Two Candidates Seek Commack Fire Commissioner Seat

Voting is set for Dec. 11 at the Commack Fire Department's main station on Jericho Turnpike.


A 20-year veteran firefighter will run for the Commack Fire Department's title of fire commissioner against the incumbant, Thomas McFadzen, on Dec. 11. 

Mary Francis Ryan, a Commack resident for 19 years, will be running for a seat as Fire Commissioner. Ryan grew up as part of the Centerport Fire Department family, following in her father's footsteps by joining as a junior firefighter at age 14. Throughout her firefighting career, Ryan has held the titles of lieutenant, captain and in 1995 was elected to the Board of Directors. She later served as president of the corporation from 1999-2000. 

"I am now ready to service this community, which I call home as a Commissioner of the Commack Fire District. Being a Commack Commissioner is being part of a team that works together to maintain the safety of the fireman and provide them with the equipment that they need to help you the Commack Community in a time of emergency," Ryan wrote in a letter. 

Ryan will be running against incumbent commissioner Thomas McFadzen, who is running for his second full five-year term. McFadzen was first elected to office after the standing commissioner moved out of the Commack Fire District. He ran a successful campaign to be elected to his first full-term. 

McFadzen has lead the Commack Fire Department in responding to hundreds of community calls and alarms through two major storms: Hurricane Irene in 2011 and Hurricane Sandy in 2012. He believes under his guidance the firefighters were well prepared and did everything possible, including sheltering out-of-state utility workers to help get power restored quickly. 

"My reason for running is continue the training and have the best equipped district in education, and maintain a balanced budget," McFadzen said. 

A public election will be held on Dec. 11, from 3 p.m. - 9 p.m. at the Commack Fire District's main headquarters at 6309 Jericho Turnpike in Commack. 

