Firefighters elect acting president to head Local 734

THE BALTIMORE SUN

William V. Taylor was elected president of Baltimore Fire Fighters Union Local 734 last night by a 359-to-147 vote at union headquarters on Ridgely Street in Pigtown.

Mr. Taylor, acting president since late July, was elected over opponent Edward Heckrotte in the vote to replace longtime union president Jeff DeLisle. The union has about 1,400 members.

Mr. DeLisle, who had led the union since 1981, resigned this summer to take a job as East Coast representative for the International Association of Fire Fighters.

A spokesman for the union said Mr. Taylor was seen as being more in touch with all members of the union, whereas Mr. Heckrotte had more communication with older members nearing retirement.

"For our size, our union is very influential," said Larry Korycki, the spokesman. "Whoever is in charge, we usually have the support of the [citizens] behind us because of the work we do. Right now our most important issue is the next round of contract negotiations with the city."

Mr. Korycki said those negotiations would begin Jan. 1. The firefighters current contract expires June 30, the end of the current fiscal year.

During his tenure, the charismatic Mr. DeLisle won his membership substantial pay and benefit increases despite chronic city budget woes. The union went to court last year to keep a 6 percent wage increase won in arbitration.

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