Residents in the West Hempstead Fire District will have a choice between two candidates on Dec. 11 when they vote for one of the five seats on the West Hempstead Fire Commission.
Incumbent Sue Scognamiglio, who is currently in her third consecutive term on the commission, is being challenged by Avi Rosman, a financial service advisor who has been volunteering with the West Hempstead Fire Department since 2010 as an emergency medical technician.
Rosman, 35, a father of two, recently sat down with Patch to tell us what he thinks he could bring to the commission if residents elect him next Tuesday.
Patch: How long have you lived in West Hempstead?
Rosman: Since October 2001 ... My wife grew up four houses from where [we live ] so she's been on the block 35 years. I came from Queens and my parents moved in around the corner.
Patch: What made you decide to run for the fire commission seat?
Rosman: I really wanted to breath some new life into the commissioner job. There's nobody there now with [experience in] Emergency Medical Services (EMS). About 50 percent of the calls we take are EMS calls and I really wanted to make sure there was a voice for that.
Patch: How long have you been an EMT for the West Hempstead Fire District?
Rosman: Since 2010. I started volunteering as an EMT in college (Yeshiva University in Manhattan) and I took a break when I moved here. Once I had kids and the kids were a little older, I joined the fire department and it seemed like a good fit.
Patch: What are some of the needs of EMS?
Rosman: Not everyone loves EMS, not everyone respects EMS, but I want to make sure that the training we do have for the people who come in to volunteer as EMTs is really top notch and the equipment is being given to them.
Patch: Where do you see room for improvement within the West Hempstead Fire District?
Rosman: The Commission has done a pretty good job with the budget. You don't see people picketing or writing to you about the fire taxes in West Hempstead.
The district satisfied its regulations under the law as far as announcing there is an election [by posting a legal notice in the Beacon last week], but there's probably better ways to do that. Every month there is a meeting that's open to the public .. I went to one with a few other people, but outside of that I don’t know if any other residents have attended meetings this year. I'd like more transparency.
We can work on our public information. I don't think we have one person assigned to speak to the media. That's something we should capitalize on for when something good happens ... and if something negative happens, we should have a plan to speak to the public.
There are inefficiencies in our ability to control our flow of our stock. We don't really know what we have always. We can be more innovative with some programs that other departments might be using so we can scan in what we have. Right now, people still tally up what we have with a pen and paper ... [Aside from two paid employees], everyone else are volunteers and it's important to respect their time and give them the right tools.
Patch: Aside from your EMS experience, what other skills would you bring to the table?
Rosman: I'm a financial service adviser. I successfully helped start a business with my cousin about six or seven years ago. Now, I work in Garden City. I've managed people, and worked on large accounts and budgets, really seeing the big picture.
I'm also a team-builder. I'm good at bringing people together. If elected, I'd be one of five … It's been a while since there's been some new blood in there.
Patch: What other ways have you been involved in the West Hempstead community?
Rosman: I'm involved in Congregation Anshei Shalom. My wife grew up going to Young Israel, so we're members of both. We're actually being honored at the Anshei dinner this year. I'm involved in HANC (Hebrew Academy of Nassau County), my kids go there, and you'll see me at the PAL hockey rink watching my son skate.
Check back later this week for our interview with Commissioner Scognamiglio.
West Hempstead Fire Commissioners serve a five-year term. Residents can vote in the fire commissioner elections at the West Hempstead Fire House (295 Hempstead Tpke.) on Dec. 11 from 4 p.m. to 9 p.m