Rochester, NY, January 19, 2021 - The International Association of Fire Fighters has long been one of the most respected Unions in existence, earning a reputation for supporting its allies and never backing down from a fight. Over the past several years, however, actions at the top have brought the integrity of our entire organization into question and led to some negative attention from outsiders. While investigations are underway to discover and address any malfeasance, it is clear that the appearance of impropriety has led to a lack of confidence in some of the current leadership at IAFF headquarters. Our own experience has also taught us that the darkest secrets are often protected by the strongest opposition. After evaluating all of the candidates, the members of the Monroe County Airport Firefighters Association -IAFF Local 1636 are proud to endorse Ed Kelly for General President, and Jake Lemonda for General Secretary/Treasurer.
With his history of service to the Boston Fire Department, Local 718, and the Professional Firefighters of Massachusetts, ‘Edzo’ has demonstrated his integrity and willingness to fight for what is right. As General Secretary/Treasurer for the last 3 years, Brother Kelly has faced strong opposition in questioning many of the actions taking place at the top of our Union. In doing so, he exposed himself to great criticisms and risked his ability to continue as a Union leader. Though some IAFF members may not appreciate his methods nor the publicity that has come as a result, we understand from our own battles at the local level that there comes a time to fight, even if it leads to negative publicity. We firmly believe that through it all, Ed Kelly has placed the interests of all IAFF members ahead of anyones reputation or ego, despite almost certain retribution. We agree with Brother Kelly that it is time for Professional Firefighters across North America to Take Back Our Union!
For General Secretary/Treasurer, we believe Brother Jake Lemonda is the right choice to assist Brother Kelly in rebuilding this great Union. Through his time as a Firefighter with the FDNY, and as a leader of the Uniformed Fire Officers Association Local 854, he has earned a reputation for prioritizing the interests of the membership and not backing down when facing a battle. The dues collected by the GST are what keep our Union going strong and the person in charge of handling those dues must have integrity and not be afraid to ask questions related to their disbursement. Jake’s reputation, experience, and education tell us he is the right man for the job.
While we are one of the smaller Locals, our ‘1636’ is representative of the 55 years we have belonged to this IAFF. We are as vested in this organization as anyone, and have demonstrated our willingness to wage tough battles against those perceived to be much more powerful than us. Brothers Kelly and Lemonda share a similar mindset and believe in transparency. With them at the helm of our Union, we believe there are no limits to what we can accomplish and we look forward to what the future holds.