Edward A. Kelly is the 11th General Secretary-Treasurer in IAFF history, elected in 2016 at the IAFF 53rd Convention.
The son, grandson, brother, nephew and cousin of fire fighters, Kelly joined the Boston Fire Department as a fire fighter/EMT in 1997, where he was assigned to the Technical Rescue team that assisted Worcester Local 1009 at the Cold Storage Warehouse fire in 1999. Kelly was among the hundreds of fire fighters at Ground Zero after the September 11 attacks on the World Trade Center, and also responded to the Boston Marathon bombing in 2013.
Kelly rapidly climbed the ranks of organized labor and is known and respected for his dedication to the fire service and labor movement. He served as president of Boston, MA Local 718 in one of the most contentious times in the local’s history, engaging in a bitter duel with then-Boston Mayor Thomas M. Menino over the local’s contract. He went on to become president of the Professional Fire Fighters of Massachusetts in 2011, a post he held until his election as General Secretary-Treasurer.
A graduate of the Harvard Trade Union Program class of 2015, he was named Labor Leader of the Year by the Greater Boston Labor Council. Kelly was appointed by the governor of Massachusetts to serve as a commissioner at the Department of Fire Services, as well as the Commonwealth of Massachusetts Group Insurance Commission, one of the largest health care purchasers in the Northeast, and was elected Executive Vice President for Public Sector of the Massachusetts AFL-CIO.
In addition, he serves as chairman of the Board of Directors for Florian CARES, a fire-based non-profit dedicated to community health, and as trustee for the Boston Fire Department Charitable Association, first established in 1828 to ensure proper burial for indigent fire fighters and which now assists widows and widowers of fire fighters of modest means.
As part of Kelly’s charitable efforts, he is a co-founder and member of the Board of Directors for Massachusetts Iraq and Afghanistan Fallen Heroes and provides support for children diagnosed with pediatric cancer through The Cure It Foundation.
Before becoming a Boston fire fighter, Kelly attended the Department of Defense Fire Academy and from 1994 to 1997 served in the U.S. Air Force, stationed at Tyndall Air Force Base in Panama City, Florida, where he worked as part of the crash and rescue crew.