The Toledo Fire Chiefs Association union is letting bygones (Issue 2/Senate Bill 5) be bygones.
The union today put its support in the mayor's race behind former city Fire Chief Mike Bell for re-election for mayor.
Union vice president Battalion Commander Ken Gehring and union President Deputy Chief Gary Martin led a group of seven of the union's members (there's only 20 in total) at the city fire memorial downtown.
The chiefs' union said they had disagreements with the mayor - "exigent circumstances" and Issue 2/Senate Bill 5 being the big ones.
But overall the union leadership said the mayor deserves credit for such actions as eliminating a $48M deficit without mass layoffs, engaging in positive collective bargaining, and opening a new fire station.
"He's not afraid to make the tough call. He's got us turned around. We didn't go further down the road toward the city of Detroit and now we have a small surplus," Gehring said.
Bell said the fire union was the only city union that invited him to screen. He said they know how to make tough decisions, as in fire and emergency situations."I know this was not an easy choice for them from the standpoint of some of the things we actually had to do. These are people standing behind me that are used to making tough calls," Bell said.
The mayor is facing about half a dozen opponents, including Democrats Lucas County Auditor Anita Lopez and City Councilman Joe McNamara and independent Councilman D. Michael Collins. Bell is also non-affailiated.
"[Detroit] would love to have the options we have today, the options of being able to hire firefighters, the options of being able to build fire stations, being able to build roads, ... but they don't, and and part of that is because they could not make the hard decisions," Bell said.
In a letter Download Fire Chief Endorsement, union President Gary Martin - a deputy fire chief - goes to some length about the 2010 exigent circumstances episode. He credits the mayor for sticking with his convictions despite the political fallout.
Martin said there were dissenters from the endorsement.
AFSCME Locals 7 and 2058 and Teamsters Local 20 have endorsed Lopez.Firefighters Local 92 has screened Lopez, McNamara, and Collins but hasn't announced a candidate yet.
Also undecided are the two police unions, Toledo Police Patrolman's Association and Toledo Police Command Officers Association.