- The Washington Times - Thursday, April 25, 2002

Three top deputies of D.C. Fire Chief Ronnie Few are expected to receive punishments ranging from reprimand to termination for lying on their resumes, city officials said.
An inquiry conducted by City Administrator John Koskinen of the three appointees could be completed as soon as today. Mayor Anthony A. Williams called for the investigation after reports in The Washington Times questioned education and work-history discrepancies on the three officials' resumes.
Members of the D.C. Council have said Mr. Williams needs to move more quickly on the matter. New regulations on resumes and residency requirements from the Corporation Counsel's office are pending before the council. The District has no legislative penalties for false statements on resumes.
The Times reported March 13 that the resumes of Assistant Chief Gary L. Garland, Assistant Chief Marcus R. Anderson and Deputy Chief Bruce A. Cowan contain inflated professional and educational credentials. All three men, along with Chief Few, are scheduled to meet with the mayor at noon today.
City government sources told The Times that the inquiry confirms that the resumes contain fabrications, including Chief Garland's assertion that he holds an associate's degree and Chief Cowan's assertion that he retired from his former job at the East Point Fire Department. He actually was fired.
Administration officials are still trying to determine whether Chief Cowan was reinstated in East Point, as he says. According to personnel records at the small municipality outside Atlanta, he was fired for insubordination.
The three men, all of whom worked for Chief Few when he headed the East Point department and were recruited to join their former boss when he took over the D.C. department in July 2000, could be fired or reassigned, sources said. Chief Garland earns $105,244 a year as the department's second-in-command in the District; Chief Anderson makes $98,670 a year as head of the Emergency Medical Services; and Chief Cowan is paid $89,438 a year as the city's fire marshall.
The mayor, speaking to reporters at his weekly press briefing yesterday, said he expects Mr. Koskinen's review of the three fire department officials this week. He said a review of Chief Few's own inflated resume will be separate.
Mr. Williams told The Times last week he was upset with Chief Few's handling of the resume problems and would begin evaluating his performance monthly.
"I've expressed my own concerns. I am interested in coming to a closure," Mr. Williams said.
The mayor said that he did not know whether Chief Few would resign but added that he "shouldn't go jump off a bridge if I expressed dissatisfaction."
Officials within the administration and the fire department told The Times the mayor's staff has been asking top officials whether they would step in as interim chief or to fill other leadership roles if Chief Few or any of his team are replaced or resign.
Chief Few said in a statement he did not intend to resign. He has refused all requests for interviews for the last three weeks.
The investigation of Chief Few began after The Washington Post reported two weeks ago that Chief Few said he had graduated from Morris Brown College and received an international firefighting award that does not exist.
Chief Few apologized for the falsifications and blamed them on a former aide in Augusta, Ga., who he said typed his resume.
Margaret Nedelkoff Kellems, deputy mayor for public safety and justice, said Mr. Koskinen's probe into the backgrounds of the three assistant chiefs has been slowed by delays in obtaining information from the city of East Point. Mrs. Kellems said she wants the inquires to be thorough.
Mrs. Kellems said the results of the inquiry would not be made public, however, out of respect for the privacy of the three chiefs. She said an "appropriate" statement would be made.
City employees said the probe of Chief Few will also evaluate the chief's decision to recruit three friends as top managers.
Chief Few served as Fire Chief in East Point until 1997, when he was named chief in Augusta.
Chief Garland, Chief Anderson and Chief Cowan each said on their resumes that they held the ranks of chief in East Point. Personnel records there, however, indicate that none of the three rose above the rank of lieutenant. Chief Few said he promoted all three to the rank of chief.
The president of the D.C. firefighters union, Lt. Ray Sneed, said yesterday, "The chief should step down."
"It's creating a distraction for the firefighters and the managers. There is so much time being spent on the resumes that there is very little leadership being exhibited," he said.

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