IAFF: Our Union Putin

Harold Schaitberger, President for Life

The IAFF Vlad

Vladimir Putin, Russia’s 21-century czar, just convinced voters there to make him president until 2036; he used the same tactics Harold Schaitberger uses: he paid some off, threatened others and ousted the rest.

Putin and Schaitberger are much alike and it doesn’t end with their shared lust for power.

Also President for Life

The Hill, a national political news source, invoked diplomat George Kennan’s famous 1946 cable from Moscow as he explained what the Russians were really up to and why:

“At bottom of Kremlin’s neurotic view of world affairs is traditional and instinctive Russian sense of insecurity.”

He could have been talking about Harold Schaitberger, a man so instinctively neurotic and insecure that attention must always be on him; he has been known to publicly berate staff and others who detract from his spotlight.

Putin has surrounded himself with Politburo “yes men,” another Schaitberger tactic; IAFF vice-presidents line up behind whatever policies he dictates and are rewarded for it.

Under Schaitberger, IAFF vice-presidents have gotten hefty pay raises, pensions and improper severance pay, too. The price is to simply do whatever he says.

Schaitberger follows Putin in another way: Putin’s salary is $136,000 a year yet his net worth, even the lowest figure, is $40 billion from “ill-gotten” gains.

Schaitberger’s ill-gotten gains include an improper pension he accessed, another pension he failed to pay taxes on, padding his vacation pay and the extravagant use of IAFF credit cards to support his Putin lifestyle.

Autocrats and dictators thrive on enforced secrecy and so it is with Putin and Schaitberger; Putin was head of the Russian Federal Security police and Schaitberger has remained in power by ruthlessly spying on IAFF members and staff, once spending over $300,000 in member’s money to ferret out perceived enemies.

This is the man who, at age 74, is poised to run again, a man who has largely purged the IAFF of honest and ethical leadership and who, right now, is plotting an escape from his current ethical troubles.

Russia isn’t a democracy and the IAFF isn’t a union.

But Vladimir and Harold are quite a couple.

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