IAFF: Not a House Divided
More like Rip Van Winkle
With Harold Schaitberger retiring, though one observer likens him to a Dracula-like figure who has only momentarily sought darkness, various candidates have announced for secretary treasurer and president.
Ed Kelly and Mahlon Mitchell are presidential candidates.
Jake Lemonda, Frank Lima and Greg Markely are running for secretary treasurer.
It’s been rumored that a candidate from Chicago has also announced for president, though more information is not available at this writing.
There are two kinds of candidates: uniting and reforming.
Mitchell and Lima use the language of uniting, proclaiming that we are a union divided, ignoring the evidence of corruption that started the whole ball rolling.
This is a diversion from reality rather than a substantive theme; it’s the rough equivalent of asking the flight attendant for another blanket when the wing just fell off.
The IAFF is not, in fact, divided, we just woke up, like Rip Van Winkle, in Washington Irving’s storied tale.
Like Rip, we too, have been asleep for exactly twenty years during which time Harold Schaitberger and his fellow thieves picked our pockets clean.
At least ten of the current vice presidents have been “santa’s little helpers” in the decades long rip-off operation called Operation Schaitberger.
Frank Lima, as one of those vice presidents, recently provided the absurd rationale of “it’s too late to get our money back” when a special committee approved Schaitberger’s improper pension. His interest in diverting our attention is fully understandable. After all, who wants to reform themselves?
Similarly, Mahlon Mitchell is Harold Schaitberger kin in form if not fact and so calling out corruption simply isn’t on the menu, he’s had his own woes with the feds.
Ed Kelly, Jake LeMonda and Greg Markely use the language of reform, talking about accountability, transparency, etc.
Kelly calls attention to Schaitberger’s sole control over key decisions as complicit board colleagues rolled over like submissive puppies.
Reform candidates want to let the light shine in and share the power.
Ed Kelly even calls out Schaitberger by name, saying his actions have put the future of the IAFF “at great risk.”
The reform candidates seemingly have an advantage as they can cite specific steps to remedy our ills while Mitchell and Lima are stuck with teaching us the words to Kumbaya as the FBI and the U.S. Attorney look on.
All this is making for some odd endorsement combinations as IAFF affiliates signal their support for various candidates rather than platforms.
The “We’re divided” candidates, Mitchell and Lima, are Schaitberger surrogates so pairing either one with a reform candidate is both illogical and irrational.
A Kelly/Lima endorsement teams a reformer, Kelly, with a uniter, Lima, who is, in fact, both an apologist for Harold Schaitberger and an advocate for the status quo.
Similarly, Mitchell matched with either LeMonda or Markley is another “odd couple” pairing.
IAFF locals should have a sincere discussion about whether they are really serious about cleaning up the IAFF and then endorse, and vote, accordingly.