The Hicksville Fire District will hold elections for fire commissioner on Tuesday, Dec. 14 from 6 to 9 p.m. Fire commissioner terms are five years and voting will take place at Hicksville Fire Department headquarters located on East Marie Street.
At this time, Michael Krummenacker and Harry Single will vie for the one open position being vacated by Commissioner Joseph Giardina. The following are profiles on the two candidates:
Lifelong Hicksville resident Michael Krummenacker joined the Hicksville Fire Department 33 years ago and, as a member of Company #1, served as captain and past secretary. In addition, he served as fire commissioner for two consecutive terms from 1981-1991. On a professional level, Krummenacker worked for 20 years in banking and finance and is currently a fire inspector for the Nassau County Fire Marshal's Office.
If elected, Krummenacker said he would like to increase communication between the fire department and community. "The fire department and the fire district are two separate entities. There are issues facing our department and our district that are complex, emotionally charged and need immediate attention," he stated. "The divide between the public we serve, the department and the district needs to be resolved."
The candidate also said he would look into the possibility of expanding voting hours for fire commissioner elections to enable better community participation. "It seems like there are a lot more community groups getting involved and active," Krummenacker said. "I think it would be advantageous to everyone concerned if they were broadened."
While Krummenacker believes the Station 2 issues have "overshadowed many other aspects and requirements of the fire commissioner position," he is supportive of the renovation. "A firehouse is needed at that end of town," he said. "I had signed on to a petition that agreed with the renovation of Station 2, which I still currently agree with, but perhaps the issue of concern is the amount of money that is being afforded to that."
Krummenacker continued, "A number of things have been distorted and taken out of context and it is unfortunate, such as the issue of whether or not to 'save the firehouse.' The current administration has already agreed to keep the firehouse there, so I do not think that's an issue per se. I think what has to be looked at is the amount of money allocated to the project - $5.2 million is a lot of money."
Through his position as a fire inspector, Krummenacker said he has seen firehouses throughout the county built for much less. "I've seen the scope of the cost of construction and know what can be built. So, a $5.2 million renovation cost is quite a price tag and I think that is the real issue."
The issue, said Krummenacker, is whether or not $5.2 million is a feasible amount to spend. "That's what we have to examine."
If elected fire commissioner, Krummenacker said he would also like to look into how Nassau County's current EMS service is affecting local fire department resources. "There is a definite need to sit down with the county and come up with a better system to supply more police ambulances in the area," he said, adding that the current service supplied by the county is insufficient, causing local fire departments to respond to more calls. "The people of Nassau County already get taxed for ambulance service. Nassau County should be providing a better service for something we are already paying for and not be reliant upon the [volunteer] fire service so heavily. EMS is a very pressing issue. It's very taxing to the volunteer fire service. I would hate to see the system break down."
Krummenacker served as a trustee and secretary of the Nassau County Fire District Association and is currently president of the Long Island Association of Exempt Fireman's Association, the Nassau County Fire Marshal's Benevolent Association and the Fraternal Order of Police, Lodge #128. He is an active member of the Long Island Fire Districts Legislative Committee and, on a local front, sits on the board of directors of the Joseph Barry Knights of Columbus and is an active member of the St. Ignatius Loyola Parish and its Adopt-A-Garden program.
He believes he will make an effective fire commissioner because he can "communicate with the people who serve and who are served; is aware and experienced in firematic and safety requirements; has a strong business background, particularly in management and finance; has extensive knowledge of today's service mandates; and has a record of loyal service to the fire department and district."
Harry Single, a 28-year resident of Hicksville, was a member of the Hicksville Fire Department's Flood Light/Heavy Rescue Co. 8 from 1980 to 1989. He is a former New York City police officer and, in 1998, retired as a federal agent with the U.S. Justice Department. Upon his retirement, Single opened Uncle Harry's Trophies and Plaques, which is located at 308 Old Country Road in Hicksville.
If elected fire commissioner, Single said he would like to open the lines of communication between the fire district, fire department and the community. "The main thing is to bring the community and fire district back together," Single said. "There needs to be unity. I want the public to feel that nothing is being done without them knowing; that there are no secrets."
As fire commissioner, Single said he would be open to looking into the possibility of expanding voting hours during fire commissioner elections. "I would be in favor of the expansion based on the kind of turnout we have been receiving, not because of any special group. There seems to be a greater turnout and extending the hours might make it easier," he said. "I want to see if we can extend them to 4 to 9 p.m., which would make it better to handle the number of voters that come in over the course of three hours. Doing so would make voting a little easier."
According to Single, the renovation and expansion of Station 2 is necessary and he is supportive of a new firehouse at the current location. "I believe the board of fire commissioners has exhausted all avenues regarding this project," he said. "It is a flat out matter of safety. I've been inside the firehouse. I've taken the walkthrough and there is no room. Everything is slowed down and we don't need that." He added, "An extra three minutes can make a major difference."
The candidate also believes that the proposed cost of the project, which is proposed at $3.5 million for construction with additional funds allocated for furnishings and equipment, is fair. Single said that those opposed to the project keep referring to it as a $5.2 million project that just covers the cost of constructing the building and not anything else. "That's not true. The $5.2 million includes all fees and projected costs for equipment and supplies needed to furnish the building," Single said, adding "I think it would have been less if the board would have been able to go through with it next year, but construction costs are rising."
The candidate also said that as a fire commissioner he would be totally committed and supportive of all Hicksville firemen. "We depend on [them] each and every day for their dedication and devotion to a job that is both demanding and dangerous," he said. "They are there for us when we need them and I fully intend to be there for them when they need me, no matter what."
Over the years, Single has been involved in various community organizations, including the Hicksville Chamber of Commerce, Knights of Columbus Joseph Barry Council and is past president of the Midland Civic Association. In addition, Single was a volunteer emergency medical technician. He currently sits on the board of directors of the Hicksville Youth Council Boys and Girls Club, the Hicksville Baseball Association and the Hicksville Football Association. Professionally, he is a member of the advisory board for Briarcliffe College's Criminal Justice Program.
If elected fire commissioner, Single said he would continue to work for the fire district and the community. "So many people in the community wanted me to run," Single said. "I join and I work. I naturally go to the front and do things. I have dedicated 24 years to this community. My community involvement in so many different organizations puts me in better touch with residents on a daily basis."