- The Washington Times - Thursday, August 22, 2002

Former D.C. Fire Chief Ronnie Few "created an appearance of impropriety" by hiring a training consultant he knew from a previous job as fire chief in East Point, Ga., according to a report from D.C. Inspector General Charles Maddox.
The executive summary of the report which was released Aug. 7 to D.C. Council members, the fire department and D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams says Mr. Few didn't violate criminal laws or engage in criminal misuse of his position, or break procurement laws.
But his failure to disclose a close association of more than 20 years with the namesake of Carl Holmes & Associates constituted questionable ethical practice, the report says.
The report did not recommend discipline because Mr. Few has resigned.
Mr. Few "failed to disclose two crucial facts," the report says. First, that Mr. Holmes "presented him with two awards in the past, which [Mr. Fews] biographical materials incorrectly attributed to two well-known firefighter unions and that [Mr. Few] previously volunteered as a guest instructor at" the Carl Holmes Executive Development Institute.
Efforts to reach Mr. Few for comment yesterday were unsuccessful.
The Washington Times reported in December that city records revealed then-Chief Few and former Assistant Chief Gary L. Garland had approved three sole-source consulting contracts for Carl Holmes & Associates beginning in Octo- ber 2000.
The contracts, totaling $23,500, paid Mr. Holmes about $1,808 per day for 13 days of work for the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Service Department.
D.C. disclosure laws require city officials to declare their affiliations with city contractors and payments to contractors of more than $100. Filing false financial-disclosure statements is punishable by fines of up to $5,000 and up to five years in jail, according to the D.C. Code.
Both chiefs previously served as instructors for the Carl Holmes Executive Development Institute in New Orleans, which Mr. Holmes founded and operates. They also received free lodging and travel reimbursements from him. These were not reported in their disclosure statements.
Mr. Few, whose yearly salary as fire chief was $130,000, and Chief Garland, who was paid $105,000 per year and who also resigned because of resume discrepancies, have said they didn't know they were supposed to disclose their affiliation with Mr. Holmes.
The inspector general's investigation began in mid-December, within days after The Times' report.
The sole-source contract was justified and results of the criminal investigation were discussed with the U.S. Attorney's Office, which opted against further prosecution, the report says.
The three purchase orders to Mr. Holmes were properly processed and handled, and the report stated that there was not enough evidence pointing to a violation of procurement laws.
But Mr. Few did violate the D.C. Code by participating in the awarding of contracts to a personal or professional associate, the report says.
Mr. Few's resignation as the District's fire chief was effective July 31, making any sort of punishment obsolete, it says.
The inspector general had released a separate report stating that Mr. Williams' administration failed to follow normal hiring practices and to adequately check the credentials of Mr. Few before hiring him more than two years ago when he was the fire chief in Augusta, Ga.
It also determined that Mr. Few was responsible for submitting a false resume when the city hired him in 2000.

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