IAFF 2016: Weak or Weak-Willed?

The Race for General Secretary-Treasurer

Credit: Edzo Facebook

Credit: Edzo Facebook

If politics is about perception, Ed “Edzo” Kelly of Boston, Massachusetts, is either “running the table” or at least running circles around Harold Schaitberger as Kelly racks up support for next year’s race to replace Tom Miller.

Schaitberger famously installed Tom Miller as GST when Vinnie Bollon stepped down; now he seems powerless to even slow Kelly down.

Ed Kelly appears to be the “anti-Schaitberger” candidate, talking about the lack of checks and balances in DC and talking up his fire experience, perhaps in a not-so-subtle jibe at Schaitberger’s rather abbreviated time as a fire fighter.

Kelly is the proud partner of 3rd district vice-president Mike Mullane, the senior member of the IAFF board.

He may say he is concerned with the lack of checks and balances but having Mike Mullane at his side is hardly proof of that.

Mike Mullane drives 1.8 miles from his house to local 718’s office and requests and receives an IAFF $80 travel per diem day after day.

That’s a lot of (per diem) checks and no balance.

Mullane even supports Schaitberger’s spying on IAFF staff.

Still, it’s a stark departure for Schaitberger who loves to be seen as not only controlling the IAFF board, but also who sits on it.

It raises the question of what has happened to Schaitberger’s well known ability to control elections?

The Inside Guy?

Credit: Facebook/Jim Lee

Credit: Facebook/Jim Lee

Jim Lee, former president of the Toronto local and longtime IAFF staffer is in the race, too, and is considered to be “Harold’s guy” by many.

Of course, there was a time when being the “guy” meant the skids were greased.

Lee has been serving as the operations chief for Tom Miller, the current secretary-treasurer.

By all accounts he has been a shadow GST and has made many improvements both substantive and significant.

In substance if not in fact, he is the incumbent.

It’s fairly common knowledge that Lee stayed on after the 2014 convention because Schaitberger implored him to with the promise of his support in the 2016 race.

Lee stayed but where is the promised support where Schaitberger works the phone and lines up the votes?

Lee may have been better off running for GST from his home in Canada.

A Fox in the Hunt

Kelly Fox

Kelly Fox

Kelly Fox, longtime president of the Washington State Council of Fire Fighters is also a candidate for GST.

Unlike his co-candidates he has managed to make a run for it without being associated with some unsavory and ethically challenged allies on the IAFF board.

Fox has a reputation as a progressive.

But, that’s only significant and a game changer if IAFF leaders care about having, and passing on, an honest and ethical union to the next generation of members.

Currently, they could care less despite the fact that both the image and reputation of the IAFF have been both damaged and diminished by the conduct of Schaitberger, Mullane and others on the board.

The Answer:  Both


Harold Schaitberger

Schaitberger’s effectiveness has obviously been weakened.

Don’t take my word for it, just look at the “Edzo” endorsements.

Former “loyal lieutenants” are making their decisions not caring what Schaitberger thinks.

He often doesn’t even know until after the fact.

It must be a bit humiliating.

Schaitberger is also famously weak-willed where loyalty to others is concerned and here we have it in spades.

Schaitberger’s help to Jim Lee was dead-on-arrival with Ed Kelly in the race and with Mullane and Danny Todd (14th district vice-president) supporting him.

Mullane and Todd are senior members of the board and Schaitberger  looks out for his own interests first, so he will always act to keep the board “happy.”


They are his “made” family.

His “partners in crime.”

Given the choice of working to get votes for Lee or placating Mullane and Todd, Lee never stood a chance.

But, that’s vintage Schaitberger and everyone knows it.

Schaitberger’s growing weakness, greatly accelerated by his inexplicable firing of local 854’s Pete Gorman may mean there will actually be a race for secretary-treasurer after all.

And, that is a very good thing for the IAFF, whatever the outcome.






1 Comment

  • star witness says:

    I believe there was someone from New York during AL Whitehead’s time as president. I believe his name was Vaughan. I remember, he was extremely bright guy, with tremendous potential. He was highly thought of as an up and coming, potentially someone that could have become president of the International. HAS was extremely worried about him. He was offered a job as fire chief and took. Which HAS to relax, he woukd have been too much competition for him. With Vaughan out of the way, the field was open. This guy Kelly from Boston, might just be someone that will be like a Vaughan for Has. Only time will tell.

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