Fire Commissioners Election Heats Up

December referendum results having an impact, candidates say

Though in previous years the Toms River fire district elections have been a broad spectrum of uncontested and multiple contested races, the incumbents this year said the scope of this race is different than previous.

"It's become political," said District 2 incumbent Ken Taylor. "I've never seen anything like it."

Contested Seats in Both Districts

In District 1, there is one seat for a three-year term. Incumbent Doug Foley faces challenger Raymond Latshaw. District 1 is comprised of residents served by East Dover, Ocean Beach, Toms River Fire Co. No. 1 and No. 2 fire houses.

In District 2, there are three seats: two seats are a three-year term, and the third is the unexpired term created by the death of Gary Licknack. District 2 is comprised of residents served by Pleasant Plains and Silverton fire houses.

The District 2 unexpired term candidates are incumbent Thomas McCann and challenger Richard Heroy.

In the three-year term, five candidates are vying for two seats in District 2. Incumbents Ken Taylor and Roger “Joe” Brown face challengers Jason Wallace, Don Lombardi Jr. and Alexander Wyatt Earp.

Increased Campaigning

The commissioner's annual election is considered a nonpartisan contest, but both challenger and incumbent accused their opponents of being aligned with local politicians.

Taylor said for the first time he's seen candidates buy lawn signs and distribute mailers. Now for this election nearly all candidates have participated in campaigning materials.

Taylor and McCann said it's not something they are used to.

"We're not politicians. We're fire fighters," McCann said. "Our motivations are to serve the taxpayer and provide the best fire service. That's it. We're not here to get rich, be misleading or anything like that."

District 2 challenger Wallace said he believes challengers are at a disadvantage in getting a campaign message out, as they have the hurdle of often being lesser-known than an incumbent that might have been serving for years.

"We're using our own money, and are pooling our resources to try and get the information out there," Wallace said.

Wallace said the issue is not politics but simply the improvement of fire district operations.

"We want to get people thinking: 'Is this the best way to get things done?'" Wallace said. He's calling for more transparency in the fire commissioner operations.

"Widespread Misinformation"

The four incumbents said they were concerned about the messages they've seen in mailers, in letters and otherwise being passed around.

McCann, Taylor and Brown — the District 2 incumbents— said they are being lumped in with District 1, which is the first discrepancy they see. The districts have separate budgets and commissioners voted on by the public.

But they and Foley said they were also concerned by accusations saying the commissioners are overspending or being misleading.

“I’m here to answer any questions the public may have,” Foley said. “We’re open.”

Taylor said “every dime is accounted for.” Instead of padding the budget, the District 2 budget is instead efficent and also lower than last year.

The criticisms the commissioners have faced are what challengers Wallace, Lombardi and Latshaw said were high salaries for district staff, and unnecessary spending on travel.

For example, the three challengers are circulating a bill that claims Foley spent more than $900 on a meal during an out-of-state conference. Foley said it’s not true, that reimbursement is limited to $65 a day.

Wallace said there’s also been some misinformation about him. “I don’t have a vendetta. I’m not hoping to go in and slash and burn and cut services.”

He said he doesn't esteem to use the fire commissioners as a stepping stone to a political office elsewhere.

"I'm trying to strike a balance between the taxpayers and the firefighters," he said.

District 1 Versus 2

McCann, Taylor and Brown are campaigning as incumbents for District 2. In District 1, incumbent Foley has created his own campaign materials.

There's also three candidates running on one set of campaign materials although they are in different districts: Wallace and Lombardi in District 2 and Latshaw in District 1.

Taylor and McCann took issue with the campaign materials of Lombardi, Wallace and Latshaw, saying it was confusing to create one message for races only open for one district. There's a separate ballot whether you are in District 1 or 2, so the combined material is confusing, they said.

Silverton Fire Department Chief Bob Sinnott said that the managerial style between the districts is different.

"We have a different history, we have a different way of doing things," Sinnott said. "We are one brotherhood, out on calls together, but the commissioners do disagree on business."

For example, McCann and Taylor said District 2 did not hold a December referendum and instead opted to hold appropriation questions for this weekend's vote.

