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Valued Members,

Union Hall - In June of 2004, your Union Office located at 740 Commerce Drive was purchased by you, the membership, to become the first Union hall owned by Local 2546. Eighteen years after that, Local 2546 is expanding to an office twice the size originally purchased. With twelve different units providing service to you, there are times when additional space is needed to accommodate all of the activity and to provide a private workspace.  We believe this new space will allow us to meet the needs of our increasing membership without having the current scheduling conflicts that frequently exist.

An office space large enough to accommodate our current needs was sought after and became available at 752 Commerce Drive, Suites 1&2. During the purchasing period, we were approached with an offer to lease it for three and a half years. Because we needed time to prepare for the move, we agreed to rent the space, and we ended up renting it for 4+ years. Our short excursion in real estate proved beneficial for you, the members, in the form of rental income and flipping the first purchase.

Our new hall is located at 752 Commerce Drive, Suite 1.  Over the last 12 - 14 years, your Local has made sound financial investment decisions that ultimately allowed this purchase. The purchase and remodel were paid for in full without increasing the membership dues tied to your Local. 

The new hall location will allow for more parking, better access for the Vice Presidents, and service to you. The new space provides individual offices for the principals, an executive conference room, and a large meeting room downstairs with a capacity of 99 to allow for educational classes, fitness classes, and membership meetings, along with many other possibilities. Upstairs there are five additional workspaces and secure storage. We hope to have the office open for membership access in October of 2021.

COVID 19 – I have been questioned by members and Vice Presidents from both sides of the vaccination issue on numerous occasions what the official stance of the IAFF, FPF, and Local 2546 is regarding vaccination mandates. We strongly encourage all fire fighters and emergency medical personnel to get vaccinated, but do not support vaccine mandates.

There is federal case law regarding vaccinations and a pandemic:

  • The US supreme court ruled on this specific issue in Feb of 1905 regarding the smallpox vaccine; the court ruled the employer has the right to mandate. (Jacobson vs. Massachusetts, 197 U.S. 11) {1905}

 

  • April 1st, 2021, 116 employees of a hospital in Houston, Texas, went to court to block forced COVID19 vaccinations.

    • Then in June 2021, the Texas district court dismissed the case to block vaccinations referencing A 1905 federal law already addressed this issue. (Jennifer Bridges et al. l vs. Houston Methodist Hospital) {civil action H21-1774}

 

  • In May 2021, a complaint was filed with the EEOC for wrongful termination weighed in on the termination of an employee who refused to get the vaccination.

    • The EEOC decided the employer could mandate vaccinations.

So as you can see, if an employer decides to force vaccinations, it has been ruled on. However, what we can do as a Union is to bargain the impacts of such a mandate. I also believe that all our local government officials do not have the appetite to mandate vaccines at this time; At this time, we believe a mandate from our local municipalities is highly unlikely.

As professional Firefighters and Paramedics, our job's specific purpose is to serve the community. We have a responsibility to protect ourselves and others from spreading any disease or virus. This is why we immunize our children for school, to protect them and others from exposure and transmission of deadly conditions that can lead to a public health crisis. It is the responsible thing to do, especially in the wake of a pandemic like the one we have now, coming back in full force as a mutated virus that is more deadly for the fourth wave.

 

In closing, I wanted to thank each of you for your sacrifices and the your understanding your families are forced to make while away.

Thank you for being on the front lines of this pandemic handling the citizens with professionalism and empathy. You stepped up to cover the vacancies while your teammates were quarantined, so many of you have worked countless overtime hours; most are extremely tired and downright exhausted. The stress levels are through the roof, and you get to see the worst. I am incredibly proud of each of you and for the opportunity to represent you. As your locals President, I am humbled by your commitment.

I have no doubt we as humans will get through this pandemic. I recognize there has already been quite a cost to many individuals, both mentally and physically. I will continue to pray for your success, mental health, and divine guidance as you continue to give. May our Lord continue to bless you, your families, and our Sister and Brotherhood.

With Gratitude,

Phil Vets

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

August 30, 2021                                                                                 

Contact: Representative Elizabeth Fetterhoff

Phone: 386-736-5187

 

 

REPRESENTATIVE FETTERHOFF FILES LEGISLATION SUPPORTING OUR FIRST RESPONDERS AFFECTED BY COVID-19

 

Tallahassee, FL - Representative Elizabeth Fetterhoff (R-DeLand) has filed HB 53 Communicable and Infectious Diseases. The proposed legislation will provide COVID-19 workers compensation coverage for our first responders that will include specific requirements in order to qualify and coverage for infectious diseases that have been declared a public health emergency in accordance with Florida Statute. Under this legislation, first responders are presumed to have contracted the infectious diseases in the line of duty and not exposed outside of the scope of their employment. Similar coverage currently exists in Florida law for hepatitis, meningitis, and tuberculosis. This expanded coverage will ensure that Florida’s first responders are covered should they be exposed to COVID-19 while performing their duties of protecting the citizens of Florida.  

