By Kim Glovas

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — The union that represents Philadelphia firefighters has a new president.

Battalion chief Joseph Schulle won the seat of president in a decisive election victory over the incumbent, Bill Gault, who has held the post since July 2009.

Local 22 of the International Association of Firefighters has been at loggerheads with the Nutter administration since 2009 over the terms of its contract (see related story).   Schulle says he and his slate ran on a platform of change, in hopes of getting out of neutral and getting a contract approved.

“Through a little bit of fault for all involved, the communications had broken down nearly completely– with the union and the city administration, and the union and the fire administration,” Schulle said today.   “So our big push to the membership was, we want to reëstablish the communications and actually collaborate with the city and the department to try and move forward.”

Schulle says he is hoping to get the arbitration award over the 2009 contract honored, because work is already underway on the next one.

“We’d really like to extend our thanks to Billy Gault and to the current executive board for all the work that they did put in,” he said.  “It’s just time now to turn the page, and hopefully we’ll move forward in a positive direction.”

Schulle officially takes the president’s post on July 1st.

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