Seager Out as Fire Fighters Head?
Sources say controversial leader took second in vote, faces runoff election.
Sources say that Dave Seager, who has headed the 1,000-member, Milwaukee’s Professional Fire Fighters Association Local 215 since January 2010, lost a vote for president on Monday and will face a runoff election he is not expected to win.
City Hall insiders say Seager took second place in the primary election, with 131 votes from union members, while an opponent got 232 votes, and another candidate took third, with 98 votes. Since the opponent who took first has more votes than the other two candidates combined, Seager is expected to lose the run-off election, scheduled to take place in early December.
Calls to Seager for comment were not returned, and a receptionist at the union office would only say the current president was Seager and that a new election had been held.
The union president was not present in the council chambers Friday when the Common Council passed a budget that eliminated six fire houses and 75 firefighters. Police union president Michael Crivello was seen in the room interacting with council members.
Seager has been a major force in state politics. He starred in an advertisement for Scott Walker when the Republican first won the election for governor in 2010. And Walker’s signature law, Act 10, exempted fire fighters and police from its provisions decimating collective bargaining rights and requiring greater contributions to their benefits by all state and local employees in Wisconsin.
Seager was later instrumental in lobbying state legislators, who passed a bill signed by Walker which eliminated the residency requirements for cities like Milwaukee. Seager took advantage of the law to move to the Town of Jackson, in a home some 30 miles from downtown Milwaukee, in a Washington County town served by volunteer fire fighters, as Michael Horne wrote in a “House Confidential” story for Urban Milwaukee.
Seager did his lobbying the second time using the Fire Fighters Association name and letter head, and it is not clear whether union board members approved of this, or whether his fees earned were shared with the association, as the group did not respond to calls from Urban Milwaukee.
Seager’s union job is a full-time position, but the city pays his salary, and since he was promoted to Captain by the Fire and Police Commission on December 15th, 2015, he earns a salary of $96,880 annually. Additionally, the president gets an additional (undisclosed) compensation from the union. Should Seager lose the election for president, he would go back to working as a fire fighter, and collecting only the city salary. And without the union position, he would probably lose his clout as a lobbyist.