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HomeLocal NewsMatt Topolewski & Jenn Sikora speaks out about Lake Parsippany Fire Commissioners

Matt Topolewski & Jenn Sikora speaks out about Lake Parsippany Fire Commissioners

PARSIPPANY — Elections for Fire Commissioners will be held in Parsippany-Troy Hills on Saturday, February 17 from 2:00 p.m.to 9:00 p.m. Two of the candidates on the slate for Lake Parsippany Fire Commissioners, Matt Topolewski and Jenn Sikora submit answers to the following questions.

Why did you decide to run for fire commissioner?
Matt: Having been a member of the fire company for the past 13 years and seeing how the incumbent commissioners have used their influence to push their own agendas while delaying to provide basic safety equipment for our volunteer firefighters, I decided that it was time for a change.

Jenn: The current board of commissioners have held office for over 20 years, and it is long past time for some new perspectives. The emergency services industry is quickly evolving and we need to have a more progressive governing body to allow the Lake Parsippany Fire Department to keep up with the ever changing hazards they may face.

What is the biggest issue you want to tackle?
Matt: The unnecessary spending. Last May, the board spent over $600,000 of tax payer money on a rescue truck that cannot be used to put out a fire since it carries no water. They spent this money to replace a small utility truck that was only used 14 times the last full year it was in service. Since the new truck was delivered it has only been used 3 times and has too little rescue equipment to be functional. This type of spending cannot be allowed to continue.

Jenn: The safety of our volunteers. I have been on many fire scenes in town and the thing that keeps standing out in my mind is how much less adequate the safety equipment is that the Lake Parsippany firefighters have compared to the other departments in town. One such piece of equipment is bail out harnesses, these would allow trapped firefighters on upper floors of buildings to escape out a window, even without a ladder. I have spoken to several members, both past and present, and past chiefs who have told me that they have repeatedly requested this equipment for years and have been either denied or outright ignored.

In speaking to several past members, I was shocked to learn that there have been multiple able-bodied firefighters who have quit the department over the lack of safety equipment. This is unacceptable, we can not compromise the safety of our residents or our firefighters because of outdated and self-interested attitudes.What do the residents of Lake Parsippany need to know?
Matt: The residents need to know that this election directly affects the safety of the firefighters as well as the families who call Lake Parsippany home. This is the one time each year that the residents of Lake Parsippany can have a direct impact on the fire department.

Jenn: People need to realize how important this position is. The fire commissioners set tax rates and provide for the safety of all our residents. The current board has been in office far too long, it is time for a change.

What will you do if elected?
Matt: I will focus on spending and recruitment. We need to provide our firefighters with the proper equipment while not overspending on equipment that doesn’t get used.

Jenn: I will work to improve the communication between the commissioners, the firefighters, and the residents. I will also advocate to obtain the best equipment to keep them safe in all conditions while serving our community.

Tell us something we don’t yet know about you?
Matt: I was an Exxon dealer for 18 years starting back in the 70’s. I also owned a towing company that served South Orange & the surrounding communities.

Jenn: I worked with Lake Parsippany Deputy Chief Prokop and several other firefighters in town to develop a training program to allow for CPR to be performed on a firefighter while wearing their full safety equipment, which I then taught to fire departments in town.

Location: Lake Parsippany Firehouse
Address: 255 Halsey Road
Date: February 17, 2018
Time: 2:00 p.m. to 9:00 p.m.

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Frank L. Cahill
Frank L. Cahill
Publisher of Parsippany Focus since 1989 and Morris Focus since 2019, both covering a wide range of events. Mr. Cahill serves as the Executive Board Member of the Parsippany Area Chamber of Commerce, President of Kiwanis Club of Tri-Town and Chairman of Parsippany-Troy Hills Economic Development Advisory Board.
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