- The Washington Times - Wednesday, March 13, 2002

Three top appointees of D.C. Fire Chief Ronnie Few lied about their professional and educational experience in their resumes and employment applications, The Washington Times has learned.
Resumes of Assistant Chief Gary L. Garland, Assistant Chief Marcus R. Anderson and Deputy Chief Bruce A. Cowan say they each held the rank of chief at the East Point, Ga., Fire Department. But none of them ever rose higher than the rank of lieutenant, according to East Point's city attorney and the former fire chief.
City Attorney David Couch said the three held auxiliary positions as chiefs, not as an official rank. "Within our ranks, we had the chief, deputy chief and battalion chiefs," he said. "Those were the ranks of chief. Anything [else] was a designated position."
A consent decree governing promotion tests barred the three firefighters from applying for chief positions because they were not qualified, Mr. Couch said. To become a chief, a firefighter first must attain the rank of captain, then pass a test to become a battalion chief.
Chiefs Garland, Anderson and Cowan worked for Chief Few when he headed the East Point Fire Department from 1995 to 1997, when Chief Few left to lead the Augusta-Richmond County, Ga., Fire Department.
Chief Few, who was hired as the District's fire chief in 2000, appointed his three aides during the past two years under an arrangement with the D.C. Council that allowed him to make the appointments without competition.
The East Point Fire Department has about 110 workers; the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department has 1,920 employees.
Former East Point Fire Chief David Hawkins, for whom the three firefighters worked from 1997 until they left for the District, said they served in support capacities, not as command officers.
The resumes of Chiefs Garland, Anderson and Cowan also note their attendance at universities that have no records of their having enrolled or received degrees.
When confronted with discrepancies in their resumes, the three fire officials along with Chief Few insisted they had held the rank of chief at East Point. They also said they had made mistakes in detailing their educational experience.
"They were [chiefs]," Chief Few said. "I was there."
Chief Few told The Times last week he did not check the credentials of his three appointees because he knew each of them personally.
The Times delayed publication of this report to allow the three aides to present documentation to support their claim that they had held the rank of chief at East Point. They presented copies of memos and business cards in which they referred to themselves as chief, but they did not present any letters of promotion, chief test results or any official personnel document showing they had attained the rank of chief.
According to documents obtained from the East Point City Attorney's Office, Chief Garland and Chief Cowan held the rank of lieutenant and Chief Anderson the rank of sergeant. Chief Cowan was assigned as "Fire Marshal," Chief Garland as "Training Officer" and Chief Anderson as "EMS coordinator" in East Point.
In a letter to The Times dated Monday, D.C. fire department spokeswoman Lisa Bass contradicted information in the three chiefs' resumes. She said Chief Garland, whose resume says he was "Training Chief" at East Point, had served as the "Chief Training Officer." Chief Anderson, whose resume says he was "Chief Emergency Medical Services Division," had served as "EMS Director and Division Chief." Chief Cowan, whose resume says he was "Chief Fire Marshal," had served as "Fire Marshal."
When told of the false resumes last week, Mayor Anthony A. Williams said he would investigate the matter.
"I think we have a system that inspires the confidence of our citizens and our employees. These folks have to pass the muster, in terms of all the rules and regulations in basic business practices that you are who you say you are," Mr. Williams said during a meeting Thursday with editors and reporters at The Washington Times.
A senior city official said the mayor was disappointed in Chief Few for hiring friends who had little experience as senior fire officials.
City Administrator John Koskinen said he was looking into the matter for the mayor.
Anyone who falsifies D.C. employment records can be fired immediately and face criminal charges. Robert P. Newman was forced to resign as director of the D.C. Parks and Recreation Department in October 2000 after discrepancies in his resume had been exposed, and Mr. Williams was widely criticized for not firing him.
In exchange for his carte blanche appointments, Chief Few promised the D.C. Council not to hire his cronies. The city fire department forwarded the aides' resumes and employment applications to the D.C. Council and to Congress.
The jobs for which Chief Few's aides were hired were created at the request of Mr. Williams, who asked the D.C. Council to authorize the new positions.
Chief Few first hired Chief Garland in August 2000 as deputy chief of safety, which paid about $89,000 a year. Chief Garland was promoted to chief of services the department's No. 2 job in February 2001 and now earns $105,244 a year.
Chief Garland's highest rank at East Point was lieutenant, which paid about $52,000 a year, Mr. Couch and Mr. Hawkins said.
Chief Garland's resume and official biography say he attended DeKalb College and Georgia Perimeter College in Decatur. (DeKalb College was renamed Georgia Perimeter College in November 1997.)
His resume and biography say Chief Garland was "taking class in fire science" at Georgia Perimeter College, is currently enrolled at the college and "is currently completing his bachelor's degree in fire management."
Georgia Perimeter is a two-year college that does not have a bachelor's degree program. The college has no record of Chief Garland having attended since the spring semester of 1991, when it was called DeKalb College.
Chief Garland said he was intending to return to college when he was applying for the D.C. job but never did.
His resume and employment application also say he has an associate's degree from Dillard University in New Orleans and has completed the university's Fire Management Program.
Dillard University has no Fire Management Program and no record of Chief Garland's enrollment or attendance.
Chief Garland told The Times he attended conferences sponsored by the Carl Holmes Executive Development Institute, which are held at Dillard University. He said he thought that by attending the conferences he was enrolled at Dillard.
The Carl Holmes Executive Development Institute rents space from Dillard University and is not affiliated with the university.
Chief Garland said references to his having a degree from Dillard University were a mistake by his secretary, adding that he signed the employment application bearing the false information.
Chief Garland and Chief Few were instructors for the Carl Holmes Executive Development Institute. They are being investigated by the D.C. Inspector General and the Office of Campaign Finance for awarding city contracts to Mr. Holmes but failing to disclose their ties to his institute in their financial disclosure statements.
Chief Few said he also was confused about the ties between the institute and the university. But Chief Few's resume and biography say he attended and instructed at the institute, not the university.
Chief Anderson served as the EMS coordinator and held the rank of sergeant at East Point, Mr. Couch and Mr. Hawkins said.
"He took care of the EMS equipment. He made sure supplies were ordered and that certifications were in order," Mr. Hawkins said.
Chief Anderson earned about $50,000 a year at East Point, and now earns $98,670 as chief of the D.C. emergency medical services division.
His resume says he attended Dillard University, but the school has no record of his enrollment or attendance.
Chief Anderson also said he thought he was attending Dillard University when he attended conferences held by Mr. Holmes.
Chief Cowan's official rank at East Point was lieutenant, which paid about $54,000 a year. He currently earns $89,438 a year as deputy fire chief/fire marshal for the D.C. fire department.
Mr. Couch said Chief Cowan's position of fire marshal at East Point allowed him to be called "chief" because he represented the city. However, he did not hold the rank of chief, he said.
"We had a fire marshal who had a firefighter rank. He would go to different functions, and the other fire marshals were chiefs," Mr. Couch said. "They [the city council] made it a chief designation."
Chief Cowan's biography and resume say he attended the University of Georgia from 1993 to 1994, but the university has no record of his having enrolled or attended. Chief Cowan said he took continuing education courses at the university and mistakenly believed he was enrolled there.


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