Impact of December Referendum

Saturday’s election day comes just about two months after a December referendum in District 1 asked voters to approve a land buy for a new firehouse. The move was overwhelmingly vote down by residents of District 1. The referendum saw a much larger turnout than the annual election.

The challengers said there is certainly a spillover from the disapproval of the referendum into this election.

“After seeing that, it’s clear people want to get more involved, know what is going on in the fire districts,” Wallace said.

But having these sentiments spill over into District 2 is an unfair comparison, incumbents McCann and Taylor said.

"It's a jet wash," McCann said. District 2 had nothing to do with the December referendum. It was an issue for District 1, as the new firehouse would have served residents in District 1. District 2 is comprised of Silverton and Pleasant Plains.

Wallace said the turnout for the December referendum could lead to increased voter participation Saturday.

"People are just mad they don’t get answers to their questions," Wallace said. "People get frustrated, and they'll come out to vote."

FF2932 February 17, 2012 at 06:40 PM
Concerned, I wish someone would explain to me how moving the election to November would help anything. Sure there would be more people there to vote for the condidates, but do you think those people are going to take the time to educate themselves about 5 MORE people to vote for on top of the congressional or presidential candidates, I seriously doubt it. Secondly if we move the election but lose the ability to vote on the budget unless it is over the 2% cap what good does that do? The BOE can now raise the budget by 30+ million every year and the voters will never see a vote on it, that doesn't seem like a better system to me.
Mike Mooney February 17, 2012 at 07:54 PM
This so called gravy train does not exist. Mr Taylor Mr Brown Mr McCann and Mr Heroy are not in this to get rich. I guess you think these honorable men are like the scum such as Ritacco Accropolis and others who have no show jobs or cheated the system for tens of thousands of dollars. Mr Taylor was wrong on one account when he said every dime is accounted for, he forgot the penny every cent of tax payer money for the fire service is accounted for. I was once in your shoes when I just saw the budget I was like wow that's insane where does it all go to. So I did what any tax payer of Toms River can do which you obviously have not I asked. I was astonished to find out almost 10 percent of the budget is for the fire hydrants on the streets. Think about that 10% is spent on water we may never use that should piss you off. Another huge portion is insurance. How about training, would you like us to have zero training? What I'm getting at is your money isn't wasted like you think it is. Do you seriously think a politician is going to do a better job? I truely hope that you take the time and go to a commissioners meeting every one of them will answer your questions and guess what they all pay the same taxes you do.
Paul g Mver February 17, 2012 at 08:26 PM
I heard Haelig asked them to stay away, since they were outted as his crony's.
Andy February 17, 2012 at 08:30 PM
“A man who does not think for himself does not think at all.” Oscar Wilde
Oscar Wilde February 17, 2012 at 09:24 PM
funny how EVERY TIME someone uses we pay the same taxes you do , i NEVER AND I MEAN NEVER , hear them argue to LOWER those same taxes .......WHY IS THAT ???
Oscar Wilde February 17, 2012 at 09:26 PM
Anyone who lives within their means suffers from a lack of imagination. Oscar Wilde
Andy February 17, 2012 at 09:32 PM
“A dreamer is one who can only find his way by moonlight, and his punishment is that he sees the dawn before the rest of the world.” ~~ Oscar Wilde
Bob Hansson February 17, 2012 at 09:41 PM
Mr Wilde, and I'm sure that's not your real name. To bad you don't have the gumption to put your name on your posts but instead choose to hide behind your computer screen. If you are able to read and comprehend, you can see that the District 2 Fire budget is less than it was last year. Not much but still lower. Maybe you should read and research before you post.
Andy February 17, 2012 at 09:45 PM
..........Is your electric bill lower? Is your gasoline bill lower? Is your grocery bill lower.....is your health care bill lower?? Are your tolls lower?? Everything around us is going up....things that we have no control over......would I like my taxes lower.......hell yes. But at what cost? The fire tax is only 4 cents on you tax dollar ...... 4 cents. I think we are trying to squeeze the turnip here!!!
Oscar Wilde February 17, 2012 at 09:46 PM
doesnt mean last years wasnt way too high , which i am sure it was/is
Oscar Wilde February 17, 2012 at 09:47 PM
Selfishness is not living as one wishes to live, it is asking others to live as one wishes to live. Oscar Wilde
