Fire News

North Merrick fire commissioner election upcoming


Two vacant seats on the North Merrick Fire Department’s Board of Commissioners — created when commissioners Robert Ellensohn and Michael Costanza were forced to resign because they took part in a widespread, criminal scheme in which Long Island Rail Road employees retired on fake disabilities and drew federal benefits — have led to a larger-than-usual field of candidates running for the board this year.

Scott Rockwin, a long-serving commissioner, is running unopposed in a regularly scheduled election for a five-year term, while four candidates are running in special elections for the two seats that Ellensohn and Costanza vacated.

The election will take place on Dec. 10, from 2 to 9 p.m., at the department’s headquarters, at 2095 Camp Ave. Voters who have lived in North Merrick since at least Nov. 10 and who registered with the county Board of Elections on or before Nov. 17 are eligible to cast ballots. The following is information on the candidates.

Two-year term special election

Oscar Thompson

• Age: 61

• Family: wife, Kathleen; children, Oscar and Kimberly; grandchildren, Oscar and Alex.

• North Merrick resident for: entire life.

• Education: Calhoun High School.

• Career: An FDNY firefighter for 21 years, Thompson retired in 2002.

• North Merrick Fire Department experience: 42-year member, interior structural firefighter, former commissioner, chief, assistant chief, captain, lieutenant and company engineer.

• Prior electoral experience: elected to NMFD’s board twice, Thompson was a commissioner from 1999 to 2006.

• Goals for office: “Just to keep everything updated the way it’s been … Keep the guys equipped and civilians protected — that’s the goal. Save the taxpayers money.”

• Thompson declined to provide a photograph.

Joseph Vicario

• Age: 57

• Family: wife, Cathy; daughter, Kaitlin; son, Anthony.

• North Merrick resident for: entire life.

• Education: bachelor’s degree in business, SUNY College at Old Westbury.

• Career: Town of Hempstead Water Department. Vicario cited “30 years of municipal experience in management, accounting, purchasing and supervision.”

• North Merrick Fire Department experience: 19-year member, firefighter and EMT, chief from 2003 to 2008, member of EMS committee and safety committee.

• Prior electoral experience: none.

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