That’s how long I have been a proud member of the IAFF, I joined in 1976 when I was nineteen-years-old and W.H. “Howie” McClennan was our International President; I met him at one of the first local union meetings I attended.
I kept in touch with Howie; he would occasionally call me at the firehouse to catch up or share important news.
The Gorman matter proceeds in court (there was a hearing this past Friday) and it’s a little jarring to find out that my union is now tracking my email communications and deploying them as they wish.
As a loyal union member I have a very firm and federally protected right of freedom of speech and it’s odd to know I am under surveillance by my own headquarters union.
In fact, the IAFF paid nearly $400,000 of our dues money to Investigative Group International to spy on us regarding Schaitberger’s continuing unethical and scandalous behavior, the spying itself being just the latest example.
Schaitberger is a tyrant who by his conduct proves that he has no scruples, especially when it comes to destroying the basic ideals on which our union was built.
Question: How many other unions spend hundreds of thousands of dollars to spy on their members?
It’s the style of a ruthless dictator bent on destroying or chilling free speech or dissent of any kind.
But, it’s actually much worse than that: as he spies on his own members, he gives leave to fire chiefs to do the same to us using Schaitberger’s reckless behavior as their justification.
After all, if the head of the union does it, it must be ok, right?
A Big Dick Blows It
Jonathon Lenzner, the head of Investigative Group International, working on behalf of Harold Schaitberger, has inferred that my email communications with fellow IAFF member Pete Gorman and my writing about ethical failures at the IAFF are connected in three separate instances.
The IAFF uses that concocted assertion as the reason to try and pry even further.
On April 29, 2014, I wrote about Schaitberger’s blatant conflict of interest when he purchased a $1,000,000 house from Jim Franzoni, his close friend who also does substantial business with the IAFF.
Lenzner cites an email between me and Gorman the following day, April 30, as proof of some connection.
If there was a connection, wouldn’t the email come before the story?
In any event, it’s strike one as the exchange had nothing to do with the house, it was entirely unrelated.
Lenzner next references a May 20, 2014, email exchange and links that up with a story I wrote nine days later about Schaitberger’s phony review of his ethic’s violation.
That exchange regarded the death of the mother of a mutual friend.
So, strike two, Dick Tracy.
Finally, he describes a June 20, 2014, email exchange and connects that with a June 24, 2014, story calling for the release of the ethics report.
That email had nothing to do with the IAFF, either, and was about an FDNY matter.
So, Mr. Lenzner has three strikes and he is out, as is the IAFF’s legal counsel, too, for their shoddy work relying on his private-dick-pulp-fiction.
After Gorman filed suit alleging possible discriminatory hiring at the IAFF, Schaitberger came back with a $1,000,000 counter-claim against him, seeking in part, the nearly $400,000 paid to Mr. Lenzner.
Seeing first hand the quality of Mr. Lenzner’s sleuthing where my emails are concerned, I can see why Schaitberger wants his money back, but he should be asking Lenzner for it, not Gorman.
Schaitberger’s counter-claim has the look and feel of both intimidation and retaliation.
In fact, so does the entire Lenzner investigation where Schaitberger sicks his bull dog on IAFF members, attempting to place free speech in the deep freeze, as he also does when he publicly describes members as rats if they disagree with his atrocious conduct.
Meanwhile, the entire IAFF Executive Board, cowards that they are, sits idly by as Schaitberger further destroys the union that he inherited.
Howie McClennan is turning in his grave.
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