Seven special districts, six for fire and one for water reclamation, are holding elections for commissioners on Dec. 11. Voting in each district gets underway at 6 p.m. and ends at 9 p.m., except for the Hewlett Bay Fire District, where voting spans four hours from 5 p.m. to 9 p.m.
Inwood Fire District
There are two contested races in the Inwood Fire District. One to succeed former commissioner George Miller Sr. for a full five-year term, and one to fill the final year of Thomas Pandolfo’s unexpired term.
Dominic Andreno III and Mark Rolon are running for Miller’s seat. Andreno has been a fire department member since 1977 and has held a variety of different positions in the department. “I like serving my community,” Andreno said. “It’s just a matter of helping out the community. We’ll hold fire prevention events at the local schools, for example. It’s just a matter of helping.
Rolon did not respond before press time.
Vincent Castagna and Matthew Rizzo are running to fill the Pandolfo seat. Castagna, 51, a twice-former captain and former lieutenant, has been in the department for 32 years, and said that he wants to maintain the positive status quo. “Things have been running pretty smoothly to this point,” he said. “I want to help keep things running as smoothly as possible.”
Rizzo, 31, joined the department when he was 17, then spent some time away from the firehouse to focus on college and his career. He said he’s now ready to take on a larger role in the district. “My goal over the next year would be to learn as much as possible,” he said. “We need to hear everyone’s concerns … We shouldn’t be just looking at 2019, we should be getting prepared for 2025 and beyond.”
Voting is at the firehouse at 188 Doughty Blvd. in Inwood.
Woodmere Fire District
The other contested election in the Five Towns is between incumbent Woodmere Fire District Commissioner David Stern and Timothy Pastor, a former commissioner.
Stern a commissioner for 15 years, is a department member for 23 years. He said that he first ran for the position in 2003 as a way to give back to the community. He added that he wants to use technology to work closer with the community, schools, churches and synagogues. “It’s 2018 and sharing and technology are on everyone’s minds,” he said. “We should be taking advantage of that.”
Pastor was a commissioner from 1994 until 2015. He joined the department 38 years ago, and said that he is running because he disagrees with some of the decisions the department has made in that time. Pastor called the district’s financial decisions concerning some of the equipment purchases “ridiculous” and thinks that the department should be more lenient with membership criteria. “We’re dying for volunteers,” he said. “I don’t care if you can help out one weekend a month, we’ll take it.”
Voting is at the firehouse at 20 Irving Place in Woodmere.
Atlantic Beach Fire District
Incumbent Commissioner Steve Spelman, is running for his first full five-year term unopposed. He first won election two years ago, when he filled in for another commissioner who had to vacate his seat.
An Atlantic Beach Rescue member since 2012, Spelman rose to be a captain before he became a commissioner in 2016. “The five of us [commissioners] work as a team,” he said. “We work with AB Rescue to make sure that they get everything they need, and that the community gets the services they need as well. Whether they have medical or rescue needs.”
Voting is at Atlantic Beach Rescue headquarters at One Rescue Road in Atlantic Beach.
Greater Atlantic Beach Water Reclamation District
Incumbent Commissioner Scott Mason is running unopposed for a three-year. Mason he did not calls for comment before press time. Voting is also at Atlantic Beach Rescue headquarters at One Rescue Road in Atlantic Beach.
Hewlett Bay Fire District
Joseph Whitney is running unopposed to fill the seat that former commissioner Paul Breslin vacated earlier this year. Whitney, a department member for more than 28 years, is running for a full five-year term.
Whitney was elected as a commissioner in 1995, but then moved out of the fire district. An ex-engine captain, he said he believes the fire department is in good shape and wants to ensure that it stays on that course. “I have to give my predecessors credit, they’ve been very fiscally responsible,” Whitney said. “I’d like to maintain that fiscal responsibility while continuing to provide proper support for the members and the community.”
Voting is at the Hewlett firehouse at 25 Franklin Ave. in Hewlett.
Meadowmere Park Fire District
Meadowmere Civic Association President Ruth Samuelson is running for another term as commissioner in the Meadowmere Park Fire District. Samuelson said that she’s unsure exactly how long she’s held the position but said it’s been nearly 30 years.
She originally got involved along with her husband Eddie Samuelson, a former chief. “I like this job,” she said. “I like overseeing the people’s taxes and making sure we’re getting the best bang for our buck.”
Voting is at the firehouse at 14 Meyer Ave. in Meadowmere Park.
Lawrence North Fire District
The district is expected to elect one commissioner to a five-year term. It is unknown who the candidate or candidates are at press time. Voting is at the Five Towns Community Center at 270 Lawrence Ave. in Lawrence.