In 2005, Edzo was elected President of Boston Fire Fighters Local 718 IAFF. representing 1,600 uniformed members of the Boston Fire Department. As President, Edzo was responsible for firefighter safety and health, collective bargaining, contract enforcement, public relations and political action during one of the most contentious times in the history of Local 718.
In 2007 Edzo and Local 718 found themselves the center of national news as the Mayor’s Office promotes rumors of impairment in the tragic death of two hero firefighters in an effort to shift attention from public safety deficiencies & to further vilify Boston’s Firefighters.
After a year of slanderous news reports targeting Local 718 & it’s leadership a comprehensive internal investigation conducted by a Board of Inquiry of Fire Service Professionals found no supporting facts that any impairment caused or contributed to the death of two hero fire fighters.
Edzo and Local 718 continue to fight to replace deteriorating fire apparatus & equipment & push to improve public safety for the city they have sworn to protect.
In early 2009, a veteran Fire Lieutenant is killed when the brakes on the ladder truck he was riding failed.
Local 718, Lead by President Edzo Kelly, demanded justice & put their full support behind the Mayor’s rival in the up-coming election.
Local 718 is quickly referred to by the media as "the third candidate” in the 2009 Boston Mayor’s Race.
In response, on the first day of FY2010 (July 1, 2009), the Mayor’s office calls for brown-outs of firehouses in numerous neighborhoods. Local 718, Lead by President Edzo Kelly hit the streets to alert residents and raise awareness that the mayor is gambling with public safety.
Although unsuccessful in attempting to defeat the incumbent Mayor, a clear message is sent to Boston’s elected officials that Local 718, under the leadership of President Edzo Kelly demand respect for Boston’s Firefighters.
In 2010, after a four year battle, and being forced into arbitration by the Mayor, President Edzo Kelly learned that the arbitration panel had reached a decision on the Boston Fire Fighters arbitration case.
Boston Fire Fighters would receive a 19% pay increase over four years with full retroactive pay.
Almost instantly this quickly became the number one news story as many self proclaimed “watchdog organizations” claimed the raises to be excessive.
Some City Councillors immediately balked at the decision vowing to vote down the award unless “meaningful concessions” were made by the fire fighters further claiming the raises were unreasonable while the city was contemplating layoffs in other departments.
President Edzo Kelly made an “11th hour” concession, which Councillors hailed as “unprecedented” for a delay in 2.5% pay increases to help save the jobs of librarians, custodians and print shop employees who the city had planned to lay off.
In the end, Edzo Kelly successfully negotiated an “11th hour” agreement, which not only included a concession saving the the jobs of other city employees, but also secured a fifth year extension to the contract. This extension included a cost of living increase, which increased the total value of the new package to greater than the original arbitration decision.