 

Representative Fetterhoff said, “This legislation is extremely important for our first responders who are being exposed every day to COVID-19 while conducting their duties. We need to ensure that our police officers, firefighters, and EMTs as well as their families have the proper compensation coverage should they become infected while serving our communities.”

 

Wayne “Bernie” Bernoska, President of the Florida Professional Firefighters said, “On behalf of the over 27,000 firefighters and paramedics that make up the Florida Professional Firefighters, I’d like to personally thank Representative Fetterhoff for bringing forward legislation that will provide protections to our members if they are unexpectedly harmed while performing their duties on the front lines of this pandemic. Every day first responders throughout our great state willingly face uncertain dangers, so it’s comforting to know that we still have leaders in Tallahassee like Representative Fetterhoff looking out for the health and safety of these brave men and women.  Thank you for having our backs.”

Future Home of Local 2546

Our new building at 752 Commerce Drive is nearing completion. We are shooting for the final touches to be competed and the OC issued by the end of September. We hope to have the office open for membership access in October of 2021.The new Union Office will provide enough office space, meeting area, and offices to conduct the work of Local 2546 for years to come. 

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Sisters and Brothers,

I hope as you read this edition of Straight Streams, life finds you and your families well. Thank you all for your continued efforts as we come back to some normalcy from this pandemic.

Here are some updates from the Secretary’s Office since our last publication.

Contract Negotiations:

Many of our Units are currently in the collective bargaining process. Please keep up with the current status of your process. Offer to help out where you can, and don't get caught up in the rumor mill. Remember that your DVPs can't do it all themselves. Please tell them your ideas and participate. Please fill out any surveys they send and attend negotiation sessions whenever possible. Doing this will give you an inside look into just some of what your representatives do for you.

Note on the surveys: You may receive a text message or email from IAFF SMART, depending on how your DVP chooses to gather information. Please read the text before deleting it, and don't mark it as SPAM. You may hinder your ability to receive updates or future surveys from your representatives.

Local 2546 Election Results:

Elections took place in April for the Offices of Treasurer and West Manatee DVP. I want to congratulate Johnny Rigney Jr. for his reelection to Treasurer and Francis Aggresta for his election to West Manatee DVP. I look forward to serving our members beside you, and please don't hesitate to ask me for any assistance you may need.

 

Special elections also took place in April to fill the remaining terms of the City of Venice DVP and Town of Longboat Key DVP. Congratulations to Ryan Behling for his election to Venice DVP and Jeff Bullock for his election to Longboat DVP. Both of these Departments are currently in negotiations, so they've had to hit the ground running. If you need anything, brothers, please let me know.

Brother Jason Berzowski has been appointed to be our full-time Field Service Representative. He has been helping many departments in the local with their political work while he was serving as Longboat's DVP. He has been our Political Officer for the past year and has a passion for the job. He will also continue in that role along with his Field Service Representative duties. Thank you, Brother, for your dedication to serve our members.

 

Let’s also welcome Sarasota County's two newly appointed stewards Timothy Baker and Paul Zaller. Thank you for stepping up to help DVP Matt Seiler and steward Joey Reyes.

I would like to recognize and thank West Manatee's outgoing DVP Buddy Bowen. He served as West Manatee's first-ever elected DVP since they joined our local back in November of 2014. Please thank him when you see him for his years of service and congratulate him on his last CBA ratification. The members of our West Manatee Unit will be enjoying better pay and benefits from the efforts put forth by Buddy and his team.

Buddy is one of a kind, and I'll never forget being his roommate at his first convention. I definitely got more than what I bargained for that time, Buddy. 😉

Elections Committee

I want to thank the following members for their participation in the Committee:

  • Charlotte County Trustee Michael McNeeley

  • Charlotte County Member Michael Keeney

  • Cedar Hammock Member Garret Garside

  • City of Bradenton Member Brad Bischoff

The Committee met several times to update the officer elections policy for our local. The Committee has created an excellent user-friendly document that is going through final revisions and legal review. Please thank these brothers when you see them in your stations for their hard work. It was a pleasure to work with all of them on this project.

Human Relations Committee:

The Committee has met twice thus far, with soon to be more dates to come. We are working through the Committee Bylaws and defining the roles this Committee will fill to help serve our membership.

