Kevin Barry O’Connor
1030 Park Road Crownsville, MD 21032
(C) 202-549-6324 Email: Koconnor@iaff.org
January 2016- present:
Founded O’Connor CARES Solutions, an advocacy and consulting firm, specializing in creating opportunities and crafting solutions for clients seeking to succeed in the legislative, political, business development, financial and labor relations fields. The practice handles issues before the Executive and Legislative branches of government on the federal, state and local levels and provides consultation and advice on public pension and Taft/Hartley pension fund issues.
International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF)
Assistant to the General President for Government and Public Affairs
The position entails serving as a senior adviser to the General President and supervising the Political, Legislative, Regulatory, and Public Policy operations of the 295,000 member union.
The Government and Public Affairs Division of the IAFF has a professional and support staff of 12 employees and an annual budget of almost 2 million dollars. Additionally, the Division oversees several Political Actions Committees that raise and disperse over $8 million in political contributions and other expenditures over a two year election cycle.
From 2000-2004, the Division supervised the Public Relations and Publications Departments. Responsibilities included providing the union’s 3,000-plus affiliates with advice and assistance in developing public relations and outreach campaigns, publishing a bi-monthly-48 page-full-color magazine, designing, updating and maintaining an interactive website for member communications and providing various leadership updates and newsletters on current events and/or educational material. In 2002, the International Labor Communications Association awarded the IAFF the designation as the best website in organization and in 2003 the best membership publication.
In 2003, I spearheaded the IAFF’s development and launch of a wholly owned for profit subsidiary, IAFF Financial Corporation (IAFF-FC). The corporation provides various investment and deferred compensation products as well as life, auto, property insurance, health, dental, optical and long term care insurance offerings. My role was to guide the project’s transformation from a concept to an actual functioning enterprise including working with attorneys on the various aspects of incorporation, developing a business plan and assisting in interviewing and recommending candidates for managerial positions in the corporation.
January 1994-August 2000:
Maryland State and District of Columbia Professional Fire Fighters Association President
Elected and served two terms as president of the 7,500 umbrella association for the 16 affiliate locals of the International Association of Fire Fighters in Maryland and the District of Columbia. Duties included: serving as the organization’s Chief Executive Officer, setting strategic directions and organizational priorities, serving as the spokesperson and chief lobbyist in the state capitol of Annapolis, arbitrating disputes between member affiliates, chairing association conventions and meetings, and serving as the organization’s representative to local and state labor federations and coordinating with the International Association of Fire Fighters on issues of mutual interest. Prior to assuming the presidency, I served as the Executive Vice President and Legislative Agent.
September 1991-September 2000:
Baltimore County Fire Fighters Association, Local 1311, International Association of Fire Fighters
Elected and served three terms as president of the 1,200 member local labor union representing fire fighters, paramedics and fire officers in Baltimore County, MD. The principal responsibilities were negotiating and enforcing labor contracts with county government, adjudicating grievances and disciplinary matters between association members, the fire department and county government, representing the legislative interests of the association before the County Council, managing the day to day activities of the organization, supervising a staff of 13 officers and support personnel, and chairing association membership and committee meetings. During my tenure, I participated and/ or chaired seven (7) negotiations committees. Prior to assuming the presidency, I served as the Secretary-Treasurer/Chief Financial Officer from 1988-91 and Trustee from 1986-88.
September 1985-October 2000:
Baltimore County Fire Department (BCoFD)
Fire Fighter/Emergency Medical Technician (EMT)
Served as a fire fighter/EMT in a 1,300 member Fire Department that provides fire, rescue and EMS services to the citizens and visitors of Baltimore County, MD., a suburban jurisdiction of 700,000 residents. I was alternatively assigned to work on an engine, ladder truck and medic. I worked at the Eastview Fire Station, which at the time had the busiest ladder truck company in the county.
From March 1987 through June 1988, I served as the Administrative and Fire Ground Aide to the Chief of the Fire Department. Duties included preparing and writing the Department’s annual report, assisting in identifying organizational priorities and objectives, assisting in budget preparation (at the time the annual budget was approximately $45 million), handling press inquiries, serving as the Chief’s assistant on emergency operations and performing other duties as assigned.
I served as the Chief’s representative on multi-agency effort to transition the county’s communications infrastructure to a truncated, 28 tower, 800 megahertz system.
During that period, my major focus was working to integrate the Bethlehem Steel Fire Department, a private, industrial fire department providing services to the Bethlehem Steel Corporation in the Sparrows Point section of Baltimore County, into the BCoFD. The project required bargaining with the corporation to assume control of fire fighting and EMS operations at the facility and evaluating, training and transferring 48 Bethlehem Fire Fighters into BCoFD. In return for providing these services, Bethlehem Steel transferred a parcel of land to Baltimore County to construct a state-of-the-art Fire- Rescue Training Academy. I resigned this position to avoid a conflict of interest when I announced my candidacy for Secretary-Treasurer of the Baltimore County Fire Fighters Association and returned to basic fire fighting duties.
Public Service, Directorships, Affiliated Association Leadership:
Contributing Editor, FIREHOUSE Magazine
Author of a bi-monthly column for largest circulation magazine for the fire service industry addressing the impact of legislation, regulatory action and political activity on fire fighters and the profession.
Member, Board of Directors, University of Maryland Medical Systems
Appointed by Governor Martin O’Malley as a member of the corporate Board of Directors of the University of Maryland Medical Systems (UMMS). UMMS is a private hospital system focused on patient care, research and medical educational. UMMS consists of a flagship research and treatment facility, the University of Maryland Medical System and nine community based hospitals or specialty care centers across Maryland. UMMS generates over 2 billion dollars annually in operating revenue and employs over 12,000 full time employees including more than 3,000 physicians. The system boasts 1746 licensed beds, has more than 85,000 annual admissions, performs more than 40,000 surgical procedures and handles approximately 250,000 emergency visits.
