COLD SPRING, N.Y. -- When you think of a firefighter having another job - being the mayor isn't the first thing that comes to mind.
But that's what Ralph Falloon, 46, has done for the past year after he was elected mayor of Cold Spring in March 2013. He was the sole candidate for the part-time position.
"It's controlled chaos, managed routine," Falloon said while on duty with the Stamford Fire Department.
He works a 24-hout shift as a firefighter and then has three days off giving him the free time to do village business. The Village Board of Trustees holds its monthly meetings on the second Tuesday of the month. If he's scheduled to work at the same time as the monthly meeting he said he uses a vacation day in order to attend the meeting. However, he said he can go months at a time without there being any conflict.
Much of the village's business can be done remotely through computer, cell phones and texting, he said.
"I can do the village business at any point in time any where I am," he said.
As well, the job as mayor is a part-time one in the village of about 5,000, that is approximately a one-hour drive from Cold Spring to Stamford.
He said becoming politically active was a natural outgrowth of his work with the Cold Spring Volunteer Fire Department which he joined as soon as he turned 18. HIs father John was a volunteer firefighter and Falloon spent a lot of his youth at the fire house. He eventually became its chief in 1999 and ended up as the president of the fire department.
"You want to continue serving. The village was looking for trustees, so I jumped in," he said about running for his first election in 2009. He served two terms as trustee on the five-member Village Board of Trustees before running for mayor in 2013.
That dual role of being a career firefighter and a volunteer firefighter is frowned upon because of concerns about potentially taking a job away from someone, he said.
However, he noted that his professional career and volunteer duties are in separate states. He also said that Putnam County is served by all volunteer firefighters.
Up for reelection in the spring and Falloon said he's strongly considering running again since he wants to continue his work.
He has no thoughts of contesting a higher office because he doesn't want to get involved in partisan politics. At the village level politics aren't divided along party lines, he said.
He has been with the Stamford Fire Department for 19 and a half years. After graduating high school, he went to SUNY Delhi for about a year and half to study construction. However, he was impatient to make money and get on with his life and he jumped into a booming construction environment. He worked at that for a little more than a half a dozen years before joining the Stamford Fire Department.
He and his wife Melissa, who is a public school teacher in Putnam County, have two children: Kylie, 10, and Dylan, 5.
His believes his career as a firefighter helped prepare him for the duties of a political life.
"You get sent to the most godawful things and your job is to make them better, make them safe," he said. "At the village, a mess there is someone cutting down a tree."
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