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Meet the Candidates Running for Syosset Fire Commissioner

Incumbent Dan Percell is seeking election to another five-year term as commissioner of the Syosset Fire District. He is being challenged by Giovanni Graceffa. Voting will be held on Tuesday, Dec. 8 from 2 - 9 p.m. at the Syosset Fire Department Headquarters, located at 50 Cold Spring Road in Syosset.
Giovanni Graceffa

Giovanni Graceffa, an active member of the Syosset Volunteer Fire Department since 1991, is seeking to return to the position of Syosset Fire Commissioner. Graceffa was previously elected to the position of Fire Commissioner in December 2002 and served from January 1, 2003 through December 31, 2007. During that time, he was elected twice by his fellow Commissioners to serve as Board Chairman and oversaw the District’s Buildings and Grounds programs, including the replacement of the Woodbury Fire House.

Due to professional commitments at the time, he made the difficult decision not to seek re-election at the end of his initial five-year term. With those professional commitments now completed, he is seeking to return to the position of Syosset Fire Commissioner.

Giovanni feels that living in Syosset for practically his entire life has helped make him a civic-minded individual who understands the concerns of our community. He believes an issue he faced during his first term on the board underscores his commitment to both the needs of the community and the Fire Department.

In 2007, the Board of Fire Commissioners was reviewing a proposal to erect a 110-foot communications tower in the middle of downtown Syosset. Graceffa looked at the issue from both the Fire Department and community perspectives and stood with both the community and two of his fellow Fire Commissioners to oppose that project, which he said would have had a negative impact on the community and was not the sole solution to radio communications problems facing the Fire District. Due to Graceffa and his colleagues stand on this important issue, the district has since pursued alternate communications technologies that will support the needs of Syosset’s firefighters without placing what he called an unnecessary eyesore in the middle of town.

During his over 18 years as a member of the Fire Department, Giovanni has earned merit badges and certifications for his efforts as a firefighter. Additionally, he currently holds the elected positions of Fire Company 4 Treasurer (since 1996), and Assistant Department Treasurer (since 2007). He has been re-elected to these positions yearly by his fellow firefighters. Upon becoming Assistant Department Treasurer, he quickly reorganized the accounting procedures in a more efficient manner, and changed the yearly budget meeting to become a major presentation that included sounds, pictures, and other audio/visual effects.

As a lifelong Syosset resident, Giovanni attended Syosset Schools (South Grove, Harry B. Thompson, Syosset High School), and worked at various businesses in the community growing up. Upon graduation from New York Institute of Technology in 1989, he was offered an engineering position with the New York City Transit Authority’s Capital Program Department. After completing 10 years of service and attaining various promotions within the Transit Authority, he joined a nationally recognized construction management firm based in Syosset and spent months working on the recovery and clean-up at the World Trade Center site. He is currently employed by a Hicksville-based construction cost estimating firm, where he works on various large capital projects in both the public and private sectors. Giovanni is married and the father of two children. He is also a member of Residents for a More Beautiful Syosset, and the Sons of Italy.

Dan Percell

Dan Percell, a 41-year resident of Syosset and a 1981 graduate of Syosset High School, is seeking re-election to a second five-year term as a Commissioner of the Syosset Fire District. Percell, who resides in the Teibrook Gardens section of Syosset with his wife Christina and stepdaughters Jennifer and Samantha, would like the opportunity to continue to bring his decades of fire service experience and community activism to the position of Fire Commissioner. Percell feels the extensive knowledge and experience gained during his first five years on the board will serve him well in a second term.

“I have learned so much during my first term and would like to keep the ball rolling,” said Commissioner Percell. “I have helped to keep costs to our taxpayers down while improving services to the community, including helping to institute a Paramedic program to ensure advanced medical coverage to our residents 24 hours a day, 7 days a week. We also installed a modern computer network, instituted electronic record keeping and electronic mobile mapping so responding apparatus gets to you quicker. I will continue to listen to the community and the members of the Fire Department and find a balance of both to help me do my job the best I can.”

Percell has an Associates Degree in electronic technology from Grumman Data Systems Institute and is a member of Syosset Fire Company No. 1 since 1982, where he is also a current Trustee of the fire company. He previously held the positions of Fire Department Assistant Treasurer as well as Lieutenant and Secretary of Syosset Fire Co. No. 1. and is also a member of many state, county and local firematic associations.

“After almost three decades of firefighting, spending most of my life as a Syosset resident and a community activist, I now bring five years of experience to the Board as Fire Commissioner of the Syosset Fire District and would like to continue the work I have started,” said Percell. “I want to continue helping to keep the volunteer service alive. During this economic downturn it is harder for people to keep a job and volunteer - especially in our area. It is a big commitment and I would like to keep that up.”