Chuck Sullivan was appointed as the President of the AFFI in January of 2020 and then elected in June of 2020 by the delegates of the 43rd Biennial Convention. He had previously served as the Central District Legislative Representative since 2008. Chuck has served in various Executive Board offices within his own Champaign Local 1260, and was also the AFFI 2nd District Political Education Committee Coordinator from 2004 to 2008. Sullivan was hired by CFD in 1995 and is a Captain.
Sullivan said he is “Honored and humbled by the opportunity to represent Illinois firefighters in Springfield. Our AFFI predecessors established an excellent reputation at the Capitol, our goal is to maintain it.” He feels the biggest challenge facing fire service labor is to, “Protect and improve on our pensions ensuring our members are able to enjoy a comfortable retirement after a long and rewarding career.”
He also believes it is “Vital to our continued success to have members at the local level working to elect individuals who understand the importance of our legislative agenda. Without Local participation, the AFFI does not function.”
Secretary-Treasurer Tom Roate was elected to the AFFI at the June 2006 convention in Lisle Woodridge. Roate was hired in Springfield in 1994 and retired in 2016 as a Battalion Chief. He started his fire service career in 1983 with the Air Force and served 7.5 years of active duty and the remainder in the Air Guard. Prior to his service to the AFFI he served as Trustee, Secretary and President of Springfield Fire Fighters Local 37.
His most rewarding Local union event has been coordinating the annual retiree dinner and states: “Our history and our experience are our greatest assets. We can’t lose that.” He also enjoyed the difference he is able to make in people’s lives as a firefighter and that he is able to help brother firefighters as a union leader. Roate says the biggest challenge facing fire service labor is “to truly bond as union firefighters throughout the state, drawing on each others experience and numbers.”
Luke Howieson currently serves as the AFFI Vice President, having been elected to that position in 2018. Luke began his fire service career in 1995, and has served with the DeKalb Fire Department since 2001 where he is currently a Captain.
Daniel Fortuna is a 30-year member of the Chicago Fire Fighters Union, IAFF Local 2. Dan has been an active member of the Chicago Fire Department since 1978. Dan Fortuna is currently serving as the State of Illinois First District Vice President of the Associated Fire Fighters of Illinois (AFFI). He serves 40 locals in his district. Dan is proud to have served three terms on the Executive Board of the Chicago Fire Fighters Union (CFFU), Local 2 as the Director of Public Relations. His initial involvement with the Chicago Firefighters Union Local 2 began on February 14, 1980 when Dan Fortuna joined his 4000 union brothers on strike to obtain the Chicago Firefighters Union first labor contract. Soon after the settlement, he was elected as a Union Steward for the newly formed Steward Program. Dan served on the transition team of Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich. In 2005, Illinois Governor Rod Blagojevich appointed Dan to serve as a member of the Firefighters Medal of Honor Committee. In addition, he is a current board member sitting on the Illinois Firefighter Memorial Foundation Committee, as appointed by the Illinois State Fire Marshall. Dan is also an elected Executive Board member of NCPERS (National Conference on Public Employee Retirement System). He serves as a member of the Budget, Marketing and By-Laws Committees.
Chris Coats was hired by the Pekin Fire Department in August of 1999, and was promoted to engineer in 2008 and Captain in 2012. Chris proudly served on the executive board of Local 524 as a Shift Steward, Secretary-Treasurer, and President. He also served as District 2 PEC Coordinator. Chris as elected District 2 Vice-President at the June 2010 Biennial Convention in Springfield. “It’s an honor to be re-elected twice as I continue to serve you as your District 2 VP. I look forward to many more years serving you, as a member of your AFFI Executive Board, as we continue to move our great organization forward, and meet all of our challenges head on.
Matt has been a member of Bolingbrook Fire Department for the past 23 years, currently serving as a Lieutenant since 2007. He was elected to Local 3005‘s executive board in 1997 as a shift steward and has held the positions of contract negotiator, vice president and since 2006, Local President.
