IAFF Corruption: A Local President Responds

Eric Lamar
3 min readSep 14, 2021


I was a local President for nearly 7 years. I must have been so naive. I fooled myself into believing the IAFF was “ different” than other corrupt organized labor organizations. We were doing it the right way; setting the example. Were we ever? I am so embarrassed and ashamed of what has become of this once proud union. Disgusting. Jeff Coffey

The IAFF hasn’t been “proud” in recent memory, at least if ethics and honesty are the benchmarks.

We are talking about the IAFF at the top level; local affiliates are generally honest and serve members diligently.

The higher you go, the more corrupt it becomes until at the very top you find just greedy politicians, many of whom should be locked up for their deceitful and self-serving behavior.

How did it happen?

Harold Schaitberger was the cause and catalyst for the current calamity.

Deceased and former longtime district vice president Michael Mullane of Boston used to say “we should have fired Schaitberger when we had the chance.”

He was referring to Schaitberger’s having been caught red-handed, cookie-jar style, in an expense account dust-up.

Well, they didn’t fire him and the rest is history.

Over the course of some 45 years, Schaitberger filched his way upward, selling us out along the way.

As IAFF president for twenty years, he bought off the thieving vice presidents while also wining and dining large affiliate leaders. They all became his two-bit whores in the process. Harold pimped them out to plunder the IAFF: it worked magnificently.

The IAFF Executive Board under Harold Schaitberger became and remains a collection of incompetent, dishonest and self-serving fat cats.

Along comes Ed Kelly, who as secretary-treasurer, pulls the curtain back, ever so briefly, to show how these maggots have been feasting on the rotting carcass that was once our union.

So bad was it that the board was compelled to commission an independent firm to investigate IAFF corruption under Harold Schaitberger.

Now, they are hiding that report.

Along the way, Frank Lima, then a board member, green-lighted Schaitberger’s taking of a staff pension that was so ludicrously improper that it defies explanation.

Lima and his henchman were reduced to blaming it all on the now deceased Vincent Bollon, former secretary treasurer; after all, dead men tell no tales.

Beware a union official who heaps blame on the dead; no one will be spared on his watch.

This is the same group which improperly awarded themselves a doubling in so-called “severance pay” when they leave the board, an ironic bonus for robbing us blind: you couldn’t make it up.

Their decision was apparently ratified by various attorneys, more evidence that the entire operation is ethically bankrupt and without balls, figuratively, anyway.

Does Ed Kelly, IAFF president, really want to reform our broken union?

If he does, there is a single crucial step he can take to begin the task, he need ask no one for permission.

Release the full un-redacted and unedited investigative report. It belongs to IAFF members. Needing board approval is a piece of fiction to protect the perpetrators and abettors.

What’s the worst that could happen?

The board would stop supporting him?

They don’t support him now.

Let the pigs squeal and the membership breathe a sigh of relief.

In other words, lead.

Demand the Release of the Report.