|Cops say no thanks to Chamber awards|
|Written by Mark Nichols|
|According to a recent article in Florida Today, mounting tensions resulting from state legislative battles between public safety unions and business interests could lead to a boycott of the Valor Awards by local first responders. According to the article, the Melbourne Regional Chamber of East Central Florida said it will continue with plans to hold the third annual Valor Awards despite calls from Bert Gamin, president of the Brevard County F.O.P., for public safety employees to boycott the event.
The Valor Awards honor Brevard County personnel for acts of extraordinary valor according to a chamber press release. The three awards are Medal of Valor, Life Saving Award and Medal of Merit.
The chamber’s guidelines for the awards say they are to be presented to those nominated by their chiefs and commanders for putting themselves in harm’s way to protect citizens.
F.O.P. members questioned Gamin about whether they should attend the event after a rift developed between F.O.P. and the Florida Chamber of Commerce during the past state legislative session.
Gamin issued a statement this week asking more than 500 law enforcement officers in Brevard to skip the ceremony.
“The Florida Chamber of Commerce is an organization, in conjunction with the Florida League of Cities, leading the effort to curtail or eliminate the collective bargaining rights of public safety unions in Florida and seeking the elimination of traditional retirement plans for public safety workers,” the release stated. “It is an ironic twist that we are invited to break bread and served a chicken dinner by the very organization seeking to destroy us.”
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