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4 Candidates Running For 2 Open Port Jefferson Fire Commissioner Seats

One commissioner retiring and another open position vacated when Joe Erland passed away this year.

This year there are two open seats for Port Jefferson Fire Department Fire Commissioner with four candidates running. One of those seats was vacated when former commissioner Joe Erland passed away this fall. Kevin Bates was appointed to the position in Erland’s place in October. Bates and James Makarius are running for this position, a four year term. The second position is a five-year term formerly held by Arthur Olsen who is retiring after his years of service.

Fire Commissioner Candidate Profiles for Five-Year Term Position

Herbert Reckenbeil

  • Lives on Roosevelt Avenue
  • Resident of Port Jefferson for 30 years
  • Has been a Port Jefferson Fire Department volunteer for 26 years
  • Served as assistant chief of the PJFD from April, 1988 to April, 1994
  • Served as Chief of the PJFD from 1994 to 1996
  • Retired in 1992 from New York City Fire Department as a Lieutenant where he started working in 1959.
  • Worked as a Port Jefferson village Fire Marshal from 1993 until 2003
  • Member of the Port Jefferson village public safety advisory board from 1992 to 2003 and served as chairman from 1997 to 2003

Reckenbeil said he is well qualified for the position because he is familiar with the needs of the village and the fire department. He admits that sometimes those needs conflict a little and called it a “juggling act.” He said the job entails trying to do what you can with the least amount of money. He also pointed to his years of service as a New York City fireman, volunteer in the Port Jefferson Fire Department and member of village government on the public safety advisory board.

Tom Coyle

  • Lives on High Street
  • Resident of Port Jefferson for 46 years
  • Has been a Port Jefferson Fire Department volunteer for 28 years
  • Served as chief of department from 2004 to 2006
  • Works for the Long Island Railroad for the past six years.
  • Years ago he worked for the village Highway Department for three years

Coyle says that he is running because he thinks it’s a natural progression after running the fire department as chief. He knows what it’s like answering to the taxpayers and working on budgeting as chief making him well qualified for the job. As one of the younger guys running for the position he says he’ll be there for a while. Coyle said that the Port Jefferson Fire Department is a very well run entity and he wants to keep it that way.

Fire Commissioner Candidate Profiles for Four-Year Term Position

Kevin Bates

  • Lives on Roe Lane
  • Resident of Port Jefferson for 15 years
  • Has been a Port Jefferson Fire Department volunteer for 14 years
  • Appointed Fire Commissioner on Oct. 2 by the Port Jefferson Board of Fire Commissioners to replace Joe Erland who passed away
  • Worked for 28 years as a manager of information technologies for United Health Care, Automated Data Processing (ADP), Contel, Executone and Oxford Health Plans
  • Employed as the Port Jefferson Village Parking Administrator since 2009

Bates says that he will help the Port Jefferson Fire Department be fiscally responsible to the taxpayers and to ensure that the fire department has the best equipment and training that taxpayers can buy. He said that he also has experience writing Requests for Proposals, which is an important part of the job of obtaining fire department equipment as commissioner.

James Makarius

  • Lives on High Street
  • Resident of Port Jefferson for 30 years
  • Has been a Port Jefferson Fire Department volunteer for 28 years
  • Served as chief from 1990 to 1998
  • Owns a construction company located in the village on High Street
  • Member of the village’s public safety advisory board from 1995 to 2005

Makarius says that the combination of his owning an operating a construction business for 37 years, experience on the village’s public safety advisory board and volunteer fire department service makes him an exceptional candidate for the job.

Voting for Fire Commissioner will take place at the fire department located at 115 Maple Place on Dec. 11 from 3 to 9 p.m. Anyone registered to vote living in the fire district can vote. For more info call the fire dept. 473-8910.

Alice December 11, 2012 at 01:19 PM
Herb's last name is Reckenbeil.
Lon Cohen December 14, 2012 at 04:15 PM
Thanks for the catch. I updated the article.

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