Brothers and Sisters,
Our local political races are in the final stretch and the candidates are looking for us to come though with our strengths of manpower. We need to be involved in their final pushes and come through for them, so maybe (I know, promises - promises) they will come through for us. It's time to take a sign, stand at a corner and wave it and show support IN NUMBERS! I understand that we are very busy, it's understandable. However, without the political clout that we are trying to build, you may not have to worry about being busy, all you will be doing is just going down to collect your check and stand in line for the government cheese.
Seriously, we have to come through for those we have endorsed. Otherwise, if they get elected and when we need to bring an issue to them that requires their assistance, they may be asking "where were you when I needed you?" So make contact with your local's endorsed candidate and make that connection and show them we are committed, so they will commit to us.
In other news, we have a new local that has formed and I will be sending the paperwork to 12th DVP Osborne. Holley/Navarre has cards signed, (100%) and we will be getting them onboard with the FPF and with PERC. Welcome to our new Brothers and Sisters in Holley/Navarre. We are still pursuing other departments with organization efforts.
I have been appointed to serve on the committee that will try and come up with alternative funding for our fire services. Our first meeting in Orlando brought some ideas, but in the end, there are no firm funding routes that can be set up. It will come down to a county by county basis on the surtax issue. A one size fits all approach is not the right direction for us as a statewide organization to follow. Each county/municipality/district will have to come to an agreement and then if a simple addition to state statute is passed, each county will have the option to make their own agreements and collect the surtax. That is the issue at hand. I will keep everyone informed.
Congratulations to the Tallahassee Local for some successful negotiations for both the rank and file as well as their new Captains and Chiefs unit. Success was hard fought and well received by the overwhelming vote of the members. Congratulations to the team in Tallahassee. Now let's watch what happens with the consolidation of EMS into the TFD.
There are other locals that are currently in negotiations. Mary Esther Firefighters are at a sticking point with pension (or lack there of). I attended a negotiations meeting there today, and misspoke trying to get the city manager to go with 175. Hoping to get them to at least look a chapter plan, I made the mistake of thinking the actuary would be able to calculate the cost of a portion of the proposed years within the plan. Upon checking with Trish in Tallahassee, she reminded that state statutes require the plan to start with all time included in the calculation. I am embarrassed and hope that trust in judgment was not placed in jeopardy. There is an offer to go with FRS, which may not be a bad thing, but trying to buy back past service credit will be costly and at the reduced rate. Another is defined benefit vs. defined contribution. The City will want defined contribution. We will continue this negotiation and hope will have a successful outcome. I apologize to the brothers in Mary Esther.
The Brothers and Sisters in Midway are I believe holding together very well after the removal of their chief and the move of Jonathan Kanzigg into the position of acting chief. Congratulations to Jonathan and I commend the members of the Midway local for holding together through these tough times.
The Boat of Heroes is in town and will be in Crestview on Thursday. You can see the boat and buy your tickets at the Hooters in "Crestuckey". Tickets are $5 each or 5 for $20. It will be in South Walton on Friday and Saturday. Contact Chris Powell firstname.lastname@example.org for locations. I am sorry that the boat didn't get everywhere in the district, logistically it was not possible and not enough folks stepped up to help. I want to personally thank Charlie Barber from the Fort Walton Beach Local who has spent a lot of time coordinating this effort for me. From my heart brother - Thanks!
If you need anything, please don't hesitate to give me a call or an email. I will try and not screw up my answer or assistance.
To close, let's keep an eye on the weather and see where Fay will go. Let's keep our Brothers and Sisters in South and Central Florida in our prayers. We should also keep our Brothers and Sisters in the 1st District in our prayers as well . . . they seem to be in the bull's-eye for Fay.