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Upset in Bridgehampton Fire District Race; 1 of 3 Propositions Fail

Bruce Dombkowski ousts incumbent Steve Halsey on Tuesday.

Bruce Dombkowski will take office in January.
Bruce Dombkowski will take office in January.
A write-in candidate ousted the incumbent commissioner and current chairman of the Bridgehampton Board of Fire Commissioners in Tuesday's election.

Bruce Dombkwoski handily won a five-year term as commissioner, and voters also rejected one of the propositions — not allowing the district to make the treasurer position an appointed position instead of an elected one — in the election that saw a large turnout. There were a total of 257 votes cast.

Dombkowski was elected with 133 votes over incumbent and current chairman Steve Halsey, who received 91 votes. There were also four votes cast in the election that were considered void.

Polls closed at 9 p.m., but counting took an hour and a half.

Halsey's name was the only one to appear on the ballot, as Dombkowski's nominating petition was discounted earlier this month, preventing his name from being listed on the ballot.

Celebrating with a group of friends, most of whom are fellow Bridgehampton Fire Department members, Dombkowski said even he was surprised he pulled off a win. "With being a write-in candidate and my last name being hard to spell, I didn't think I would actually get in," he said.

Spelling was an issue. In addition to the 133 Dombkowski received, there were 29 votes placed in the "other" category, and 27 of them included variations of Dombkowski's last name. Had the 27 votes been counted for Dombowski, he would have received 160 votes, which would have put him 69 votes over Halsey.

Brad Pinsky, the district's attorney who oversaw the election, said whether the 27 votes truly belonged to Dombkowski ultimately didn't matter because the election wasn't close.

"Thank you to all the voters. It's hard to be a write-in candidate. But, I had a lot of supporters and I thank them too," Dombkowski said, choking up with emotion.

Dombkowski previously served as fire commissioner. In fact, he's been on the other side of a write-in campaign. In 2007, Jeff Loucheim, who has since left the board, ousted him.

Halsey, who was waiting at the firehouse with three of four of the other commissioners, took the news in stride. "I started late," he said, adding that he decided at the last minute to seek a second full term in office. "I wish him the best. I wish the board the best," he said.

Dombkowski will join Fred Wilford, Ray Topping, Dean Foster and Thomas Dombkowski, his cousin, on the board in January.

The ballot on Tuesday night also included three propositions.

The district, which in the midst of phasing out Charles Butler, who has been the appointed secretary and elected treasurer for three decades, sought approval to change the treasurer position from an elected position to an appointed position. That proposition failed 100-to-148 with nine void votes.

Two other propositions passed. Voters approved creating a capital reserve fund, 145-to-102. There were 10 votes voided.

In a 151-to-94 vote, taxpayers approved the sale of a 60-by-100-foot vacant plot of land to a private buyer in the amount of $940,000. There were 12 votes voided.

There were also nine votes by affidavit (by people whose names did not appear on the voting register). However, since none of the votes were close, the affidavits were not opened.
BonBon December 11, 2013 at 09:35 AM
Jumping with joy all the way from Maine!!!!!!!!

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