added, “They’re the ones that do that job, I’m the one who’s responsible for tax payer’s dollars and I make sure that everything is spent right and that everything is going fine.”
The current long-running commissioner says that getting more people involved in the decision-making process for the district and working as a team is vital when wanting to reach positive outcomes.
“This whole thing, working with the department and the district can’t be done unless everybody works together,” Brown said. “It’s quite a responsibility.”
Brown said that the Huntington Fire Department has been very “fortunate to have a great board of commissioners and a great bunch of chiefs” that have worked with him over the years.
He went on to mention just how “hard” the board of commissioners has worked, adding that without willful cooperation, nothing would get done.
“Each [board member] has their own job to do and it’s not a one or two-person board, it’s a five-person board,” Brown said. “They all work together, and of course if it didn’t you’d have nothing but fighting and things wouldn’t work at all.”
Martin, 49, who is challenging the incumbent, said his long history volunteering at the Huntington fire department, including time served as chief, helped guide him to his decision to run for commissioner.
“What has motivated me is that I’ve always wanted to continue to serve my community,” Martin said. “I would love to continue to provide the residents of the Huntington Fire District the utmost efficient and cost-effective fire service they’ve always had.”
While Martin, a 20-year Huntington resident, agrees that Brown has done “a very good job over the years” and has been “a very good friend for the fire department,” establishing term limits is a measure worth carrying out.
The former Cold Spring Harbor school district maintenance and grounds department worker, said he’s had an interest in joining the fire department from a young age, due in part to the influence of his father, also a fireman.
“I joined the Huntington junior fire department at the age of 12 in 1978, and I served all the way in there until I was able to become a volunteer firefighter,” Martin said. “I’ve always felt that helping the community was always a very important part to having a very nice community.”
He added, “It’s always nice to help someone, and it’s just very rewarding to be able to do that.”
Registered voters who live in the Huntington fire district can vote on Dec. 8 between 3 p.m. and 9 p.m. at headquarters, 1 Leverich Pl., Huntington.
Newcomer, Incumbent Face off For One Seat
By Andrew Wroblewski
An opponent favoring term limits is looking to unseat an incumbent with 20 total years on Huntington Manor fire district’s board of fire commissioners when voters take to the polls Dec. 8.
Current board chairman Christopher Fusaro, 61, sat on the board from 1990-2005, but lost his seat to John Glidden in 2005 before winning it back in 2010.
Fusaro, 61, seeks a five-year term, which would be his fifth if elected.
His challenger is Huntington Station-native Nancy Bayley, 46, who said she believes Fusaro is a “great man,” but she also “strongly believes in term limits” and that many of the board’s members have “been there for years.”
Bayley believes in a two-term limit. “Everything needs new blood, new ideas.”
However, as a retired New York City firefighter and 41-year veteran of the department, Fusaro sees his experience as a positive.
“I have the experience to continue to give the taxpayers of Huntington Manor what they need,” he said. “I like to make sure the residents of the fire district get a fair shake for their tax dollar. I’m conscious of that. Since they’ve enacted the 2 percent tax cap, we have not exceeded it.”
Bayley believes she can offer her business experience to the board. For 25 years, she has worked as an office manager of a Huntington-based orthopedic practice, where she’s managed multiple locations and 19 employees.
“I want to get involved in the community,” she said. “I’ve been going to the meetings and I cannot believe no one shows up [to them]. I went to a budget meeting and I was the only person [there]. I feel like the public needs to know more of what’s going on… A lot of people don’t even know what a commissioner does.”
Bayley is not a member of the fire department, but comes from a family that has a history of serving Huntington Manor, including her husband, who is a member. The couple has one son.
If elected, Bayley would be the first female and first non-member to serve on the district’s board of fire commissioners.
Fusaro has been married to his wife for 39 years and the couple has two children. He owned and operated his own construction business for more than 30 years, he said.
Polls will be open 3-9 p.m. Dec. 8 at the fire department’s headquarters, 1650 New York Ave., Huntington Station.
Eckstein Runs Unopposed For Fire Commissioner
By Chris Mellides
Wayne Eckstein, 65, a member of the Melville Fire Department since he was 18 years old -- first as a volunteer firefighter and later as a line officer, where he was elected to train volunteers and handle administrative responsibilities at the firehouse -- is running unopposed for what would be his first term as fire commissioner of the department.
Eckstein, whose family moved to Melville when he was 15, said he’s confident that he’ll do a good by listening to the concerns and suggestions of the firehouse’s members and chief.
“I was never really into the business end ... but I think I’m very personable and I have the time to sit and learn and see what goes on and hopefully help them with the decisions to make the department better,” Eckstein said.
Eckstein previously worked at Consolidated Edison for 33 years as a mechanic before retiring at the age of 55. After that, he worked at The Greens at Half Hollow golf course.
With his two grown sons in the FDNY, Eckstein said that his free time would be better spent using the experience and knowledge he’s gathered over his 50 years with the firehouse to make it run as smoothly as possible.
“I’m retired, so I have time to devote to it,” he said. “My kids are grown and I think we have a pretty good board in there and a lot of good ideas. I’d like to see things get done.”
He added, “I want to help the department buy the equipment they need for training, and I think I’m in a good position now to do it.”
Polls for the Melville fire commissioner position will be open Dec. 8 from 1-9 p.m. at 531 Sweet Hollow Road in Melville.
Feeney Seeks Reelection On Water Board
By Carl Corry
Dominick Feeney, of Melville, is seeking reelection for one open commissioner seat on the South Huntington Water District board. The seat holds a three-year term.
Feeney, 83, who has been on the board for seven years, is chairman of the Suffolk County OTB and a retired director of operations for general services in the Town of Huntington, where he worked for 40 years.
Feeney is a past commander of VFW Post 1469 in Huntington Station and was named to the New York State Senate Veterans’ Hall of Fame by Sen. Carl Marcellino in 2014.
Feeney said he was proud that the district was voted the best tasting water in Suffolk last year, and that he and the other two commissioners strive to reduce the water rates and “make people happy.”
Voting for the South Huntington Water District polls election will take place from 3-9 p.m. Dec. 8. Polls will be at the district’s headquarters, located at 75 5th Ave. S. in Huntington Station and at King of Kings Lutheran Church, 2611 New York Ave., Melville.