Matt was elected as the AFFI’s District 4 Vice President at the 39th Biennial Convention in Lombard. He believes it is imperative that every local benefit from the unique experiences of our affiliate leaders. His stated goal is to bring together the locals of District 4 so that all can be aware of and understand the issues faced throughout the district and the state and to share the partnership that the AFFI has with the Illinois Firefighter Peer Support team with all AFFI affiliates who request it.
Art Thompson was elected District 5 VP at the June 2016 Biennial Convention in Bloomingdale. Art was hired by the Barrington Fire Department in August of 1996. He is currently serving his 9th term on the executive board of Barrington Local 3481 where he has been Shift Steward, Trustee, Local Treasurer and currently President.
Art has been very active in the AFFI since 2008 serving on the Privatization Committee. He also served as District 5 VP Assistant under Steve Horne from 2012 until his election. Art currently serves as Chair for the AFFI Consolidation Committee.
During Art’s career, the Barrington Fire Dept split into two entities, Barrington Fire Dept and Barrington Countryside Fire Protection District. Art was instrumental in rebuilding his local. He recognizes the importance of union members building strong political relationships and standing united.
Northern District Legislative Representative Steve Shetsky
Steve Shetsky was elected as Northern District Legislative Representative in June of 2020 and has served on the Political Education Committee since 2012. In January of 2013, he was hired as a Staff Representative and focused primarily on the political and legislative components of the AFFI’s efforts. He earned his Master’s in Public Policy and Public Administration from American University in Washington, DC. He was hired by Lincolnshire-Riverwoods Fire Protection District in 2006 and currently holds the rank of Lieutenant. He has served as the Local 4224 Secretary, Treasurer, Vice President and multiple terms as President. He also works for the International Association of Fire Fighters as a State Political Academy instructor and travels the country teaching campaigns and politics to IAFF members in other states. Steve currently serves as the AFFI PAC Secretary
“Our profession is political in nature and we are forced to participate in that arena if we want to preserve our rights and advance the labor movement. There is no substitute for firefighters representing ourselves at the State Capitol. I take great pride and consider it an honor to be able to work with the Legislative Committee on behalf of our 15,000+ members in Illinois.”
Central District Legislative Representative Jeff Maher
Jeff Maher was elected as Central District Legislative Representative in February of 2020. He has been a member of the Galesburg Fire Department since 2008 and currently serves as a Captain. Immediately upon being hired he realized the importance of being involved in local politics and began taking on leadership roles with the Galesburg Firefighters Association – Local 555. He has served his local membership as Secretary, Vice President, and President. Jeff is routinely involved in local, regional, and statewide campaigns to help candidates who stand up for firefighters get elected to office.
Jeff began work with the AFFI in 2016 as a Staff Representative and focused primarily on Collective Bargaining and Database Development. Jeff currently serves as the AFFI PAC Treasurer.
“It’s an honor to serve the 33 Locals and 1000+ AFFI members of the Central District and it is a privilege to lead a highly motivated group of top performing Political Education Committee members to advance AFFI initiatives in Springfield, throughout the region, and across the State of Illinois.”
Southern District Legislative Representative Richard Martin
Richard Martin was elected as Southern District Legislative Representative in May 2005 and has served on the Political Education Committee since 1999. He was hired at the Murphysboro Fire Department in 1984. He helped organize Murphysboro Local 3042 and was elected Treasurer of the Local in 1987 and President in 1996. He still holds that position. Martin states one of his proudest moments was when he negotiated a contract for 24 / 72 shifts which also added two more members to his department. Martin has worked numerous campaigns to elect state and local officials that understand and are supportive of labor issues. Richard currently serves as the AFFI PAC Chairman.
He maintains an ongoing relationship with elected officials to get firefighter issues addressed. “Maintaining our collective bargaining rights and post employment health insurance are two of the biggest issues firefighter’s face,” Martin states. One of the most memorable moments in his tenure as a union firefighter was to represent Southern Illinois at the Democratic National Convention in July 2004 with other union and labor representatives.