I also serve on the Executive Committee, the subcommittee on Investments and the Oversight Committee of the University of Maryland Medical Center, which includes the R. Adams Cowley Shock Trauma Center.
Congressional Fire Service Institute Advisory Board Chairman
Elected Chair of the Congressional Fire Service Institute Advisory Board. The Board develops policy and makes recommendations to the Congressional Fire Service Institute (CFSI), a non-profit institute comprised of 47 fire service related organizations, publications, and companies, that supports the Congressional Fire Caucus, the largest Caucus on Capitol Hill. The Caucus is a bi-cameral, bi-partisan group that works to advance legislation to improve the American fire service and support the nation’s fire fighters. The chairman’s position has a term limit of two one year terms.
Served as Vice Chair from 2006-2008.
Democratic Platform Drafting Committee Member
Appointed by Democratic Presidential nominee, John F. Kerry, to serve on a 15 member committee to draft the party’s platform for the 2004 General Elections. Over a period of five months, the committee traveled the country holding public hearings on national security and foreign affairs, economic, energy, agriculture, domestic and health care policy issues. Subsequently, the committee developed the platform that was adopted by delegates to the Democratic National Convention.
Maryland State Economic Development Commission Commissioner
Appointed by Governor Parris N. Glendening and confirmed by the Maryland State Senate as one of 12 Commissioners to the State Economic Development Commission. The Commission advises the executive and legislative branches of government on economic development policy and develops a business plan to attract and retain businesses to Maryland, spur industrial development and increase employment throughout the state.
First Mariner Bank Director
Served on the corporate Board of Directors of a Baltimore-based regional bank. During the term of my directorship, the bank held an initial public offering and grew its assets from $600 million to over $1 billion.
Glendening Transition team Co-Chair and Member
Served as a member of the transition team for newly elected Governor of Maryland, Parris N. Glendening. As part of my duties, I Co-Chaired the Public Safety workgroup which evaluated and made recommendations to the new Governor on issues ranging from policy, personnel, legislative action and strategic planning involving law enforcement, corrections, fire and emergency services, and the National Guard.
Note: Also served on the transition teams for Baltimore County Executive C.A “Dutch” Ruppersberger (1994), FEMA Administrator R. David Paulison (2005), Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano (2009)
Baltimore County Efficiency in Government Commission
Appointed by Baltimore County Executive Roger B. Hayden (R ) to serve on a blue ribbon panel to evaluate various aspects of county government and recommend changes to policies, operating procedures, and, if applicable charter revisions.
Maryland State and District of Columbia AFL-CIO Vice President
Elected to the governing body of 250,000 member state labor federation. In that capacity, I chaired the AFL-CIO’s Legislative, Public Relations and Economic Policy Committees as well as serving as the Federation’s Parliamentarian from 1995-2000.
Baltimore Port Council Director
Elected as a Director to the executive board of the Baltimore Port Council. The Council is comprised of representatives from labor, government and the private sector dedicated to improving commerce at the Port of Baltimore
Maryland Fire, Rescue, Education and Training Commission (MFRETC) Commissioner
Appointed by Governor William Donald Schaefer and confirmed by the Maryland State Senate as one of 12 Commissioners on the MFRTC. The commission recommends standards for training, certification requirements and minimal standards of delivery for fire, rescue and emergency medical services within the state.
Baltimore County Employees Retirement System Trustee and Chairman of the Board of Trustees
Elected and served three terms as one of two employee trustees to the Baltimore County Employees Retirement System Board of Trustees. The board determines benefit structure and offerings, develops actuarial accounting standards, charts and implements investment policies and administers the daily functions of a retirement system with over $2 billion dollars in assets and covering over 15,000 active and retired members. From 1994-1997, I served as Chairman of the Board, the first employee ever elected to that post.
Baltimore County Health Care Review Committee Chairman
As a result of collective bargaining agreements in 1987, county government and all bargaining units (IAFF, Fraternal Order of Police, American Federation of Teachers, and the American Federation of State County and Municipal Employees) agreed that all health care negotiations and benefit offerings would be vetted and negotiated through a joint labor/management Health Review Committee. I was selected by both labor and management representatives as the first chair and served without interruption until 2000. The committee dealt with various health insurers and other vendors, negotiated agreements and developed educational materials for county employees pertaining to their health insurance benefits.
Washington and Lee University Lexington, VA
Political Economy, 1983
Baltimore County Fire Academy
Fire Service and Emergency Medical Services, 1985
Harvard University Cambridge, MA T.U.P, 1991
Awards and Recognitions
Congressional Fire Services Caucus/Motorola Mason Langford Lifetime Achievement Award
Maryland State and District of Columbia Professional Fire Fighters President Emeritus and Life Membership
Maryland Democratic Party “Distinguished Leadership Award”
State of Israel Bonds “Outstanding Labor Leader”
Baltimore Peabody Club “Man of the Year”
Baltimore County Fire Department
Commendation for duties performed during a five alarm apartment fire in Essex, MD, where the fire was contained and eight people were rescued as a result of the actions of the crew of Truck 15
Memberships and Affiliations
Ancient Order of Hibernians —member, past president Baltimore Division 5 and past state secretary
Capitol Hill Club (National Republican Club) Harvard-Radcliff Club of Maryland
National Democratic Club