Ignorant in the Classic Sense
The Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Department (FRD) and its union, IAFF Local 2068, continue to be roiled by controversy, most recently from the twin shocks of the resignation of Battalion Chief Kathleen Stanley from her role as a Women’s Program Officer and from notice of the retirement of fire chief Richard Bowers.
Stanley said, in part:
This position is for show, with no legitimate authority, respect, or value. Advice, advocacy and suggestions are humored, at best, and routinely dismissed.
• Fairfax County Fire and Rescue tolerates, and often defends, sexual harassment, retaliation and a hostile work environment: “zero tolerance” is a hollow term thrown about with false commitment.
Sharon Bulova, Chairman of the County’s governing body, had been an advocate of Bower’s, even defending him in the Stanley matter, but she then reversed course and gave him a tepid send-off at best when he was told to pack it up.
Fairfax County has a brand new appointed CEO, Bryan Hill, and it’s hard not to see his hand in the departure of Bowers.
The reason is called Hernandez v. Fairfax County, a recent Fourth Circuit US Court of Appeals decision which lays out in excruciating detail how the FRD and the County have failed to provide a safe workplace for women.
The Fourth Circuit decision proves Stanley right, Bowers wrong and Bulova out-to-lunch.
Bryan Hill has to fix all that and saying bye-bye to Bowers is a good start.
The Union and Dave Barlow
Local 2068 had formerly been regarded as progressive and assertive in standing up for its members but that description is appearing increasingly inapt, especially given the actions of Dave Barlow, an elected member of their executive board.
He recently had this to say about Kathleen Stanley:
“Kathleen Stanley authored and distributed misleading information designed to be destructive and inflammatory against the FRD and individual members of 2068…I think we as a membership we should have a zero tolerance for this type of rouge behavior and should pursue a vote to remove Kathleen Stanley from our membership.”
First, I think Barlow probably meant “rogue” behavior as opposed to “rouge” but that error is a perfect metaphor for the man himself, both red-faced and foolish.
He piles the ignorance on, claiming that Stanley, “authored and distributed misleading information designed to be destructive and inflammatory against the FRD and individual members of 2068.”
Barlow is reckless as he engages in slander and libel.
Just how does he know that her words about the FRD were “designed to be destructive and inflammatory?”
He lays claim to knowing her intent, another example of ineptitude, unless he has proof which he should have provided along with his assertions.
If Barlow is speaking on behalf of the Local as an elected officer he is incurring significant legal exposure and risk if Stanley wishes to defend her reputation.
(I hope she does.)
In fact, the Local should renounce his incendiary diatribe and warn him unequivocally that it is conduct both unbecoming of a union member, and especially elected officers, who by their words, represent the organization.
The way to blunt Barlow’s ignorance is for the Local to go on record urging the County to immediately settle the Hernandez case as a good faith and concrete example of having learned that real change is essential.
Whether or not Hernandez is or was a member of Local 2068 is utterly irrelevant.
Finally, Barlow’s suggestion that Stanley be denied membership in the Local is the mark of a petty tyrant intent on censorship and exclusion, ignorance run amok.