Richard Buehl December 07, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Artie, I have noticed that McFadzens signs have been removed. Whoever is stealing those signs really needs to evaluate how terrible their life must be and seek professional help. And anyone who would try to get someone fired from their job and taking away their livelihood by making these false allegations doesnt deserve my vote nor anyone's vote in the Commack community. I dont know you Mr McFadzen, but you definitely have my vote. Good Luck to you.
Robin December 07, 2012 at 08:56 PM
I am voting for Mary Ryan. She is a caring, selfless mother and friend and I find it shameful that people would be influenced by unfounded, biased accusations that couldn't be further from the integrity with which she lives her life. Best of luck, Mary. Commack FD would be lucky to have you.
Howie G. December 07, 2012 at 09:36 PM
I will be casting my vote for Tom Mcfadzen. I will be giving my full support to Tom because he has proved over the past several years of service to our community to be the best person for the job. It's a shame that people will vote for a candidate because of their sex, color or religion and not for the important reasons like, knowledge, experience and past performance. Tom has never done anything other than think of his firefighters and this community first. He puts his all into this volunteer position and has been a commissioner of our Commack Fire Dept. for all of the right reasons. He is a decent guy that deserves our support and the support of a community that has been served well by him in the past.
Howie G. December 07, 2012 at 09:51 PM
Did you actually see Tom hand out flyers to the kids? I don't believe this is true. Tom is a professional and always has been. If this is a rumor or something you may have heard I think we should give him the the benefit of doubt. Tom has always had the best interests of our children and our community at heart. Now we are faulting Tom's wife for doing her job. Well done!
Howie G. December 07, 2012 at 09:58 PM
The only way you can vote for any candidate that you are unfamiliar with is to speak to friends and family in your community. In this case all you have to do is talk with anyone associated with Commack Little league or our Commack schools. Tom is well known, well respected and truly a great guy!
Commack Resident December 07, 2012 at 10:39 PM
I too am voting for Tom McFadzen. The Commack FD is well run and that's a testament to Commissioner McFadzen's hard work. The Commack FD is lucky to have such a person who is so passionate about the community he serves. He works at our middle school and keeps our kids safe. I wonder why Mary Ryan is running for commissioner for the second straight year? Sounds like she has a personal agenda....
pbug56 December 08, 2012 at 03:15 AM
Howie; I've no interest in Little League, and I've heard nothing through the schools. I would note that there is, IMHO, something absurd about an election where 99% of the eligible voters know nothing about the inner workings of the institution in question, let alone the candidates. CFD does a valuable service for the community - one we could not all live without, but we know little or nothing about it. It has only a minimal connection to the community it serves; perhaps what is needed in a commish is someone who would reach out to the community to keep them informed and to listen to the needs of the community. I don't aim this at anyone in particular, and I accept that all, or nearly all involved in CFD put a huge effort into it, but from my view CFD is very isolated and secretive, making these elections meaningless.
Commack Resident December 08, 2012 at 03:40 AM
Can someone tell me what Tom McFadzen did/is doing wrong as Commissioner? What is Mary Ryan going to do better? She has NO experience and Tom is/has been doing a great job as Commissioner. Can someone from Mary Ryan's campaign please tell me why Tommy McFadzen doesn't deserve a second term ??? Mary Ryan is not and NEVER has been a member of the Commack Fire Department.
Artie Hearns December 08, 2012 at 02:48 PM
Commackian, Please tell the Commack residents why Tom McFadzen doesnt deserve a second term? I want you to tell us, Commack Residents, what Commissioner McFadzen is doing wrong. But I know I wont hear from you because Tom is extremely good at what he does and even Mary Ryan knows it.....Lets not forget that when Tom ran for Commissioner for the first time in 2007 and won, Mary Ryan was one of Tom's BIGGEST SUPPORTERS...Could this election for her just be a social thing? Makes you think....
Mary Rayfield December 08, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Wow this is UGLY. I think that both candidates are qualified however, after reading the audit article I have decided to support Mary Ryan. In my opinion she will do a great job. I think it is about time the good old boys club welcomes a woman.
Robin December 08, 2012 at 09:26 PM
You're right Mary, this is ugly. I don't understand why people are so upset about an open election. It is not a question of whether an incumbent did something wrong nor is it a question of whether people can understand my comments. It shouldn't be about trying to bash people's reputations or making unsupported accusations. The people of Commack should be able to get positive information about all candidates, without feeling intimidated, in order to make whatever decision they feel is best, for whatever reason. Perhaps this can be a lesson for whomever wins to make some changes in the community regarding these elections. Perhaps an open forum where the community is welcome to meet candidates so people can be free to make their own decisions.
