On Tuesday, voters in the New Hyde Park Fire District will cast their vote for commissioner for the next 5 years.
One of the challengers in this year’s three-way race is a familiar face in John Neiwander, who previously served as New Hyde Park Fire Commissioner for two back-to-back terms from 1997-2006.
Neiwander is a lifelong member of the New Hyde Park Fire Department, having spent 30 years – two as a part of Engine Company 3 and the following 28 as a part of Active Hook and Ladder – in uniform. The reason for throwing his hat into the ring and vying for commissioner is to go “back into what I love.”
Neiwander is running based on his previous experience and believes that “it is time, from a management perspective,” for a change.
He will be competing against incumbent John Brown and fellow challenger John Waldron for the position.
As commissioner, Neiwander said that he established a sense of fiscal responsibility and would like to see that return. He has been employed in theNorth Hempstead Building Department for nine years, working his way up from inspector to Assistant to the building department commissioner.
He believes his experience working as the assistant to the North Hempstead Building Department commissioner has him participating in a supervisory role in a political environment already with the experience will carry over and will be applied to the position of commissioner.
During Neiwander’s tenure as fire commissioner, the department’s headquarters on Jericho Turnpike was renovated without the help of bonds or loans.
Neiwander said that the sense of being fiscally responsible as a taxpayer holds great importance to him and would like to see the board refocus its role to where he believes it should be: the fire commissioner shouldn’t be taking on the role of the chief, but acting as a commissioner.
Neiwander believes that the current board has “lost some of this direction,” allowing the power of the position to steer decision-making.
He added that his familiarity from being a member adds an understanding of how the department functions, but by not being an active fireman he is detached enough to run it from a proper managerial role.
Neiwander is a lifelong New Hyde Park resident and has taken his campaign in a “green” direction, eschewing plastering posters in favor of social networking and word of mouth. He has two adult children, his son being a business owner in North Carolina and operator of his own Boars Head route while his daughter his currently a teacher and pursuing a doctorate in English literature.
Voting will take place December 11 from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. at the New Hyde Park Fire Department’s Headquarters located on Jericho Turnpike.