Recent News

September 15, 2017 - #OmahaPinkdOut 2017

The Omaha Professional Fire Fighters Association, Local 385, is proud to once again partner with Project Pink’d, a local nonprofit dedicated to supporting the mind, body and spirit of those diagnosed with breast cancer, on their #OmahaPinkdOut program.

The #OmahaPinkdOut initiative encourages Omahans to “Light It Up Pink’d” by purchasing a pink light bulb or flood light for their home’s exterior and keeping it lit throughout October. The public is encouraged to take photos alongside the lit bulbs and share them on social media with the hashtag #OmahaPinkdOut. For every photo shared using that hashtag during the month of October, the Fire Union will donate $1 back to Project Pink’d.

Bulbs are available for purchase from Sept. 18-Oct. 1 at the Union Hall, 6005 Grover St., for $5 each. T-shirts are also available for purchase at the hall for $15 each. All profits will be donated to Project Pink’d, which reinvests funds into local programs that helps breast cancer survivors thrive.



August 31, 2017 - Official Statement on the Return of Medical Unit 78

After being out of service for six years, Medical Unit 78 has returned to service at 144th and Corby St., effective September 1, 2017. The return of M78 will provide improved response times to the citizens of northwest Omaha, ensuring the exemplary level of emergency services that Omahans expect of their first responders.

Our goal is to always protect our members and the public by exceeding national standards for response times and quality of emergency services, but the absence of M78 has made it difficult to do so in certain parts of the city. Since the last time M78 was in service, medic call volume has increased by 19 percent. Where we once had one medic unit that exceeded 4000 calls yearly, we now have four. Local 385 has advocated for the return of a med unit to northwest Omaha for years, and we support the mayor and chief’s decision in this regard. M78 will immediately have a positive impact on the lives of the citizens that we are sworn to protect.

Sincerely,
Steve LeClair
President, Omaha Professional Fire Fighters, Local 385



May 3, 2017 - Official Statement on Fire Fighters for Better Government

The ad created by Fire Fighters for Better Government is factual, accurate and properly cited, and I stand firmly behind it. I have attached the script citation herein. As recently as last night, there were “no cars available city-wide.” The Mayor’s reckless annexation plan with no regard for a correlating build-up of vital city services has stretched all departments too thin.

The backlash to this ad is an attempt by the Mayor to distract the citizens of Omaha from the weak public safety policies she has implemented over the past four years, and an ineffective attempt to deflect blame for the fact that there are no cars available for citizens, fire fighters and police on a daily basis. However, as you see in the ad, there are always cars available to patrol the Mayor’s gated community 9-15 times per day. If the Mayor and the Chief are so concerned about crime that her gated community requires this amount of special attention, then neither one of them is doing their job. One advantage to the Mayor living in a gated community is that if she is so concerned about crime, she can close the gate. Most Omahans do not have that luxury.

I am disappointed that the Mayor and Chief Schmaderer have chosen to politicize the recent events in Pottawattamie County by introducing those tragic events into political discourse in Omaha. The Mayor and Chief Schmaderer are fully aware that the commercial in question was produced weeks ago and that the media buy was made last week. Furthermore, it is woefully inappropriate that the Mayor’s campaign representatives asked Chief Schmaderer to call me last week and ask me to pull the ad.

It would serve the Mayor and Chief Schmaderer well to remember that the Chief of Police is a classified position, with civil service protection, not a political appointment. The Chief of Police serves the citizens, not the Mayor. I think Omaha deserves better from its leaders.

Sincerely,
Steve LeClair
President, Omaha Professional Fire Fighters Association



May 2, 2017 - Official Statement from President Steve LeClair on passing of Deputy Mark Burbridge


On behalf of the Omaha Professional Fire Fighters Association, Local 385, I would like to express 
our most sincere condolences to the Pottawattamie County Sheriff Department and the loved ones 
and family of Deputy Mark Burbridge who was tragically killed in the line of duty today. We also 
express our condolences and wishes for a quick recovery to Deputy Pat Morgan, who was injured 
during the same tragedy that took Deputy Burbridge’s life.

