From the Presidents Pen:

President Don Dinse’s End of Year Report for 2008

Sisters, Brothers Family members and Friend of the York County Professional Fire Fighters IAFF Local 2498, Please allow me a few moments of your time to share with you what your union has been working on for the last 11 months. I started the year along side our local’s legislative committee lobbying in Richmond, Virginia on Capitol Hill. It is with great disappointment that Virginia Fire Fighters gained very little mainly due to House of Delegate Republicans killing nearly all our bills without a recorded vote in committees , preventing us from holding them accountable. It is my strong belief that leaders, either appointed or elected should be as transparent as possible in order to build trust. We should expect no less from our elected officials in Richmond.

The legislative session did not end in total failure for the Virginia Professional Fire Fighters, we were able to have a bill killed in committee that would have weakened and perhaps destroyed our current Virginia Retirement System. A retirement system that has proven to be one of the best run retirement programs in the nation. It would seem that there are some in Richmond who think that Fire Fighters, Law Enforcement Officers, Teachers and other government workers retire with huge retirement benefits from VRS and that the system is much too generous. They would like to see the VRS program changed from a “Defined Benefit” program which guarantee’s a certain amount you will retire with per month, to a “Defined Contribution” program with no guarantee on what your retirement would be and would be dependent on the Stock Market.

We will probably see another attack on our retirement in the upcoming legislative session in January 2009. Your local stands ready to take on this attack with everything we’ve got to protect your future. Immediately following the Virginia Legislative Session we marched on Washington DC attending the IAFF Legislative Conference then walking the halls of congress meeting with members of congress promoting our national legislation. At the top of the list was our National Collective Bargaining Bill. Which has now passed the house with a veto proof margin and will be introduced into the senate shortly.

By midyear we were busy hosting the Virginia Professional Fire Fighters Convention at the Great Wolf Lodge in York County, Virginia. 2 years of planning resulted in a record breaking attendance and one of the best conventions in VPFF history. Shortly after convention we hosted a BBQ for the Virginia Burn Camp as they visited Water Country USA for the day.

And while we had one of the busiest years in Local 2498 history, we won several workers compensation claims for our members. From a job related hypertension claim to back and shoulder injuries. I am proud to announce that since being elected as your president, we have not lost a single workers compensation claim as we average eight to twenty claims per year. Our success is partly due to members knowing their rights and responsibilities as they relate to Virginia’s Workers Compensation Law and Union Officers insuring that all job related injuries, illnesses and exposures are properly documented in a timely manner.

2008 was also another successful year for our local’s participation with both the Muscular Dystrophy’s Association and the American Cancer Society. We broke another Local 2498 record with our fund raising and “Fire Fighters Fill the Boot” campaign for MDA. We also had the honor of meeting Virginia’s MDA ambassador, Rebecca at the VPFF Convention. In true IAFF Local 2498 fashion, shortly after learning that Rebecca’s wish was to return to the Great Wolf Lodge for a weekend of fund with her family. IAFF Local 2498 jumped into action and worked with the staff of the Great Wolf Lodge and York County Department of Fire and Life Safety arranging a FREE weekend for Rebecca and her family.

We also participated in our 9th annual Relay for Life. Raising money for the fight against cancer while providing fire and EMS protection at the relay itself. As we speak, our relay committee is already at work raising money for next year’s relay.

While making dreams come true, lobbying in Richmond and DC, holding a State Convention, conducting fund raising for MDA, Relay for Life and the Burn Foundation, we also became the largest financial supporter of York Counties Safety Town, a program to teach York County children fire and bike safety, we completed a friendly merger with our brothers and sisters from the City of Williamsburg, Virginia. I offered this merger as a way not only to enhance IAFF Local 2498’s membership and effectiveness, but a way to share our success with a much smaller local going through difficult times. This merger has benefited both departments from the day it was approved. We have been a critical positive component insuring that 2 workers compensation claims were completed and are on their way to being wins for our members in Williamsburg.

