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DC update: Firefighters vote no confidence in Chief Kenneth Ellerbe. Still has support of mayor & deputy mayor but expected to face tough questioning at hearing this week.

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Apologies for the late post, I have been traveling. Here’s coverage of Monday’s vote of no confidence in the leadership of embattled DC Fire & EMS Department Chief Kenneth Ellerbe.  The vote was 300 to 37. The last vote of no confidence by IAFF Local 36 was in 2001 against Chief Ronnie Few. Chief Few resigned in 2002 after news reports revealed discrepancies in the resumes of Few and other top officials he recruited for the department.

Peter Hermann, The Washington Post:

Union President Edward C. Smith said Ellerbe’s management “places our members and the public needlessly in harm’s way.”

Ellerbe declined to be interviewed, but he issued a statement saying he is “very optimistic about the department’s future and encouraged by the service we provide to District residents and visitors.” The chief, a native of the District who came here from Sarasota, Fla., in 2011, added, “I am deeply committed to resolving the issues before us.” He previously said the department has reached the “tipping point” in regard to slow response times.

Councilman Tommy Wells (D-Ward 6), the public safety committee chairman, said he will demand on Thursday that Ellerbe explain how his staff submitted information for a Feb. 20 oversight hearing showing the department had an adequate reserve fleet when officials there had been given the inspector general’s report one day earlier.

“Did they purposely provide false information to the council, or were they operating under false information?” said Wells, who is considering running for mayor.

Andrea Noble, The Washington Times:

“Fire Chief Ellerbe now has a two-year record that has resulted in a failed approach to leadership that has needlessly endangered the public through excessive delays in response due to staffing and fleet mismanagement, and dangerous situations for the firefighters who are sworn to protect the citizens and visitors of our city,” union officials said in a statement issued Monday after the vote.

“It’s a sad day when we have to use that as a recourse to let the public know they’re in harm’s way,” union President Edward Smith said.

Paul A. Quander Jr., the city’s deputy mayor for public safety and justice, also issued a statement Monday afternoon saying the chief has his support in ongoing efforts to “modernize and move the agency forward.”

Paul Wagner, WTTG-TV/Fox 5:

Hundreds of D.C. firefighters packed a Northeast D.C. union hall Monday morning where they voted “no confidence” in Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe.

It was a vote that went overwhelmingly against the chief.

Union leaders say Ellerbe is putting public safety at risk with a depleted staff of paramedics and a shabby fleet of vehicles while the chief’s defenders say it’s all about an unpopular shift change.

337 firefighters cast secret ballots Monday. Only 37 voted they still had confidence in Chief Ellerbe.

It is a vote that came 12 years after the last “no confidence” vote and three days after an inspector general’s report questioned whether the department could respond to a mass casualty incident.

Things got a bit testy outside the union hall on Bladensburg Road, NE, where firefighters casting ballots came face-to-face with Ellerbe supporters.

The 300 who voted “no confidence” in the chief discussed the issue in the union hall before folding their votes and slipping them into the ballot box as they left the building.

Ellerbe’s trouble with the union and its membership began soon after he proposed doing away with the platoon system where firefighters work 24 hours on and 72 hours off.

Instead the chief wants to go to 12-hour shifts to better handle a high volume of medical calls.

But the union says it’s more than that.

“If we don’t have the right staffing and the right tools and the right training, we can’t be the best department in the country,” said Union President Ed Smith.

The firefighters’ vote comes on the heels of embarrassing stories in which an injured D.C. police officer waited 20 minutes for an ambulance while a stroke victim was transported to the hospital in a fire engine.

The union says attrition has left well over a hundred jobs unfilled while the inspector general found the department’s fleet of vehicles and its repairs a dysfunctional mess.

But Chief Ellerbe’s supporters say the trouble comes from firefighters resistant to change.

“Chief Ellerbe sees for the future we need to be working shorter shifts, more intervals and that doesn’t comply with a lot of people who live far away from here,” said firefighter Garry Wiggins.

Retired firefighter Nathan Queen added, “I think the chief is a good manager. He was called here to manage and that’s what he is doing. Are there those that don’t want to change? Yes, and that’s why they are having this vote of no confidence against the chief because their biggest issue, Local 36’s biggest issue is the shift change.”

In a statement, Chief Ellerbe responded to the vote by saying:

“I am very optimistic about the department’s future and encouraged by the service we provide to District residents and visitors. I remain deeply committed to resolving the issues before us. I look forward to strengthening our capabilities and putting our resources to better use in order to uphold the confidence of those we serve every day.”

Union President Ed Smith says he plans to lay it all out on the table this Thursday when Councilmember Tommy Wells holds a special hearing on D.C. Fire and EMS and the condition of the fire department’s fleet of vehicles.

By the way, the no confidence vote will not force any action. Instead, it’s just a way for the firefighters to show their confidence, or in this case, their lack of confidence in their chief.

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Mark Segraves, WRC-TV/NBC4:

“Chief Ellerbe is ethically bankrupt; and his poor managerial practices places our members and the public needlessly in harm’s way,” according to a statement released by Ed Smith, president D.C. Fire Fighters Association Local 36. The statement goes on to say that Chief Ellerbe “has needlessly endangered the public through excessive delays in response due to staffing and fleet mismanagement, and dangerous situations for the fire fighters who are sworn to protect the citizens and visitors of our city.” 

