With A Write-In Vote, Dombkowski Unseats Fire Commissioner In Bridgehampton

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Bruce Dombkowski was elected to the Bridgehampton Board of Fire Commissioners on Tuesday night following a successful write-in campaign to unseat Commission Chairman Steve Halsey.

Mr. Dombkowski, a former commissioner who was ousted in 2007 in a similar write-in campaign, won the seat, 133-91, and will be sworn in in January.

At the same time on Tuesday night, voters rejected a proposition, 148-100, that would have made district treasurer an appointed position instead of the traditional elected position.

The election itself had been marked by controversy and was the first election after a recent decision to strip authority from the district’s longtime secretary/treasurer, Charles Butler. In addition, Mr. Dombkowski was forced last week to launch a write-in campaign after a recently appointed attorney for the fire district, Brad Pinsky, determined that Mr. Dombkowski’s application was not complete and therefore was void. Mr. Dombkowski forgot to put his name as the candidate on the form—an omission that he said Mr. Butler would have corrected in the past.

Earlier this month, the commissioners announced that they were stripping Mr. Butler of his secretary’s position at the end of the year and slashing his $60,000 annual salary down to $1,500. He will remain the district’s treasurer, which is an elected position. He has been the district’s secretary and treasurer for more than 30 years.

As a result of Mr. Dombkowski’s petition being voided, Mr. Halsey, a commissioner for the past five years, was the only name to appear on the ballot.

Neither Mr. Halsey nor Mr. Dombkowski returned calls seeking comment on Wednesday morning.

On Wednesday morning, Mr. Pinsky said the election went off without a hitch, noting that although there were some votes that were voided, the tallies were not close, so they did not make much difference. He also said that some votes were considered “other,” meaning they were controversial, for different reasons, including misspelling Dombkowski, and that boxes were incorrectly marked or the ballot was blank. The “other” votes also did not have an impact on the election.

Mr. Pinsky also said the results took so long to finalize because election officials were cautious and recounted several times. Voting ended at 9 p.m., and results were available at 10:40 p.m. “There were four counts that had to occur, and we had to double- and triple-count each count,” Mr. Pinsky said.

In total, 257 votes were cast on Tuesday night.

Two other propositions were approved by district voters on Tuesday night. The first, approved 145-102, creates a capital reserve fund for the fire district. The second proposition, which voters approved 151-94, will allow the commissioners to sell a plot of land for $940,000.

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