Schaitberger and IAFF Board Named
Today’sÂ New York TimesÂ reported how Harold Schaitberger and the IAFF executive board are plundering our union under the guise of doing IAFF business as if the only way to advance the cause of professional firefighters and paramedics is to recklessly spend dues money.
One thing is for sure, with Schaitberger it’s business as usual as he insists on being treated like royalty.
Food for Thought
In 2010 alone, he spent $110,000Â on extravagant luxury meals and expensive wines.
Another $30,000 was blown on limo rides when a rental car, taxi, or god forbid, catching a ride, would have done the trick at a fraction of the cost.
As the Times pointed out, he has a “taste for refinement and a regal impatience.”
He acts like a king and we pay the bill.
That fat bill is money wasted that should have gone to help locals in need, a fact that is always ignored.
Perhaps the best food quote was his telling waiters at Il Mulino, a fancy Italian restaurant, to “fix me up a little of this” rather than stooping to order off the menu like mere mortals.
By the way, the Il Mulino quote is totally at odds with Schaitberger’s comment that, “This isn’t about that I need another meal…”
Schaitberger loves the high life and part of that is being fawned over by doting staff waiting on their $700 tip that again, we pay for.
The Times also pointed out that “Whatever its use in advancing the causes of firefighters, his lavish spending advances at least one more: Â his own.”
When will the IAFF have a president who concentrates on what we need rather than putting himself and his royal comforts first?
More than one member detailed how Schaitberger really uses the fancy meals to buy support, saying, “A lot of guys get rolled by that. Â They like the glitz.”
The Phony Per Diems
Schaitberger and most of the board are regularly applying for and receiving travel per diems to which they are not entitled.
Schaitberger applies essentially every cost to his IAFF credit card, thus double-dipping, and the board puts in for the $80 even when the auditors have clearly pointed out it is against IAFF policy.
Every year tens-of-thousands of dollars are skimmed off in this manner in what amounts to an illegal pay raise.
In fact, the auditors have said the practice endangers our tax-exempt status.
Unfortunately, the Times failed to point out that there is only one travel policy which covers all IAFF officers and staff.
If the board regularly collects the per diem each time they leave their house, why can’t staff?
Answer: Â Schaitberger is paying a bribe to the board as they let him lord it over the membership.
After all, the Times pointed out how he is a “one-man case study in how to consolidate power…through the deft use of his organization’s funds.”
But, once again, we pay the price.
As the Times reports, “…four of the vice-presidents received at least $18,000 in per diem payments and seven more received at least $11,000.
Just for leaving their house.
You’ve Got a Friend
As the Times put it, “Schaitberger has also used his influence to do business with friends.”
The Times detailed the 2010 million-dollar house purchase from IAFF contractor and “one of Schaitberger’s closest friends for many years, ” Jim Franzoni.
That purchase was the subject of a Department of Labor finding but the IAFF internal response was a white-wash cover-up where the cowardly board lined up behind Schaitberger’s successful attempt to gut any semblance of IAFF internal ethical oversight.
The False Choice
Schaitberger suggests that the only course to building a strong union is by selling out the rank-and-file, one $1,000 dinner at-a-time.
His course takes the IAFF down the road to ruin by suggesting that leaching and fat-catting off the members is the only way to go.
The Times hit the nail on the head when they referred to him as a “throwback.”
As they said, he operates with “little checks and balances” and the result is a weakened IAFF, morally, ethically and professionally.
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