With Apologies to Billy Joel
Keith Kemery of the IAFF’s first district wrote regarding yesterday’s “Squeaker” post: “…While my Localâ€™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 donâ€™t forget that the same delegates of the IAFFâ€™s 52nd Convention also decisively rejected the â€œIAFF Ethicsâ€ resolution fueled by your smear campaign. “ Kemery’s linking the VP pay raise and ethics is unintentionally ironic. Some will recall that on the pay raise vote the 1st district tally was 19 in favor, 14,209 against. Keith seems to like Bill Romaka just the way he is, especially Romaka’s $80k current salary. Others have written of how the IAFF convention is tightly controlled by Schaitberger committee appointments. This is nowhere more obvious than the fact that the DVP pay raise made it through committee without amendment despite the evident concern about its size and the fact that it very nearly failed on the floor. The committee was clearly out-of-touch with the membership, as were the principal officers.
Kemery goes on to label the ethical concerns I have written about as a smear campaign. First, if you want to know what a real smear campaign looks like, look no further than what Harold Schaitberger did to Darren Bates when he issued a press release bragging about firing him. Â Now, that’sÂ a smear campaign. During the last seven months not a single person has refuted Â the charges I have made with any factual information. They resort to two failed tactics, ignore the issue or attack me personally. Neither is effective. They have no other recourse because the facts speak for themselves. FACT: Â Harold Schaitberger’s $1,000,000 real estate deals are a blatant conflict of interest. FACT: Â The board was unable to properly investigate Schaitberger’s conflict of interest as they were conflicted themselves over the pending pay raise. FACT: Â The board has refused to release their report on the real estate conflict. FACT: Harold Schaitberger betrayed union brother Darren Bates by denying him the presumption of innocence, right to due process and employer confidentiality. FACT: Â District Vice Presidents have abused the $80 daily stipend by taking it when they were not entitled. FACT: Â You cannot sell advertising and accept money from those you are tasked with overseeing without compromising your safety and health advocacy, it is yet another blatant conflict. FACT: Â IAFF leaders spent $56,000 at five high-end steak houses in just one year. Â That’sÂ the equivalent of the entire per capita of 375 IAFF members.
Life at the top of the IAFF has become so lucrative and luxurious that those already there and those with a chance of getting there or experiencing the table scraps are fiercely protecting it. They swarm like angry bees to protect the queen when any hint of threat is detected. Anyone who dares to question the status quo is immediately labeled as “disloyal” or “subversive.” Oddly, any honest IAFF affiliate leader serving on a board knows the crucial role that boards play in directing the course and actions of an organization yet they cast a blind eye to the current situation at the IAFF. The best that can be accomplished in the current environment is disclosure and transparency. So, onward.
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