The Apopka Professional Firefighters Association (APFA) has endorsed City Commissioner Kyle Becker in his campaign to become Apopka Mayor in the 2022 election.
The IAFF Local 5293, which represents 86 firefighters, engineers, and district chiefs at the Apopka Fire Department, released the following statement signed by APFA President Matthew Gurgone:
"The Apopka Professional Firefighters Association is pleased to announce that we are endorsing City Commissioner Kyle Becker in the upcoming Mayoral election. Extensive thought has been taken with this endorsement. We have considered Mr. Becker’s willingness to engage city employees and his attention to the voting trends regarding critical concerns. In addition, he completed an in-depth questionnaire that we provided that displayed his obvious dedication to public safety. To date, Mayor Nelson has not responded to any inquiries presented by our association.
City Commissioner Becker has pledged to acknowledge the concerns of not only the firefighters but of all employees and citizens of Apopka. He understands the reduced manpower on your fire engines and ladder trucks is a hazard to the safety of the citizens and first responders. He also acknowledges that the “Squad” concept that worked many years ago, does not fit the dynamic changes that the City of Apopka and the Apopka Fire Department are experiencing. Mr. Becker is open to having discussions with your firefighters that will allow us to bring better service to the citizens and visitors of Apopka with a comprehensive and fiscally responsible plan for the future.
City Commissioner Becker is supportive of all public safety services of Apopka. His understanding of the loss of any member of our public safety employees to other agencies is a loss to the citizens of Apopka. Employee retention is key to providing an experienced response team during any emergency.
City Commissioner Becker’s experience in the financial industry, as well as his years serving on the City Council, provides the Association with an understanding that he would be fiscally responsible. With the continued growth of Apopka, it is imperative that we keep public safety as the top priority as we continue to expand and face new challenges.
We encourage you to vote for Kyle Becker on March 8, 2022."
According to Alex Klepper, Public Information Officer and Secretary of the APFA, both candidates were sent an initial email/letter. Nelson did not respond to the email. Becker responded and was sent a 15-point questionnaire covering issues such as department staffing, training, pensions, and medical disability. The APFA also had an in-person interview with Becker. The endorsement was unanimous among its executive board.
Becker appreciated the thorough interview and questionnaire from the APFA.
I am so honored to receive the endorsement of the Apopka Professional Firefighters Association," he said. "I have the utmost appreciation and respect for the contributions made by the men and women of our fire rescue service, a department so revered by our community. The bravery, hard work, and selflessness they display every day deserve leadership that will ensure a safe and proper working environment for which to do their job successfully. I thank them for asking tough questions in their survey of candidates, and I accept the task of growing our department to meet the evolving and dynamic needs of a growing city like Apopka."
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