Two Volunteer Firefighters Running for Fire Commissioner Seat
James Makarius Jr. and Lawrence Germano III are running for one open seat on the Setauket Fire District's Board of Commissioners, a five-year position, following current commissioner Rich Leute's decision to not seek re-election.
Makarius Jr. is employed by the fire safety division at Stony Brook University, a position he has held for the past seven years at the hospital, in addition to being a former co-owner of a contracting company.
Germano is an attorney who worked in private practice for six years before being appointed to the State of New York Unified Court System for four-and-half years. He also served eight years with the National Guard, including certifications in Communication Security and Nuclear, Biological and Chemical Warfare.
Makarius Jr. said he has a total of 19 years of firefighting experience with the Port Jefferson Fire Department, and has resided within the Setauket Fire District for 25 years. He is a past chief for two years with eight additional years working in the chief's office, all dating back to 2004. He said he was inspired to join the fire department based on his father's 28 years of experience as a volunteer firefighter.
Germano joined the Setauket Fire Department five years ago, and said he was inspired to join by an incident that occurred in his back yard in which a tree fell on power lines and presented a dangerous situation that Setauket firefighters brought under control. He also said he was inspired to join by the late Joey DiBernardo Jr.
Makarius Jr. told Patch: "In the fire department, you work with the fire district very closely. You’re involved with the direct decisions that involve the community as a whole, and with fire protection, events, purchasing equipment, new construction. Gaining that experience, being in the chief’s office for eight years, I got to have a first hand knowledge of that."
Germano told Patch: "Having volunteered for five years for the Setauket Fire Department has made me aware of the day to day operations of the district and department. Being a member of the department's audit committee allows me to review the department finances to ensure they are in order. Being a member of the By-law Committee allows me to craft language that is the foundation for guidelines that myself and fellow members."
Both candidates said they are aware of numerous issues the Setauket Fire District faces, including the need for physical changes at Station 1 on Main Street; keeping taxes as low as possible; working to lessen the burden placed on the community the coverage required by Stony Brook University; and more.
The fire district elections for both Setauket and Stony Brook are set for Dec. 11 from 2 p.m. to 9 p.m., with Setauket holding theirs at the district headquarters at 26 Hulse Road. Stony Brook will hold theirs at both of its stations, with residents who live south of the railroad tracks voting at Station 2 on Stony Brook Road and those who live north of the tracks voting at Station 1 in Stony Brook Village.
Stony Brook Commissioner Runs Unopposed
In the Stony Brook Fire District, incumbent commissioner Peter G. Gustafson is running unopposed for a tenth term. Gustafson, a 60-year member of the fire department, has served on the board for 45 years so far and is running unopposed for the first time. He said he plans to "try to run an efficient fire district, keep taxes down like we’ve been doing, and give the people the best service we can for the money."