- The Washington Times - Wednesday, May 1, 2002

D.C. Fire Chief Ronnie Few yesterday said he is still in charge of the fire department, but Mayor Anthony A. Williams evaded questions about the chief's employment status.
"I am still chief. I am on the job," Chief Few said in a brief interview with WRC-TV (Channel 4).
After a groundbreaking ceremony for a community center in Northeast yesterday, Mr. Williams said he did not want to talk about Chief Few's future.
"I love you all, but I'm not going to say anything about Chief Few. The fire department is being run and it's doing the job that needs to be done," said the mayor, who has expressed his disappointment in the fire chief over the resume scandal.
The Washington Times reported yesterday that Chief Few is expected to resign as early as this week in the wake of reports that he and three aides lied about professional and educational achievements on their resumes, according to a senior city government official.
The Times also reported that Chief Few and Assistant Chief Gary L. Garland have been placed on 30 days' paid administrative leave and told to resign during that time or be fired, according to fire officials.
Chief Few yesterday declined several requests for comment from The Times.
City Administrator John Koskinen, who investigated the resume scandal for six weeks, said Chief Few's employment status has not changed and he has not been suspended. Saying that "rumors" and "confusion" have spread concerning the chief's status, Mr. Koskinen said Chief Few was sick on Saturday, explaining his absence Monday.
Mr. Koskinen said Chief Garland and Assistant Chief Marcus R. Anderson and Deputy Chief Bruce A. Cowan did not mislead D.C. officials in their resumes by saying they had held the rank of chief in their previous jobs at East Point, Ga. He said the firefighters and Chief Few have been punished for inaccuracies about their educational achievements. The reports about Chief Few's aides were first published by The Times.
"This was a very long and detailed investigation. The findings were that the three deputy chiefs have not misled us about their description of their job history," he said, declining to divulge the nature of their punishment.
Mr. Koskinen's findings contradict federal court records, city government documents and personnel files that show none of the aides held a rank higher than lieutenant at East Point, as The Times first reported March 13. The city administrator said a report of his investigation will not be made public.
According to federal, municipal and personnel documents obtained by The Times, Chief Cowan was assigned as "fire marshal" in 1993 and promoted to lieutenant in 1998 at East Point. 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."
Yesterday Mr. Williams would not say whether he felt that Chiefs Cowan, Garland and Anderson, who were friends of Chief Few and worked under him at East Point, had misled him about their professional credentials.
"The [disciplinary] actions [against them] are personnel matters. They are personnel matters, and I don't want to comment further," the mayor said.
But D.C. Council member Sharon Ambrose, Ward 6 Democrat who opposed Chief Few's confirmation, yesterday said the three aides and Chief Few had misled the District.
"They need to see how their lies have misled everyone," Mrs. Ambrose said, adding that Chief Few should resign.
"I didn't vote for him in the first place," she said. "I didn't think he had the experience. I think he should leave for lying."
The Washington Post reported April 12 that Chief Few's resume falsely stated that he had received a degree from Morris Brown College in Atlanta and received an award from an international firefighters association that does not offer such an award.
"Chief Few should resign or the mayor should fire him, period," said council member Adrian Fenty, Ward 4 Democrat.
Another council member, who asked not to be identified, said Chief Few should be forced to resign like former Parks and Recreation Director Robert Newman and former D.C. Public Schools Chief Financial Officer Sam Kaiser, both of whom were found to have lied on their resumes.
"I think it is too hard to argue against the resume issue. We fired Bob Newman for it, and Sam Kaiser was forced out, too," the city lawmaker said.
Others echoed council member Kathy Patterson, Ward 3 Democrat and Judiciary Committee chairman, who said Friday that the mayor needs to make a decision about Chief Few's future without requiring him to fire the chief.
"I hope and pray the mayor does the right thing," said Jim Graham, Ward 1 Democrat, without elaborating.
"At this point, I am waiting to see additional information in the report of John Koskinen," said council member Vincent Orange, Ward 5 Democrat. "But I am disappointed that Chief Few has inaccuracies on his resume. I think the Judiciary Committee should hold a hearing and make public the punitive actions taken against those involved in the fire department."
Mrs. Patterson has asked the mayor about the chiefs' resumes but has not received a response.
"I would be sad to see the chief go," said council member Harold Brazil, at-large Democrat. "But whoever we get to run the fire department next, we need to make sure that all of the credentials are confirmed, and we need to keep somebody in the position."
Brian DeBose and Matthew Cella contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2019 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