Fire Commissioner elections coming December 11

By on November 12, 2018

Fire Commissioners are elected by popular public vote in New York State. Every December on the second Tuesday a Fire Commissioner Board seat becomes available for election to a five-year term in the Fire Districts that use Boards as their governing body. The seated incumbent commissioner may decide to run for re-election as there are no term limits for this position. Opponents living in their District at least 18 years of age may petition to run for a seat in the election. It is important to note that Fire Commissioners are unpaid elected officials in New York State. The deadline for petitions is November 21, 2018.

The role of the Fire Commissioner involves serious responsibilities. It requires knowledge of or ability and intent to become adept in many financial and legal tasks such as:

•Managing large budgets

•Understanding and executing NYS laws governing Fire Districts and open meetings

•Completing financial and fiscally responsible analyses that may lead to writing and/or voting in legal motions

•Managing projects and properly executing SOPs, especially with regard to purchasing and proper bidding

•Maintaining good relationships with the Chief’s Office, internal staff, first responders, officials from outside agencies, vendors, and the general public for which Commissioners swear oath to serve

Often, no fewer than two meetings per month are required for the Fire Commissioner to attend where District business and planning occurs. While family and other obligations may require someone to be absent, multiple absences may have a detrimental affect on daily business and morale. In other words, this is an active, hands-on Board position that requires significant effort in order to support the mission, vision, and values of the Fire District in which they serve.

Elections in New York for Boards of Fire Commissioners always occur in December on the second Tuesday by law. But the location and time range for polls depends on the individual Fire District. Residents should look at their tax bill to learn which Fire District serves their address. Then, contact that Fire District directly for further details. Remember, you must be a registered voter to participate in these elections.

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