Recently I wrote that an IAFF manager controlled the email address used for particularly unsavory comments directed at an IAFF member, a.k.a., me.
I absolved that manager believing the action was borne of ignorance though faulty leadership can create the atmosphere where such events occur.
IAFF leaders have not replied, underscoring that the facts and the conclusions are valid as written.
IAFF elected leadership is comprised of a president, a secretary-treasurer and 16 vice-presidents from across Canada and the US.
Together they make up the executive board in theory, if not in fact.
Those 18 "leaders" have been entirely silent on the probity of the event.
To be sure, a number of them show signs of incipient codgerdom but out of 16 vice-presidents, one or two could summon up a brief display of half-hearted indignation even if it were entirely contrived.
IAFF vice-presidents, much like the infamous Edward VIII in 1936, who abdicated the British throne in pursuit of pleasure, have chosen to forego real responsibility. But unlike Edward they have done so “in situ” creating the false impression that the ship is crewed when it is but the "captain" on the bridge.
The IAFF, as the public symbol of professional firefighters, retains power and energy that must be focused and directed. Leaders, (emphasis on the plural) are theoretically elected to make the decisions on how to funnel that energy.
When they fail to do so, for whatever reason, others will fill the vacuum of leadership and decision-making for good or ill.
And, so we find ourselves.
Granted, boards must be careful not to intrude on day-to-day operations but adopting a passive role on core issues such as values and ethics is a recipe for mischief and worse.
Boards are responsible for ensuring that the organization hues to its mission. It is the essential role of the board to call out activities or actions that stray toward the appearance of impropriety or that are unacceptable.
The corporate and non-profit world is rife with stories of organizations that were seriously damaged or destroyed when boards operated either in ignorance or autopilot mode.
Our board seems mostly to be along for a rather pleasant cruise, content to loll about on deck as the skipper mans the bridge.
The danger, of course, is that the skipper may arbitrarily change the course and disaster will result.
Just ask the crew and passengers aboard Costa Concordia.
As I recall, the captain was safely in a lifeboat while the passengers were still on the heavily listing deck.
Makes you wonder who’s the fool?