Paul Cannizzaro Jr February 17, 2012 at 09:47 PM
OK here is the take on the taxes thing...Does it really do any good to argue about lowering taxes No........Until you get the cronies in the state house to stop padding their pockets taxes will never come down. Now as far as the 4 men running in this election i will say this they are as hard a working man as you and I all they are doing is providing an extra service to the communities in which they live doing what is in the best interests of Silverton and Pleasant Plains. I a former firefighter of both depts have fought many fires and have done many things with all of them. I couldnt have asked for better mentors in my volunteer career. So to vote in an outsider who has no clue as to what is going on or has gone on is absolutely rediculous. Now the things that are on the ballot.... Darlene has to be the the best in her position..I remember a time where i was injured on a fire scene and needed her assistance with paperwork to get things for my family she was on it took care of it all immediately. As far as mr Wallace and the cronies if you arent a member of the depts (which clearly you are not) leave things alone. Go get on the lakewood board since you love it there and care so much as to what goes on. You have proven that you are only trying to get on this board to use it on your resume to get back into Politics. DIST 2 has never been about politics and never will. They dont need you and I hope tomorrows elections prove true.
Oscar Wilde February 17, 2012 at 09:52 PM
so lets just let these guys stay forever if they want, dont let anyone who may have NEW IDEAS or perhaps cares ABOUT LOWERING TAXES....soon you all will have so many empty houses, there will be no reason to risk your lives for 4 walls and a roof
Oscar Wilde February 17, 2012 at 09:53 PM
well we have control of this !.....and yes my natural gas bill has gone much lower
Paul Cannizzaro Jr February 17, 2012 at 09:55 PM
As far as the elections from the time i graduated fire school at the Dover twsp facility until now the seats on the commisioners boards has always been held by firefighters from either dept. To me thats a smart choice as they are the ones who know the day to day operations of the depts , knows what each dept needs, knows when apparatus is due to be replaced. These men running have given their life to Silverton and Pleasant Plains. Dont vote for an outsider! ! ! !
Bob Hansson February 17, 2012 at 10:01 PM
Oscar, Too bad you don't have the guts to put your real name on your posts. The incumbents in the fire dist elections are givers not takers. They give their time to go out at any time in all kinds of weather to help the likes of miserable jerks like you. They would willlingly put their lives on the line to save your miserable existance. I'm sure that you cowardly sir are a taker. Have you ever raised a finger to help a nother citizen in need of help? I truly doubt it. Mr Brown and Mr Taylor, in addition to being Volunteer firfighters, are also members of the States elite Urban Search and Rescue Team, NJ Task Force One. The team includes 200 of the best rescue personnel not only in the state but in the nation. They volunteer hundreds of hours to train and respond with this Task Force and receive nothing but satisfaction in return. No salary, no pension, no benefits. Don't ever dare call these men "takers" until you're fit to walk in their shoes.
Oscar Wilde February 17, 2012 at 10:04 PM
i will honk 3 times when i am passing the silverton fire house.....
Andy February 17, 2012 at 10:04 PM
.....didn't say natural gas ............ gotcha!!!!
Drucillia Demiglia February 17, 2012 at 10:06 PM
Andy February 17, 2012 at 10:27 PM
.......Concerned.......yes let's move the budget to November and then you won't be able to vote on it at all as long as it's below the 2%cap!!!! Did you know that about the school board budget? How they got this "arrangement" for moving their election to November?? So yes let's move it to November!! ........... and Drucillia YES the people in the election are all takers.......they've taken 30 years of their lives and given it to the community.....they have taken the heat of a structure fire....they have taken bodies out of houses and mangled cars........they have taken the cold of winter riding the back step of a fire engine...... they have taken young recruits and instructed them and guided them to where they have become firefighters.........they have taken minutes....days.....hours away from their families and loved ones......time that can never be replaced........they have taken all of this and STILL ask for more.......... GOD why do we put up with all these takers..........Drucillia .........most horrible of all they have to take shit from people like YOU! It's not enough they give their time and in some cases their lives now they have to give their reputations and have them dragged through the mud. Shame on you!!! Tell me what have you given???? On second thought....don't bother. I don't want to take any more from you!!
