Voters will take to the polls on Tuesday for the annual fire commissioner elections, though there isn't any opposition on the ballots in Amagansett, Bridgehampton, Montauk and Springs. Three incumbents are seeking reelection and one longtime resident and business owner will fill a vacancy in Montauk unless there are write-in campaigns.
The East Hampton and Sag Harbor Fire Districts are run by the respective village boards so there are no fire commissioners or public elections. In the rest of the fire districts that cover East Hampton Town, five elected officials comprise the board of fire commissioners and hold five year terms each.
Carl Hamilton, is seeking his fourth term on the Board of Fire Commissioners of the Amagansett Fire District. No one else is on the ballot.
Hamilton, known to always don his baseball hat, has been a member of the department for 35 years and is a former chief. "I've gone through all the ranks. From secretary-treasurer to commissioner," he said recently.
"I enjoy it. I just enjoy it," he said. "I just enjoy protecting the taxpayer's money and keeping a good budget." In recent years, the district has even lowered fire district taxes, and is actively looking for ways to continue to cut costs where possible, despite, Hamilton said, it becoming more challenging over the 15 years he's sat on the board.
Hamilton works at East Hampton Tennis Club, maintaining the grounds.
Voters of the Amagansett Fire District can cast their ballots at the firehouse on Tuesday between 6 and 9 p.m.
In the , Fred Wilford, who has been on the board for 20 years, is running unopposed for another five year term. Wilford has been a member of the fire department for 46 years and led the department as a chief and a captain. He said he wants to continue to serve the community he lives in because, "I just love doing it."
"I enjoy serving the Bridgehampton Fire District," which encompasses Wainscott, Bridgehampton, Sagaponack, and parts of Water Mill. "With my 20 years of experience, I'd like to continue to keep the fire tax rate low and keep providing the best fire and EMS service to the district as we have in the past," he said.
Wilford retired as a foreman with LILCO, where he worked on power lines for 33 years, a few years back, but he still keeps busy. He works as a caretaker of about 40 houses and is also a landscaper. He has also been a member of the Board for 33 years.
"I've lived in Sagaponack all my life except for the four years when I was in the Navy," he said. "I just enjoy serving the community."
Despite running without opposition, he is well aware that every vote counts. "You never know when there's going to be write-in. We've had two instances of that recently," he said. Commissioner Jeff Loucheim won as a write-in in 2007 against Bruce Dombkowski and last year, the outgoing fire chief, John Healey, ran unsuccessfully against Commissioner John Muse.
"You have to campaign just like someone is behind you," Wilford said.
The fire commissioners have important tasks on their plate in the immediate future. Perhaps the biggest decision is the renovation of the firehouse, which is still in the preliminary stages. The district also has to deal with Federal Communication Commission mandates to update the bandwidth on their radios by 2013.
The will take place at the Dec. 14 between 6 and 9 p.m.
Vinnie Carillo is seeking his first term on the Montauk Fire District Board of Fire Commissioners, and is running unopposed. Thomas Dess, the current chairman, is not seeking another five year term.
Dess, who is the superintendent of the , declined to say exactly why he had decided not to seek reelection, except for that he had dedicated the past six years to the district and the past two as chairman.
Carillo is the owner of and in Montauk. He could not be reached for comment.
In Montauk, voters can go to the polls during extended hours on Tuesday from 2 to 9 p.m. at the .
Patrick Glennon is looking to keep his seat on the Board of Fire Commissioners for a second term. He is running unopposed, which he said is a result of the board's longtime vow to keep taxes low. "We don't really go crazy with money to offend anybody," he said.
When the fire district was approved by the voters in 1965, a promise was made to always watch the budget. It has remained uner $1 million. For the upcoming 2011 budget, the board cut it by about $30,000 in response to the economic times and continually rising school taxes in Springs, Glennon said. "We're very diligent," he said. "We get by with what we need to get by with. We're no frills."
Glennon's experience running his own businesses is one of the assetts he said he brings to the board. He runs Handy Hands, a construction company, and has been in construction for 30 years. Because of his experience, he oversees maintenance on the district property. Originally a trained chef, he also owns , and the recently opened , restaurants along with his family.
As an advanced emergency medical technician with the Springs ambulance, Glennon feels that he brings his EMS experience to the board, as well. "The rest of the commissioners are a great group of guys. Everyone of them has a lot of love for the department."
Residents of the Springs Fire District can vote on Tuesday at the between 6 and 9 p.m.