Wednesday, February 5, 2014

Westfield Fire: Scarrozzo Unseats Longtime Commissioner Harmon, Lockwood Fails To Get Elected


Past elections of Westfield Fire District Commissioners have been sleepy affairs, the volunteers and the residents have seemingly been pleased with the Commission's work to keep taxes in the district low, and morale in the fire station high. Last year only 88 people came out to vote.

This year was different.

About 250 Westfield residents came to the annual meeting last night, held at the fire station on East Street. Instead of holding it upstairs in the small community room, the meeting was in the largest fire truck bay, where the annual chicken barbecue is held.

The primary order of business was the election of Commissioners. This year, two men who had not previously been Commissioners, John Lockwood and Matthew Scarrozzo, challenged the incumbents.

Lockwood was Chief of the Westfield Fire Department until last year, when he was replaced by current Chief William Balch.

Scarrozzo is a city employee who was chairman of the town Republican Committee and unsuccessfully ran for City Council on the Republican ticket. In his run for Council, Scarrozzo received the endorsement of the union, Middletown Managers and Professional Association.

There was a large turnout of city employees who live in Westfield, including the Chief of Police, William McKenna. Many of them were casting a ballot for the first time in a Fire District election.

The Westfield Fire District bylaws states that there can no more than three fire fighters on the commission. As there are already 2 seated fire fighters, Lockwood was challenging for the seat held by Sidney Harmon. Neither won a seat. The winners are shown in bold.
  • Jonathan Alderman 118
  • Matthew Scarrozzo 110
  • Gregory Amy 103
  • James Reardon 101
  • John Lockwood 93
  • Sidney Harmon 79
In other business at the annual meeting, Commissioner Ross Andrews read the annual report of the Commission for 2013. He said the Fire Department responded to 1,210 incidents, an increase of 14% from 2012. 40% of those incidents occurred between 6AM and 4:30PM, Monday through Friday. The incidents were in the following categories:
  • Medical 63%
  • Fire Alarms  7%
  • Auto accidents 7%
  • Mutual aid  5%
  • Fires  4%
  • False Alarms  4%
  • Smoke Conditions and/or Investigations  3%
  • CO conditions and/or investigations  3%
  • Water Problems 2%
  • Haz Mat  1%
  • Misc 3%
-------------------
This post has been modified (2/5/14, 9AM) to correct a mistake in the original. I am grateful to Commissioner Amy for the following comment, and apologize for any confusion created by the original post.
Westfield Fire Commission bylaws  state that "no more than three members of the Westfield Volunteer Fire Department shall be eligible to be a member of the Westfield Fire District Commission." Thus, there may be fewer.
In last night's vote, both eligible WFD members received the fewest number of votes. Therefore the commissioners elected by the voters in last night's election were Alderman, Scarrozzo, Amy, and Reardon. 

6 comments:

Greg Amy said...

A correction to the election results as printed in the Eye.

In the story, it was stated that "a specific number of fire fighters" is elected to the commission. This is incorrect. Westfield Fire Commission bylaws (http://www.firecompanies.com/MFC/public/userfiles/file/Westfield%20Fire/Bylaws%20of%20the%20Board%20of%20Fire%20Commissioners.pdf) state that "no more than three members of the Westfield Volunteer Fire Department shall be eligible to be a member of the Westfield Fire District Commission." Thus, there may be fewer.

In last night's vote, both eligible WFD members received the fewest number of votes. Therefore the commissioners elected by the voters in last night's election were Alderman, Scarrozzo, Amy, and Reardon.

Anonymous said...

After the elections the fire commission changed the results. John Lockwood did not win as they won't fill the firefighter slot and put in the top 4 votegetters instead. So basically they changed the rules after the vote. That's why there need to be change there.

Mary Lockwood said...

I was at the voting last night and a question was asked about the two names that were astericked on ballot, those names were John Lockwood and Sid Harmon, we were told that two people were running against each other. This implied the highest voter getters among these two and the other three highest people with votes were the ones to seated on commission. As you can see by the article that the results were announced and John was declared a winner over Sid and the explanation as to why he was seated on commission was explained why he was seated over a higher vote getter, which matches with the answer to the question posed before the election. If Sid had won the vote over John, I have no doubt he would be sitting on commission today as the commission does not want change. John, please persue your options to right the wrong of this bogus, unfair election to rightfully claim your seat on commission. We as residents should all be upset that a small groups of people feel they have right to override the will of the Westfield tax paying residents. You may be trying to stop change, but change will come if not righted in this election than in the next. Fight John, fight for what is right and try to claim the seat on commission that is rightfully your. You served this district well as Chief for many years and deserved to be treated fairly by the commission. Commissioners, embrace change not fight it for your own purposes over the will of voters.

Anonymous said...

Who are the other Commissioner members?

Anonymous said...

I think it was pretty clear that "no more than" three firefighters could serve on the Commission. The more confusing piece was who would fill the 3-year slots and who would fill slot that was vacated and had only 2 years remaining. Hopefully the Commission will look at the confusion that surrounded this vote, and come up with a plan that clarifies the questions for next year.

Harold HOLMES said...


Article 3 Sec 2
.
Composition of the Commission
.
The membership of Commission will consist
of nine (9) members; six (6)

residents of the Westfield
Fire District and
no
more than
three members of the Westfield
Volunteer Fire Department
shall be
eligible to be a member of the Westfield Fire District Commission.
So by their own bylaws we now have 7 residents not six no more than 3 doesn't mean less. It means not 4.
Directly from the web site from westfield fire dept. You read and decide.