Maria December 08, 2012 at 10:13 PM
Tom we are supporting you during this election. You are the most qualified for the position. I have yet to see anyone supporting Mary put her qualifications down on paper besides being a caring friend and selfless mother. I think being a commissioner you need more credentials than that. Commack residents, all you see or hear around town is Mary Ryan being a bully and having her friends steal signs. Is this the type of person we want working for our community!
cfd member December 10, 2012 at 07:37 AM
After reading everyone's posts here, it's about time a member of CFD speaks. Everyone, please stop the bad-mouthing here. As a 15 year member of CFD and an acquaintance to both candidates for Commissioner, it is sickening to see the comments left on this page. No one who has posted on here knows the workings of the Fire District. Why, you ask?? Because no one attends the public meetings when they are held!!! Not one of you knows who is best for the position!!!!! As a member of CFD for 15 years, I can sum it up in one sentence. If the incumbent Commissioner(Mcfadzen) does NOT have the support of his peers in the Department AND the District, then how is he the right person for the job??? Only the members of CFD can answer that, and they are not supporting Tommy.
Artie Hearns December 10, 2012 at 02:12 PM
Dearest alleged 15 year cfd member, First off, you are a COWARD for making a post like that and not identifying yourself. Sorry to rain on your parade, but this election is about whats best for COMMACK, not about a personal vendetta.
I care about Commack December 10, 2012 at 04:40 PM
As a 20 plus year member of the Commack Fire department unfortunately this election has become quite baffling. Tom Mcfadzen may be "old school" but has done a terrific job as Commissioner and deserves to be re-elected.Everyone in the Department knows that Mary is only running so her and her husband can go on trips with high ranking members of the department. If Mary somehow does win, her first course of action will to be to overturn the mandated "Must Live in Commack Fire District" so her other good friend can run for Chief in 2 years. But being Commissioner is not about socializing on department paid trips, its about working for the people of Commack. Mary supported Tom in 2007 and the only reason she is running against Tom is for her own personal agenda. Also,she is decieving the Commack Community regarding her 20 years of service with the Centerport Fire Department. Being a 'Junior Firefighter" is nice, but DOES NOT count towards service to any Department. Tom has had the majority of his campaign signs stolen, false allegations reported to the Middle School where he works, and I just read an article in the Smithtown News online where Mary accused the secretary of misconduct, when in fact Mary didnt fill out her Commisioner request petition properly. Mary has embarrassed our Department enough trying to make headlines. And to set the record straight, Tom DOES have the support of the Department and the District. Vote for the best qualified candidate, Tom!!!
Ken December 11, 2012 at 01:20 AM
wow after reading all the BS was wishing commack was like it use to be . Man i have been living in commack for 45 years and never seen such BS . before this internet crap people would say things to each other face to face or they wouldn't say it at all . So easy to hide behind a computer screen and blast people . Voice your opinion face to face and see how much is said . have a nice day commack
pbug56 December 11, 2012 at 01:29 AM
One effect is to continue to deter citizens from involvement in CFD. We hear people we can't identify saying this person is horrible or great and we've no idea of their motivation. All we know is that this election is a joke.
Ken December 11, 2012 at 01:53 AM
Is this is a paper ballot or electronic vote ?
cfd member December 11, 2012 at 07:53 AM
Artie, first off, coward is not the word to describe me here. I am friends with both candidates, so i choose to remain nameless. There are many people here who are remaining nameless, but it seems that you only call cowards to the people who are Mary Ryan supporters. Hypocritical?? Seems that way. It is known that you are Tom's neighbor, so I respect that you are supporting him. But answer me this...As a taxpayer and not a friend, besides being "a great guy",what has Tom done for the Fire Department and the Commack community?? I can answer that, and it's not a positive one!!! Mr.I care for Commack, your points are moot...As a supposed 20+ year member, you should know the "Must live in Commack" rule does not exist. The Department has been accepting members from outside the District for years. AND we have had a Chief who has lived outside the District boundary. And yes, Mary did support Tom in 2007. Yet like a Presidential election, one year you support one person, but after years after incompetence, you decide to vote for another. To summarize, I am glad to see that Mary Ryan's supporters have risen above the mud slinging in this thread and did not engage in bad mouthing the candidate they opposed. and furthermore, I was a Tom McFadzen supporter in 2007,but after 5 disappointing years, it's time for a change.
Artie Hearns December 11, 2012 at 02:07 PM
