Anyone who really knows International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF) president Harold Schaitberger will tell you that he is manicallyÂ obsessed with politics.
No union election is too small or seemingly irrelevant for him to stick his nose into.
This is especially so when he is bored and he is VERY bored.
After 14 years in the seat his attention wanders and just like a kid with time on his hands, bad things happen.
Matter of fact, when I was a kid and bored, the folks would say, “Go outside and play!”
That’s just what he is doing.
Fourth District Playground
I wrote last August that Saddam Hussein style, Schaitberger had decided that it was time for the IAFF fourth district vice-president to go bye-bye.
Like speed-dating at the Y, a number of people have been briefly given the nod for Taylor’s seat: bothÂ Mike Mohler and John Neimeic, once and current presidents of his home local; Art Martynuska of Pennsylvania briefly; Andrew Pantelis of Prince George’s County, Maryland; finally and currently, Ed Smith, president of the District of Columbia Fire Fighters Local.
Schaitberger has gone through prospective candidates like JFK through a cheerleading squad.
But, he has a problem.
He needs about 10,00 votes or so in a free and fair election in order to get his minion du jour elected to the seat and district leaders not under his spell can potentially spoil the coronation by siphoning off votes to another candidate.
That is the problem with a convention election for a district vice president.
The fourth district convention vote on the board pay raise proves it: 3,729 for and 16,246 against.
Schaitberger does not control fourth district delegates at convention where they each cast ballots.
He needs another plan.
He Can Fix That
What if the election is not particularly free or fair?
What if Taylor departs mid-term in the manner of the late Vincent J. Bollon?
What if the election is by mail ballot?
Well, that’s a different story.
It turns out the election to fill the vacancy is, “…Â conducted under the direction andÂ supervision of the General President and in accordance with the rules issued by him.”
He who makes the rules wins.
There goes free and fair, especially if voting is by the local president only and he or she votes all the ballots as a bloc.
Then, Schaitberger’s job collecting those votes just got a lot easier.
If he presumably has the DC votes and he can add on Fairfax, Philadelphia and say, Baltimore City, he may have it in the bag.
He just needsÂ three local presidents and he has it.
What is the Hurry?
Taylor has never done anything.
Why step down now?
Just keep doing nothing until the next election.
Don’t run for re-election and let the members of the fourth district choose the successor in a wide-open and healthy race.
The only reason to depart is for Schaitberger to once again blatantly manipulate the rules in order to continue to wield Stalinesque control over the board.
A real executive board would take a stand and warn him off of such shenanigans.
After all, their district could be next.
If you see one, a real executive board that is, please let me know.
Make Him Work For It
Local union leaders including local executive board members who want a real fourth district election should make sure that Taylor holds the spot till convention when an actual election can happen.
Don’t let a thinly disguised election scam rob you of your rights.
Local executive board members and regular members should be telling their local president right now, “No bloc voting in an election. Â Each delegate from the last convention should vote their number of ballots.”
Tell Taylor and Schaitberger, “Back off and no clever tricks.”
In fact, when you tell them that, do it in an email and copy the U.S. Department of Labor at OLMSemail@example.com so that everyone knows what everyone is up to.
Protect your vote.
Finally, for all of you who find this utterly impossible to believe, it’s time for your milk and cookies and then a nice nap with your blankey.
And yes, thumb-sucking is allowed.
Care About Ethics?
Then â€œShareâ€ this Post.
Help Create The Union We Want.