Your guide to today’s fire district elections

Seats on the Riverhead and Jamesport board of fire commissioners are being contested in local elections this Tuesday.
In Riverhead, incumbent commissioner and ex-chief Dennis Hamill will face off against Kevin Barty, a member of the department and the Ironman drill team. Nearby, a former Jamesport captain, John Newman, is seeking to take incumbent commissioner Joel Lazarus’ place on the board.

Incumbents in Flanders and Wading River are running unopposed.

Below is a breakdown of the Dec. 10 fire district elections:


Voting is from 3 to 9 p.m. at Riverhead fire headquarters on Roanoke Avenue.

One seat is open:

• Incumbent Dennis Hamill has been with the RFD since 1972. He served as a company officer, chief, and commissioner before leaving the department due to work obligations in 1991. He rejoined as a commissioner in 2008.   “We just went through a rigorous state audit and we came out pretty good and we definitely stayed under the 2 percent tax cap,” he said, adding that the board must weigh the needs of firefighters — including replacing aging equipment — against raising taxes on the district’s taxpayers. “At the end of the day it’s gotta be a perfect balance.”

• Kevin Barty joined the RFD 15 years ago from Manorville, where he previously served for 12 years as a firefighter. He was captain of the Ever Ready company in Riverhead and joined the Ironman team. He is self-employed as a contractor and runs a gutter installation business. He remains an active member of the department.

“Mr. Hamill is a nice guy,” he said. “From 1972, he’s made his mark on the fire department, and I feel now it’s time for a change, someone with a fresh look.” Mr. Barty said his experience as a business owner gives him the ability to help manage the district’s finances effectively, explore grant opportunities and keep taxes down.


Voting is from 3 to 9 p.m. at the Jamesport firehouse on Manor Lane.

One seat is open:

• Incumbent Joel Lazarus joined the fi re department in 1994 and rose in the ranks to become captain, rescue squad leader and chief. He had previously volunteered with the Ridge Fire Department before moving into the Jamesport district.

Mr. Lazarus said he had considered not running for re-election but “I didn’t accomplish everything that I set out to.” He wants to see through to completion projects for keeping equipment up to date and dealing with state mandates for more safety precautions without burdening the taxpayer.

• John Newman began volunteering in September 2001 and is a former captain. He is a retired New York City firefighter and an active member of the South Jamesport Civic Association.

Mr. Newman said he threw his hat in the ring to support his community, and said he would bring “new ideas” to the board. As a commissioner, Mr. Newman said he would push to increase ambulance service for the area and improve the fire department’s ability to fight fires and respond to incidents.


Voting from 6 to 9 p.m. at the Flanders firehouse on Firehouse Lane.

One seat is open:

• Incumbent commissioner Robert Merker is running unopposed for a second five-year term.


Voting from 2 to 9 p.m. at Wading River fire headquarters on North Country Road.

One seat is open:

• Incumbent commissioner Timothy Deveny is running unopposed for another five-year term.

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