Elizabeth Whelan Kotz and Peter Grimes were elected fire commissioners in the Bridgehampton and Springs fire districts, respectively, on Tuesday night — both on the back of almost unprecedentedly large turnout for such elections.
Both will serve five-year terms on their respective boards.
Mr. Grimes, a 36-year old former chief of the Springs Fire Department, ousted longtime commissioner Patrick Glennon, with 161 votes to Mr. Glennon’s 55, in an election that in years past might have only seen a few dozen votes cast.
“People are paying attention these days and I think this was just the public speaking — change was ready to happen,” Mr. Grimes said. “I have to give Pat a lot of credit, he’s put a lot of time in for the district. I just think we need some new blood.”
The district has been embroiled in a legal struggle with East Hampton Town over the construction of a 150-foot cellular tower on the Springs Fire Department headquarters property and has been seeking approval from the Planning Board to legalize the tower so that emergency communication equipment can be mounted on it to improve radio signals and cell phone coverage in Springs.
In Bridgehampton, Ms. Kotz, a captain in the Bridgehampton Fire Department’s ambulance company, defeated Charles Broadmeadow, the captain of the department’s fire police company, 156 votes to 29.
She attributed the large turnout to the network of supporters who mounted a get-out-the-vote effort on her behalf.
“This was a huge group effort — people stepped up that I’d never even met before — and I have to thank them,” Ms. Kotz said. “And I have to thank Chuck as well, it’s important that people participate in things like this.”
Ms. Kotz said that as a new commissioner she will be focused improving communication between the commissioners board and the community.