I want to thank the following members for their participation and willingness to serve our local:

  • City of Punta Gorda Member Brooke Calitri

  • City of Venice Member Nikki Guraly

  • Sarasota County Member Bridget Byrne

  • West Manatee Member Casey Fischbach

  • Charlotte County Member Ernest Dabney

  • Cedar Hammock Member Marco Nepomuceno

Please thank these Sisters and Brothers as well when you see them. Their commitment to our local will help us understand each other, work through our differences and ultimately create a great work environment for all.

Union Training Opportunities:

We are close to moving into our new Office Building. Our new facility will have a higher occupancy which will make facilitating classes and other events more feasible. It is turning out well and should accommodate our local's needs well into the future.

I want to thank my predecessors who had the foresight to make these things happen at no cost increase to our members. Thanks to all of those involved who helped in the process of making our new facility a reality.

These are just a few things we're working on, and there are many moving parts to our organization. Opportunities to participate in your union are always available. Please contact your DVP, Steward, or the office if you need anything from the Local.

I thank you for reading this, and please stay safe.

Always your Brother,

G.

I would also like to recognize Venice's outgoing DVP, Jeff Cripe. He served over two terms as Venice's DVP and had to work through their venture into becoming an ALS provider. He had to sail through some rough waters to help his members attain adequate pay and benefits for the new level of service. Thank you, Brother, for your service to the City of Venice members.

Enjoy the rest of your career Buddy, and Jeff; enjoy your upcoming retirement. I hope to see you, brothers, from time to time. It was an honor serving alongside you, and feel free to contact me if you ever need anything.

DVP Swearing In

Welcome Aboard Gentlemen
Venice DVP Ryan Behling
Longboat Key DVP Bullock 
West Manatee DVP Frank Agresta 
Jeff and Buddy,  thank you for your service to your membership and the Local. Congrats Jason on your new position as Business Agent. 
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Brothers and Sisters,

 

Summer is in full swing, kids are headed back to school, contracts are being negotiated, and the Union office remodel is coming along great!  It is nice that the political season has slowed since the last Straight Streams article.  Hopefully everyone had a nice break this summer and are ready for our northern visitors to make their way back down soon.

Things at the office have been busy as usual.  I have been sitting in on Charlotte County’s contract negotiations, DVP Betancourt has been doing a fantastic job leading his team.  I am getting ready to assist DVP Miller with North River’s contract negotiations.  I have also been trying to make it a point to attend as many of my Department’s Negotiation sessions as possible to show support.  I encourage all of you to attend your Department's Negotiations sessions when you can, it provides support to the negotiations team, lets Administration know that you care, and helps you to become more familiar with the process.  The DVPs and their teams put in countless hours working on this for everyone.

I wanted to commend DVP Barton and DVP Seiler for their work with me on the Design Committee for the new union office.  It is looking great, so Thank You!  Also, I wanted to add that with the diligent planning of the prior Treasurer, and Board and with the rental income earned from renting out the new office building prior to the remodel; the Local was able to do the remodel of the new office building without increasing the membership dues.

 

I have started to work on the budget as this fiscal year is coming to a close soon.  I did receive a reminder from the IAFF General Secretary-Treasurer reminding us of an increase from the IAFF Per Capita dues after September 1st, 2021.  I wanted to send you out the break down he sent out of why and remind you that since we have an automatic pass-through; that everyone’s dues will reflect the change sometime in January 2022.

General Secretary-Treasurer Frank V. Lima stated:

 

 “IAFF per capita dues will be $15.68 for active members and $7.84 for retired-active members. This increase reflects a 3.1% cost-of-living adjustment as determined by the Consumer Price Index for Urban Wage Earners and Clerical Workers (CPI-W). This was adopted as part of Resolution 1 at the IAFF 55th Convention earlier this year.

Dues are your investment in your union, and as your General Secretary-Treasurer, I take the responsibility of safeguarding your money seriously. The chart below is a breakdown of the funds where your per capita is allocated showing the change for the last two fiscal years.

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(Click on image to enlarge)

More than 75% of your per capita investment is spent on our general fund, providing the high-quality services that you and your local receive from the IAFF.”

As always, thank you for allowing me to serve you all and let me know if there is anything I can do to help.

Sincerely,

Johnny Rigney, Jr.

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Sisters and Brothers,

 

I hope this article finds you well. Your Local is working hard every day to ensure we are moving forward as an organization. We are currently at the negotiations table in some of our departments. Your DVP's and contract teams are working hard to ensure your concerns are addressed. The teams have been putting in maximum effort throughout the process.

 

Even though it may seem we just finished up an election cycle. Your Local is off and running towards the next one already. We have some statewide races coming up in 2022. But all politics are Local. We will be heavily involved in every City Council, County Commission, Fire District Commission, and State Legislative seat in the counties we have departments. These individuals will be making decisions and voting on such things as your collective bargaining agreements and pensions. This is why it is so vital that we are present and engaged in our political process. Adversarial Labor/Management relationships or sub-par contracts can often be improved by fixing your politics.

