Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Buechele and Calamari Elected Fairview Fire Commissioners

Long-time Fairview advocate Virginia “Ginny” Buechele was elected Fairview Fire Commissioner last evening, as was Dutchess County 9-1-1 Emergency Communications Center shift supervisor Andrew Calamari. Buechele will serve for one year, completing the term of Jack Burghardt, who resigned as commissioner this year. Calamari will serve for five years.

One-Year Commissioner Slot

Out of 130 votes cast for the one-year slot, Buechele, leader of the Fairness for Fairview advocacy organization, received 77 votes.  Her opponent, John Anspach, Fairview's Board Chairperson until 2009, received 50 votes. Three additional votes went to write-ins. As in the 2008 and 2009 elections, this contest was a choice between a newcomer aligned with taxpayer advocacy and a veteran aligned with the fire station. Just as in those previous years, voter turnout was substantial, and just as in those previous years, the newcomer won.

Five-Year Commissioner Slot

Calamari's election was officially uncontested.  However, just as in 2009's election, which was also officially uncontested, there appeared to be an organized write-in effort — or perhaps more than one.  Of the 108 votes for the “uncontested” five-year slot, Calamari received only 70 votes.  Former Fairview Fire Commissioner Clinton Kershaw received a respectable 23 write-in votes — more than the total number of votes cast in the truly uncontested 2007 election.  It is embarrassing to report that your devoted blogger received 11 write-in votes, putting me in third place.  The remaining 4 write-in votes were all for single-vote names.  In summary, 35 percent of the votes for this “uncontested” position went to someone other than the winner.  I'm not sure what's going on here.  Calamari only moved into Fairview this year. Kershaw, though he was a commissioner in the past, has not been active here in recent years. Neither man is well known to many people who have been involved in fire district issues in recent years.

Fairview's Board of Fire Commissioners Has Been Completely Transformed

In the spring of 2008, when I first became involved in Fairview Fire District issues, the Board comprised five veterans, all closely associated with the fire station. Since then, newcomers have gradually replaced veterans on the Board.  With the resignation of veteran Jack Burghardt earlier this year, and the defeat of John Anspach in yesterday's election, the transformation of the board from all veterans to all newcomers is complete.

Yet Another Board Change Is Expected

On November 8, Commissioner Joe Petito won election as Hyde Park Town Councilman. This means that he is expected to resign as Commissioner by January, leaving an empty slot on the Board.  The four remaining commissioners will then have the opportunity to nominate a replacement until the next election in December, 2012.