IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger has reportedly indicated that he will “take out” Denis Onieal, the acting administrator of the United States Fire Administration (USFA).
Schaitberger is said to have made his threat at a recent meeting of Metro Chiefs.
The National Fire Information Reporting System (NFIRS) and the National Fire Operations Reporting System (NFORS).
NFIRS has been around for decades and is the data collecting tool used by 25,000 fire departments to capture activity.
NFORS is a new product centered on staffing and deployment conceived with an IAFF father, a surrogate mother and paid for with federal grants.
(Everyone knows who the father is, we’re just not supposed to talk about it in a fire service version of Thomas Jefferson and Sally Hemmings.)
Sources say Schaitberger wants NFORS to replace NFIRS, but he has an opponent in Onieal who has long supported the NFIRS collection system.
It’s unclear why the two data collection tools cannot coexist until you factor in Schaitberger’s propensity to bully and play the tough guy even when doing so achieves nothing and is, in fact, tremendously counterproductive.
Assuming that NFORS gives a boost to fire company staffing, it doesn’t have to be at the expense of other data initiatives.
Schaitberger indicated that he would go to Department of Homeland Security Secretary John Kelly over the issue.
That should be an interesting meeting.
IAFF staff has long bemoaned the fact that Schaitberger is disengaged from the actual facts of most issues and is a terrible lobbyist as a result.
He speaks in generalities and remembers the last thing he was told, a dangerous habit when conversing with people who actually know what they are doing.
The thought of Schaitberger holding forth on databases is laugh-out-loud funny.
You can bullshit so-called IAFF “leaders” and the board over copious red wine and an expensive steak but it’s much tougher out on the street where people make decisions based on facts and outcomes.
Not to demean the collection of data, but this is how Schaitberger spends his sober waking hours, few they may be?
Having failed to gain collective bargaining and after flaking out entirely on the 2016 general election he now busies himself with the finer points of data gathering.
It’s fair to wonder whether or not there is a bit of envy in Schaitberger’s attack on Onieal as he is everything Schaitberger is not.
Onieal is an Army veteran, drafted in 1968, and went on to a lengthy career with the Jersey City Fire Department.
In fact, Onieal’s union credentials are rock solid.
He was a long time member of both Jersey City IAFF Locals and served on their executive boards, as well.
Schaitberger served as a firefighter for only a handful of years.
Picking a fight with the USFA or Onieal achieves nothing except providing an ego boost to a man who has greatly diminished our union as we approach our 100th anniversary.
Union firefighters deserve much better.