 

You may be asking, "How can I help?" First, just get involved. Being a union member is so much more than paying your union dues. When your DVP or Stewards ask for volunteers to attend political events, do your best to be there. These events include campaign BBQ's/Picnics, sign-holding days, petition gatherings, a candidate meet and greet, etc. Bring the kids too. We must have a strong showing. We are an apolitical organization that endorses candidates from all parties. Our only requirement is that the candidate is pro firefighter on issues. We work hard to develop relationships with these elected officials. We are placing them a phone call away when we have a problem. We can't do that alone. We need the help of our membership.

As your Political officer, I have said there isn't a street, hall, or office I won't walk through to help our cause and make our voice heard. I would love to do it side by side with as many of my Brother and Sister firefighters as possible. We are already having meetings with candidates running in 2022. Events will be popping up. Please engage with your DVP, and find events you can attend. Also, don't just attend events for your department. You may work for one department but live in another's district. Come out to those near home too. Local 2546 is 12 Departments working in a common cause—the advancement of firefighter wages, benefits, and issues. The success of Local 2546 depends on all 12 Departments doing well. Often the District of a State Representative or Senator spans an entire county, affecting all of our departments there. Because all of our departments are in a close geographical area, we often use each other for comparables in contract negotiations. The success of a department nearby has the potential to help yours as well. We are one in our cause. I think about the tremendous responsibility daily of representing all of us on the front lines of this pandemic. I am proud to work on behalf of all of you.

 

Fraternally,

 

Jason Berzowski

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Speaking at Stephen R. Deutsch's Campaign  Kickoff 

New Members

Welcome to Local 2546

When you see these members take a moment and welcome them into the Org. 
Garrett Mumford - City of Bradenton
Nicholas Bost - Charlotte County 
Evelio Carnenates - Charlotte County 
Brandon Corso - Charlotte County 
Wyatt De Leon - Charlotte County 
Cody Fouch - Charlotte County 

Leroy Goulbourne - Charlotte County 
Joshua Huff - Charlotte County 
Savannah Iannotti - Charlotte County  
Daniel Korchick - Charlotte County 
Coltan LaSanska - Charlotte County
Dylan Lundblad - Charlotte County 
Bryce Mazo - Charlotte County
Maurice Noel - Charlotte County 
Peter Pollock III - Charlotte County 
Richard Primak - Charlotte County 
Miguel Rodriguez - Charlotte County 
Matthew Stacey - Charlotte County 
Michael Szczuka -  Charlotte County 

Kayle Truran - Charlotte County 
Carl Walker - Charlotte County 
Jason Wolfe - Charlotte County 
David Gentry - Englewood .
Tanner Broxson - Longboat Key 

Trevor AndersonNorth Port 
Rickey Baker - North Port 
Yohank Benitez - North Port 
Bret Fey - North Port 
Markus Frendanberg - North Port 
Federico Arana - North River 
Cierra McDonald - North River  
Tammy Finnerty - Punta Gorda

Justin Bradley - Sarasota County 
Alpheus Davis - Sarasota County  
Kimberly Dendy - Sarasota County  
Stephen Hostetler - Sarasota County 
Amber Mangrum - Sarasota County   
Stefan Petrov - Sarasota County  
Kevin Schubert - Sarasota County  
Chad Strauser - Sarasota County  
Dillon Wade - Sarasota County  
Keith Webster - Sarasota County 
Samantha Worsham - Sarasota County 
Easton Evans- Southern Manatee
Christopher McKinniss - Southern Manatee 
Daniel Maniun - Venice 
Andrew Garcia - Venice  

Timothy Mc Crink - Venice 
Alex Peterson - Venice 
Gabriel Gonzalez - West Manatee 
William Thomas - West Manatee 

Recently Retired

Congratulations on Your Retirement 

Chris Campbell- City of Bradenton 
Andy Bowman- Charlotte County 
Steven Sasher - Charlotte County  
Jamie Wadlinger - Charlotte County 
Jeff Cleary- North Port 
Matt Taylor - Longboat Key 
Jeff Wright - Punta Gorda  
Scott Ehrhart - Sarasota County  
Victoria Gross - 
Sarasota County  
William Howe - Sarasota County 
William Weaver- Sarasota County  
Hoyt Williams - Sarasota County 
Michael Petrosino - West Manatee 
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Hope this letter finds you all well.  Keep up with our current contract negotiations by using the Union’s website.  If you have any difficulties logging on, please call the office at 485-5193 and Sylvia can walk you through.  The website is the best way to get current, up to date information on all issues like COVID restrictions, negotiations, mandatory holdovers, staffing, etc.. 

