- - Thursday, December 12, 2013

D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth B. Ellerbe is once again a day late and a dollar short (“No money sought for new firetrucks deemed ‘oversight,’” Web, Dec. 4). His lack of foresight is reflected in the fact that he sought no money for trucks or ambulances in this year’s budget. Chief Ellerbe continues to provide meek explanations and weak excuses when asked harsh and pointed questions regarding the matter.

D. C. Councilman Tommy Wells justifiably confronted Chief Ellerbe about his funding issues. As for his failure to request monetary allocation for apparatus, Chief Ellerbe claimed it was an “oversight,” and he deflected blame to a retiree.

But the buck stops with Chief Ellerbe, and the pathetic saga of the D.C. Fire Department continues. As fire chief, Chief Ellerbe is supposed to be on top of his game.

His department has become the laughingstock of the public-safety sector in the nation’s capital, resulting in reverberating chuckles across the region and throughout the nation. Ongoing missteps, constant failures and enduring poor morale within the department have become the daily diet of the department, thanks to Chief Ellerbe.

Mayor Vincent C. Gray, who appointed Chief Ellerbe, refuses to hold him accountable. Perhaps it pertains to the adage “Boys will be boys.” However, Mr. Gray needs to step up to the plate and be the leader he was elected to be. Mr. Gray’s failure to take charge is as weak as Chief Ellerbe’s lame excuses.

It is time for Mr. Gray to acknowledge that his appointed fire chief is not capably running the city’s fire department and rid the department of Chief Ellerbe — before yet another fiasco makes headline news.


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