HAMILTON, NJ --  Firefighters from all corners of Hamilton Township stood in front of the Rusling Hose Fire Company Friday to endorse Council President Jeff Martin in his bid for Mayor of Hamilton as well as council candidates Pat Papero and Nancy Phillips. 

Members of Hamilton FMBA Locals 84 and 284, the unions representing Hamilton Township’s career firefighters, announced their support days after the statewide firefighters' union, New Jersey FMBA, also unanimously endorsed Martin and his team, in front of more than 300 of their members.

“Nearly four years ago our members kicked into gear an effort to bring important change to the Hamilton Township Fire Department,” stated Nick Buroczi, President, Hamilton Fire Officers Local 284. “While the Township Council has done their part to advance this critical policy, the fact is Mayor Kelly Yaede has failed to keep up with the need to protect our community, our residents, and our firefighters.”

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Dave Krueger, president, Hamilton FMBA Local 84, said that Mayor Kelly Yaede's claim that the township's obligation to collectively bargain with the union was a "poison pill" shocked the community and the union members who come "to work every day, answering every alarm, house fires, car accidents, building collapses, but not truly know what workplace protections will be in place for us."

“Public safety isn’t the only place Mayor Yaede has failed residents,” Krueger added “It is, however, the one that is most apparent to the men and women of the Hamilton Fire Department that continue to do our best to protect residents despite the obstacles that are placed in front of us through a disjointed fire service.

Reflecting on a similar show of support in his previous campaign, Eddie Donnelly, the statewide FMBA union president, said that “when we endorsed Jeff in 2017 we did so because the conversation, and legislative action, around public safety in Hamilton Township had to change.”

"Two years later, while Mayor Kelly Yaede has shown her inability to run a government that represents the people, not her special interests, and has attacked collective bargaining time and time again, Jeff has stood strong and showed that working families still matter in Hamilton Township."

Martin thanked the firefighters for their efforts to keep Hamilton safe and addressed the collective work to consolidate the Hamilton fire districts into unified entity.

"The council has done our work on this important matter, but, like too many other critical issues, it has sat dormant on Mayor Yaede’s desk," said Martin.  “Fire consolidation will allow these brave men and women to meet the many challenges of their profession and, at the same time, provide our residents with the best in fire safety, that’s why I made it a cornerstone of my first campaign, and will make it a top priority if I am elected as mayor." Martin added.  

Council candidate Pat Papero, who works as a sherriff's officer, said he first-hand knowledge of the work of first responders and expertise that he can share on the governing body to make Hamilton safer.

"Our first priority is public safety, and important steps have already been taken to get to the finish line when it comes to making sure that unnecessary bureaucracy isn’t hampering the ability of our amazing firefighters," Papero added.  

"Our goal is to make sure that the local government responsible for representing the needs of our residents is operating efficiently and effectively, something that just isn’t happening right now,” Counci candidate Nancy Phillips said. “Nowhere is our ability to deliver good government more important than in the provision of public safety, and that’s why I am proud to have the support of our local career firefighters.”  

Multiple effforts to reach Mayor Yaede for comment via email were not returned at the time of publication.  

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