Let’s give a big welcome to our two new Stewards, Paul Zaller and Tim Baker.  Both members stepped up and took on the task of helping our Sarasota Unit.  They have been working hard and getting a crash course in Union work.  It’s very important that members understand the importance of getting involved and making sure your future is secure. 

Last year the E board changed our By-Laws to move our elections from May to February, so starting this January we will be posting notifications for the Sarasota DVP position.  The reason for the month change, was we had conflicts with our FPF convention being the same month as the installation of new officers.  This way the new officers will be installed in the month of April instead of June.  With that being said, the election for your new DVP will be upon us very shortly and I’m glad we have more members getting involved and learning the ropes. 

We are coming up on a few firefighter activities, events that help keep us in the public eye and give us great public relations.  We have our annual Polar Plunge on Saturday, February 12th at Seaworld’s Aquatica water park.  This is a great family event to help raise money for the Special Olympics.  If you want to attend, please call our Local’s Secretary Gerardo Rogazy.  We did postpone the Boot Drive this year to the Fall and we hope nothing changes so we can continue this great event to help raise money for the MDA.  We will keep you up to date on those dates through the County email.  Also, SFFBF will be hosting their annual Morton’s Market Firehouse Chili Cook-off on Sunday October, 17th.  This is always a great and fun outing for all of us.  Stay involved and stay informed.

Thanks, and take care

Matt.

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Phoenix Award Recipients: Dale Mahler, Matt Olson, Curt Tellbuescher, Stephen Dezzi and John Haberlein
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Phoenix Award Recipients: Jeffrey Gebhardt, Colin Tarro, Kris Biagioli and Amir Banks  (Not pictured are Matt Brown and Grady Wilkinson)
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Phoenix Award Recipients: Michael Harvey, James McCarter, Nicholas Bowling and Timothy Rogers

Brothers and Sisters,

As I sit here writing my first update for Venice, I would like to start by thanking all of the members for the nomination and the support as Venice’s new DVP. That being said,  I would like to express a huge thank you to Jeff Cripe for his years of service at Venice Fire Rescue and for his time as our DVP. Congratulations on your retirement Jeff! Also, congratulations to Fire Chief Shawn Carvey on your upcoming retirement. We wish you well and thank you for your years of service.  With the retirement of Chief Carvey, the next Congratulations goes to Deputy Chief Frank Giddens for his upcoming promotion to Venice Fire Rescue’s new Chief. We look forward to working with you in your new role.

Currently we are in contract negotiations for an opener in our pay article. I would like to thank all of our members for their involvement, and the staff at the Union office for all of their guidance and support, as I work on negotiations for my first time.

As of October 1, 2020 we have assumed full ALS services and transport. A special thanks to all of our members for their hard work and dedication to the program. It has been a very successful start into this new undertaking and everyone’s dedication and efforts are ensuring a successful future.

Our engine build committees have been hard at work as we await the arrival of our new Engine 51 and Rescue 51. Station 51’s rebuild is also nearing its completion. Crews are looking forward to being in our new station along with the new additions to our fleet.

In closing, I hope all of you, and your families, are doing well and staying safe through this pandemic. To everyone on the front lines, stay safe and stay strong.

Ryan

 

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Fire Station 1/City Hall nearing completion
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Congrats Chief on your retirement; welcome aboard Chief Giddens

Chief Carvey Retirement Ceremony 

A retirement ceremony was held in the Venice Council chambers for Chief Shawn Carvey, who will be retiring at the end of the month after 25 years with Venice Fire Rescue. All the best Chief!!
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Chief Garvey retirement ceremony 1.jpg

Hello Brothers and Sisters,

 

I'm writing you with new and exciting things going on at Longboat Key. First, We have completed the negotiations on a new Collective Bargaining Agreement to take effect this October. We were able to negotiate the enhancement of wages for both FF/PMs and LT's. An increase in scheduled leave accruals for all personnel. Changes to the QA/QI process to allow the Union to be involved in investigations, providing additional protections for our personnel. Increases in overall specialty pay. All while yielding no ground in management rights or other articles affecting working conditions. I'm very proud of the work put in by our team. I want to thank Business Agent Berzowski and his work at the table and behind the scenes to help get this deal done. This process started a year ago with him as our DVP. We set the groundwork in the way we were able to work with management on this contract, which hopefully will continue to build upon that foundation and make future contracts easier to negotiate.

Speaking of Foundations, our new Station 92 is complete. Our grand opening was on August 11th; and crews are in the station. Thank you to our Fire Chief Paul Dezzi for his tireless work to get this and the Station 91 projects done. The crews are excited to get into the new facility. The station has been outfitted with all the state-of-the-art carcinogen and pathogen decontamination equipment. And the departmental policy has been put in place to represent the best industry standards. Labor and Management at LBK have worked hard to reduce the amount of carcinogen and pathogen exposure each member of our organization has. We still have work to do. But we're working hard together in an attempt to shield our members from the terrible disease of cancer as much as we possibly can.

