- The Washington Times - Monday, December 16, 2002

Acting D.C. Fire Chief Adrian Thompson is retaining a deputy chief who was disciplined for lying on his resume.
Deputy Chief Bruce A. Cowan, the District's former fire marshal, still earns $105,000 a year, even though he has been transferred to oversee the fire department's radio shop.
Department workers described his duties as "counting radios," adding that he has no command or key responsibilities.
"You have to talk to the chief about it. I'm not going to get into it," Chief Cowan said. "I'm not going to get into anything and get it turned around."
Margret Nedelkoff Kellems, deputy mayor for public safety and justice, said she could not comment on the reasons for retaining Chief Cowan, who serves at the pleasure of Mayor Anthony A. Williams and Chief Thompson.
"I'm sure he is doing a fine job there," Mrs. Kellems said.
Chief Thompson did not return several calls seeking comment.
The Washington Times first reported in March that Chief Cowan and former Assistant Chiefs Gary L. Garland and Marcus R. Anderson lied in their resumes about their professional and educational experience.
The chiefs were friends of former D.C. Fire Chief Ronnie Few when he headed fire departments in Georgia in the 1990s.
City officials said in April that the three were disciplined for their false resumes.
But details of the disciplinary action were not disclosed.
Chiefs Garland and Anderson resigned in July, when Chief Few, under pressure, also stepped down as head of the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department.
Chief Cowan was reassigned in September, but there has been no notice of his actual duties at the communications office.
He has no assigned car and has lost the use of a department-issued cellular telephone.
"He comes to work and he goes home. He doesn't do much but sit in his office," said a department employee. "I don't know what he does."
Chief Thompson, meanwhile, is trying to fill a $5 million budget deficit and has been forced to reduce fire and emergency medical services.
This has led to suspending use of the fire boat and consolidating fire companies.
Lt. Ray Sneed, president of D.C. Fire Fighters Association, Local 36, said that it is a waste of money to keep Chief Cowan on the payroll when he does not contribute anything to the department.
"We are cutting back, cutting back, and you have a guy over there that is being paid all that money, and we don't know what he's doing," Lt. Sneed said.
"Somebody has got to make a decision. He should have been off the payroll a long time ago. When Few and his crew left, he should have been on that same train."
Chief Cowan and his Georgian comrades contended in their resumes that they were chiefs for the East Point, Ga., Fire Department, where they had worked with Mr. Few.
In fact, none had risen above the rank of lieutenant.
The chiefs' resumes also noted their attendance at universities that have no records of their enrollment or earning degrees.
Chief Cowan also lied that he had retired from East Point, when, in fact, he had been fired.
He later said that he had been reinstated, but documents and East Point officials said he was not.
Mr. Few, whose resume also was found to have major errors, said he had promoted the trio, but city records show no such promotions.
He appointed them to their D.C. jobs under an agreement with the D.C. Council and Mr. Williams.

Copyright © 2018 The Washington Times, LLC. Click here for reprint permission.

The Washington Times Comment Policy

The Washington Times welcomes your comments on Spot.im, our third-party provider. Please read our Comment Policy before commenting.


Click to Read More and View Comments

Click to Hide