Frederick "Sandy" Senti was elected to his sixth consecutive term on the Lakeview Fire Commission Tuesday night.
Senti, 58, a native of Lakeview, ran unopposed in this year's election, but nonetheless, he told Patch that he was grateful for his supporters who "took their time to show a vote of support" for him.
The ex-chief and father of current Lakeview Fire Chief Heather Senti and Captain Fred Senti III is currently in his 40th year as a volunteer firefighter and 25th year as commissioner.
"We're embarking into a new future," Senti stated Tuesday night. "We obtained a new ambulance and we hope to lower the costs for our taxpayers and try to stay with the current needs of the firemen."
Although Senti and his family have a long history in Lakeview's fire service, which began with his father, Frederick, another life-long resident and ex-chief, he says he's not only on the commission to represent the firefighters.
"I'm here to represent the taxpayers, to keep the costs under control, and being a taxpayer myself, I can appreciate every penny that is spent," he said.
When asked how effective he has been as a commissioner, Senti said, "In Lakeview, we're ahead of the curve. We consolidated our two fire companies to reduce costs and gone semi-green, but we hope to go more 'green' as we go into the future."
Senti said the new state-imposed tax cap has made everyone "stay within the parameters they need to," and when deciding the right time to upgrade equipment, he says it's all about "weighing need versus expense."
"Everything sounds good when you first look at it until you go through fact-finding to see if it's warranted enough to incur that expense," he explained.
Senti said he was very proud of his daughter, who was elected to the chief's position exactly 30 years after he earned the title and 50 years after his father became chief, and that they work well together.
"My daughter calls me her executive assistant since the commissioners are over the chiefs, and I call her my executive assistant, because without her and chiefs office, we can't keep the organization running smoothly," he said.
Senti says the job of fire commissioner is getting harder. One of the biggest challenges facing the department is recruiting new volunteers.
"The fire service has changed, because people ... have more on their plate," he stated. "It's getting harder and harder to get volunteers. I see that being a problem going forward."
In addition to funding fire prevention services, the commission allocates money for recruitment, which Senti says is important because "without the volunteers, the taxpayer would be paying salaries, benefits and pensions, which we all can't afford."
He also revealed to Patch why everyone calls him Sandy when his name is Fred.
"My father, years ago, they called him the 'Santy boy' instead of Senti," he explained. "I was Frederick Jr. but he didn't want his kid to be called 'Junior' or 'Sonny,' so they created the nickname -- 'Sandy' -- and that's what I've always been called."
He added, "Today, it's very hard to have that name, because of the storm of the century. Going forward I might change it."