Police officers and first responders put their lives on the line every time they put on a uniform, 
and we are proud to stand side-by-side in our shared mission to protect and serve others. 
This is a tragic loss and a sad day for our community. Please join us in fully supporting 
Deputy Burbridge’s fellow officers and family as they mourn this tragic loss.

Sincerely,
Steve LeClair
President, Omaha Professional Fire Fighters, Local 385


March 14, 2017 - Official Statement from President Steve LeClair Announcing Endorsement of Heath Mello

I’m Steve LeClair, president of the Omaha Professional Fire Fighters Association.

Today, I’m pleased to formally announce that the Omaha Professional Fire Fighters Association has voted to endorse Heath Mello for Mayor of Omaha.

This endorsement comes after a lengthy and thorough vetting process. After careful consideration, we believe Heath Mello is the candidate who is most dedicated to keeping our first responders safe, and maintaining excellence in public safety for residents in all Omaha ZIP codes.

Heath’s record speaks for itself:

  • During his time in the Nebraska legislature, Mr. Mello consistently voted in support of public safety issues.
  • Mello has a record of supporting defined benefit pensions, and has supported hearings in the retirement committee by offering positive testimony in favor of maintaining the pension structure best suited for public safety workers and their families.
  • He also introduced LB278, a 2009 legislative bill that allowed fire fighters to collect money on our city streets for the Muscular Dystrophy Association, an organization dedicated to finding a cure for degenerative muscle disorders that we have supported for more than 60 years. That bill passed with zero opposing votes.
    • Unfortunately, Mayor Stothert championed local legislation that opposed MDA and cost $45,000 in donations in 2010. That money wasn’t going anywhere other than to fund research, treatment and programs for children suffering from muscular dystrophy. Opposing such legislation really has no place in our great city.

With Heath Mello, Omaha has the opportunity to be led by a mayor who exemplifies our city’s values. Mr. Mello has a long history of working on tough issues across all parties, resulting in solutions that are in the best interests of the people. In addition, he has a keen understanding of finances and an ability to manage a city budget – without compromising public safety.

Heath Mello also has the highest regard for processes and understands the importance of following them, as opposed to our current mayor, who chose to disregard a city ordinance with her recent appointment to the position of fire chief. Although we respect the office of fire chief, we do not support or agree with the political, decision-making process that led to the appointment.

Over the years, we have raised numerous public safety concerns with Mayor Stothert. All of the ways in which she has disregarded our concerns will no longer be an issue with Heath Mello in office.

Heath supports the need for additional medic units, especially in northwest Omaha, where preliminary numbers from a national study, as well as the Omaha Fire Department’s own statistics, show an immediate need for additional medic units. Since 2009, when Mayor Stothert sat on the City Council, calls for ambulance service have increased by 26%, while the number of medic units remains the same. Providing additional resources is a critical step in maintaining excellence in emergency response services in an area of the city that continues to grow.

When we tried to engage Mayor Stothert in a discussion about adding medic units in this part of the city, it took a formal public records request, a Freedom of Information Act request, and one full year before the requested information was provided.

Heath Mello understands that, when it comes to keeping response times down in all parts of the city, these matters are of critical urgency. There is no reason a request of this type should take one year to fulfill, unless the administration has something to hide.

Heath Mello will bring transparency and a sense of urgency back to the mayor’s office. His record as a well-respected and effective Nebraska state senator shows us that he will also bring back a willingness to work with others. By contrast, Mayor Stothert’s unwillingness to negotiate with any opinion that differs from her own, only hurts the citizens and public safety workers she is supposed to be leading.

If you live in Omaha, if you raise your family in Omaha, if you think your life, your home, or your livelihood could ever be impacted in a way that requires the services of emergency personnel, then you should also vote Heath Mello – the candidate who values public safety and those who put their lives on the line every day to provide it – for Mayor of Omaha.



March 7, 2017 - Statement on Mayoral Endorsement

On February 3, 2017, the Political Action Committee of Local 385 forwarded a candidate questionnaire to Mayor Jean Stothert, along with other candidates for Mayor. After nearly three weeks of not hearing from the Mayor, the committee went forth with interviews, and the endorsement of Mr. Mello was made at the February 21 and 22 union meetings.

