DC Councilmember Mary Cheh Wants DC Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe To Resign

5:13 PM, Jul 2, 2013   |    comments
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WASHINGTON (WUSA9) -- After reports about the fire department's "recent failures," D.C. Councilmember Mary Cheh said in a letter Tuesday that she wants D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe to resign.

Councilmember Cheh wrote a letter to fellow councilmember Tommy Wells, who heads the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety, requesting that the committee demand a comprehensive plan to improve the District's Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department.

Cheh also said in the letter that she thought Ellerbe should resign.

"It is now very plain that the agency's ability to respond to emergencies has been significantly degraded, and I lay that fact at the doorstep of poor management. I believe that the current Chief no longer has the confidence of the people of the District and should resign," wrote Cheh.

Cheh states in her letter that there is no comprehensive plan to "identify the equipment, personnel, and deployment needs and the budget required to meet those needs" with specific dates.

"When formulating its plan, the Executive should be asked to think broadly about the future -- not just about changing the deployment of its staff, as the agency had proposed," wrote Cheh.  

In June, the Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety told DC Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe to forget his effort to redeploy paramedics off the night shift and on to the day shift. Wells pointed to failures such as an injured cop left to wait while medic units from Maryland had to scramble to pick him up; a carjacking suspect who died after the ambulance he was in stopped running.

The fire chief's plan would have left the city without any advanced life support units on the street overnight.

In a 29-page report, Wells said the department lost track of its own fleet, failed to keep enough medics on staff, and could not explain its own redeployment plan.

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