The Examiner

Newbie, Veteran Member Face Off in Armonk Fire Dept. Commissioner Race

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Fire commissioner elections ordinarily don’t get much attention, but it can be easily argued that the departments the commissioners serve represent the most important service for residents.

Tonight (Tuesday) are the elections for many area departments, including the Armonk Fire Department where a relative newcomer is running for the first time against a longtime member.

William Wallerstein, who joined the department in 2010, a year after relocating to Armonk from New York City, is taking on 47-year member Edwin Schultz. Schultz has served on the board of commissioners for 16 years. The seat being contested is for a five-year term on the five-member board.

Wallerstein, who works for a developer managing construction projects in the city, said he would bring new blood and a fresh perspective that could prove beneficial as the department faces challenges such as maintaining its ranks and containing costs.

“The people who are commissioners, I think for the most part, have been around for quite awhile,” Wallerstein said. “I ask questions. So if somebody says that’s the way we’ve been doing it, I’ll say, ‘Why have you been doing it that way? Is there something written that you’ve been doing it that way or is it a generally accepted practice?’ I’m a little more challenging in terms of questions instead of going along because that’s the way it’s done after all this time.”

Finding ways to attract and retain volunteer firefighters is a primary focus for Schultz, a longtime town resident who is part of the family that formerly owned and operated the Cider Mill.

“I enjoy the camaraderie of the fire department and I enjoy helping people,” said Schultz, now a school bus driver who estimates that he makes about 200 calls a year. “Even when I was young, I enjoyed helping people.”

Keeping the volunteer department intact is essential to help the heavy financial burden that would fall on the town and the taxpayers, Schultz said. The department has recently added a professional EMT but it would be too expensive to go the same route

Wallerstein, said that his business background would help him make effective decisions.

“I’m used to dealing with budgets and I’m used to supervising activities, making sure plans are implemented and just sort of having an overall business background,” he said.

The election is tonight (Dec. 9) from 6 to 9 p.m. at the firehouse located at 400 Bedford Rd. Residents who are registered voters and live within the fire district are eligible to vote.

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