Lastly, our Longboat Key Firefighters Association Golf Tournament is on November 13th. Watch for the sign-ups to start in the coming weeks. It will be at the beautiful Longboat Key Golf Club again this year. Lieutenant Jose Rivera and FF/PM Tirso Guerrero will be our contacts with this event.

 

Stay safe, everyone.

 

Sincerely,

Jeff Bullock

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Station 92 Grand Opening Ceremonies
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Station 92 Decontamination Area
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Brothers and Sisters,

 

We welcome aboard a new commissioner Mark Knauf. Mark is a long time, well respected business owner in the Englewood Fire community. He's been a longtime friend of mine and I can foresee him being a longtime friend of the District. We couldn't have found anybody better. 

 

Contract negotiations are going very well and are almost wrapped up as I write this. It is awesome having a Chief and Fire Commission that is friendly and easy to work with. 

The District has purchased 3 brand new Sutphen fire engines and now all of our first line fire engines are 5 years old or newer.

 

Our Paramedic program is going smoothly and we already have two State Certified paramedics. We have another round of four Paramedics going through school right now. Good luck to all our Brothers that are trying to make Englewood Fire District a better and safer place to live and work.

 

We also have two new Pension Board Trustees that have volunteered from the Englewood community and are prominent business owners in the area as well. We would like to welcome Keith Farlow and John Hink and thank you for your time on our Pension board.

 

Englewood Fire Department is definitely moving in the right direction and I'm proud to serve both the community and our bargaining unit. 

 

Stay well

In Brotherhood, 

 

Roman Grabowski

Englewood DVP

3 New Sutphen Pumpers added to our fleet
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EFD to the rescue saving an injured osprey
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Brothers and Sisters,

 

Charlotte County Fire and EMS is undergoing drastic positive changes. We have welcomed a promotion of Chief Jason Fair to our Fire Chief and Public Safety Director and a new Deputy Chief, John Molenda. Under the new leadership, the partnership between the Union and Administration continues to grow and develop. We are beginning to see an increase in COVID positive employees, so please be vigilant in protecting your home family and your fire families. Your negotiation team continues to strive to voice the desires and requests of the members during contract negotiations. We are looking forward and hopeful of the ability to reach an agreement that helps promote Charlotte County as the leading Fire/EMS service we are.

Thank you for allowing me to serve.

Brendan Betancourt 

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Chief Fair was the Urban Search and Rescue Division Supervisor during the Surfside Condo recovery (click on image to view interview)
Station 9B treating the preschoolers at Bloom Academy to some cool fun
Assisting NPFR during the recent flooding 
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Hello Brothers and Sisters of 2546,

 

I hope this finds you and your loved ones doing well. As we sit here another quarter has passed and it feels like it has flown by! I’m sure everyone feels the same, and we are only getting busier.

 

There is no doubt COVID has impacted us all and I’m starting to feel we are heading in the right direction. We at North Port have been very fortunate with only having a couple members contracting the virus. We have also been fortunate with each member recovering fully and returning to duty. Sometimes we may have opinions about the procedures, policies, or even wearing PPE we don’t agree with. These things are in place for a reason and it keeps us safe, so please follow them and wear it!

 

If you have driven down US 41 through Wellen Park, you will see Station 86 is coming out of the ground nicely and its going to be awesome. We are continuing to grow and have recently hired another 5 Firefighters and more will be coming once we start the process of opening Station 87 sometime after Station 86 is operational.

 

Hopefully by the time you are reading this we have sealed the deal with another GREAT contract keeping us very competitive in 2546. If you know of anyone looking for a job, keep an eye on North Port as we will be getting larger quickly.

 

Until next quarter, stay safe and love your friends and family. We never know what someone is going through so stay in contact with those you love and make sure you keep them in your lives.

 

Jentzen Barton

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Station 86 Construction
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Brush Fire Training
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Greetings all.

 

Here's a brief update on recent occurrences and projected happenings around the BFD. 

 

The new Station 3 is inching towards completion. Rumor has it, there's a contract on a piece of property out east for a new Station 2. This week, the week of August 9th, funding for a new engine and a heavy rescue is slated to come before City Council. New City Administrator, Rob Perry, has hit the ground running and his plate runneth over.

 

Members have started receiving their 1k bonus checks from the Governor. Covid is alive and kicking so we continue to follow FFCA/FPF joint guidance to keep our members and their families as healthy and safe as possible. Promotional testing is in progress. Our newest new guy, Jonathan Alt and his family were blessed with a new addition on July 13th. Join me in welcoming Archer Oliver Alt to the BFD family.

