D.C. Council Member Calls for Fire Chief’s Resignation - News - @ JEMS.com

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


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: 

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

FEBRUARY 25-28, 2015

Baltimore Convention Center
Baltimore, Maryland USA






Get JEMS in Your Inbox


Fire EMS Blogs

Blogger Browser

Today's Featured Posts


EMS Airway Clinic

Innovation & Advancement

This is the seventh year of the EMS 10 Innovators in EMS program, jointly sponsored by Physio-Control and JEMS.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Wesleyan Students Hospitalized for Overdose

11 students transported to local hospitals.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Denver Medic's Family Says Job Stress Contributed to Suicide

Veteran of over 25 years took her own life after a call.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Denver First Responders Join to Remember Paramedic

Veteran medic took her own life after fatal accident.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

Rigs Going in Service from EMS Today 2015

Snap shots of some of the vehicles at EMS Today that will be on the streets soon
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Florida Hospital Fire

Fire halts construction project at Tampa cancer center.
More >

Multimedia Thumb

Field Bridge Xpress ePCR on iPad, Android, Kindle Fire

Sneak peek of customizable run forms & more.
Watch It >

Multimedia Thumb

VividTrac offered by Vivid Medical - EMS Today 2013

VividTrac, affordable high performance video intubation device.
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 >