- The Washington Times - Friday, March 15, 2002

Three of D.C. Fire Chief Ronnie Few's handpicked assistants are not who they appear to be. It seems they embellished or lied, as honest people prefer to say on their resumes and employment applications. Now, people in high places including Chief Few's boss, Mayor Tony Williams are seeking internal investigations and inquiries by the U.S. Attorney's Office. All of them are moving in the right direction, because, truthfully, Chief Few and his minions have more than a little explaining to do.
Chief Few, himself appointed by Mr. Williams in 2000, brought in the three assistants Marcus Anderson, Bruce Cowan and Gary Garland from the City of East Point, Ga., where they all had worked as firefighters. So, in a town with a population of 39,549 and a quaint bureaucracy, the assistant chiefs should have known that it would not have been terribly difficult to trace their career tracks. Yet, here these big fish in a small pond are facing the possibility of losing their jobs in a very big bowl.
In the case of Chief Anderson, who is the District's assistant chief for emergency medical services, Jim Keary reported on the front page of this newspaper on Wednesday and again yesterday that, while his resume says he attended Dillard University in New Orleans, the school has no records of Chief Anderson ever attending classes there. Deputy Fire Chief Cowan, meanwhile, said he attended the University of Georgia in 1993-94, but, here again, the school has no records confirming that. Also, all three assistants never rose above the rank of lieutenant in East Point, though all three lied about rising to the level of chief. To be sure, the most egregious offender is Deputy Chief Garland, whose resume says he attended Dillard, when he didn't, that he completed Dillard's Fire Management Program, when it has no such program, and that he is enrolled in Georgia Perimeter College, when he isn't. His resume also says that he earned an associate degree from Dillard, which, again, has no records whatsoever of his enrollment.
Mr. Williams, Chief Few, the assistant chiefs and their respective spokesmen had ample time to produce documents in rebuttal. As a matter of fact, not only did The Washington Times delay publication of the news story, but Mr. Keary met with the chief and his assistants, and Chief Few met with editors of this newspaper. Alas, they offered no credible documentation refuting the allegations as presented. The mayor himself, when told March 7 of the pending news report, said in an editorial board meeting that "These folks have to pass muster, in terms of all the rules and regulations in basic business practices that you are who you say you are."
Still, however, there is another troubling matter concerning Chief Few and Deputy Garland, and that involves contracts. "Chief Garland and Chief Few," Mr. Keary reported in his initial story, "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." The final adjudicators will likely be the D.C. Office of the Inspector General, the D.C. Office of the Auditor and federal prosecutors unless the chief and his assistants voluntarily part ways with the D.C. government. Oh, what a tangled web.


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