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‘The fire chief needs to be careful in his personnel actions’. Advice from DC Council Chairman after ruling that Chief Kenneth Ellerbe retaliated against union president.

 DC Fire & EMS Department Chief Kenneth Ellerbe at a hearing before Council Chairman Phil Mendelson.

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Washington Times reporter Andrea Noble gathered reaction to a recent arbitrator’s ruling that DC Fire & EMS Department Chief Kenneth Ellerbe retaliated against IAFF Local 36 president Ed Smith by transferring Smith from Rescue Squad 1 to Engine 7 in July 2011. The man whose committee has oversight of the department, D.C. Council Chairman Phil Mendelson told Noble the ruling was “sobering” and “not good for the department”. Here’s more from Mendelson and others:

“I have not read the decision, so I can’t speak to the reasoning there,” he said. “But the fact that the arbitrator did conclude that the transfer was improper, I think is sobering and suggests that the fire chief needs to be careful in his personnel actions.”

Others see the ruling as an indication of lingering issues that can bring more harm to the department if government officials from outside the agency do not step in.

“It hurts public confidence when arbitrators make these type of findings,” said Terry Lynch, an activist who heads the Downtown Cluster of Congregations. “I think the mayor and his team, they all need to step back, take a deep breath and just be fully engaged in civic services. It’s possible we need a change at the top of some of these agencies.”

Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s spokesman, Pedro Ribeiro, said Wednesday that the administration had no definitive reaction or plans to take action as a result of the arbitrator’s findings.

“It’s really a personnel matter with the FEMS,” he said. “It’s something the chief needs to address.” 

Read the entire article from The Washington Times 

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Comments - Add Yours

  • mark

    Or, just maybe, the Council needs to be more careful when hiring a FIRE chief. Since they keep hiring idiots.

    What happened to all the stories regarding Mendelson giving Rubin the third degree? Why is he not doing the same with this idiot?

  • Robert Kramer

    Sobering? Sounds more like par for the coarse.

  • 0 cool

    Agreed. Bur how is Lrb going to handle the “personnel issue” himself?

  • Bob

    Why doe cities and towns hire political clowns to high positions? They drive moral down, risk firefighter’s livs due to their ignorance, and risk their city or town of being sued due to their lack of knowledge?

  • Barney Miller

    Who would have expected that a person who had acted vindictivly (via transfer list) when he was interm chief, to act vindictivly after all his time in Florida (Homestead Credit)(fire chief exchange program). I am shocked and after reading the arbitrators summary (29 pages of calculated vindictiveness and cover up)that this type of behavior would come from a person who wanted a level playing feild ( for certain people) and stars to shine (if the were not previously visible at night). I think this can be salvaged. Send Eric Smith back to the RS, sit Ken down and give him a “GOOD TALKING TO”, after all he is a “Champion for the underdog”. This must have been an oversight is all.

    • RJ(in florida)

      We’re still trying to figure out how he became fire chief WITHOUT being a state certfied firefighter(required by law) unless he was classified as an adminiatrator(likely) which is how most out of toweners become a chief in florida…i believe he still has a condo here so when DC is through with him he’ll have someplace to go then i’ll get stuck seeing him at the retiress joints (i promise to serve all his drinks in a DCFD glass)

  • the ear

    I hope everyone he transferred files a complaint.The guys he forced to retire file a lawsuit against the city and this idiot and he will be gone.

  • Scooter

    Sounds like this clowns days may be numbered. I will continue to pray for you guys and girls in DC. I agree with Bob… seems like a lot of places are hiring nut jobs, or clowns as he calls them to the high positions… don’t make sence because it costs city’s in the long run…. Strike Da Box! K

  • Aardvark

    When you keep hiring crap, crap is all you’ll get……..

  • A real fireman

    This guy is a complete idiot yes you LRB just quit and get out

  • Used To Be a Shining Star

    I guess, all the college education in the world, can’t teach you how to respect your employees. Every time he is in the vincity of a DCFD member, he has to “flex” like he is still in high school.WTF! That crap is wack! Some of your Shining Stars are quality officers. They just can’t say anything against you, from fear of your petty retaliations. You are one of the most immature person that I have the displeasure to work for. I may not agree with your style of management, but Chief Ellerbe, you need act like a grown ass man. I was a supporter of yours. I hope this episode humbles you. I doubt it. You can’t help yourself. Tit for Tat is in your blood.

  • Rose Color Glasses

    CHIEF MIKE TOBIAS–a name the DC comission should remember–he is the chief that cleaned up the mess that Ellerbee left in Florida-

  • Shhh…

    LRB must be a real BSer. Wasnt a fireman and isnt a leader. The mayor must have only taken apps. from “Friends”

  • waheid

    Read the shenanigans of Ellerbie and then read the article from Baltimore’s Chief Clack (and I suppose there are a few more) and it’s obvious that the Fire Service has some really serious problems with senior management. They can’t manage, can’t lead and there are some legitimate doubts about whether they can even fight fire. Read how Clack and Ellerbie got their positions and you’ve got to wonder: if the city decides to import the chief to solve management problems, do they realize that they are also importing problems?