2 years ago, I asked the local Treasurer and Board of Trustees to develop a long range budget that would extend at least 4 years out giving our local a long range financial plan. As always, I can report that by working together we have completed our long range plan and placed it in front of the general membership and executive for final approval. I am happy to report that the budget for at least the next two years was approved unanimously. This long term budget included a union dues increase in January 2010. Our union dues will go up $4.60 per pay day per member. The increase will also include doubling our PAC contribution per member from $2.00 per member per month to $4.00 per member per month starting January 2010. This will insure our local’s financial future for years to come. It will be 2016 before another adjustment is reviewed by the Board of Trustees and Executive Board of IAFF Local 2498.

I added a last minute friendly amendment to the 2009/2010 budget which creates a United States Veteran Appreciation Program to be introduced in 2009. I also included an IAFF Local 2498 Union Office Purchase line item to be utilized to create a funding mechanism to purchase our own office or purchase into Teamsters Local 95 existing office. The amendments also passed unanimously. I also worked with our Brothers and Sisters from Teamsters Local 95 on a rent agreement that would insure we had an office for at least an additional 5 years.

Then came the last quarter of the year and the most important political races of our time. As we have for the last 30 years, we engaged at a level that has set standards for other locals. We proudly followed our IAFF endorsements of both democrats and republicans in the 2008 elections. The IAFF’s endorsements process is time tested and second to none. By endorsing candidates who have proven voting records and have shown proven support for Professional Fire Fighters Issues and the issues that affect our families the IAFF endorsement process is absolutely bipartisan. Our political efforts have paid off and we now have a true proven friend with a 100% voting record for our issues in the white house. We have also gained friends in the Senate and House. We stand on the eve of having our voices heard at the table. A table we were left out from for nearly a decade.

We will take this same political effectiveness to Richmond next year to insure we have our issues addressed and your voices heard. Those who choose to ignore our issues, we will work to unseat from office through the electoral process. In 1999 I ran for president on a promise that I would run this local like a business, insure that every member’s voice was heard, inclusion, transparency and insure checks and balances. Brothers & Sisters you have made it clear to me that I have kept those promises by trusting me to remain your president for nearly a decade. I have also heard your concern that perhaps we need to add to our moral efforts. Until 2010 we will remain on an extremely tight budget so in an attempt to get our members and their families together with off duty functions such as camping trips, wine tasting tours and this year, a trip to New York for the Holiday Experience of which we have nearly 40 people attending. We will add a few more family functions next year. In 2010 my hope is to offer a new line item budget for at least a yearly family summer BBQ and perhaps a family holiday dinner. If you have any ideas or suggestions stop by the office or contact me anytime.

We will end this year with our Annual Previous Donor Mailer Fund Raiser that will be sent out Thanksgiving week. We have also scheduled our Local’s Christmas Party for December 19th from 8am to 5pm at the Union Hall. We have also been invited to participate alongside our sisters and brothers from the Teamsters Local 95’s Christmas Party with Santa on December 20th from 1000 hrs to 1300hrs. Your Local will pay for any IAFF Local 2498 Child to attend this event.

Sisters, Brothers, Family and Friends, 2008 has been a very busy and successful year for our members and their families. None of this could be possible without your participation and support. Our Local is known throughout the state, the IAFF and the many other unions for its ability to protect and represent its members and its political action. We meet every challenge placed in front of us with true fire fighter spirit, dedication and courage. We will not back down.

2009 will bring many new challenges with the economic down turn. We will again introduce our 2009/2010 legislative agenda to the York County Board of Supervisors and York County Administration. We are no illusions that we will have some tough fights ahead of us. But you have my word as your president that we will do all that we can to keep our issues on the front political burners. Our safety and the safety of our citizens depend on it. We will insure that elected officials do not reduce personnel, benefits or safety measures. We will work to insure that York County remains a safe and competitive place in live and work.

I ask every member to consider joining a committee and become part of this local’s decision making process. We have over 12 active committees, I am confident that the committee chairs will welcome your participation with open arms.

With all that being said, I wish each and every one of you a happy and safe holiday season and a healthy and prosperous new year. Please check back to our web site, MySpace and face book pages often for updates.


Donald Michael Dinse, President
YCPFF's IAFF Local 2498
Office: (757) 532-3337
Fax: (757) 345-6033
E-mail Our President E-Mail:

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This flag symbolized the presence and authority of the Commander-in-Chief as he led the Continental Army in its struggle to win independence and liberty, and to create the new American nation.

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