Fire commissioner races are set for Tuesday, December 9


The only contested race in this Tuesday’s fire commissioner elections will be in East Quogue, where two firefighters will be vying for one open seat on the five-member board.

In Westhampton Beach, Eastport and Hampton Bays, all three incumbents are running unopposed in their reelection bids, while in Flanders, a longtime fire commissioner is stepping down and only one candidate is running to replace him. There are no races in Quogue Village, as the Village Board serves as commissioners of the Quogue Fire Department.

Three candidates are running for two open seats on the East Quogue Board of Fire Commissioners. Allyn Jackson, who serves as the supervisor of Southampton Town’s Parks and Recreation Department, and Scott Flynn, the current chief of the East Quogue Fire Department, are both seeking the seat that will be vacated by Robert Holley. Mr. Jackson and Mr. Flynn are both running to complete the remaining three years on Mr. Holley’s term; the winner will serve until December 31, 2011.

Meanwhile, fire commissioner Mark Gregory is running unopposed in his reelection bid, and is again seeking a five-year term on the board.

A lifelong hamlet resident, Mr. Jackson has been an active member of the East Quogue Fire Department for 30 years. He serves as the head of the department’s corporation, but will step down from that position if elected.

“I think it’s a natural thing for me,” he said. “I’ve been a member all this time and as I get older, I still want to serve the community.”

Mr. Jackson said his experience in town government gives him the necessary experience to be a successful fire commissioner. Mr. Jackson, 55, and his wife, Debbie, have two adult daughters, Elizabeth and Allyson.

Fire Chief Scott Flynn, also a lifelong East Quogue resident, has been a volunteer firefighter for the past 13 years, and chief for the past three years. Mr. Flynn, a firefighter with the Fire Department of New York, said that his experience as a paid firefighter and dedication to the volunteer department qualify him for the board of fire commissioners.

“I’ve been doing this for 13 years and I’ve been very involved,” Mr. Flynn said. “I think I can benefit the department and help benefit the community.”

Mr. Flynn, 35, and his wife, Denise, have a 1-month-old daughter, Emily.

Mr. Gregory, 40, has been a firefighter for 22 years, and has served on the board of commissioners since 2004. He is a lieutenant in the Fire Department of New York. He and his wife, Theresa, have two children, Taylor and Mark.

Voting will take place at the East Quogue firehouse on Montauk Highway on Tuesday, December 9, from 5:30 until 9 p.m.

In Hampton Bays, incumbent fire commissioner chairman Gerard Buckley is running unopposed in his first reelection bid. Mr. Buckley has been a resident of the hamlet since 1971, and has served the department for 26 years.

A construction manager, Mr. Buckley explained that he joined the board five years ago to help facilitate change. “We have a great service in Hampton Bays—it takes a little business savvy to do that,” he said. “We have a good team of commissioners and we work well.”

Mr. Buckley, 46, and his wife, Suzann, have two children, Gerard and Megan.

Hampton Bays residents can cast their ballots at the Montauk Highway firehouse on Tuesday, December 9, between 6 and 9 p.m.

In the Westhampton Beach Fire District, incumbent fire commissioner Dean Culver, 55, is also running unopposed in his reelection bid.

A Westhampton resident and a firefighter for more than 30 years, Mr. Culver served as a fire commissioner for the past six years. He is also a former chief.

“I am a taxpayer here, and I like to keep taxes as low as possible,” Mr. Culver said about his role as commissioner. “I like to have a fire department that’s a well-run organization.

“I don’t want to brag, but I think things are going well now, and I think they will continue to go well,” he continued.

Mr. Culver is part-owner of the Westhampton Beach-based H.R. Culver Plumbing Company. He and his wife, Regina, have three adult daughters, Emily Dawson, Lesley Anthony and Abby Culver.

The voting booth at the Westhampton Beach firehouse on Sunset Avenue will be open from 4 until 9 p.m. on Tuesday, December 9.

In Eastport, incumbent fire commissioner Keith Kostuk is running unopposed.

Mr. Kostuk, 48, lives in Eastport and has been a firefighter for 24 years. He has served as fire commissioner for the past five years.

“I want to run for reelection because I enjoy being part of the fire district,” Mr. Kostuk said. “I enjoy being of the district community. I attend a lot of community events.”

Mr. Kostuk, who most recently worked for Riverhead Building Supply, and his wife, Teri, have two children, Kelly, 17, and Jason.

Voting will be held from 6 until 9 p.m. on Tuesday, December 9, at the Eastport firehouse on Union Avenue.

And over in Flanders, 43-year-old Robert Merker is running unopposed and will most likely claim the seat now occupied by commissioner Robert Flood, who is not seeking election to another five-year term.

Mr. Merker, a foreman with Riverhead Building Supply, has been a member of the Flanders Fire Department for the past 17 years and has served as chief, captain and lieutenant. He lives in Flanders and intends to replace Mr. Flood, who has served as commissioner for about 11 years.

Mr. Merker said he is running for commissioner because he thinks he can assist the fire department on many levels. “I can see both sides—the community’s part and the fireman’s part,” he said.

Mr. Merker and his wife, Barbra, have a 13-year-old daughter named Rebecca.

Fire district residents can cast their ballots on Tuesday, December 9, from 4 until 9 p.m., at the Flanders firehouse on Firehouse Lane.

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