The Fairview Board of Fire Commissioners accelerated the appointment of a new Fire Chief. The Fire Commissioners had an unannounced meeting last night and decided to appoint Howard Reiss as the new Chief. Howard Reiss is a respected & well liked professional firefighter.
The Fire district also promoted the son of the Chair of the Fairview Fire Board of Commissioners --Eryke Simmons as Deputy Chief of the Fairview Fire department. I believe that Commissioner Vikki Simmons should not have participated in the interview process that led to the promotion of her son. It's not fair to other candidates who hoped to be promoted to Deputy Chief when the mother of a candidate is the Chair of the Board and has the ability to determine who gets promoted. Eryke Simmons may be very qualified for the position. I do not question his professionalism --- I have concerns about the appointment process. Also... John Baker was appointed Captain.
During the past few weeks I have had discussions with some residents and public officials about consolidating the Hartsdale & Fairview Fire departments. Under New York State law if 10% of the voters sign petitions calling for consolidation, a referendum must be held. The three paid Fire Chiefs, who each earn more than the Governor of the state of New York, are costing taxpayers more than $600,000 a year (over $200,000 each). The three chiefs also earn more than the Greenburgh Police Chief who serves the entire town. Large portions of unincorporated Greenburgh are served by the Ardsley, Hastings, Elmsford, Irvington and Tarrytown Fire departments. We don't need three Chiefs. Fire district taxes are almost as high as town taxes --and we provide many more services.
I continue to believe that the Hartsdale & Fire Departments should merge and will be presenting a proposal to the public in the near future. It's possible that the talk of consolidation led to the accelerated time table resulting in the promotions last night.
Greenburgh Town Supervisor