- The Washington Times - Friday, May 10, 2002

Fire Chief Ronnie Few yesterday said he didn't submit a false resume to the D.C. Council in 2000, but the mayor's office did.
In a 30-page letter to D.C. Council member Kathy Patterson, the chief said errors about degrees and awards he has received only appear in a version of his resume created by the mayor's office that he had nothing to do with.
"To the best of my knowledge the first incorrect resume was submitted by the mayor's office on June 15, 2000, to [Linda W.] Cropp as the chair of the council," Chief Few said in his letter.
City Administrator John Koskinen yesterday supported Chief Few's statement, saying the resume sent to the council for the chief's confirmation hearing was written by Mayor Anthony A. William's Office of Communications.
"That is the process," Mr. Koskinen said, "but what is not clear is where this [inaccurate] information came from."
Mr. Koskinen said preliminary findings of his investigation into Chief Few's resume show that the chief had tried to correct errors in his resume and biographical information. "It is a fairly confined issue; he is clearly trying to make sure the right information was out. It was not an organized attempt by him to be misleading," he said.
The Washington Post reported last month that Chief Few's resume erroneously stated he had received a bachelor's degree from Morris Brown College in Atlanta and received a "Fire Chief of the Year" award from the International Association of Fire Fighters (IAFF), which does not bestow such awards.
Mr. Williams, who has publicly expressed disappointment in the chief over the resume scandal, was traveling in Europe yesterday and could not be reached for comment.
Chief Few was in Georgia yesterday and was unavailable for comment.
In his letter, Chief Few said he was in Georgia on June 15, 2000, when an inaccurate version of his resume was sent to the council, adding that he never saw the document. He said the false information in his resume wasn't his fault, adding that the resume scandal has been used to impugn his professional character "by those who do not want an 'outsider' as Fire Chief."
But a copy of the chief's accomplishments downloaded from the Augusta-Richmond County, Ga., Fire Department on June 5, 2000, lists Chief Few as having received the bogus IAFF award. As of yesterday, the error was still posted on the county's Web site (www.co.richmond.ga.us/rcfd/few.html).
Chief Few headed the Augusta-Richmond County Fire Department before coming to the District.
In his letter, Chief Few said a "second grossly inaccurate version of my resume was written by the [D.C. firefighters] union and was corrected by my public information office on September 11, 2000."
According to documents provided by the fire chief, union officials wrote to the chief asking him to review biographical information they had obtained for inclusion in their magazine, the Capital City Firefighter.
Lt. Ray Sneed, president of the D.C. firefighters union, yesterday said the union obtained the information from the Richmond County Web site. A copy of the union magazine's fall 2000 issue displays the version of Chief Few's accomplishments as corrected by the D.C. fire department's public information office.
"It seems he's blaming everybody else for the inaccuracies on his resume but Ronnie Few," Lt. Sneed said, adding that the chief's charge that people want him removed because he is an "outsider" is unfounded: "Being an outsider has nothing to do with it."
The union leader said he suspects Chief Few's days are numbered and that the letter to Mrs. Patterson, whose Judiciary Committee oversees the fire department, is a last-ditch attempt to save his career. "These are the actions of a drowning man," Lt. Sneed said.
Mrs. Patterson agreed, in part. "I'm not sure this changes anything for the future of Chief Few," the Ward 3 Democrat said.
She said Chief Few makes a strong case for proving he tried to correct his resume, but other issues are more pressing. "We still lack a reserve fleet of fire trucks, and there are problems with the communications systems," she said.
Mrs. Patterson remains adamant that it is Mr. Williams' responsibility and not the council's to "back Chief Few or fire him."
Mrs. Cropp, at-large Democrat, yesterday sent a letter to Mr. Koskinen expressing her frustration with his inquiry into Chief Few's resume. "Determining whether or not there were factual discrepancies in any of Chief Few's resumes should not be such a lengthy process," the council chairman said.
Mrs. Cropp said she wants the investigation's findings to be made public as "quickly as possible."
Mr. Koskinen said he hopes to have the investigation and the resume issue cleared up in a "reasonably short time."
The Washington Times first reported March 13 that Chief Few's top appointees lied in their resumes about their work and educational experience.
Mr. Koskinen, who investigated the matter for six weeks, said last month that the aides Assistant Chief Gary L. Garland, Assistant Chief Marcus R. Anderson and Deputy Chief Bruce A. Cowan had been disciplined but would not say how.
Council member Adrian M. Fenty yesterday said the mayor's office and Chief Few are out of control.
"All this letter is telling me is that there are widespread, mixed messages coming out of the public safety arm of the executive branch," said Mr. Fenty, Ward 4 Democrat. "Chief Few has no control over his department and the mayor has no control over Chief Few."
Since Monday, Mr. Fenty has been circulating a petition within the council calling on Mr. Williams to fire the chief. He said the council has no confidence in the chief but some members are unwilling to support his petition because "the chief is a nice guy."
"This mayor is always reluctant to make the hard decisions," said council member Jack Evans, Ward 2 Democrat. "All we can do is express a vote of no confidence."
Matthew Cella and Jabeen Bhatti contributed to this report.


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