- The Washington Times - Thursday, March 14, 2002

Several D.C. Council members yesterday said an independent investigation should examine whether three top aides of Fire Chief Ronnie Few lied in their resumes about their professional and educational experience.
"I want the Judiciary Committee to look into it to see if they have falsified their resumes. It seems to be grounds for dismissal," said council Chairman Linda W. Cropp, at-large Democrat. "At this point, we need to look at it first."
"This is not a first potential problem with resumes," said council member Kathy Patterson, Ward 3 Democrat and chairman of the Judiciary Committee. "I intend to speak with other members of the Judiciary Committee [about calling for an investigation]."
Council member Adrian M. Fenty, Ward 4 Democrat, said the D.C. inspector general or the city auditor should investigate the matter.
The council members' remarks came in response to a report yesterday in The Washington Times that said resumes of Chief Few's three top appointees show 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 documents obtained from the East Point City Attorney's Office.
The resumes also claim they attended universities that have no record of their enrollment.
Chief Few yesterday said the report was false and that he appointed the three firefighters to the rank of chief when he was the head of East Point fire department. However, he did not produce any documentation to refute the report.
"You did a disservice to this fire department," Chief Few said. "I'm going to tell them [the three aides] to go to work every day. This story has so many holes in it."
"I made them put their hands up and made them chief officers," he said.
According to a document obtained from the East Point City Attorney's Office under Georgia's open-records law, Chief Cowan was assigned as "fire marshal" in 1993 and promoted to lieutenant in 1998. Chief Garland was assigned as "training officer" in 1993 and promoted to lieutenant in 1998. Chief Anderson was assigned as "EMS coordinator" and promoted to sergeant in 1998.
Chief Garland's resume says he was "Training Chief" at East Point; Chief Anderson's says he was "Chief Emergency Medical Services Division"; and Chief Cowan's says he was "Chief Fire Marshal."
Chief Few told The Times last week he did not check the credentials of his three appointees because he knew each of them personally.
Mayor Anthony A. Williams yesterday said he supports Chief Few and expressed concern about the report. "I'm concerned about it whether it is factual," the mayor said. He also said a small group of people are trying to undermine Chief Few. Mr. Williams did not elaborate.
City Administrator John Koskinen, whom the mayor directed to investigate the matter last week, said yesterday that his office is collecting data about the three chiefs and that there does not appear to be any "substantial misrepresentation" by the chiefs. He said he did not know how long it would take to conduct the investigation.
"At this juncture, we have a lot of allegations," Mr. Koskinen said. "We have concerns about their qualifications. We will let you know when we find out."
Mr. Koskinen also said Chief Few is one of 10 city officials who did not receive performance bonuses because he failed to meet the city's performance standards.
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.
"I think if someone falsifies their resume, that is certainly cause for them to be removed," said Mr. Fenty. "This is a very serious issue that goes not only to whether they have the capacity to be an assistant chief, it goes to their honesty and integrity. … The chief should explain why he should not put them on some type of a probation until we get to the bottom of this."
Rep. Constance A. Morella, Maryland Republican and chairman of the House Government Reform subcommittee on the District, said through a spokesman that she is "disappointed" by the actions of the fire officials and is glad to hear Mr. Williams is investigating.
Lt. Ray Sneed, president of D.C. Fire Fighters, Local 36, said he had sent a letter yesterday to U.S. Attorney Roscoe C. Howard Jr. asking him to investigate the matter to see if criminal charges are warranted.
Channing Phillips, chief of staff for Mr. Howard, said his office has not received the letter. Mr. Phillips said such a letter normally would be referred to the D.C. inspector general, who would report back to the U.S. Attorney on whether criminal charges are warranted.


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