Polls will open on Tuesday, December 9, for East Hampton Town Fire Commissioner races, with terms set to begin on January 1.
In Montauk, which has the town’s only contested race, Richard Monahan is vying for the seat that has been held by Edward Sullivan for two five-year terms.
Mr. Sullivan, 50, who owns Ron Sullivan Welding in Wainscott and Montauk, said he wants to continue looking after the fire department’s equipment and fleet. Assigned to vehicle maintenance and repair duties, he said he has not only maintained the department’s equipment, but the district purchased two new ambulances and has been looking into a new rescue truck, all on his watch. The district is also planning to upgrade one of the garages to meet new standards, he added.
“What I put together was a budget to get all the trucks, chassis and pump maintenance program done every year so that every truck is inspected when it is needed,” he said about his time as commissioner. “I’ve had the same budget for the last 10 years and I’ve never gone over budget and never raised my budget.”
Mr. Sullivan said the district will be going forward with its paid paramedic program and extending it to 24-hours, 365 days a year, regardless of who wins the election.
His opponent, Richard Monahan, 73, has served as an EMT since 2001 and as the district’s secretary for 12 years. He said that he approached the current board of commissioners to question them about why there was not a 24/7 paid paramedic program in place yet after the district had expressed intent to expand its pilot program, which currently provides a paid paramedic from 6 a.m. to 6 p.m. He said as the district’s only Advanced EMT, he listens and tends to calls after 6 p.m., and that it would be his mission to see that there is 24/7 paid paramedic coverage in the new year.
Mr. Monahan said the recent loss of well-known East End attorney Tom Twomey, who died of a heart attack last month, showed how necessary it is to have someone on call at all times who is trained in Advanced Life Support. Emergency services reportedly took at least 20 minutes to arrive at the scene of Mr. Twomey’s incident.
“The experience with Tom Twomey highlighted the need for a prompt response with Advanced Life Support,” he said. “ALS in critical calls, like cardiac or respiratory distress, strokes or diabetic comas, ALS often determines survival and, more than that, it improves the quality of life for the future of the patient.”
Mr. Monahan said he also wants to make the district’s meetings and decisions more transparent by putting up the meeting agendas and minutes online for the public.
The oldest lifeguard in East Hampton, Mr. Monahan is a member of the East Hampton Volunteer Ocean Rescue Squad, serves on the Montauk Playhouse Community Center Foundation and is on the board of the East Hampton YMCA. He said he got involved in the fire department as an EMT in 2001.
“The community pulls together when somebody is in trouble … I had never experienced this in my life,” he said. “I was sitting back and watching it all happen and thought ‘How the hell can I help do something?’”
Also running is Michael Mirras, 61, who is seeking a one-year term to will fill a vacancy created by Vincent Carillo Jr., who left the district two years ago. Mr. Mirras had been appointed to the position during the fourth year of the term, but by state law, must run for the last year.
Mr. Mirras is an accountant who runs his own firm in Wainscott and has been with the Montauk Fire Department for 31 years as a fireman and an EMT. He had been an AEMT, but it had been difficult for him to maintain that level. He served as an officer for 24 years and as chief for three years.
He said he wants to see continued financial stability for the district.
“Since I’m a money person, I would like to see a much longer term plan of future spending,” he said. “I don’t believe in management by emergency. I’m a planner.”
He said he expects to see the paid-paramedic program expand as time goes on.
Voters may cast their ballots at the Montauk Fire Department on Flamingo Avenue from 2 to 9 p.m. on Tuesday, December 9.
In Springs, mason Leander Arnold is running unopposed for a five-year term on the Springs Fire District Board.
The 66-year-old said he had been asked to run for the seat, especially since he has been a part of the fire department for 35 years and his father, Sebastian Arnold, was one of the founders of the department back in 1965.
“I’ve got an attention to detail and an eye for keeping the firehouse in good shape,” Mr. Arnold said. “I’d like to make the firehouse look presentable and see how the district’s money is spent.”
Also in Springs, Ann Glennon, an incumbent running unopposed, is seeking another three-year term as district treasurer. She did not return calls for comment.
Voting opens at the Springs Firehouse on December 9, from 6 to 9 p.m., at its location on Fort Pond Boulevard.
In Amagansett, incumbent Jack Emptage is the only member of the district’s commissioner panel up for reelection, running unopposed for another five-year term.
Mr. Emptage, 73, and the self-proclaimed “oldest active fireman” in the department, has served as a commissioner for the past five years but went through the ranks with the Amagansett Fire Department, previously serving as chief, for the past 26 years.
“I think we’re doing a lot of good stuff with the paid medic program, which we just started this past year,” he said of his time as commissioner. “And now we’re going [to a] full-time [paid program] throughout next year and that’s one piece that I’m very much involved with the financial aspects of.”
Mr. Emptage said more recently, it’s been “challenging” to recruit volunteers for the ambulance and the fire department, something he largely attributes to how expensive it is to live in the area.
“I just want to continue the battle, quite frankly,” he said of his decision to run again. “The department has an active recruiting program which has produced some new members, which is encouraging, but I think when you get on the EMS side of life, it’s a lot more difficult. The time requirements are huge and the educational requirements are huge.”
The election will be held at the fire house on Main Street in Amagansett on December 9 from 6 to 9 p.m.
East Hampton Village does not hold elections for fire commissioner as the village trustees all serve as active fire commissioners.