 

To close, I'd like to thank a very supportive Mayor and Council and an incredibly deserving membership. I still enjoy this job and I'm thankful for the opportunity to serve. 

 

Stay safe, Doug 

Station 3 rebuild making progress
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On scene at a structure fire
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Brothers and Sisters,

 

Over the past few months a lot has happened in the City. Proposals have been made for staffing increases across the City departments, including the FD. I’m hopeful to see these increases in the near future. I urge everyone to pay attention to Council meetings for the most up to date information. 

 

At our last bargaining session, a completed contract package was proposed to the City. Our team was able to give a full presentation and answer any questions the City had on the proposal. A membership meeting will be held to answer any questions you may have on the proposal. I will keep everyone informed on the next meeting with the City as well.

 

As many of you know, we’ve had an increase in COVID cases in the Department. I want to wish everyone a quick recovery and pray for the continued health and safety of you all. 

 

As always stay safe,

 

Danny 

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Training
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Greetings 2546 Brothers & Sisters,

I hope this issue of Straight Streams finds you all well. We’ve finalized some changes at Southern Manatee since the last edition. Chief Gorski officially retired; his last workday was June 30th, 2021. Chief Gorski was a much-needed addition for our department that was struggling with leadership, he will be missed. As of the writing of this article, Chief Gorski is rumored to have accepted a job with another Fire Dept. as an EMS Chief. They are lucky to have him.

Up to this point our Locals relationship with our new Fire Chief (Robert Bounds) has been great. Chief Bounds had a great mentor in Chief Gorski, so the transition has been easy. I would also like to take this time to congratulate the following SMFR personnel. Deputy Chief Blanco was promoted to Assistant Chief and Captain Thayer was promoted to Chief Officer of the Training Division. Chief Bounds has plans to create 2 new positions in the Dept. First, will be an EMS Training Officer (we are still discussing whether this position will be a Lt. or Capt.). The 2nd position will be a Logistics Officer. Chief Bounds recognized the growth of our dept. and this is a needed position. Both positions will be Administrative (working a 40hr work week) and will be promoted from within the ranks, which will then open new FT Firefighter positions. Good luck to those applying!

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Deputy Chief Blanco promoted to Assistant Chief

We just hired 2 Firefighter/ Paramedics, and both joined our Local. Please join me in welcoming Easton Evans and Chris McKinniss. Evans is fresh out of paramedic school and is “green behind the ears”. McKinniss comes to us from another Fire District and was a Charge Medic with Manatee EMS prior to that. Good luck to both of you! SMFR is currently looking to hire 4 more Firefighter/ Paramedics by October. If we can’t fill all 4 positions with FF/Pm’s, the plan is to hire FF/EMT’s and send them to paramedic school. The Fire Chief and I (with the President’s help) are working on plans to send new hires to paramedic school and accommodate shift staffing levels and be FLSA compliant. If anyone reading this knows someone who is looking for job, please invite them to look at our website and consider completing an application.

Beginning July 1st, we lifted most of the restrictions brought on by the Covid pandemic (like most FL Govt. entities). However, there has been an increase in Covid hospitalizations in our area. I would like to remind our personnel to remain vigilant and keep up the good habits that kept our exposed/ affected personnel to a manageable number; we’re not out of the woods just yet.

Finally, I would like to thank the Southern Manatee Board of Fire Commissioners. Even though we are in the final year of our contract and plan to start bargaining next summer, the Board unanimously and voluntarily increased a few monetary benefits. We were able to accept the increases because of current language in the contract that allows for these circumstances. Former DVP Chevalier deserves the credit for that language.

Thank You and be safe,

Derek Foss

SMFR DVP

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Captain Thayer was promoted to Training Chief

Southern Manatee Fire Rescue assisted Drug Free Manatee with the production of this PSA that is airing on local networks
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Straight Streams

 

Brothers and Sisters,

 

There have been a lot of happenings at North River over the past few months.  The North River ALS program has launched, the recently hired and promoted members were recognized at a commission meeting, and this year’s contract openers are being worked on. 

 

The biggest thing has been the launching of the ALS program.  This is a service that has not previously been provided by NRFD but will be from now on.  A big thanks all the members that have and continue to work hard to make the program a success. 

 

At the most recent commission meeting the district was able to hold pinning’s for the members that have been promoted over the last year as well as the members that have been hired over the last year.  It was great to see all everyone that was able to attend.  I would like to welcome two new hires, Freddy Arana and Cierra McDonald, both of which have signed up to join the local.  Freddy and Cierra are both experienced paramedics and will be a welcomed addition to the North River family.

