The Washington Times - March 7, 2012, 07:41AM

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray hired and the D.C. Council confirmed Kenneth Ellerbe to head the D.C. fire department without ever requesting a copy of his personnel file from the chief’s former employer in Sarasota County, Fla. — a file that contained a complaint of sexual harassment. The complaint, recently obtained through a Freedom of Information Act request, is supported by statements attesting to inappropriate behavior and intimidation on the part of Chief Ellerbe, who headed Sarasota’s fire department, report Andrea Noble and Matthew Cella of The Washington Times.

Mitt Romney won Virginia’s Republican presidential primary on Tuesday but with less than overwhelming support, in a race that highlighted the difficulty the former Massachusetts governor has had in consolidating support among rank-and-file GOP voters, reports David Sherfinski of The Times.


A D.C. budget battle involving Mayor Vincent C. Gray and D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown has raised serious questions about the efficacy of the city’s chief financial officer and whether Mr. Gray is delivering on promises to improve the handling of the city’s budget. At issue is a budget maneuver facilitated by CFO Natwar M. Gandhi that Mr. Gray’s office requested and later denounced as the type of fiscal mismanagement practiced by his predecessor, Mayor Adrian M. Fenty, reports Tom Howell Jr. of The Times.

Prince George’s County police on Tuesday reversed a controversial decision and charged council member Karen R. Toles with reckless driving for allegedly traveling on the Beltway at more than 100 mph. Police said they think they can prove that Ms. Toles showed a “wanton disregard for safety” when an officer spotted her speeding, according to The Washington Post.

Maryland budget analysts on Tuesday suggested nearly $800 million in potential cuts as part of a “doomsday” budget that Senate leaders have vowed to consider if lawmakers cannot agree on a mix of cuts and revenue increases in this year’s spending plan, reports David Hill of The Times.

Supporters of a ban on smoking inside vehicles with child passengers say the proposed legislation is strictly a health concern while opponents say it’s yet another attack on individual rights. The full Maryland Senate opened debate Tuesday on the legislation, which would fine drivers as much as $50 if they or a passenger is caught smoking in a vehicle with a passenger 8 or younger, according to The Times.

Today marks the 50th anniversary of one of the most intense winter storms to hit the East Coast in the past century. The Ash Wednesday storm of March 5-9, 1962, battered the coast of the Mid-Atlantic and Northeast, causing more than $200 million in property damage and killing 40 people. The storm destroyed or severely damaged 45,000 homes along the coast, reports The Post, which has compiled a collection of published stories, interviews, videos and other archival material.

A grand jury on Tuesday indicted Albrecht G. Muth, the man accused in the fatal beating and strangulation of his Georgetown socialite wife, on first-degree murder charges. At the time of his arrest following the August death of Viola Drath, 91, prosecutors charged Mr. Muth with second-degree murder. The charge was elevated to first-degree murder based on evidence presented to a D.C. Superior Court grand jury. Mr. Muth, 47, could face life in prison without parole if convicted, according to The Post.

The Montgomery County Council unanimously approved a bill Tuesday to authorize the installation of traffic cameras on the outside of school buses. Inside buses, as in schools, video cameras are commonly used as a crime deterrent. But on the roads, bus drivers report, the familiar red-and-white octagonal sign that unfolds as they stop to pick up or drop off children is often patently ignored, according to The Post.