LEXINGTON — Hazard Fire Chief Sam Stacy this week was named the new president of the Kentucky Firefighter’s Association.
The Kentucky Firefighter’s Association is made up of hundreds of professional and volunteer departments that work for the best interests of the community and emergency services. They lobby the Kentucky Legislature for regulations and funding, as well as acting as a professional organization.
Stacy said that he started to become more involved with the KFA after being told to help promote the area in a positive light by the late Hazard Mayor Bill Gorman.
“He always said we need to promote Hazard and Perry County,” Stacy said. “And he kept wanting us to get more and more involved, not only in stuff in Hazard, but stuff that would promote our area and region.”
Following the direction of Mayor Gorman, he became the regional association president for the Mountain Region, one of 16 regions in the KFA. After serving as regional president he was promoted by the Mountain Region as their candidate for KFA president.
The KFA votes in third vice presidents, and then at the end of the year they move up to second, then vice president. After spending three years as a vice president, Stacy was able to take the president’s office for a one-year term. He was sworn in during a ceremony Wednesday in Lexington.
During the upcoming year Stacy will take on several new responsibilities, including planning the annual conference and working to lobby for the commonwealth’s fire departments.
“We have a lot of different responsibilities,” he said. “One of the big ones is our legislative part. We have lobbyists that actually go and lobby during the general sessions for different bills that we need passed.”
This year Stacy said he and the KFA will be focused on trying to secure a positive outcome to the upcoming pension reform debates. The full time fire departments and firefighters are on the same pension plan as city and county employees.
“We have got a vested interested in that. Not only does it affect the fire department personnel that are actually paid and on the pension plan, but when they start messing with the pension plan it affects other folks,” he said.
Along with KFA’s responsibilities in dealing with the legislature, it also acts as a professional organization where ideas can be exchanged and connections made. With such a wide range of different areas and types of fire departments, Stacy said it is good to learn from one another.
“As you go through the process more and more into the everyday running of the KFA,” he said, “you also get to networking with all of these larger departments (and) see what they are doing as far as training goes, as far as budgetary, protocols and everything like that. You get the expertise of a larger department.”
At the end of his one-year term, Stacy will host a conference for the KFA where his successor will be named. Stacy had wanted to host the event in Hazard, but said he would have to secure at least 350 hotel rooms and that would not be possible here.
Despite this, he said he is still making sure that the conference makes in to Eastern Kentucky. He is working with Ashland Fire Department to host the event there.
Chief Stacy began his career with the Hazard Fire Department in 1991, and became chief in 2007.