3 fire chiefs launch Members First Initiative to focus future IAFC leadership on membership

Chiefs Butler, Waldo and Wolford developed the plan to focus on the needs of IAFC members and promote open communication at the association


By Janelle Foskett

Three IAFC leadership candidates have formed the Members First Initiative in the hopes of strengthening future IAFC leadership commitment to the needs of members.

Fairfax County, Virginia, Fire Chief John Butler, 2021 IAFC 2nd vice president candidate; Bozeman, Montana, Fire Chief Josh Waldo, 2022 2nd vice president candidate; and Anne Arundel County, Maryland, Fire Chief Trisha Wolford, 2023 2nd vice president candidate, released a statement last week, stating that change that will last for years to come takes time, and expressing their commitment to “working as a team to ensure transparency and open communication to all members of the IAFC and ensure that the needs and desires of the membership come first.”

Fairfax County, Virginia, Fire Chief John Butler (left); Bozeman, Montana, Fire Chief Josh Waldo (center); and Anne Arundel County, Maryland, Fire Chief Trisha Wolford (right) shared their vision for the future of the IAFC.
Fairfax County, Virginia, Fire Chief John Butler (left); Bozeman, Montana, Fire Chief Josh Waldo (center); and Anne Arundel County, Maryland, Fire Chief Trisha Wolford (right) shared their vision for the future of the IAFC.

Chief Butler shared with FireRescue1 the motivation behind the Initiative: “Consistency is needed to implement long-lasting, multi-year change. Our three-person succession plan builds in some assurances that we have time to address larger issues within the IAFC. We'd also like to see increased transparency and consistent communication. The membership should hear from the president/board monthly, maybe even more frequently during times when we have major issues going on. Lastly, we plan to help expand the membership, by engaging members of all ranks and building our future leaders. This is an important role of the IAFC.”

Butler added that the three chiefs hope they can do more to build upon the previous and current successes to strengthen the future of the IAFC.

The statement details the chiefs’ contention that there should be no one-year presidential initiatives; instead, they will focus on members’ needs and key goals, including:

  • Improving inclusivity among membership;
  • Ensuring economic stability and resilience at the organization;
  • Positioning the organization as a leader in professional standards, health and safety, code development, and funding at national and regional levels; and
  • Providing assistance to divisions, sections, committees and state associations within the IAFC.

Chief Butler is running unopposed for the seat of 2nd vice president and will move into the role of president by acclimation at Fire-Rescue International 2021 in July. The statement notes that chiefs Waldo and Wolford are “ready to follow in his footsteps to successfully execute a multi-year plan that listens to the members needs, their concerns and what they want from a professional organization.”

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