During my campaign, I promised our members that if I were elected as General Secretary-Treasurer (GST), I would be ready to begin work immediately. To accomplish that, I began thinking about who a good fit would be to fill key positions and assist me in executing the constitutional duties of the GST’s office as promised when I took the oath of office on March 10.
Since the day the results were unofficially announced, I pulled together a panel of experienced and proven IAFF leaders that was led by IAFF Senior District Vice President Danny Todd from the 14th District. The panel narrowed down the talented list of candidates with the knowledge, skills and abilities that could immediately serve as our IAFF Chief of Operations (COO) and then interviewed several potential candidates.
With their input, it became clear that to deliver on my promise, the person filling the position would need to be a strong, experienced leader with significant knowledge of the IAFF’s operations and an individual with a proven track record of delivering. The ideal candidate would have an in-depth knowledge of IAFF programs, services and administrative and budgeting processes. After conducting several interviews, the panel and I agreed unanimously that Jim Brinkley, who currently serves as the IAFF Assistant to the General President for Technical Assistance and Information Resources (TAIR), is the right leader to have by my side during this critical transition time for our union.
Prior to coming to the IAFF full-time in March 2008, Jim served for more than 21 years with the Prince George’s County Fire/EMS Department located in Maryland. Jim rose through the ranks to the position of battalion chief and after 14 years on the executive board for IAFF Local 1619, he was elected as president of his local and won a second term by acclamation. Shortly after, Jim was offered the position of Director of Health, Safety and Medicine at the IAFF.
During his campaign for president of IAFF Local 1619, Jim discovered that his local was on the verge of suspension from the IAFF for delinquency in remitting dues. Just weeks into his presidency, he assembled a three-person independent team to review the finances of the local to determine why a local with what should have been a positive cashflow was in arrears. This process was later codified by establishing the local’s first trustees program. Jim continued to work with his executive board to develop policies and a budget process to correct course and to ensure the financial stability of the organization for the future. So, Jim knows the financial challenges of our affiliates and how to establish best practices for their success.
Since coming to the IAFF, Jim has managed two of the largest budgets in the IAFF — Health and Safety and, for the past two years, the Technical Assistance Division as the Assistant to the General President for TAIR. These budgets include grants, per capita revenue, non-per capita revenue, salaries, services and activities that involve the IAFF Foundation.
His proven track record in project management is evident when you consider the development of the IAFF Fire Ground Survival (FGS) program, the Fallen Fire Fighter Memorial rebuild and multiple annual services, the Peer Support Training program, the IAFF Center of Excellence for Behavioral Health Treatment and Recovery and several highly successful Redmond/Barbera conferences that he directed.
When this union was confronted with developing the protocols and resources to protect our members during this pandemic, Jim was tapped to lead the response. And just a week ago, we completed the IAFF’s first ever, all-virtual Convention – an effort that called for someone who could work with every division and department for both the General President’s and GST’s office. When asked to serve as the lead for this important task, Jim accepted this challenge without hesitation and delivered once again.
To be clear, there are many talented leaders on staff at the IAFF and who serve as affiliate leaders in the field. Many could fill the position. However, I believe Jim is a strong, experienced leader with a proven track record of winning for the IAFF and our members. I personally have worked with Jim and observed firsthand his strong work ethic when I was the Vice President and President of the United Firefighters of Los Angeles City Local 112 and as the IAFF 10th District Vice President. Jim is the right person for the job at this important time as we begin to take on the challenges our union faces as your GST.
For all those reasons, please join me in congratulating Jim Brinkley on his appointment as my Chief of Operations effective April 9, 2021. We have already begun assembling and will formally announce our senior transition team in the very near future. Our GST team has already begun working collaboratively with the General President’s transition team and will continue to do so.
I look forward to working with Jim during the next few weeks of transition, and as we continue to build our staff for the GST’s office. The GST team we are assembling will operate with integrity while taking appropriate action to make sure our union’s financial foundation is strong for decades to come and restoring our members faith and trust in their IAFF.
In solidarity – Unite, Fight, Organize.