Â New “Chief of Staff”
After firing Local 854’s Pete Gorman, who gave eight years of very effective service to the IAFF, Harold Schaitberger may be finding it difficult to find a “chief” for several reasons.
Anyone who interacted with Gorman found him to be straightforward, and approachable with integrity.
Schaitberger won’t make that mistake again.
His next “chief” will be solely devoted to the cause of Harold Schaitberger rather than being concerned about the IAFF, its members or affiliates.
Schaitberger andÂ Loyalty
Schaitberger’s conception of loyalty is not to the ideals of the IAFF, but rather strictly to himself.
As longtime IAFF leader Dave Foreman says, “Harold is [a] phony who canâ€™t accept criticism or disagreement. He continues to surround himself with bobble heads. If you dare to disagree he will do whatever he can to harm you.”
Virginia’s Mike Mohler also said, “Schaitberger was constantly disrespectful when speaking of [former GST] Vinnie Bollon behind the scenes but was able to jerk out a tear when he past (sic). Harold Schaitberger is loyal to no one but himself.”
The next “chief” will need to be capable of blind obedience and total, unswerving loyalty, not to the IAFF, but rather to Harold Schaitberger.
Sources say the likely choices are either Jeff Zack or Kevin O’Connor, both currently serving as assistants to Schaitberger.
Zack was never a firefighter and so is not an IAFF member while O’Connor was a firefighter in Maryland for a number of years.
Happily for Schaitberger, Zack’s background is public relations and O’Connor’s is politics, two areas he is obsessed with to the exclusion of the substance of any issue.
It’s very doubtful that either of them has what it takes to build or inspire an effective and positive team on an organization-wide basis.
In fact, the idea of O’Connor being in any way responsible for the details of day-to-day operations is laugh-out-loud funny.
I’d vote for Mr. Bean before O’Connor.
The True Test
Whoever winds up in the seat should know that the true test of loyalty to Schaitberger is likely to be the expectation that they will commit perjury under oath.
The way things are heading it is only a matter of time before right hands are raised.
Why the willingness to lie?
Because Schaitberger once told me, in the most matter-of-fact way, that he would lie to a judge in a civil matter.
It only makes sense that he would expect the same from his uber-lieutenant as the crisis continues to unfold.
What Schaitberger Ought to Do (But Won’t)
Make Jim Lee his chief of staff.
If Jim Lee’s ability to win the 2016 GST’s race is in doubt, his ability to unify and lead a team isn’t.
In fact, Lee has already proven that he can entirely revamp (and run) a significant portion of the IAFF, as he has done the last several years in the GST’s office.
And, Lee is among the most experienced IAFF leaders to ever hold a staff position in Washington.
Would Jim Lee lie under oath? Â I sure hope not.
But, he has bought into some of Schaitberger’s bullshit probably because of personal ambition.
He certainly wouldn’t be the first to make that mistake.
While Jim Lee may be ambitious, under that ambition is a very experienced IAFF leader who believes in the principles of our union and is quite capable of being his own man should he choose to be.
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