2010 Reporting at Issue
IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger has attracted the attention of the United States Department of Labor (USDOL) regarding his handling of financial disclosure requirements.
According to USDOL, they ” require public disclosure of certain financial transactions and financial interests of labor organization officers and employees and their spouses and minor children.
The purpose of disclosure, among other things, is to publicly identify an actual or potential conflict between the personal financial interests of a union officer or employee and his or her obligations to the union and its members.”
Schaitberger/Franzoni Real Estate Deals
The USDOL inquiry is in relation to Schaitberger’s $1,000,000 real estate transactions with James Franzoni, an insurance broker who does business with the IAFF and the IAFF Financial Corporation.
None of the deals were apparently reported to the USDOL.
Whether or not the deals fall under USDOL reporting provisions they are an obvious (and massive) conflict of interest.
Schaitberger also failed to disclose the deals to the IAFF executive board creating additional ethical breaches.
If the IAFF had an adequate and operating ethical policy it is highly doubtful that such a purchase would have been approved between the organization’s chief executive officer and a primary vendor.
One wonders if a staff member had made the deals if Schaitberger would have expected to be notified of them and to give his approval.
I’m betting the answer is yes.
It’s part of the special hypocrisy of the IAFF that what is good for the (grey) goose is not good for the gander.
If the chief of a fire department engaged in $1,000,000 real estate deals with the vendor who sells fire equipment and apparatus to the department there would be an ethics uproar and an effective union local would be asking some tough questions about impartiality and fairness.
Yet, when our own union is involved it’s A.O.K.
We have lost our sense of ethical direction and accountability.
Notifies IAFF Officers
All of the recent attention to IAFF ethics here and elsewhere is paying off.
The proof is in Schaitberger’s ironic decision to notify the Board and Trustees about the USDOL inquiry.
While the actual deals were kept from proper review, he knows that the rules are now different and disclosure and transparency are necessary as folks are watching.
It’s telling that the only real ethical accountability comes from outside the IAFF as the board, trustees and other senior leaders have abrogated their own ethical responsibility.
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