Why The Walsh Sacking Matters So Much

The Death of Local Autonomy

We have had something extremely important taken from us and most do not realize it.

The IAFF as a union was created with a “bottom up” philosophy.

That is, the strength and the power come from below.

Individual local affiliates are supposed to have great autonomy and freedom in decision making.

And, few decisions are more crucial than who we elect to represent us on the IAFF executive board.

Robbed in Plain Sight

This past week, Harold Schaitberger brazenly stole our autonomy when he used trump-up charges to sack 7th district vice-president Ricky Walsh in an ambush.

The go-along/get-along executive board drove the metaphorical get-away car during the heist.

Schaitberger effectively said to all 7th district members and indirectly to the entire IAFF, I’ll decide who represents you and how long they stay.

The board has made a full-time job of violating the IAFF Constitution yet they gang up to take out arguably the most dedicated and principled member of the board.

And, it all happened in broad daylight.

Abuse of Power

Gone are the days when locals had a real say in running the IAFF.

We could elect (or “un-elect”) anyone we chose.

Schaitberger has robbed us of that right in two important ways.

First, he constantly meddles in district elections seeking to control the outcomes.

He needs to stack the board with compliant members who will do as he says.

As if that is not bad enough, he now progresses to sacking fairly elected board members when he feels they challenge his dictatorial authority.

The sacking of Ricky Walsh absolutely proves that democratic traditional governance at the IAFF is dead-on-arrival.

It’s dead because Harold Schaitberger is free to do as he wishes and violates the IAFF Constitution at will.

Can the IAFF Be Taken Back?

It’s doable but not easy and here’s why.

The current board is composed of either complete Schaitberger lackeys or a (very) few others who sense they are vastly out-numbered and out-maneuvered.

Many IAFF affiliate leaders are beholden either to their DVPs or to Schaitberger and are afraid to act.

(Seeing what happened to Walsh doesn’t make it any easier.)

Still, running just below the surface is a growing consensus that something must be done.

The firing of Pete Gorman and the Walsh sacking pushes that out into the open.

The question is whether or not the IAFF can save itself or if that will have to come from without.

Either way, time is of the essence.

Take the IAFF Back

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See more at: http://www.turnoutblog.com/2015/12/22/stop-harold-schaitberger-the-new-years-resolution/#sthash.MMg6iTNJ.dpuf











  • Tom sullivan says:

    Another yarn spun by Lamar with doom and gloom inuendo and hyperbole with NO FACTS or details. What, pray tell, did happen here Eric? And as I have tried to post before…why do you insist on using the pronoun “we?” In what local do you pay dues? What union hall do you do your work in? Where do you ride an engine and serve the public?

    • Eric Lamar says:

      “We” you ask?

      I have been a dues-paying IAFF member since 1976.

      IAFF Local 2068, Fairfax County Professional Firefighters and Paramedics

      How about you?

  • Tom sullivan says:

    Ahhhhh…L2068, the local often sitting front and center at convention…I know it well. Which would explain how you got that awesome staff job you had at the IAFF, the job you used to get all of our email addresses to share your blog with. The same job which you were dismissed from. Funny thing though, I haven’t once seen you step up to the mic at convention to participate in the business of this Union. Could that be because the members of your own local don’t see fit to send you forward to be their voice and representative? Have the people who know you best in this Union grown tired of your partial and biased “reporting” and your incessant conspiracy theories? Do they not share your desire to wear a tin foil hat?

  • Don Jewett says:

    Tom, Eric is a past President of Local 2068 and was supported by the membership. He worked diligently at the Local level as well as the State and National level. He earned his position at the IAFF and should be praised for his work. While we’ve had our political differences I trust and support his opinions on everything he’s revealed. Agree or disagree, he’s revealing the truth.

  • Phil Knowles says:


    I don’t know your affiliation, and as Eric asked and you avoided answering, and as I see you are not listed as an executive board member, I am to assume you are a Schaitberger plant.

    Eric has brought to light many glaring “issues” with or GP and I for one as a local president am seriously concerned. Ricky was my DVP and not only did I vote for him, I switched camps from Harvey to Walsh after seeing what he brought to the table. Ricky is a solid guy and if you knew him, you would question the strong arm tactics of our GP on having him resign. Ricky bleeds union blue and he is not a guy to step down willingly.

    Wake the “F” up.

  • Jan says:

    I had the misfortune of meeting the slimy used car salesman you call a leader, at the convention after 9/11. Slimball offered to service me in front of my fiancée. Slimy is who he is.

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