- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 25, 2002

As far as anyone knows, none of the workers arrested at the three Washington-area airports this week claims to have received a degree from Morris Brown College in Atlanta.
The workers made all kinds of dubious claims on their application forms, from inventing new identities to forgetting criminal pasts, but not one worker claimed to have received a degree from Morris Brown College.
It is funny how it works with those who inflate or gloss over their pasts.
Some are arrested in the interest of national security, as they should be. Others wind up in employment purgatory. Still others cling to that old Washington institution: plausible deniability.
When it comes to mistakes in a resume, it is amazing how the mistakes inevitably enhance the person's background. You never see a resume in which the person claims to have dropped out of high school in the 10th grade when, in fact, the person completed high school and college.
No, the mistakes, however inadvertent and mysterious, somehow always wind up making the person look better. It is always an honest mistake, and honest mistakes do happen.
Even important people make honest mistakes on their resumes, starting with D.C. Fire Chief Ronnie Few, who claimed to have received a degree from Morris Brown College. Unfortunately, Chief Few did not receive a degree from Morris Brown College, or even an honorary degree from Matchbook U.
The degree, as the story goes, came to be because of an error made by an aide to Chief Few at his former place of employment in Augusta, Ga.
Chief Few was a busy man in Augusta, as he is here, and he not only did not have time to put together a resume, but he also did not have time to look over it to see if it was correct.
Chief Few also wound up with a "Chief of the Year" award in Augusta, which came as news to the organization credited with recognizing the good chief.
To be fair, if the organization did hand out such an award, it might select Chief Few as the "Chief of the Year."
You never know with awards. It is such a highly subjective process.
Anyway, Chief Few was not the "Chief of the Year," and again, it was the fault of his aide in Augusta. The aide just started typing like crazy, hitting this key and that. In hindsight, it really is fortunate the aide did not bestow the Nobel Peace Prize on Chief Few.
As it turns out, Chief Few's resume reads like the resumes of his three aides that are being reviewed. It seems his aides went to this school or that school, and they did this or that, and before they knew it, they became caught up in the emotion of it all. That sometimes happens to writers, good and bad.
Understandably, Mayor Anthony A. Williams has a problem with all the bad paper being passed around under his watch. These are his people, after all, and a cursory background check by his office might have prevented these series of embarrassing revelations.
Chief Few undoubtedly is monitoring the situation, checking each day to see what is being written and said about him. It is his life being put under a microscope, with each layer being pulled apart by the 24-7 news cycle, and it can't feel good.
No one possibly can understand Chief Few's background as well as he understands it. No one knows what it took for him to become a big-city fire chief.
That is a point he might have wanted to come to sooner than now. It was his resume, after all. It is his life. He was not inclined to check on the details in Augusta, although, of all people, he should have been the one with the most interest in the details.
So he really shouldn't be too bothered with what is being said and written about him these days.
The way things went down, Chief Few should consider himself lucky there weren't a zillion mistakes in his resume, including misspellings, typos and the like.
Those kinds of errors rarely look good to prospective employers. They tell you something about the person, none of it good.

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