Oscar Wilde February 17, 2012 at 10:27 PM
ok than i will honk 5 times passing riparian way
Oscar Wilde February 17, 2012 at 10:30 PM
Andy, and now someone else would like to do that for the public......why is only the public servants are the only ones who do all these great things for "nothing in return"
Andy February 18, 2012 at 01:03 AM
Drucillia............wow that hurt......"Thank you for a memorable afternoon, usually one must go to a bowling alley to meet a woman of your stature."
PMSNBC February 18, 2012 at 01:14 AM
Spoken like a true liberal. We can't possibly think for ourselves, so you anoint yourself to do the job. Sorry, no thanks. That's not what our founding fathers had in mind. Hitler, Stalin, and Mao perhaps, but not Madison, Jefferson, Adams, et al had in mind.
David George February 18, 2012 at 02:53 AM
Hey Oscar it is amaizing that all of you comments are about money and taxes. What is getting some stupid politician that has NO CLUE about the fire service going to do??? Nothing thats what!!! You people truly are stupid and its really a shame that any of you even have the opportunity to take part in this election. I can"t wrap my head around someone that doesnt even know what a fire engine is being a fire commissioner. Theses are people that have never even been to a commissioners meeting but now all the sudden they are the right people for the job. Does this sound odd to anyone else???? All of you are so misinformed and have no clue what youre talking about, its a shame because you go out and tell the public a bunch of lies about Fire Dist#2 and the fire service in general. I really wish that some of you would show up at a meeting and ask your questions so you could get the facts. As a vollunteer firefighter in this district with many many years of service you people truly make me sick!!!!!
Johnny Cobbler February 18, 2012 at 02:59 AM
Because 4 cents to every dollar you pay in taxes for your fire tax is so much god you people are ridiculous honestly you pay more in school taxes and other crap. Hey let’s start a fight there nah lets listen to the Sheppard and pick on men who know what they are doing and are trying their best with little support they have. Why not let new people in? let’s see these new people 1 put out political propaganda that was nothing but straight up bull from cover to cover and all 3 of the people challenging were asked and questioned about them and said " I never approved that to go out" "I never put my name to that" yet their faces and names were plastered all over that crap. 2 were given the chance to stand up and prove that what they all said was true at the open public forum and the responses from all of them were Don Lombardi " A waste of my time I'm not interested" Wow so listening to the public and answering questions they might have is a waste of time well good to know Mr. Lombardi that the public you want to serve you called them a waste of time. Jason wallace " I can’t go because I didn’t know about it" You were told about it Monday, "I have planned something already that night I have a relief meeting" You mean the meeting you had Wednesday night and said it was Thursday? Good to know you have circles to run around the public, politicians need that. I think the only person who hasent said an ill word is Wyatt Earp.
Johnny Cobbler February 18, 2012 at 03:04 AM
Mr. Latshaw “My work load is overwhelming me" oh so you missed all the commissioners meetings and this open public forum but you will be able to make EVERY commissioners meeting and joint meeting if elected? “ I might have to change my schedule" For whatever reasons call it a hunch I don’t believe you. Drucillia Demiglia really a bunch of whimpy wanna be's god didn’t know we were talking to a 4th grader but if you are digressing to the best days of your life cause lord knows you aren’t going to do any better than 4th grade even if you call those men who have a combined 100+ years in the fire service and done more notable things then you ever will sitting there in your bean bang chair eating cheetos and call them "wanna be's" I’d bet any person here that they are proud of those " wanna be's" more so then your never was butt oh no I said butt oops I did it again I said butt.... dang it.
Mike Mooney February 18, 2012 at 01:50 PM
Just checked my taxes for the year and yep my fire tax is less than $120 dollars pretty cheap if you ask me.
BN February 18, 2012 at 03:28 PM
I'd like to know how the hell someone named Gary Clifton got my personal e-mail. He sent me some BS about voting for Alex Earp. I hope the patch isn't giving out this data!
Catherine Galioto (Editor) February 18, 2012 at 07:05 PM
No. We are not.


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