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Sep 13, 2012 1:56 PMPublication: The Southampton Press

Two Fire Commissioners Appointed To Fill Seats In Bridgehampton

Sep 19, 2012 10:22 AM

Two familiar faces have filled the two empty seats on the Bridgehampton Fire District Board of Commissioners.

On Wednesday, September 12, Tom Dombkowski and Dean Foster stepped up to 
fill the posts left vacant by Jeff Louchheim and John Muse, who both resigned last 
month. Mr. Dombkowski and Mr. Foster, who have 
served as firefighters in the department, will fill the positions until the district’s December election.

“We appointed them because we’d like to have a full board to make any decision,” said Fire Commissioner Raymond Topping Jr. “It’s just better all the way around to have five minds thinking about things and making decisions. It’s very difficult to do with three people.”

Last month, Mr. Louchheim and Mr. Muse stepped down, in part because of their disagreement over disciplinary actions taken against Chief Tim Doran on a number of matters, and other related issues.

According to Mr. Topping, the new commissioners both approached the board to express interest in filling the seats until December.

“I had been mulling it over for some time and just decided that at this point the department seemed in upheaval,” Mr. Foster said. “I’ve always been one to try to help, so I decided to throw my hat in the ring there, and of course, the other commissioners thought it was a good idea.”

Mr. Dombkowski said he had also been thinking about joining the board, and “the time came up.”

Once December rolls around, Mr. Foster and Mr. Dombkowski will need to campaign and secure votes just as any other hopeful would. The candidate elected to take Mr. Louchheim’s seat will serve a five-year term; whoever is picked by 
voters to fill Mr. Muse’s seat will finish out his term for one year. Until then, Mr. Dombkowski and Mr. Foster will shoulder the responsibility.

Mr. Foster, who had been a firefighter for 20 years, 
said he will add a fiscally responsible voice to the table and a “common sense way of 
going about business.” He has been an inactive member for about eight years, during 
which time he has focused on running the Foster Farm in Sagaponack.

Mr. Foster said he also wants to improve morale. “My hope is to be a part of the solution and bring the department together,” he said. “I remember my days in the department. We had good morale and a good group of people doing the right thing. I feel strongly about having that again, for sure.”

Likewise, Mr. Dombkowski feels that his open-minded approach would be able to help alleviate some of the issues in the district. “I’m definitely not going to change the world by myself, but I will try to keep things in the open to everybody,” he said. “I can maybe help get everybody to open up and find out what everybody’s problem really is.”

Mr. Dombkowski has been a firefighter 
for 25 years, captain of the Rescue Squad for five years, and assistant captain to the junior firefighters team for eight 
years.

Mr. Doran said he thinks the new commissioners will be 
able to “patch some of the division on the board with these guys.”

“It’s a step forward for the department,” he added.

Others aren’t so sure, however.

Paramedic Phillip Cammann said he would have felt 
more at ease if the seats were left vacant until December, 
since it is such a short period of time.

“I’m hoping that they 
bring a fresh point of view and non-biased point of view, 
which would be good 
for the community and 
for the morale of the department,” he said of the appointees.

Mr. Topping vouched for his new comrades: “They’re a very integral part of the community and know the needs of the community.”

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