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IAFF District 16 Online

Our Mission

To promote the health, safety, and welfare of the Federal Firefighters within the International Association
of Fire Fighters (IAFF)
.  

 

16th District Twitter  The 16th District provides Twitter updates. 

Letter to DFAS on Lump-Sum Annual Leave Payments March 2016

https://www.sugarsync.com/pf/D8526741_05817889_868675

Letter to SecArmy on Scope of Services

https://www.sugarsync.com/pf/D8526741_05817889_869989 

 

The IAFF 53rd Convention will be in August 2016 in Las Vegas Nevada. For more Information go to www.iaff.org

2016 Convention Call http://client.prod.iaff.org/#contentid=27015  

 

Message to the Members of the IAFF (March 2016)

I think everyone within the IAFF leadership from the Local level up realizes that there are politics involved in the IAFF at every level.  Any democratic organization endures the necessity of politics.  That said, we all also have an obligation to our elected offices that require a balance and the adherence to the principles of our office.   A person fails their obligation when they pursue political goals in lieu of their obligation.

Although there are some that would choose to criticize the IAFF Executive Board, in the many years I have been fortunate enough to be a member of the Board I have watched the IAFF continue to grow and become a respected Union in an environment where other Union's suffer.   Trade Union membership in the U.S. continues to decrease while the IAFF's membership grows.  The IAFF supports Locals though various programs that have also expanded over the years such as our Guardian Program and at our last Convention the members adopted the Justice Program to provide wage income for local leaders that are disciplined or fired for union activities.

That said, as I mentioned politics always come into play.  Whether for personal or professional reasons anyone in an elected office is vulnerable to allegations of impropriety or simple character assassination by those seeking gain or retribution.  All one has to do is view the current environment surrounding the current Presidential nominations to see an example of this happening. This is often accomplished by twisting the facts and mischaracterizing the truth and weaving a tale that leaves the reader or listener with one possible conclusion, that of the story teller. This then becomes the "elephant in the room" that in our case the story teller suggests is an "obvious truth" the Board cannot see or chooses to ignore.    

Although some have questioned the Executive Board's resolve, it is important to point out that such opinions are from a minority that are motivated by political gain or the simple dislike of certain Officers.  More appropriate forums are available such as addressing the Board and the Members directly at Convention, addressing the Board at the open Board meetings held several times a year or utilizing the provisions of our By-Laws, or through many other venues.  But some prefer not to step up and would rather create discourse by hiding behind a keyboard and spewing character assassinations and publicly undermining the good name of the IAFF.

I cannot speak for the entire Board, but I see nothing wrong with constructive criticism.  I believe it is actually a necessity and beneficial when offered or presented in the right manner.  Aristotle said that there is only one way to avoid criticism, "do nothing, say nothing and be nothing".  For IAFF members or Officers however to publicly undermine the good name of the IAFF or disregard their duty to the IAFF or their Oath as a whole is in fact an attack on all the Members and the organization as a whole.

 Article XV of the IAFF's By-Laws covers misconduct and penalties.  Section C. of the Article provides that the following is misconduct:

"Libeling or slandering or causing to be libeled or slandered any officer or member of the Association or of any local union or other subordinate body thereof, except in the form of charges of misconduct properly filed against an officer or member as provided by this Constitution and By-Laws."

Section J. Provides that it is misconduct for:

"Engaging in conduct detrimental to the best interests of the Association or its subordinate unions which places or tends to place them in disrepute with other labor organizations, employers, or the public."

The IAFF Officer's Oath of Office is as follows:

"I pledge my honor to perform the duties of my office in compliance with the Constitution and By-Laws of the International Association of Fire Fighters and this local union. All properties and records of this union will be turned over to my successor in office at the close of my official term. I will dutifully abide by and promote the positions taken by the majority. I will dedicate my talents and energies to represent the mandates and directives of this union. I will use my good office to promote unity and harmony - all of which I solemnly promise and swear to keep to the best of my ability."

Clearly the Oath of Office and the By-Laws provisions regarding misconduct are there for a reason and any failure on our part as either a Board Member or a Local Affiliate Leader to adhere to these will cause individuals or the organization to falter and become a victim of political and personal discourse.  We have now witnessed this.

I realize that some of the 300,000 IAFF Members may know very little about me as I represent one of the smaller Districts dealing with Federal issues.  But allow me to say this.  As an eight-year Veteran of Military Service, nearly 20 years as a Federal Fire Fighter and 13 years on the IAFF Board I place a lot of value in an Oath of Office.  I believe when one takes an oath they should strive with every effort adhere to it.  I believe when a person surreptitiously contributes or promotes the destruction of the organization or its leaders they walk in a minefield that can lead to the destruction of their own character and their own good name.  This too we have seen. Being an elected IAFF Executive Board member is not a trivial matter.

I am sure some have seen a recent video that a former Board Member has posted after resigning from his position.  Upon his resignation the individual admitted in writing that he violated the IAFF Constitution and By-Laws.  The resignation was not forced as portrayed.  The facts were presented, discussion held and yes suggestions were made to the Board Member.  But it was several days later before the resignation actually occurred.  The Board did not corner anyone or threaten to take away any benefits or retirement eligibility. Once again we see the weaving of a tale that leaves the reader or listener with one possible conclusion, that of the story teller. 

Most already know this but just for clarity, contrary to what some purport the Executive Board is not suffering from Ostrich syndrome.  Many of us choose not to engage in public blogs containing twisted facts and untruths weaved into a single plausible outcome.  Injecting ourselves into such rhetoric would be ludicrous and only benefit those weaving their tale.   I know that I, and I believe other members of the Board do support open discussion and debate and I believe members should present any concerns that they have about the organization and its leaders to the Board and the Membership directly though the proper venues.   The IAFF has proper processes for the Officers and Members to address concerns.  These should be preferred by all rather than the "biased court" of the internet and the "trickery" of distorting some facts in order to provoke and cause discord.

Fraternally

James B. Johnson

IAFF 16th District

3/7/16

 

 

 

 

 

 

 
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