IAFF Ethics: Squeaker

A Leadership Referendum

The recent and rather predictable IAFF convention was considerably enlivened by General President Schaitberger’s narrowly successful attempt to line his Board’s pockets.

He presented a resolution calling for a 60% pay increase over three years for the 16 district vice presidents (VPs) that barely passed.

A swing of less than 1,100 votes out of 192,000 would have spelled defeat.

Imperial Rule?

If Schaitberger thought that after nearly 14 years in office he could issue a kingly edict, he was sadly disappointed.

In fact, the king’s robes were surprisingly short as he was unable to drag some of his most compliant supporters across the finish line.

Delegates cared naught for Schaitberger’s “they deserve it” message, splitting every which way in a vote that ultimately showed where the real power lies.

All Politics Local

Having ignored Schaitberger’s wishes, delegates went on to use the vote as a report card on their respective vice president and some of them have apparently not been doing their homework.

For example, 1st district VP Bill Romaka received 19 yes votes and 14,209 against.  Ouch.

The 4th’s Bill Taylor did nearly as badly with 3,729 for and 16,246 against.

And, Tom Thornburg was 100 yea and 3,434 nay.

In the 10th, James Ferguson went down to a sound defeat, 10,255/21,149, not even to be supported by his own local.

Hufnagel (8th) and Osborne (12th) also lost the confidence vote by sizeable margins.

If this was a parliamentary democracy, it would be teetering on the brink of extinction.

But, speaking of parliaments, Canadians VPs astonishingly carried 100% of their votes.


Elections are right around the corner, a mere two years away.

With such poor grades many of these VPs should be facing challengers who may be capable of achieving a passing grade.

report card

Still, King Schaitberger can be a potent force operating behind the scenes to keep  a board around which does his bidding, unchallenged.

But, he’ll sure have his work cut out for him.

Don’t forget, this is the crew that “investigated” Schaitberger’s obvious $1,000,000 conflict of interest real estate deal, though they were also conflicted, and then kept the report effectively secret.

In fact, “crew” is an apt descriptor, as in street gang.

That’s the way our union is being run: with those at the top having fat pockets and full stomachs just like they do it on the street.


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  • Victoria Huckenpahler says:

    Maybe some more folks will start realizing that the “King” Schaitberger has no clothes!


  • Matt Lowery says:

    So you are saying that a democratic election, taken by the voting members of the respective Locals passed this vote to bring the pay in line effective with the work being done, by a majority of the DVP’s? How is that wrong? Perhaps the other voters of districts which voted no should hold their DVP’s more accountable? I appreciate dissent, but you just sound bitter. With all due respect.

  • Bryson Peterman says:

    It’s outrageous and embarrassing the district VPs will be receiving a 60% pay raise over 3 years! In my local we recently had to raise dues to cover expenses. Oh by the way 4th DVP Bill Taylor (whom has NEVER called me, emailed me to check in, see what I needed fighting “distressed” status in my city, etc) my guys just took a 3 year pay freeze, an increase in healthcare costs in the very distressed program I’ve never had any help from you to fight!!! Shameful. The GP and DVP will be receiving my nasty grams shortly. How the hell am I supposed to explain these shannigins to my guys in my local!?!?! Thanks Eric for reporting.

  • Jeremy Duncan says:

    A Canadians perspective:

    Particularly the 6th District. As this was only my 2nd Convention, I add a fresh view.

    Firstly, Canada didn’t vote as one by plan. We were never encouraged to toe the line, rather we were encouraged to vote how we feel on all issues. In the 6th District, we are represented by a tireless worker that is very approachable. He always has time for an email, phone call or text no matter if this my 2nd convention or 20th.

    I would suggest that if there are districts that don’t feel the same, that the time and energy is spent on finding that tireless leader that your entire district would like to get behind, support and work hard for in championing all of our causes. Simply sitting back, complaining and not coming up with any solutions will only lead to frustration, bitterness and cynicism.

    If someone is planning on running for any position, I would start by attracting more flies with honey than vinegar and showing them how you can affect positive change.

    In solidarity,


  • Keith Kemery says:

    As a member of the IAFF’s 1st District, as well as a delegate who voted AGAINST the pay increase, I will thank you Mr. Lamar to not make representations as to the reason for our position during the vote. While my Local’s votes were not in favor of the pay increase, we fully support Mr. William Romaka as our 1st District Vice President and thank him for his work on behalf of our Local and all members of the IAFF. The DVP pay raise resolution may have only narrowly passed, but don’t forget that the same delegates of the IAFF’s 52nd Convention also decisively rejected the “IAFF Ethics” resolution fueled by your smear campaign.

    • Eric Lamar says:

      If you really want to thank Bill it looks like you should fund an IRA on his behalf and I’m not talking Sinn Fein, either.

      I am free to have my opinion as you have yours.

      Be thankful you can express it here if not on IAFF.org.

      As for ethics, I stand behind what I have written.


  • Robert Davis says:

    I believe in and stand with Eric Lamar who has been trying to put ethic’s back where it belongs within our union. I can clearly see this is not an easy task to accomplish with so many corrupted upper members either running interference or don’t choose to speak up with what they know is wrong for fear of loosing their position. I believe sooner or later the truth will prevail and proper ethic’s will be restored in our union for all members to up hold. For the ones who are found involved with any wrong doings will be held accountable with corrective actions taken. Either your on the right side for restoring our ethic’s within our union or your on the corrupted side that I feel within time will prevail itself and those involved will be held accountable. Fence sitting is not an option. I hope everyone will give this some serious though and choose wisely.

  • William T. Adelman says:

    As a 37-year member of the IAFF, I am outraged that ANY person in the International is talking about ANY raise. In 7 years of retirement, my pension has only gone DOWN. Two weeks ago, the Memphis City Council voted to stop paying for retiree health insurance. I have not benefitted from my membership whatsoever. Harold Schaitberger should step down. He no longer seems to have our best interest at heart. Anybody ever see a movie called “Hoffa”?

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