Kentucky League of Cities Honors Kentucky Professional Fire Fighters

September 28 • 2018

During its conference and expo in Louisville, the Kentucky League of Cities (KLC) honored the Kentucky Professional Fire Fighters (KPFF) with its Partnership Advocacy Award.

The award recognizes organizations and individuals that have worked hard to assist the League with its legislative agenda. This award most often goes to a city manager, mayor or other city official, but this year was different.

“While KPFF and the KLC will not always see eye-to-eye, we made a conscious decision a few years ago to work toward compromising on issues that benefit all of us,” says KPFFPresident Joe Baer. “We have been able to work together on big issues, such as a fire fighter cancer death benefit, workers’ compensation reform and changes to the pension system. It’s a unique collaboration that is working.”

In 2016, when the KPFF was lobbying for the passage of SB 195, which would give families of fire fighters who die from certain types of cancer $80,000 in line-of-duty death benefits, the state KLC lent its support to help fire fighters garner support.

In turn, in 2017, when the KLC was looking to pass sensible workers’ compensation reform but could not get enough legislators to agree to vote for its passage, the LoC turned to the KPFF.

“The KLC asked us to list the compromises needed to get our support. The KLC met all of our requests,” says Baer. “The legislation later passed into law with our changes.”

Additionally, the KPFF and the KLC have also been working together on protecting the pension system. The KPFF is working to separate its members’ pension system (called the County Employees Retirement System or CERS) from the Kentucky Retirement System (KRS) umbrella.

The separation would  give the stakeholders (employers and employees) the ability to manage the plan without political roadblocks getting in the way.

For the legislative session beginning in January 2019, the KPFF hopes the KLC will work with it on passing legislation calling for post-traumatic stress disorder protections for first responders.