AGP for Government Affairs Kevin O’Connor meets with Thomas Malone, president of Memphis, AL Local 1784 during the District 14 Conference.

A new model for IAFF district conferences – formerly known as District Partnership Education Program (PEP) events – is bringing the resources of the International directly to rank-and-file members.

Leadership from the union’s divisions will attend this year’s conferences to discuss their areas’ accomplishments and the services they provide for affiliates, as well as answer attendees’ questions.

“Everything we do is focused on serving our members’ interests,” said General President Edward Kelly. “It’s critical that our brothers and sisters hear directly from Headquarters staff, know the resources available to them, and have the opportunity to ask the questions that matter to them.”

In addition to Kelly and General Secretary-Treasurer Frank Líma, leadership from Communications; Government Affairs; Health, Safety, and Medicine; Human Relations, Education and Grants Administration; Membership Services; Technical Assistance and Information Services; the IAFF Financial Corporation, and the General Counsel’s office will address the conferences.

District 14 held the year’s first conference last week in Gulf Shores, Ala. It was also opened to those in the 12th District.

“Everyone seemed eager to learn and were very engaged in the workshops,” said 14th District Vice President Danny Todd. “And all were very appreciative of the opportunity to hear from the GP, the GST, and IAFF department leaders.”

Thomas Malone, Jr., longtime president of Memphis Local 1784, said the presence of headquarters resources made the event one of the most beneficial in his time as an affiliate leader.

“I thought bringing in the IAFF staff to give a quick rundown of what they were responsible for and allowing us to put a face with a name made the conference a huge success,” he said.

Terrence Dossett, of Gautier, MS Local 3290, was attending his first district conference.

“I didn’t know everything the IAFF offered, all the research being conducted,” he said. “This gave me a better understanding of what the International does and what it offers us so that I can take that valuable information back to my Local.”

“From what I gathered,” Dossett added, “the two days just scratched the surface of all that’s available to us.”

The next conference will be in the 4th District May 25-26.