 

We are working currently working on this year’s contract openers.  Which are, pay plan, health insurance, pension, and specialty pay.  I would like to thank everyone that completed the recent survey.  There will be some upcoming bargaining unit meetings, everyone is encouraged to attend.  As always, if you have any input or concerns, please feel free to contact me.

 

 

Ben

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Congrats on your promotion: Asst Chief Joseph Sicking, Driver/Engineer Brandon Thompson, Capt. Gerard Ardila, BC Joel Baker, Driver/Engineer Aaron Taylor and Capt. Drew Clark  
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Welcome to Probationary FF's:  John Mueller, Cierra McDonald, Freddy Arana, Nicole Tyler and Michael Davila
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Brothers and Sisters,

My name is Frank Agresta and I am the newly elected DVP for West Manatee Fire Rescue. I took over the DVP spot from Buddy Bowen, who served as an upstanding representative of Local 2546 and West Manatee over the past 6 ½ years. I am excited and honored to take on the new role of DVP, and will represent my Department and Local to the best of my ability.

I am excited to say that we have a new contract that will take effect in October. It took 2 negotiation sessions to complete and both parties involved in the process on either side of the table worked very well together, making it a streamlined effort. I would also like to thank Joel Baker for his expertise and knowledge in the process as well.

West Manatee is continuing to provide outstanding ALS coverage for our district and have had 3 more paramedics pass the Medical Director’s test to become a Charge Paramedic. We also recently hired 2 new firefighters, Gabriel Gonzalez and William Thomas, who both are assigned to B shift and are doing great. Both are also the newest members of the Local.

Our department has a new administrative building that was completed back in May. The building houses administration and fire prevention. It also will serve as an EOC in the event of a storm and can withstand hurricane force winds. The builders did a great job on the building and it will be a significant asset to our department for many years.

I hope everyone stays healthy and safe.

 

Frank Agresta

FF's  Lisa Sedillo and Buddy  Bowen promoting fire Safety to neighborhood children 
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Lt. Jeff N Philips, FF Frank Agresta, and FF Crystal Ann hosting a field trip for  local church camp

Max Pollock receiving the Genesis Award for assisting with the delivery of a baby in the field
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Hello Brothers and Sisters,

I hope everyone is doing well and staying safe out there. This summer has flown by. It has been good to see the Brotherhood returning to CHFR. Several groups and families have shared time, vacations, baby showers and parties off duty. With a new future of growth and change brings a strong spirit we can all look forward to. It is great to see all the comradery.  

Our Family continues to grow with the hiring of 4 new firefighters. I would like to welcome Connor Barauskis, Trace Parcels, Zachary Taylor, and Hunter Henson to CHFR. Along with the addition of new firefighters, we have had several firefighters add “Dad” to their resumes. Congratulations to FF Taylor Clegg, FF Drew Dirmeyer, FF John Stephenson, FF Sean Morrissey, and FF Zachary Taylor. We are pleased to report all moms, dads and babies are happy and healthy.

The department is moving forward with the construction of our training tower scheduled for completion in Spring 2022. New SCBAs, radios, and other equipment are being added this year as well. Also, we have adopted some new and revised policies. We plan on continuing this to include health and wellness. All will help define and be great benefits for us all.  

As we head into the back half of the year, I just ask all to remain safe, keep situational awareness and ALWAYS watch out for each other’s SIX.

Faithfully yours,

DVP Paul Reda

Cedar Hammock New Hires: Connor Barauskis, Ethan Vera, Hunter Hensen, Zachary Taylor, Blake Sullivan and Trace Parsel
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Paul Donnelly
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Laura Gross
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Jim Brantley
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Sisters and Brothers,

I am proud to announce that the POLAR PLUNGE IS BACK!!!!!!!!!!

We have created our team for the 2022 POLAR PLUNGE on the website and set our fundraising team goal at a $2000 minimum. Remember, our team efforts help our friends at Special Olympics. The official date is set for February 12, 2022, at Aquatica in Orlando.

This event is a great chance to have some fellowship with your Sisters and Brothers from around the local.  If you are interested in participating, please get in touch with me at your earliest convenience to add you to our team text group. We try to make it a whole family weekend, and if there are enough of us, we can work on a group hotel rate.

I look forward to hearing from you and making our 10th plunge the best yet!

Please use the information below and follow the instructions on the site to sign up.

Thank you for reading.

Always your Brother,

Gerardo “G” Rogazy

Suncoast Polar Firefighters 2546

(954) 663-0276

Rogazy@iaff2546.com

Happening Around the Local

If you would like to submit photos for Straight Streams or Facebook, please email them  to officemgr@iaff2546.com 
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Helping out at the Charlotte County employee appreciation BBQ
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