East Quogue, Corcoran, Real Estate, Hamptons

Story - News

Jan 3, 2018 11:19 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

Bridgehampton Fire District Discards Election Results, Will Re-Vote For Chief On January 8 With New Rules

The elections for positions within the Bridgehampton Fire Department are being re-run on January 8, 2018. GREG WEHNER
Jan 3, 2018 1:02 PM

The Bridgehampton Fire District has discarded the results of a December 7 election involving positions within the fire department, and has rescheduled the vote for January 8—and with a new set of rules.

Documents posted in the district’s office show that all five district commissioners—Dean Foster, Robert Comfort, Bruce Dombkowski, Fred Wilford and John O’Brien—voted on December 13 to “reject and throw out the election for all positions in the department due to the process and not the winners.”

At the same meeting, the district commissioners approved another resolution changing the qualifications of who can run for chief of the Bridgehampton Fire Department.

Previously, the rules had stated that a person running for chief had to have served as the 1st assistant chief. To run for 1st assistant chief, candidates had to first serve as 2nd assistant chief. Therefore, a candidate could not run for the top post who had only served as 2nd assistant chief.

When the election was held last month, the only candidate who was technically eligible to run for the position of chief, based on those rules, was Tim Sieger, who held the 1st assistant chief position. He was unopposed on the ballot distributed to department members.

When the results came in on December 7, Mr. Sieger received 26 of the 51 votes cast. Francis Hernandez—a write-in candidate who was serving as 2nd assistant chief at the time and was on the ballot for the 1st assistant chief post—received 15 write-in votes for chief, but not enough votes to serve as 1st assistant chief.

Brad Pinsky, the attorney for the district, said last week that there were people who should have been put on the ballot who were not—though he did not specify who was excluded.

Mr. Pinsky argued that the rules should be modified to allow the 2nd assistant chief to run for head chief. On December 13, the commissioners approved a resolution modifying what Mr. Pinsky called “an antiquated” rule, allowing a 1st assistant chief or 2nd assistant chief to be eligible to run for chief.

“Chief positions are the same,” Mr. Pinsky said. “Why clog up the funnel of moving up? What if the 1st assistant doesn’t want to be chief?”

“Much of the department disagrees with the commissioners’ decision to re-run the election and their process of the changing the rules,” said Jeff White, the current chief of the Bridgehampton Fire Department. “But they claim they are doing what is allowable.”

A source in the Bridgehampton Fire Department, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because they weren’t authorized to speak on behalf of the department, said Mr. Hernandez had been nominated to run for chief but was not eligible under the previous rules. Some members of the department, the source said, are calling the fire commissioners’ decision an attempt to rig the election.

Mr. Pinsky said the commissioners did not pass the law so that a specific member could serve as chief.

The fire department’s re-vote will take place on Monday, January 8, at 6 p.m. According to a sign posted at the district, doors will open at 5:45 p.m.—and all members who wish to cast a vote are required to be in the room before the doors close at 6 p.m., or they will not be permitted to vote. The specific time is a change from previous elections, when a two-hour window was opened to allow members to vote.

You've read 1 of 7 free articles this month.

Already a subscriber? Sign in

Commissioners are opening a bag of worms. Are these commissioners are not dealing with reality? Rules are rules, change them next year...
By knitter (1537), Southampton on Jan 3, 18 6:00 PM
Seems to me that when you run for second assistant, you have your eye on the prize. I’m not sure if this attorney truly understands the Volunteer Fire Service...
By Draggerman (840), Southampton on Jan 3, 18 9:35 PM
Gotta love the volitics in that departement. If they’re changing the rules, I say “Mark B for 30”. Great head for firefighting and he plays “free bird” like a god. Can’t beat that combo.

On a serious note, someone needs to fix what’s broken in this department. He will be the one to do it. Ride your time Mark. Don’t let um get you down.
By SHlocal12 (16), Southampton on Jan 4, 18 3:07 AM
You are right, Mark is a good guy but the nasty politics in the BHFD are so deep seated that it is irreparable. The commissioners have treated the volunteers like chattel for thirty years now. Some time ago the chairman of the board stated in a public meeting that the members were nothing but dumb Polacks and drunken Irishmen and that he had grader N&$#@#s that were smarter then most of them. Some of the faces have changed but the attitudes have not. Until the citizens of the fire district elect ...more
By BHPatriot (11), Bridgehampton on Jan 4, 18 11:03 AM
BH Fire District could be divided up between SFD, NSFD, EHFD and SHFD.
By Draggerman (840), Southampton on Jan 5, 18 6:59 AM
How is it that the vote is not good??? Is it 50% or popular vote of those voting???
By knitter (1537), Southampton on Jan 4, 18 3:02 PM
The volunteers should boycott this new vote and instead focus their energy on outing the commissioners. After all, a fish stinks from the head down. If you look around Bridgehampton there are more ex-volunteers (including commissioner Foster) than there are current volunteers. Why? There are also many family members of traditionally volunteer minded families that will have nothing to do with the BHFD. Why? There are at least three ex-chiefs that want nothing to do with the BHFD and that will never ...more
By BHPatriot (11), Bridgehampton on Jan 5, 18 8:30 PM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By BHPatriot (11), Bridgehampton on Jan 5, 18 8:30 PM
Here are a few comments reportedly from the Bridgehampton commissioners, paraphrased. Commissioner Bruce Dombkowski to the officers of the EMS Company. Stacey Ludlow, Robin Murphy and Taylor Vescey I believe. The reason we are getting paid first responders is because the volunteers suck.
Fred Wilford to the same people. If the volunteers don't like what we are doing they can all leave and it will just become a paid department. We don't care.
Fred Wilford to chief John Healy. We never ...more
By BHPatriot (11), Bridgehampton on Jan 7, 18 8:10 PM
15 minutes for over 50 volunteers to vote??? Sounds like the the commissioners have voted...
By knitter (1537), Southampton on Jan 8, 18 10:37 AM
This comment has been removed because it is a duplicate, off-topic or contains inappropriate content.
By knitter (1537), Southampton on Jan 8, 18 10:38 AM
Sounds like another Federal Law Suit. The Commisoner's need to move on from thier upstate lawyer. Also, why is there so much drama surrounding this department? The community gives them all they ask for but it seems that there is always nonsense surrounding the leadership of the department and the Bd. of Commissioners. Enough.

By Colt (26), Wainscott on Jan 8, 18 4:16 PM
Who got elected today?
By knitter (1537), Southampton on Jan 8, 18 6:35 PM
Bring back Tim Doran.
By Draggerman (840), Southampton on Jan 8, 18 9:17 PM
Bring back Tim Doran.
By Draggerman (840), Southampton on Jan 8, 18 9:17 PM
Update anyone?
By SHlocal12 (16), Southampton on Jan 9, 18 10:23 AM
Tourism, local  shopping, dining, Hamptons