On March 3, 2017, Mayor Stothert’s campaign communicated to the PAC that the Mayor would like to participate in the interview process. On March 6, 2017, the Mayor commented to the media that she was unhappy that the Fire Fighters Association endorsed a Mayoral candidate without giving her an opportunity to interview.

First, there was ample time for the Mayor to respond, and, for whatever reason, she or her campaign chose not to send back the questionnaire until it was general knowledge throughout the fire service that Local 385 had endorsed Mr. Mello.

Second, it can hardly be a surprise to Mayor Stothert that the Association’s endorsement did not go her way.  Her track record on public safety, and particularly the fact that she did not respond to our questionnaire or participate in the interview process in 2013, should have left little doubt in her mind that she would receive the endorsement of Local 385. Her voting record on the Council in bringing fire fighters off the streets after 50 years of collecting for the MDA, her status as the only mayor in Omaha history under the Charter system to issue layoff notices to Firefighters, and her failure to adhere to the Contract she negotiated while on the Council when it came to national standards relative to staffing and response capacity are all factors that are not lost of the members of our Association. Mayor Stothert’s body of work has been one of contention and division, and while we proudly serve the citizens of Omaha no matter who serves as Mayor, when it comes to choosing who should be selected by the voters to hold the highest office in City Government, it is that body of work that will inform our opinion – not political expediency.

Sincerely,Steve LeClairPresident, Omaha Professional Fire Fighters, Local 385



February 14, 2017 - Legal Action Filed Against Mayor Stothert

On Monday, Feb. 13, 2017, legal action was filed challenging Mayor Stothert’s decision to appoint a Fire Chief of the Omaha Fire Department in violation of city code. It is our belief that the City has violated portions of the Omaha Municipal Code, including section 23-232 by misinterpreting the “rule of four” to achieve an outcome that was predetermined.

On behalf of the 630 men and women of Local 385, I can confidently say that our membership is not satisfied with the explanation the City has provided in support of its interpretation of the rule of four. Filing this complaint is a necessary step in order to achieve a resolution on questions surrounding the propriety of the Mayor’s decision-making process.

Local 385 demands transparency and fairness, in all promotional processes, department-wide. With inconsistency in the interpretation of the rule of four, it is impossible for me to assure our members that the promotional processes in which they will one day participate are fair, transparent and impartial. This filing is necessary to maintain the integrity and validity of all promotions within the Omaha Fire Department.

I will provide updates as this process unfolds.

Sincerely,Steve LeClairPresident, Omaha Professional Fire Fighters, Local 385

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



January 27, 2017 - Statement Regarding Passing of Salvatore Fidone III

From Steve LeClair, president of Local 385: On behalf of the men and women of the Omaha Professional Fire Fighters Association, Local 385, I would like to express condolences to the family, friends and co-workers of Salvatore Fidone III. City workers, like Salvatore and thousands of others, risk their safety every day in order to make our community a better place. Although inherent risk remains in many of the public services provided to the people of Omaha, the dedication of the men and women who do those jobs every day will serve as a reminder of the service provided by Salvatore, and all those who have gone before him in the line of duty.

 

 



December 28, 2016 - Chief Olsen Appointment

We acknowledge Chief Olsen’s service to the City of Omaha and we will continue to work with him to protect the interests of the 630 men and women who serve our city as members of the Omaha Professional Fire Fighters Association.

Our members demand transparency and fairness throughout the promotional process and expect that those values were followed during the Mayor’s selection of the Chief of the Department. Two of our members were among the final four candidates. Those members, the members-at-large of the Omaha Professional Fire Fighters, and the general public should demand assurance that the process the Mayor followed was fair and impartial.

Regardless of who the Mayor has selected as Fire Chief, the process used to select him, and her reasons for doing so, our primary goal is to protect our members and the public and exceed the national standards when it comes to response times and quality of emergency services. We will carry on that mission today, tomorrow and in the future.

I will take questions from the media at 2:30 p.m. today at the Fire Union Hall at 60th & Grover.

Sincerely,Steve LeClairPresident, Omaha Professional Fire Fighters, Local 385



November 11, 2016 - Veteran’s Day 2016