- Obama military downsizing leaves U.S. too weak to counter global threats, panel finds
- Sen. Tom Coburn vows to slow down budget-busting bills ahead of recess
- Obama fantasizes about more executive power, signs new order on federal contractors
- Clintons call Klein, Halper, Kessler ‘a Hat Trick of despicable actors’: report
- Boehner accuses Obama of ‘legacy of lawlessness’
- Pro-marijuana group claims responsibility for Brooklyn Bridge flag swap
- Young adults shun Obamacare mostly due to cost: survey
- Stabbing attack on transgender girl, 15, was ‘bias motivated,’ police say
- LGBT adults still lean overwhelmingly toward Democratic Party
- Lawmakers rattled by Syria genocide horrors, call on Obama to act
Fire official gets demotion papers
Hit for reprimands for beer
Question of the Day
A battalion chief with the District’s fire department has received orders he will be demoted to the rank of captain next month as a result of his handling of the punishment of two firefighters who were faulted for allowing beer in their firehouse.
Reduction-in-rank papers issued to Battalion Chief Richard Sterne on Tuesday state that he will be demoted to the rank of captain on April 8. He estimates the demotion will cost him $12,000 in annual pay.
The demotion stems from Chief Sterne’s decision to reprimand rather than suspend two firefighters involved in a September incident in which a resident delivered two 12-packs of beer to a U Street Northwest fire station to thank firefighters for extinguishing a fire at his home.
Firefighters declined to accept the beer, but the man left it at the fire station and they put the beer into a refrigerator to get it out of public view.
Chief Kenneth Ellerbe later discovered the beer during a visit to the station. Chief Ellerbe closed the station for two hours so all employees there could be tested for alcohol consumption. None of the employees at the station was found to have been drinking.
Punishment of 24-hour suspensions was proposed for two men working at the station, but disciplinary action was left to Chief Sterne. He issued reprimand letters to the two men after determining that “no intentional misconduct” occurred.
“Your failure to hold the members accountable for their receipt of the beer in violation of the Rules of Conduct brings into question your ability to exercise proper judgment in the performance of your assigned duties,” Chief Ellerbe wrote to Chief Sterne in a January notice advising him of the proposed reduction in rank.
A lawyer representing Chief Sterne said he intends to file an appeal on the matter with the District’s Office of Employee Appeals.
“We intend to challenge them to prove the facts of this case, and I don’t think they will be able to do it,” attorney James Pressler said.
The reduction-in-rank papers stated that the action was “supported by a preponderance of evidence,” but provided no additional context for the decision.
© Copyright 2014 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.
About the Author
Andrea Noble is a crime and public safety reporter for The Washington Times. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Woman fatally struck by bus in Upper Marlboro
- Law enforcement agency seeks review of Virginia drone-use moratorium
- GSA picks 3 sites as finalists for new FBI headquarters
- Federal judge grants 90-day stay in D.C. gun case
- D.C. seeks to stay judge's order allowing gun owners to carry in public
Latest Blog Entries
TWT Video Picks
Both parties recognize the Democrats' scam
- Inside the Ring: Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Army's 3-D printed bombs to create 'a whole new universe' of lethal capabilities
- Chicken pox outbreak puts illegal immigrant facility on lockdown
- CRUZ: A tale of two hospitals: One in Israel, one in Gaza
- GOP leaders delay border bill, leave Obama in control
- Report: 40% of weapons sent to Afghanistan are unaccounted for
- CIA admits improperly hacking Senate computers in search of Bush-era information
- Israel surprised by Hamas tunnel network
- Colorado poll shows women tuning out Democrats' 'war on women' strategy
- 3 African leaders cancel trip to U.S. over Ebola outbreak; Obama still plans summit
Obama's biggest White House 'fails'
Celebrities turned politicians
Athletes turned actors
20 gadgets that changed the world