Your guide to today’s fire district elections

12/09/2013 7:00 AM |
Two fire commissioner seats are being contested on the North Fork this Tuesday while a proposition in another district would extend a program to reward firefighters for answering calls and attending training.

In the Mattituck Fire District, incumbent William Young has decided not to seek re-election. Three members of the department are vying for his open seat. Nearby in Cutchogue, challenger Drew McCaffrey will face incumbent Arthur Brewer for his seat on the board.

The Southold, Orient and East Marion districts are also holding elections for open fire commissioner seats, though the incumbents are running unopposed in those votes.

For a breakdown of the fire district elections on Dec. 10, see below:


Voting from 3 to 9 p.m. at the Mattituck fire station on Pike Street.

One seat for a five-year term is open:

• John Heeg joined the department 10 years ago after spending nine years with the North Patchogue Fire Department. He has been a captain in the department, a member of the dive rescue team, an EMT and a member of the Suffolk County urban search and rescue team. Mr. Heeg is also an Iraq war veteran, having served as a Navy medic stationed with Marine units in 2006. He is now a member of the Air National Guard in Westhampton Beach.

Mr. Heeg said he attended a recent commissioners meeting where heavy rescue equipment was discussed, and he believes his insights could aid the board. “I’d like to be onboard with that,” he said. Mr. Heeg also said he would ensure the department had the equipment it needed without placing a burden on taxpayers.

• Leonard Llewellyn, with the department for 43 years, is an ex-captain of the fire patrol. He now serves as the public information offi cer for the department and advisor to the Bulldogs, Mattituck’s junior fire department. In the 1980s, he completed a course at Suffolk County Community College in fire protection.

“I believe through my education … I can give [the board] an analytical approach to it and some information they might not know,” he said. Mr. Llewellyn said his business experience as a fire protection consultant would also aid the board in keeping up with current fi refighting trends.

• Michael Sweeney joined the MFD 20 years ago and has served as a captain and a lieutenant and as co-chairman of the 100th anniversary parade. He ran an unsuccessful campaign for the board five years ago against Mr. Young.

Mr. Sweeney, a business owner since 1974, said he would use his experience to manage the department’s funds. “You just have to make sure everything’s running smoothly, watching every dollar and making sure you’re not spending it ridiculously.” Mr. Sweeney said he would balance taxpayer concerns with the needs of the department, like a new radio tower so members can receive all alerts when there is an alarm.


Voting from 6 to 9 p.m. at Cutchogue fire headquarters on New Suffolk Road.

One seat for a five-year term is open:

• Incumbent Arthur Brewer has been with the CFD for 33 years, including as chief of the department, and has spent 10 years as a commissioner.

He said the board has done a good job keeping taxes low during the economic downturn. “The younger guys may think you can go out and buy a new truck, but you can’t,” Mr. Brewer said. “You have to be responsible.” He said he would continue to build on his successes and work toward upgrading the district’s storage and communications facilities while balancing the needs of taxpayers.

• Drew McCaffrey joined the department 20 years ago and served as chief in 2009 and 2010. He remains an active member of the department.

Mr. McCaffrey said he sees a lack of planning for the department’s future needs and would bring a “fresh perspective with creative ideas and an open mind.” Mr. McCaffrey said two of the department’s three engines will need to be replaced soon due to state regulations, and he said having a plan for how to pay for the engines would prevent a “significant burden” on the district’s taxpayers.


Voting from 6 to 9 p.m. at the East Marion firehouse.

Two seats are open:

• Incumbent commissioner Donald Dzenkowski is running unopposed for a five-year term.

• Incumbent commissioner Michael Griffin, who was appointed to fill a vacancy on the board, is running unopposed to finish the balance of the term.

One proposition is on the ballot:

• If approved, the district would increase its service award program from a 30-year limit to a 40-year limit. The state-approved program awards volunteers $240 per year if they complete a certain number of credits by taking training classes and responding to alarms. The program is currently in its 25th year in the East Marion department; volunteers in the program for more than 30 years would no longer earn the award. Fire district officials said extending the program to 40 years would encourage experienced volunteers to remain activelonger. The program cost the district $70,000 this year, down from $130,000 the year before. If the proposition is approved, the cost would increase to $75,500 next year.


Voting from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Southold firehouse on Route 25. One seat is open:

• Incumbent commissioner Donald Sayre is running unopposed for another five-year term.


Voting from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Orient firehouse on Main Road One seat is open

•  Fire Chief Joseph Wysocki is running unopposed for a five-year term.

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