IAFF Ethics: Readers Reply

The Comments

Over the past few months I have posted a number of articles on the anemic ethics of IAFF leaders.  Along the way, a number of people have written their own views.  Below is a sample.

Darren Bates:

Bates was denied his union rights, and both betrayed and humiliated by IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger for no acceptable reason.  Emails from the incident make it clear that Schaitberger was eager to slay Bate’s reputation: “…Suffice it to say that the nature of the accusation is unacceptable and deeply troubling”, Schaitberger said.

Darren Bates was found not guilty and exonerated.

Darren Bates Responds:

“To those brothers who supported me when all those I supported left me thank you. Eric you were one of the only true firefighters at the IAFF, the rest in any position of authority are simply low political bitches. It was those very few brothers who actually supported me and my family that got me through the organized deceit and media blitz Shaitberger and Mike McDonnell organized. Amazing how a union president is fired during contract negotiations months before a mayoral election and the IAFF takes the side of management and conspires to ruin the Union. McDonnell becomes chief and decimates local 385 and creates political havoc. McDonnell got fired. His treachery caught up to him and Harold’s will too. It is people like them who have created animosity and hatred towards firefighters.

Thank you to Eric Lamar and those few who supported and stood by me during one of the most difficult times of my life. My family is finally starting to recover from the betrayal.”

– See more at: http://www.turnoutblog.com/2014/05/07/ethics-the-darren-bates-story/#sthash.W2GKRQaa.dpuf

$56,000 in Meals in One Year

Brian Burr Writes:

“I’m sure that angus wasn’t all that was included in the tab. Throw in a couple bottles of good wine, etc., and the cost goes up quickly. The thing Mr. Lamar doesn’t tell us is how many people were on each of these bills, and were these the top five? I’m sure they are, and the others were much less. Is it an outrageous amount? Yes. But what are the other lobbyists spending?”

Eric replies:  I’m pretty sure they are the top five under this category. They are listed under “union administration” and not under “political activities or lobbying” so the notion that they are related to lobbying is bogus.  By the way, is it a coincidence that they are listed under “union administration”, the last section of a very lengthy report making it unlikely that they would ever be seen?

This is the guys taking the guys out-to-dinner on our dime.

See below for more.

Jeffrey Holtz Writes:

“As a union leader for over 14 years I have to say I have been to some of those dinners. First of all those meals are paid for with our union dues not tax dollars. That is our money. Those dollars are budgeted for and voted on by all of our members in all 5000 plus locals by over 300, 000 members across USA and Canada.

Secondly when I am invited to a business dinner there are useually 18-20 people attending. Those types of restaurants are frequented because they can always accommodate a big crowd. The food is often very good also.”

See more at: http://www.turnoutblog.com/2014/05/13/iaff-ethics-dinner-bell/#sthash.g7RxOFxs.dpuf

On the Board’s Cover-up and MDA Assertion

In addition to taking General President Schaitberger’s directive to cover up the house purchase conflict of interest, the Board also asserted that the Muscular Dystrophy Association (MDA) would fail if ethics were enforced at the IAFF.

A comment from “John Doe” on IAFF/MDA Affairs, no pun intended:

“This story is just the tip of the iceberg! As a fire chief I have to remain anonymous for obvious reasons. My daughter used to work for the MDA, used to because the MDA laid off 60+ percent of their staff and closed 80 percent of their offices in the last 18 months. The one thing they have not eliminated is the multiple week long jaunts at luxury hotels and spas for IAFF union reps. My daughter had to attend three to four of these per year. All expenses including open bars and all meals were covered by the MDA. Thanks to a couple of firefighters from my daughter’s turf she was considered off limits and was not hit on to the point of harassment. The word was put out that her dad was one of them. The budget for my daughter’s region allocated twice as money for these jaunts than they actually spent helping MDA causes and patients. While few (if any) union reps stayed the entire week, most came and went based upon work schedules. The entire time the jaunts were non stop parties of drunk firefighters who despite marital status, were constantly hitting on facility and MDA staff.”

Eric replies:  This comment makes it perfectly clear that the Board’s assertion about emphasizing ethics to the detriment of MDA is absurd and ridiculous.  MDA needs the same ethical makeover as the IAFF.

See more at: http://www.turnoutblog.com/2014/05/13/iaff-ethics-dinner-bell/#sthash.x4FF22UE.dpuf




  • Glenn says:

    The courage exemplified as a firefighter in Fairfax continues today.

  • John Teefy says:

    Brothers and Sisters,

    As you may have read in previous posts, I do not agree with Eric’s belief that our IAFF has become some kind of ethical cesspool. As I have followed this evolving fantasy that is being spun, a few thoughts came to mind.

