The business of the IAFF’ 52nd Convention got underway Monday afternoon with a mix of ceremonial, informational and formal items.
Matt Alter, president of Cincinnati Local 48 – the Convention host local – officially welcomed the IAFF’s leadership from across North America to his city.
“Cincinnati is a city with a lot of arts, culture and entertainment, and while you’re here I want you to enjoy every aspect of our city,” he said, while thanking the local’s members, Convention Committee and Auxiliary for their hard work.
Alter described how the local has worked with the city to reduce brownouts by 60 percent, and is working to improve fire protection even more.
In a dramatic moment, 50 new Local 48 members, whose jobs were made possible by a Staffing for Adequate Fire and Emergency Response (SAFER) grant, marched into the Convention room and were sworn in by General President Harold Schaitberger. “Stay safe and I know you’ll do an incredible job protecting the citizens of Cincinnati and I wish you a long, successful and safe career,” Schaitberger told the recruits.
Cincinnati Fire Chief Richard Braun also welcomed delegates, and paid tribute to the organization he belonged to for more than three decades as a fire fighter. “When I became chief I swore I would not forget who put food on my family’s table and kept me safe for 37 years.”
In a video message, Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) talked passionately about how two million voters stood up and voted against unprecedented attacks on labor in the state, and how the canary pin he wears on his lapel – signifying a canary in a coal mine – reminds him of the risks fire fighters take on behalf of the public.
Delegates watched a video feature of the Fire Ops 101 event held in Cincinnati on Saturday. Hamilton County Coroner Dr. Lakshmi Sammarco, one of the many Fire Ops participants, described her experience to delegates. “It was an amazing experience – hands-on. We never realize what you guys go through.”
Fire Ops 101 participant Shannon Flynn, daughter of Cincinnati councilor and fire fighter ally Kevin Flynn, also recounted her experience. She said she thought she was prepared, but “I was totally wrong,” she said. “We need to support our fire fighters and get enough personnel and equipment out on the streets,” she said.
Delegates dealt with six resolutions Monday afternoon. Among those adopted was Resolution 2, which addresses delegate identification, Resolution 3 which addresses online proxy credentialing and Resolution 5, which clarifies affiliates’ financial reporting requirements.
Delegates also adopted Resolution 21, which recognizes late San Mateo County, CA Local 2400 member and local leader Jay Johnson, who left a large bequest to the W.H. “Howie” McClennan Scholarship Fund. The resolution’s unanimous adoption sparked a standing ovation from delegates.
The sponsors of the IAFF’s 52nd Convention, the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) and the IAFF Financial Corporation (IAFF-FC), were recognized.