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Jan 9, 2018 10:23 AMPublication: The Southampton Press

UPDATE: Newly Elected Bridgehampton Fire Chiefs Get Sworn In

The Bridgehampton Fire District held a re-vote for the fire department chief positions on Monday after throwing out the results from the December 7 election. GREG WEHNER
Jan 11, 2018 1:21 PM

UPDATE: Thursday, 10:05 a.m.

All three men who were elected to chief positions within the Bridgehampton Fire Department on Monday were sworn into their positions on Wednesday night, but two of them were installed with a few minor tweaks to the qualifications.

According to Brad Pinsky, the attorney for the Bridgehampton Fire District, Tim Sieger, who was elected by members of the department to serve as head chief, and Charles Broadmeadow, who was elected to serve as 1st assistant chief, were not qualified based on the district rules because they were not interior firefighters.

The district commissioners voted on Wednesday to make an exception to that rule, and change the language to state the candidates must have been cleared as an interior. Once the change was made, the commissioners all voted to confirm Mr. Sieger as the new chief.

Mr. Pinsky also said Mr. Broadmeadow needed to complete two courses to be qualified to serve as 1st assistant chief, which he agreed to complete within the year. Mr. Pinsky said if Mr. Broadmeadow does not complete the courses within the year, he will not be qualified to serve in the position next year. The commissioners all agreed, and voted to confirm Mr. Broadmeadow for this year.

Mark Balserus, who was elected to serve as 2nd assistant chief, was qualified for the position, Mr. Pinsky noted, and was confirmed.


Having scrapped a December 7 vote for chief positions, the Bridgehampton Fire District held a second balloting on Monday night under lock and key—and the result was the same, with Tim Sieger picked to serve in the department’s top post.

A total of 57 Bridgehampton Fire Department members voted on Monday, six more than the earlier tally. Mr. Sieger, who received 26 votes when he was unopposed on the December 7 ballot, collected 39 votes in Monday’s vote.

Francis Hernandez, who collected 15 votes as a write-in candidate for chief in December, was listed on the ballot this time and earned 18 votes.

He also was on the ballot for 1st assistant chief both in December and on Monday but failed both times to win enough votes for that post. As he did in December, Charles “Chuck” Broadmeadow won that post on Monday, earning 35 votes to Mr. Hernandez’s 21.

Mark Balserus took the 2nd assistant chief position, with 49 votes on Monday; his opponent, Joey Hernandez, received seven. Mr. Balserus also had won on the December 7 ballot.

The election results from December 7 were thrown out by the five Bridgehampton Fire District commissioners at a December 13 meeting because of what they described as flaws in the process. At the same meeting, the commissioners passed a resolution to change the qualifications of who could run for the unpaid post as chief of the volunteer department—opening up the spot on Monday’s ballot for Mr. Hernandez.

The results might be interpreted as a rebuke from the department’s members over what some privately suggested was meddling with the election process.

But Jeff White, the current chief of the Bridgehampton Fire Department, said the results were less a bold statement and more a simple confirmation of what the membership had wanted to happen.

“It’s time to move forward,” Mr. White said.

Mr. Sieger declined to comment on the election results or the circumstances surrounding his win.

The issue in the December 7 election, the commissioners said, had to do with the qualifications for seeking a chief position in the department. Previously, the rules had stated that a person running for chief had to have previously served as 1st assistant chief; to run for 1st assistant chief, candidates had to first serve as 2nd assistant chief. A candidate could not run for the top post who had only served as 2nd assistant chief.

When the election was held last month, the only candidate who was eligible to run for the position of chief, based on those rules, was Mr. Sieger, who held the 1st assistant chief position. He was unopposed on the ballot distributed to department members.

Mr. Hernandez, who was serving as 2nd assistant chief at the time and was on the ballot for the 1st assistant chief, received 15 votes for chief on December 7, to Mr. Sieger’s 26.

Within a week, the commissioners discarded the results of that ballot and approved a new set of rules allowing anyone who had served as 1st assistant chief or 2nd assistant chief to seek the top post.

Monday’s re-vote was held under unusual circumstances: The commissioners told members they needed to be inside the district’s offices on School Street by 6 p.m., when the doors would be locked, or they would not be able to vote. Many members left their jobs early or rearranged their schedules to make sure they met the deadline for voting, a first in the district, which typically allows votes to be cast during a window of time.

A message left for Fire District Commissioner Bruce Dombkowski asking whether the new chiefs will be sworn in at the next district meeting, which was scheduled for Wednesday, January 10, was not immediately returned.