CFD Member (COWARD), Everyone is entitled to their opinion. Im not embarrassed to ID myself because I speak the truth. Anyone on this forum who makes disparaging remarks and hides behind their computer is a COWARD. Mr Coward CFD member, so how is the Commack fleet running? The answer is the fleet is in great shape. Tom takes pride in his job. To disparage Tom calling his 5 years as "incompetence" is not only a lie, but a cheap shot by a coward. Again I ask, what has Tom done wrong? No one can seem to answer that question....Tom is a 37 year member of the department. He has taught fire prevention in our Commack Schools for years with Fireman Joe. Thats not incomptence, thats selfless. Thats the kind of person Tom is. So you know me??I would love to sit down with you and have a cup of coffee. Apparently you know where I live.... Stop by. I have a Tassimo... And you call Mary Ryan's supporters "rising above the mud slinging"? I guess by stealing Tom's campaign signs and trying to get him fired from the middle school is ok in your delusional world. Did you notice that no one has stolen any of Mary's signs? Enough said on this subject.... I dont care about who is Chief and where they live. I care about having an experienced Commissioner who is doing a great job for our town. Mary Ryan is running on a personal agenda against Tom. Is Mary even a member of CFD? Tom, you are doing a great job and deserve to be re-elected.
Jim Tampellini December 11, 2012 at 03:29 PM
Change just for the sake of change makes no sense. I see no reason why Mr. McFadzen should not be re-elected, as the facts demonstrate he has done a very good job for Commack. Nothing against Ms. Ryan, but I am not familiar with anything that she done to warrant voting for her over Mr. McFadzen and his proven record. The fact that Ms. Ryan is a woman, good mother and friend (as her supporters tout) are not compelling reasons to justify ousting the experienced and effective incumbent Mr. McFadzen. I agree with other posters here who find the unsupported accusations and personal attacks on both of the candidates sad and inappropriate.
Howard Witz December 11, 2012 at 03:45 PM
Tom's signs WERE removed last night at the corner of OLD COMMACK ROAD and SCHOLAR LANE.. I drove by 5-ish and saw BOTH sets of signs, and when I returned at 10, Toms signs were removed and replaced. Tom has our family's vote!
Retired December 11, 2012 at 04:38 PM
Well said Jim!! Hopefully, the people will vote on facts and not false accusations.
Meghan December 11, 2012 at 06:59 PM
If you actually knew about these firehouse elections mr. cfd member, you would know that these elections are not won through the firehouse. I know PERSONALLY many people that are supporting Tom that ARE MEMBERS OF THE CFD. I would like to ask you what has Tom done wrong? You keep saying that his term has not been a positive one, but please do explain. But don't do it over the internet, do it in person. And you ask ",what has Tom done for the Fire Department and the Commack community?". The real question is what has Tom NOT DONE for the fire department and of the Commack community. And you say you're Tom's "friend", if you really were a "friend" of his, you would not have said a negative thing about his term. So I would rethink your "friendship". Best of luck to Tommy.
I care about Commack December 11, 2012 at 07:51 PM
CFD 15 year member, You obviously don't know the rules of the Commack FD. But that doesn't surprise me at all. Mary Ryan doesn't even know how to hand in a completed ballot petition. And she wants to be Commissioner??? If you are a fireman, Lieutenant, or Captain, "YOU ARE ALLOWED TO RESIDE OUTSIDE THE COMMACK FIRE DISTRICT" But if you want to run for Chief, "YOU MUST RESIDE IN THE COMMACK FIRE DISTRICT" A few years back there was a Chief (John B) who was elected Chief while residing in the district but he had moved out of the district with a few months to go in his term. The acting Commissioners let him finish out his term. Mary's main interest in this election is to travel with her high ranking friends on the Commack taxpayer dime. Everyone in the department knows it. Not to mention overhauling the Chief Residency rule.....But our department knows better and Tom will be re-elected...
Frank December 11, 2012 at 08:45 PM
Why dont you tell everyone why the FD members are not supporting McFazn if what you say is true? Spell out the grievances 1 by 1 like is he not buying new trucks? not allowing free party's in the req room? Not buying new big screens? Doesn't want to build a new fire house? or is he letting stuff fall into disrepair? put it in perspective for us so we know how to vote.
Howie G. December 11, 2012 at 09:24 PM
cfd member, You say "after 5 disapointing years, it's time for a change" WHY. I would appreciate it if you would clarify that comment. From what I have heard from "cfd members" that I have spoken to is that Tommy has done a great job, putting the best interests of the tax payers first. Best of luck Tom!!
I care about Commack December 12, 2012 at 02:16 AM
Congratulations Tom! Commack got it right! Tommy won by over 200 votes! The best person won and best of all Tom ran a clean campaign. No accusations and no stealing of signs! Tom, you are a selfless and caring father and I'm so happy you won!!
pbug56 December 12, 2012 at 04:25 AM
We voted for the first time at CFD today, and the election seemed to be honestly run, with Suffolk BOE equipment and materials being used. My first time inside the HQ; what little we saw was very nice looking. Nothing wrong with that, of course, unless that's taking up too much of the budget; hopefully this is not the case.
Rat Squad March 18, 2013 at 03:28 AM
Well it's a good thing that Tom was reelected, now he can keep a close eye on his wife!! That leash can't be short enough!!!


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