    I have known GP Shaitberger for over 20 years. I like him and trust him. I have only seen him act as an aggressive advocate for our members’ health and safety. If you do not know the GP and you are leaning towards believing Eric’s tall tales, I would like all of you to think of leaders you do trust at the IAFF; leaders from different regions and departments. For example, Secretary Treasurer Tom Miller, Chief of Staff Pete Gorman (formally of the FDNY), AGPs Jim Ridley from Indiana, Pat Morrison from Farfaix County, or Elizabeth Harman, who recently served at FEMA. Think of the directors: Matt Vinci from Vermont, Jim Brinkley, Thomas Hill. Think about your district VP. My District 10 VP is Jimmy Ferguson, one of the finest, most loyal brothers you could ever hope to have on your side, or Mike Mullane from District 3, a brother so beloved that half the country calls him Uncle Mike. Our IAFF Financial Corporation is overseen by Carrie Tucker, who I have know since before she worked at the IAFF. Carrie is about the straightest arrow I have ever met. These are good, trustworthy people. Now here is the catch, if you believe Eric’s view of the IAFF, they are all dirty. All part of a vast conspiracy to hide the misdeeds of the GP. Think that one through for a few minutes. Dozens of leaders from all over the country suddenly decided to go to the dark side. It makes no sense, yet does not stop Eric from name calling and smear tactics. These are my friends and it’s unfair.

    Eric tosses a lot a vague accusations of improper behavior. I asked Eric to give me a example of these ethical breeches. The best he could do was recount one hard working rich guy buying a house from another hardworking rich guy. Try to contain your shock. His other “smoking gun” was a budget item for steak house dinners. I went to one of those dinners, about 10 years ago, as has every principle officer in the IAFF when there is a change of leadership at their local. Harold and Pete asked about our families, our backgrounds, our goals, and why we chose to be union leaders. 6 years ago this month my mom died. Harold called me at home and remembered my stories about my Philadelphia Irish mom, and how her life shaped mine. That’s not wasted money, it’s how you lead a union brotherhood. I never heard Eric question these dinners once in his 20 years at IAFF HQ.

    Eric expresses his surprise that our leaders have not jumped on the bandwagon of his poorly written resolution that starts with a condemnation of the IAFF; an admission of guilt for a crime that was not committed. I would ask those of you who signed on to actually read it, not just the intent but what it actually says. I bet you change your vote.

    I have no doubt that Eric will personally crucify me for this post. He was one of my mentors at the IAFF and a friend for 2 decades. He brought me on 20 years ago as a hazmat instructor. In his mind, I am either on the take or an idiot. What I have realized from reading his blog is that there is one opinion treated with respect, Eric’s. If you agree, you are good and pure, if you do not, you are ignorant or guilty, thus giving him full license to ridicule and bully.

    The Turnout Blog has become Fox News and the IAFF, the Obama administration. Eric plays Glenn Beck, spinning conspiracy after conspiracy hoping one sticks. “Ethics” has become “Benghazi”. Just say it over and over and try throwing mud until something sticks. All smoke and mirrors with no fire.

    There is a principle we use when we teach called Occam’s Razor. It says all things being equal, the simplest answer is always correct. So ask yourself, vast conspiracy involving hundreds of union leaders, or the disjointed view of a former employee who feels he was wronged. A sad end to a great career.

    John Teefy
    UPFFA, L-493

    • Eric Lamar says:

      John Teefy totally distorts the fact in his inaccurate diatribe.

      I have never suggested that there was a “vast conspiracy.”

      His defense of the house purchase conflict of interest is to label it a “rich guy buying a house from another hardworking rich guy.”

      He chose to irresponsibly drag IAFF staff into this discussion, perhaps as a literary human shield for Schaitberger and the board. The officers are the problem, not the staff.

      Finally, he says, “I have known GP Shaitberger for over 20 years. I like him and trust him.”

      So did Darren Bates.

  • Mike Mohler says:

    John Teefy, I consider you a friend and I share many of the same sentiments regarding most of the people you listed. At the same time Eric and I are not even close to being friends. But I do respect him as I respect you. I truly believe you are overreacting and misrepresenting the resolution. You, Eric and I have all participated in overly lavish meals at the expense of our members. I actually am sorry that I didn’t exercise more discretion at times and have recently taken responsibility in response to individual members. This resolution is probably way over due as a reasonable check on those of us who are given the honor to serve. So in closing stop kissing everyone’s ass and support this effort. I have no comment on what someone else may or may not have done. Just owning my own mistakes. I love you John,

    Mike Mohler
    Pres. VPFF

  • John Teefy says:

    Hi Mike, not big on the ass kissing, but I have no problem with toning stuff down. I just though the attack was overblown and that the resolution reflected that. In case your curious I have 15 months left on Phoenix, I’m not looking for,nor do I want a job at the IAFF, and am more focused for my upcoming knee and back surgery than internal IAFF politics. I have nothing to gain by sticking in my two sense. I just felt it was a one sided picture being painted and I like some of these guys.
    I’m also not a blog fan in general and have never posted on one before. I found this one by accident when it popped up on my FB page.
    Love you too buddy. See you soon.

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