The incumbent on the Franklin Square Fire District’s fire commissioners’ board lost re-election on Dec. 10, while the incumbent in Elmont succeeded.
In Franklin Square, Phil Malloy was defeated in his bid to win re-election to the commission by opponent Chris Mollish in the election with the largest voter turnout in the history of the Franklin Square Fire District. Mollish, who has been a member of the Franklin Square and Munson Fire Department for 38 years, garnered 455 votes, whereas Malloy received 429.
Mollish, 60, said it is his honor to serve, and, “I will always make decisions with keeping the volunteers of this great department in mind because without them we are nothing.”
He previously told the Herald that he decided to run because the “fire district needs to loosen up on the rules,” attributing the department’s low membership to its strictness. The department currently has only about 100 members who serve nearly 30,000 residents. “We are down on manpower,” he said.
Under the fire district’s percentage rules, Mollish explained, new recruits are required to respond to 25 percent of fire calls and 30 percent of Emergency Medical Services calls, while also attending the department’s training. “It’s becoming harder and harder to become a volunteer fireman,” he said, adding that if he were elected, he would ease the burden on members. “I’m trying to do the right thing for everybody.”
He also said that he will do whatever he could to keep taxes low while providing “the best and safest equipment to the members.” Anyone who is interested in joining the department, he noted, should either reach out to a current member, or stop by on the department on a Sunday between 10 a.m. and noon.
Malloy, 57, has served as a fireman for 38 years and had been in office for 15, during which time, he said, the five-member board updated the its breathing apparatuses, purchased new trucks and ensured that equipment is the same at every firehouse.
In response to his loss, he posted, “I guess God has other plans for me. Thirty-eight years is a long time, I hope I helped make a difference to the department and district.”
In Elmont, Robert Chernow won re-election with 319 votes to Thomas Baines’ 118.
“It’s a big weight off my shoulders,” Chernow, 50, said of the results, adding that he’s now “back to work.”
Chernow has served in the fire department for 32 years, and was lieutenant and chief of the Hook and Ladder Company No. 2 as well as the chief of the department. During his time in office, the commission has purchased new equipment, updated its bylaws, acquired new vehicles and passed resolutions to ensure that its members have health insurance that covers cancer treatment.
Now that he has been re-elected, Chernow said, “We’ve got some things on our slate that I’d love to see done,” noting that “training, recruitment and retention are always goals.”
He wants to expand the Elmont Fire Department’s recruitment efforts, he said, and get the best new equipment for firefighters. Additionally, he said, the district needs to update its training tower to meet certain requirements. “It’s a little antiquated,” Chernow said, and, “when the membership gets used to it, that doesn’t prepare them as well.”
He added, “I’m looking forward to another five years of serving.”