- The Washington Times - Tuesday, May 21, 2002

D.C. Fire Chief Ronnie Few ducked questions about his future and fled from reporters before the opening ceremony yesterday for National Emergency Medical Services Week.
"I'm not giving any interviews," Chief Few said before he got in his car and drove away before the ceremony began.
Chief Few appeared on the Mall at about 11 a.m. to view a display of ambulances and firefighting equipment put on by the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department. He posed for photographs with children but darted away when he was approached by reporters and news photographers.
At about 11:30 a.m., a television news crew followed him to his car, and he did not answer questions. "No comment," he said when asked if he would resign.
The fire chief did not return at noon for the opening ceremony, where Robert Bass, executive director of the Maryland Institute for Emergency Medical Service Systems, read a proclamation from President Bush saying that EMS staff play a vital role in the country's emergency services system.
Fire department spokeswoman Lisa Bass said she did not know why Chief Few did not return.
Kenneth Lyons, president of the American Federation of Government Employees Local 3721, which represents the city's EMS workers, said the chief is usually present for the opening ceremony.
"This is highly unusual that he wouldn't be there," Mr. Lyons said. "Especially with the significance of EMS following the events of September 11. That seems to be sending a serious message to the agency on how we are going to prepare for future events."
Chief Few has been under fire since The Washington Times reported on March 13 that his three top aides Assistant Chief Gary L. Garland, Assistant Chief Marcus R. Anderson and Deputy Chief Bruce A. Cowan lied on their resumes about their professional and educational achievements.
Scrutiny of the chief increased when The Washington Post reported on April 12 that his resume erroneously stated that he had received a degree from Morris Brown College in Atlanta and a "1998 Fire Chief of the Year" award from the International Association of Fire Fighters, which does not bestow such awards.
The Times reported last week that D.C. Inspector General Charles C. Maddox is investigating Chief Few's resume problems, which the chief has blamed on Mayor Anthony A. Williams' office, which submitted the false resume to the D.C. Council in 2000.
Mr. Williams was also absent from the ceremony yesterday.
He was scheduled to attend the event, but his staff called Thursday and said he had a conflict, Miss Bass said.
But the mayor's schedule showed he had no public events yesterday. Sharon Gang, a spokeswoman for Mr. Williams, said the event was not on his schedule.
Mr. Williams, who has publicly expressed his disappointment in his fire chief, said last week that he would not comment on Chief Few's future until City Administrator John Koskinen completes a review of Chief Few's performance.
Chief Few is also being investigated for awarding a sole-source contract to a friend and not disclosing the relationship on his financial disclosure statement.
Matthew Cella contributed to this report.


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