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Larry Lechmanski to step down as fire commissioner

Fire Commission Chairman Larry Lechmanski announced Monday nght that he would not seek re-election on Dec. 7 for another five-year term.

He had told his fellow commissioners in January that he was considering not serving again after 20 years as a commissioner, but it became a reality Monday night. He will continue as a Fire Department member who has already served for 45 years.

Mr. Lechmanski handed an envelope he had received from someone he had approached about seeking his seat, indicating that person had responded positively to his invitation to run for the open seat. Because the election had not yet been advertised, Fire District Attorney Helen Rosenblum advised not to reveal the name of the person who plans to run until that person files to have his name appear on the ballot.

“I’m just getting tired,” Mr. Lechmanski said candidly during a telephone interview Tuesday morning. “I just need a break,” he said. At the same time, he admitted if he finds himself restless and missing the job, he could decide when there’s an opening to run again. But for the moment, he’s comfortable with the decision he made months ago to not run again now.

“These guys know if they need any help, I’m here,” he said. “And I’m still going to be a fireman,” he said.

During his 20 years as a commissioner, he has served as chairman five times. As for his 45 years as a firefighter, he served twice as chief of the Heights Fire Department before the merger of the Heights and Center departments in the mid 1990s. He served as chief of the merged department once.

Mr. Lechmanski has been the point person in leading the district in its conversion to the upgraded radio system now being used by dispatchers from Southold and Suffolk County.

Through his years of service, he has accomplished the goals he has had, including the effort to convert to high band radio services and working to provide new trucks, the most recent of which occurred this year.

He is credited with saving taxpayers considerable money through the process by advising not to convert to recommended systems until he was confident of the one that would ultimately prove to be correct.

Mr. Lechmanski said there are no pending crises adding that “it’s the perfect time for a new guy to come in.”

He will preside over the December meeting and at the District’s January organizational meeting, where his successor will officially assume his term.