- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 22, 2006

2:01 p.m.

D.C. Mayor Anthony A. Williams says he will not terminate Fire Chief Adrian H. Thompson over his department’s failures in responding to the fatal beating of New York Times journalist David E. Rosenbaum in January.

“After reviewing the overall process, I’m asking the chief to stay on,” Mr. Williams said during a press conference this morning. “When I review the facts and circumstances of our response that night, I don’t see a compelling case for firing our fire chief, Adrian Thompson.

“I continue to have faith in the chief, and I want him to stay in his job and help make our department a better one,” said Mr. Williams, a Democrat who is not seeking re-election.

Two D.C. Council members who are running for mayor called for Chief Thompson’s resignation this week after a report released by the Office of the Inspector General last week excoriated the Fire and EMS Department’s handling of the Rosenbaum case.

Mr. Rosenbaum was beaten and robbed in Northwest Jan. 6 and died two days later.

According to the 90-page report, medical personnel incorrectly assessed Mr. Rosenbaum’s condition, failed to care adequately for his injuries and got lost while taking him to a hospital that was not the closest to the scene of the incident.

Council member Adrian M. Fenty of Ward 4 and council Chairman Linda W. Cropp, both Democratic mayoral candidates, called for Chief Thompson’s resignation.

Mr. Williams would not say Monday whether he would ask Chief Thompson to resign or retire, sparking speculation that the chief’s career was in jeopardy.

This morning the mayor said that keeping the fire chief would be best for the city.

“I believe at this point in time, at this juncture, the person who is best situated to work with … me to see to it that recommendations from the IG report are implemented, to see to it that the steps that we have begun to take over the last couple of months [are carried out] is … Chief Thompson,” Mr. Williams said.

Chief Thompson this morning said the department will improve its performance in the coming months.

“I was not pleased with our performance, I’m really not,” he said. “I’ve been a resident here all my life, and I know what EMS care should be provided and how it should be provided.”

Mr. Williams said the city will preform an audit of all personnel records to ensure that all fire and EMS employees have been disciplined properly for past infractions and are qualified for their jobs.

The inspector general’s report prompted the disciplining of three EMS workers involved in the Rosenbaum case.

Selena Walker, who drove the ambulance that responded to the scene, has been fired. Assistant Director of EMS Operations Jerome Stack was suspended for 10 days, and EMS supervisor Harry Jones chose to retire rather than take a reduction in rank.

Chief Thompson said yesterday that the conduct of other persons involved in the Rosenbaum case is being examined. That investigation, he said, could result in addition suspensions and firings.

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