D.C. Council Member Calls for Fire Chief’s Resignation

Chief and deputy mayor for public safety asked to step down after council hearing


 
 

ANDREA NOBLE, The Washington Times | | Wednesday, February 26, 2014


VIDEOS

Multimedia Thumb

D.C. Council Holds Hearing over Patient Death

Fire chief testifies before city leaders about failed response.
more >





The D.C. Council member with oversight of the fire department on Tuesday called for the resignations of the fire chief and the deputy mayor for public safety and justice, saying the administration has failed to present a plan to address chronic troubles with emergency response.

Tommy Wells, Ward 6 Democrat and candidate for mayor, said in a letter to Mayor Vincent C. Gray that the administration's responses during a Monday oversight hearing on the department's failures were "deficient and disappointing."

JEMS: D.C. Council Discusses Fire and EMS Effectiveness

"From burning ambulances, uncertified fire trucks, and no procurement plan to adequately equip our fire and emergency personnel, to a shortage of paramedics, delayed response to emergencies, and poor training and management, this department has enormous and urgent challenges to overcome," he wrote. "Yet the administration has no coherent plan to improve the department's performance."

Mr. Wells asked for the resignations of Deputy Mayor Paul A. Quander Jr. and Fire Chief Kenneth B. Ellerbe. Both men answered questions about the agency's plans at Monday's oversight hearing, which was convened after the death of 77-year-old Medric Cecil Mills. Mr. Mills was refused aid by firefighters in January after he collapsed across the street from Engine 26 in Northeast.

During the hearing, Mr. Quander said five firefighters' lack of response was "an absolute failure to do what was appropriate."

The deputy mayor mentioned tactics the fire department could pursue to stem further issues by enhancing quality control over employees. He suggested that lieutenants and captains no longer be represented by the same union. And he called for increasing background checks on employees in order to identify troubled employees. He said neither of those issues contributed directly to the failures at Engine 26.

Mr. Wells also said the troubles with the beleaguered fire department extend far beyond the Mills case.

"Blaming racial divisions, union membership, or other perceived motivations for the department's dysfunction must end," he said in his letter. "It is a disgrace to place responsibility on the rank and file employees who put their lives on the line for D.C. citizens every day. Whatever the divisions in the department, only strong leadership, sound management, and a new culture of excellence can resolve them."

Mr. Quander's spokesman, Keith St. Clair, said his office would not be "reacting" to Mr. Wells' request.

A spokesman for Mr. Gray called Mr. Wells' letter a "shameless political stunt."

Mr. Gray and Mr. Wells are among a crowded field seeking the Democratic nomination for mayor in an April 1 primary election.

"You don't get to say it's their fault when you block what other people are doing," spokesman Pedro Ribeiro said, specifically referencing Mr. Wells' opposition last year to Chief Ellerbe's plan to redeploy city ambulances.

Mobile Category: 
News


Copyright © 2013 LexisNexis, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. Terms and Conditions | Privacy Policy


D.C. Council Holds Hearing over Patient Death


Connect: Have a thought or feedback about this? Add your comment now
Related Topics: News, DCFD, DCFEMS, politics

What's Your Take? Comment Now ...

Buyer's Guide Featured Companies

Featured Careers & Jobs in EMS

Get JEMS in Your Inbox

 

Fire EMS Blogs


Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts

 

EMS Airway Clinic

Mechanical CPR is Producing Resuscitation Results Beyond Expectations

Discover why clinical studies are finding mechanical CPR just as effective as optimally-performed CPR.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

New Technology Helps Missouri Ambulances

Strategic GPS tracking helps in Springfield.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Profile: Hospital Wing Air Ambulance

Take a look inside this Memphis service.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

New Monitors for Wyoming EMS

Grant helps Torrington EMS get new equipment.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

London Medics Increasingly Attacked

One medic describes her violent confrontation.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Violence, Arson in Ferguson

Crowds in Ferguson and elsewhere react to decision.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

California Bus Rollover

One killed and dozens injured.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

Buffalo Residents Dig Out and Prepare for Flooding

Flooding expected as heavy snow melts.
More >


Multimedia Thumb

The AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher Conversion Kit - EMS Today 2013

AmbuBus®, Bus Stretcher all-hazards preparedness & response tool
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

LMA MAD Nasal™

Needle-free intranasal drug delivery.
Watch It >


Multimedia Thumb

Braun Ambulances' EZ Door Forward

Helps to create a safer ambulance module.
Watch It >


More Product Videos >