Peeved Kelly Gives Fortuna a Challenger
Straight from the Schaitberger playbook
With the 55th IAFF convention over and little to show for it, all eyes are now on the mail ballot election for principal officers and trustees which will occur in the coming weeks.
The race for General President is between Mahlon Mitchell, Harold Schaitberger’s anointed choice or Ed Kelly, current General Secretary Treasurer, who effectively ousted Schaitberger.
It’s a predicament otherwise known as being between the devil and the deep blue sea.
The third candidate, Jim Tracy of Chicago, dropped out of the race apparently due to health reasons. Some believe he got in the race initially at the behest of Schaitberger to further muddy the already murky waters.
Which brings us to the matter at hand.
The IAFF has three elected trustees whose duty is to assure a high degree of financial and fiduciary responsibility in the organization, something they have never done else we wouldn’t be in our current mess. The IAFF is divided into three trustee regions, east, west and Canada.
The eastern trustee Mark Ouellette was slated to “retire” after twenty years. What he had done during that time is not known. So certain was his imminent departure that a resolution had been introduced at convention to award him emeritus status for those mystery deeds.
With Jim Tracy out, Chicago’s thousands of votes were suddenly in play and Ed Kelly turned to Chicago’s Danny Fortuna, a candidate for eastern trustee, for help in grabbing those votes for his presidential run.
Kelly is widely known as “Edzo” and Fortuna is apparently known as “The Tuna” further cementing the IAFF as mafia in form at least; all the players have nicknames and you never ask what’s in the bag.
Kelly seems to have misjudged Fortuna’s pull or stroke with his own local and Chicago instead endorsed Mitchell, no doubt delighting Schaitberger but infuriating “Edzo”, the man who would be king or at least the next one.
If “Edzo” and the “Tuna” were longtime buddies, that was the end of that.
Sources say that Kelly turned to the departing one-foot-out-the-door Ouellette and told him to run against Fortuna, a prison “shiv” for his inability to produce when it counted.
Inquiring minds would like to know if Ouellette was the first person Kelly asked to do the deed or the last?
Harold Schaitberger would grudgingly admire Kelly’s move as he has pulled it numerous times, including in the current election.
Is Kelly yet another Schaitberger brother by another mother?
They say Mahlon Mitchell is Schaitberger’s “brother by another mother.” Yet Kelly is but a gap-toothed Schaitberger who uses people and discards them and who sees loyalty as a one-way street flowing only to him. It’s a fact especially jarring given Kelly’s nonstop yammering about the firefighter brotherhood/family.
To be fair to Kelly, in a moment of unintended candor, he even told us in his acceptance speech exactly what we can expect. He said “it’s not what you say to a person but how you make them feel” telling us right up front that the truth is second to emotion and we should be ever on guard for the feel good con.
And it sure works on IAFF members who lap up the “crawling down the smoke-filled hallway” routine and his latest funeral tale like puppies tasting warm cream for the first time.
We need an ethical leader not a teller of endless firehouse tales.
Ouellette or Fortuna?
Ouellette served as Schaitberger’s guy for twenty years, can he really be expected to show interest in fiscal reform and ethics?
(He initially decided against another run only when Schaitberger grew tired of him and drafted Fortuna to run; Kelly also endorsed Fortuna.)
Is Fortuna’s greatest strength that he served on Rod Blagojavech’s gubernatorial transition team?
Yes, that Rod Blagojavech.
Or that Harold Schaitberger likes him?
Ironically, four years ago Schaitberger and Kelly, then a dynamic duo, worked to defeat a trustee candidate known for his integrity, a person needed but not wanted; the same applies today.
Pick Your Poison
Now that Kelly has “Schaitbergered” Fortuna, I hope The Tuna wins. He can pay Kelly back by doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, which, as Mark Twain would say, “will delight his enemies and astonish his friends.”
Real change at the IAFF will occur only when the Feds indict some key players including principal officers, vice presidents and trustees.
Let’s hope Joe Biden doesn’t give corrupt unions like the IAFF a free pass.
But with the Labor Department under the leadership of Boston’s Marty Walsh, how likely is that?