In Like a Lion But Out Like a Lamb
Over a year ago, in the Fall of 2016, former New York Local 854 president and IAFF chief of staff Pete Gorman filed a lawsuit in DC court alleging that he had been wrongly terminated after raising concerns about unethical hiring practices at the IAFF.
Gorman is perhaps best known for leading his local during and after the September 11th attacks when nearly 100 of his members were killed in action.
In the suit he also asserted that IAFF General President Harold Schaitberger “orchestrated the termination of Mr. Gorman’s employment and enlisted other senior staff to assist in that effort.”
Such an orchestration would have been necessary because Gorman’s performance and reputation precluded a summary dismissal.
He was (and is) very highly regarded as a fire officer and labor leader.
In March of 2017, Jeffrey Zack, an assistant to Schaitberger, joined that orchestra, providing a statement saying in part, “In July of 2015 I was contacted by Noam Scheiber, of the New York Times. During a series of telephone conversations and face-to-face meetings, Scheiber indicated that he was in possession of hundreds of pages of non-public IAFF documents, including, among others: internal IAFF communications; materials presented at Executive Board meetings; expense reports, …”
Zack ends his solo performance by noting that “To my knowledge, Peter Gorman was not authorized to disclose any of the above documents or information to third parties outside the IAFF.”
His comments cleverly suggest that Gorman was a huge leaker; could Schaitberger have proven that in court? We’ll never know.
But Schaitberger’s expensive snooping suggests Zack was playing off-key.
Sources very much in the know readily confirm that the results of Schaitberger’s witch hunt $350,000 spying mission turned up results not supportive of Zack.
Schaitberger held that report very close and then suddenly selectively released it earlier in 2017, but only when he thought he could use it to smear Ricky Walsh in the vice-president’s race in the 7th district; another bright idea that blew up in his face.
Schaitberger is a famous meddler while denying it all the while.
If it couldn’t work on Gorman then perhaps on Walsh?
Was Schaitberger talking trash all along, trying to intimidate Gorman?
He sure went after Gorman with no-holds-barred, scorched earth accusations, saying:
- The Investigation “confirmed that the data breach had been an internal misappropriation committed by Mr. Gorman.”
- “Mr. Gorman, while serving as the Chief of Staff to Mr. Schaitberger and the IAFF, accessed, misappropriated, and distributed records…without authorization for his own personal and political gain at the expense of the IAFF and its reputation and efforts to carry out its organizational mission and business.”
- “Mr. Gorman breached his fiduciary duties, including the duty of loyalty, as employee and agent of the IAFF.”
- ” As a direct and foreseeable result of Mr. Gorman’s breach of duty, [IAFF] incurred substantial damages, including significant costs to investigate and confirm the source of the misappropriation and disclosure of confidential information, and to stop the misconduct.”
If Schaitberger really believed he was defending the very “mission” of the IAFF, why would he toss in the towel on what would surely be a sacred duty for any general-president?
Again, with the case settled we only have our hunches, but some hunches can be very good, especially when they are based on a long history.
Schaitberger’s biggest failure to produce when it mattered was what was to be his signature accomplishment: national collective bargaining for fire fighters; he talked big and yet produced nothing.
The same can be said for successive U.S. presidential candidates including the venerable John Kerry, and the lecherous old drunk Chris Dodd.
So, there is a long history of last minute no-shows and non-performance and little reason to doubt the same outcome here.
What’s the end lesson for IAFF members?
Don’t be easily fooled, of course.
And, look beyond the fancy, expensive dinners and glitzy convention shows and focus on principled results.
When you do, it’s nothing more than the Wizard of Oz, a tired and cranky old man full of hot air.
In this, the 100th anniversary of the IAFF, our collective New Year’s resolution should be to do better in the future.
Share to End the Schaitberger Corruption.