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Disfunction board of commissioners???
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Jan 9, 18 11:51 AM
Foster and Dumbkowski should be removed as Comissioners and barred from having anything to do with the FD for life. They are a disgrace.
By G (342), Southampton on Jan 9, 18 12:06 PM
Any elected official that voted for this unparalleled disrespect, abuse, and absolute waste of the volunteers time and taxpayers money should resign and be barred from ever stepping foot on the property again. Clean house an start fresh. I was told today that a complaint of abuse of authority and failure to uphold their oath of office was being prepared to be sent to the NYS Attorney General and Comptroller. I hope it is true. Bring in OSHA while they are at it and burn them for their lack of training ...more
By BHPatriot (11), Bridgehampton on Jan 9, 18 4:07 PM
So the commissioners change the rules after the fact because they wanted to tip the scales for Francis Hernandez and boot out Seiger who they apparently don't like. How'd that work out for them?
Karma's a bitch.
By GlassHouses (64), anywhere on Jan 9, 18 12:08 PM
Anyone want to make a bet that the commissioners will try to block Sieger again tomorrow night at the swearing in? Its amazing that people that are barely active responders, that have minimal to no training and make no effort to train, have no business experience or acumen, and that lead normal, unremarkable lives think they know so much and place themselves in such high regard. Go to one of their meetings, watch and listen. Their level of intellect is clearly visible.
By BHPatriot (11), Bridgehampton on Jan 9, 18 4:36 PM
1 member liked this comment
Nope. Not betting on that...
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Jan 9, 18 9:42 PM

The new chief of BHFD needs to have FO1. Since that course hasn’t been offered by SCFA in years, that leaves on BHFD Ex Chief qualified to be chief. Yeah. Tim Doran...
By Draggerman (955), Southampton on Jan 9, 18 9:30 PM
Bruce Dombkowski's own son once said that Chief Doran was the best Chief the BHFD ever had but unfortunately he is no longer a member. The board of fire commissioners under the control of Bruce Dombkowski went after Tim in 2005 when he wanted to re-join the department after a few years a living away. Made up all sorts of lies and fake rules to try to keep him out. Some think it was because he got invited back into the Rescue Squad ahead of Bruce's BFF, John O'Brien. Mitchell Mez, was Chief at ...more
By BHPatriot (11), Bridgehampton on Jan 10, 18 9:34 AM
I agree with everything you've said, but one of the big problems is the near institutionalization of fire department members as commissioners. It is way to insular. The only people who run for commissioner seats are members (or former members) and given how the voting works in commissioner races, it would be near impossible for an "outsider" to ever be elected to the Board of Commissioners. And that is a huge shame because that board--and the district in general--could benefit from a few commissioners ...more
By GlassHouses (64), anywhere on Jan 10, 18 1:16 PM
1 member liked this comment
You are 100% correct. No one from the community ever votes unless they have a connection to a member of the FD and yes, the community would benefit greatly from having impartial commissioners that were there to just run the business but getting them in would be tough. The commissioners office must be in some sort of parallel universe. No matter who goes in they fall in line with the dirt bags in sort order. The only one that ever stood his own ground was Andy Babinski and even he admitted that ...more
By BHPatriot (11), Bridgehampton on Jan 10, 18 3:55 PM
it's comforting to know that the guys that show up first, often minutes before the first engine company are not qualified to rescue you or your loved one in the event that they are trapped in a fire. Even if they do become qualified, they have been out of the game so long that they are essentially useless. This is a dept that didn't even attempt to rescue one of their own members who was trapped in a fire, he was rescued by sag harbor fd and by then he already succumbed to the fire. With the ...more
By politcal pawn (121), Flanders on Jan 11, 18 11:35 AM
Curious, who was the member that perished in the fire and when did this happen? It must have been a long time ago. I do agree with you on all of your points. The taxpayers should be very concerned about the training, preparedness and commitment of this department. Sieger only has basic firefighter training from the 70's and slim to no chance of passing the modern firefighter 1 and Broadmeadow has never been a firefighter he is fire police and he has already had more than one chance to complete this ...more
By BHPatriot (11), Bridgehampton on Jan 11, 18 1:29 PM
Here is a link to the New York State Office of Fire Prevention and Control page that outlines "Best Practices" for all fire department functions that was posted to FB by former chief Tim Doran. http://www.dhses.ny.gov/ofpc/training/documents/training-best-practices.pdf
Not that it matters any more but the former chief was in compliance for every position listed. He was a nationally certified fire instructor 2 that was prohibited from conducting training under the corrupt board of fire commissioners. ...more
By BHPatriot (11), Bridgehampton on Jan 11, 18 1:58 PM
All you critics should volunteer for the FD or ambulance and see how much time these guys put in each year. Your State government sets more and more mandatory classes, blood born diseases, cpr, sexual harassment etc.
Each year it is more and more. Chiefs and officers are required more classes.
Don't bash these volunteers, if it were not for them you would be paying for a fully paid FD, All with benefits and a retirement as our police departments, want to pay for that also?
Try volunteering ...more
By knitter (1941), Southampton on Jan 11, 18 5:24 PM
1 member liked this comment
Volunteering is time consuming and it is hard but it is not as hard as visiting a loved one in the burn center or worse yet the funeral parlor because your elected officials have systemically beat the volunteers into near extinction and now they have no choice but to accept unqualified people for positions that may have to make life and death decisions. Thanks to decades of abuse by the commissioners there is little left in Bridgehampton that actually resembles a fire department.
By BHPatriot (11), Bridgehampton on Jan 13, 18 6:23 PM
1 member liked this comment