Bruce Murphy
Back in the News

Seager Out as Fire Fighters Head?

Sources say controversial leader took second in vote, faces runoff election.

By - Nov 10th, 2017 04:08 pm
Dave Seager. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

Dave Seager. Photo by Jeramey Jannene.

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.

Urban Milwaukee had done an earlier story, “The City’s Most Curious Lobbyist”, about Seager’s side job lobbying on an issue that has nothing to do with the fire fighters. In the summer of 2016 Seager lobbied against the Goll Mansion project, which sought to create a high rise apartment building overlooking Lake Michigan. He earned $5,000 for this lobbying, and his main task was to help persuade aldermen Tony Zielinski and Mark Borkowski, whose districts are far from the proposed, Prospect Ave. project, to oppose it. But a year later, Seager swapped sides, working for an undisclosed fee from developer Chris Houden to support the project, and Borkowski and Zielinski swapped sides as well, resulting in the approval of the development.

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.

10 thoughts on “Back in the News: Seager Out as Fire Fighters Head?”

  1. Eat the rich says:

    Good riddance to this gold brick in fool. Strip his pension and send his sorry butt back to Jackson!

  2. Maureen says:

    Seager’s public service seems monetarily driven. Reminiscent of Sheriff David Clarke.

  3. Why so dishonest? says:

    Mr. Murphy with more and more frequency demonstrates a Trumpian penchant for dispensing incorrect information when accuracy is easily found. Local 215 is not and has not had 1,000 members for nigh on a decade. In that time the Milwaukee Fire Department staffing has been cut by around 1/3. If one includes the over 100 vacancies from inept and insufficient hiring practices on the part of management and the Fire and Police commission (which need to be filled by overtime hiring on a daily basis) union membership is down to a little over 600.

    Furthermore UrbanMilwaukee’s tone regarding Mr. Seager has taken on the personal invective Mayor Barrett displays towards the fire department in general and the union in particular leading this reader to wonder who actually writes these articles.

  4. Tony says:

    Maybe Peeper Donovan needs a assistant. He appears to like Seager quite a bit.

  5. Bruce Murphy says:

    Commentator “Why so dishonest” says union membership is down to 600 and cites no source. The union’s website says the current size of force is “approximately 1,000 firefighters”:

  6. MKE kid says:

    Bruce Murphy, thanks for the link. Indeed, Seager IS gold bricking. Supported by City of Milwaukee taxpayers and union dues that firefighters are forced to pay out of their paychecks. Let him stay in Jackson and oversee their volunteer fire department and rescue old lady’s cats out of trees. When was the last time Seager ate smoke and had to bust his butt at a fire in Milwaukee?

  7. Jes' Wonderin' says:

    How can he live outside the 15-mile limit?

  8. Jeramey Jannene says:

    @Jes’ Wonderin’ – He doesn’t. He lives 30 miles from downtown, but less than 15 miles from the city’s northwest border.

  9. Sure would like to know who came in second and third and what their politics are.

  10. Why so dishonest says:

    I have been a Milwaukee firefighter for over two decades. Our website needs to be updated. You can check the number allocated in city budget to see my number is more accurate. And as of yesterday, 75 of those ~110 vacancies went away along with 5 firefighting companies, or the same number that respond to a house fire..

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