D.C. Mayor Vincent Gray has backed Ellerbe with support despite the scrutiny the department has faced over the last few months.

A report by the D.C. Inspector General’s Office earlier this month said the department’s ambulance fleet had dangerous gaps in coverage and a “dangerously high and unaddressed attrition rate of paramedics that threatens the lives of D.C. residents everyday who are in medical distress.”

Jay Korff, WJLA-TV/ABC7:

District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray is standing behind fire chief Kenneth  Ellerbe following a no-confidence vote by the city firefighters’ union.

Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Paul Quander said in a statement Monday that he  continues to support Ellerbe’s efforts to modernize the department. He’s calling  on firefighters to work with the chief to accomplish that goal.

Councilman Tommy Wells told ABC7 this latest problem is undermining his  confidence in the department’s ability to respond to any crisis that requires  additional resources.

“We just had a shooting of 13 people. If that had been 13 casualties, 13  folks that were life threatening, I’m not confident that we would have had the  ability to respond,” Wells said.

Members of the Progressive Black Firefighters Organization, who held signs  supporting the chief after the vote, say the main reason the union’s against  Ellerbe is his plan to change scheduling. 

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Comments - Add Yours

  • Scooter

    Good luck DCFD…. You have some leadership up there! Strike Da Box! K

  • Titanic

    It’s a shame that the Progressives interviewed believe that this vote is strictly about a shift change proposal. At no point during the long discussion in the union hall was there any mention of a shift change. If you believe that’s what is behind this no confidence vote then you have some serious blinders on.
    Recently, various news outlets have been exposing some of the troubles that we have as an agency. And there are some really large, pressing issues that we need to face as a department if we want to keep improving the quality of the services that we provide.
    The true purpose of this no confidence vote is to state wether or not we believe that Kenneth Ellerbe is a leader who possesses the ability and the will to make the necessary changes to move this department forward. A skilled professional who can plan for the future of the department and not just try to arbitrarily show that he can stay under budget. A leader who has new, common sense ideas that address the root causes of our issues, not unrelated minutiae(and not with old ideas that have been tried and failed before). A man that will create an environment which allows ALL the members of this department to perform their jobs to the best of their abilities without constantly living in fear of retaliation for their actions. A department head who takes responsibility for the entire department, Fire AND Ems (not just the latter). Someone who’s reasons for serving this department are greater than money, retaliation for the past, or future political aspirations. And perhaps most importantly, an honest man who passes credit to those doing the work and shoulders the responsibility for mistakes while dedicating himself to fixing the problems instead of scrambling to find a scapegoat.
    These are just some of the real questions of confidence which we voted on today. And in my honest opinion, Kenneth Ellerbe is not the right man for the position of Chief. Apparently I’m not alone

  • Anonymous

    “Hundreds of D.C. firefighters packed a Northeast D.C. union hall Monday morning where they voted “no confidence” in Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe”.

    That’s showing him!!!!


    “Mayor Gray supports Ellerbe in modernizing the Fire Dept and is asking firefighters to work with him to accomplish that goal” REALLY!!!!

    Chief Ellerbe is modernizing the DC Fire Department… that what he’s doing Vince…..
    Let’s see……in his own words while speaking to rows of empty seats…he’s improved the uniform appearance, the shop is open 24/7 and he attends countless ANC meetings….WOW….if that’s not modernizing the Fire Dept than I don’t know ahat else could….

    Maybe Vinny has it all twisted when he says, I fully support the Chief, as well as his supporters….you know…the ones standing out front of the Union Hall (same ones that would be standing out front if there was an actual fire)…….
    We fully support a Fire Chief who:
    1. Has been found guilty of retaliation
    2. Has not filled any FTE’s
    3. Has not replaced the many Paramedics that have left
    4. Apparatus is in dissaray
    5. Shops open 24/7 but broken down apparatus lines the unit block of L St SW
    6. Demoting members and giving suspension hours for petty things
    7. Has gotten the attention of the ACLU because of the fairness and transparency of disciplinary actions handed out
    8. Has lied underoath several times while giving testimony, but blamez others for information that was given to him

    Im sure others could add to the list, but right there is plenty to stand behind….
    I’m not the smartest person in the world, but I’d lean towards saying that our department has modernized by having the best gear, communications equipment, SCBA and new apparatus that had a replacement schedule prior to Chief Frauds arrival, so if anything he’s done is DE-modernize the fire department and set it back long before my time…..

    However…what Chief Fraud and the 2% of the department are saying, is that its all about changing the tradition of the department and changing the schedule and that my friends has nothing to do with modernizing the fire department…..its called tearing apart the traditions which have made the DCFD what it is and gave these worshippers what seems to them a job, as its been a calling and a career to others….yeah, the same people both black and white that have made the ultimate sacrifice for the DCFD….not FEMS……its about every person who doean’t live in DC…..but its those people who live in Md, Va, Pa, WV etc…that pride themselves on the rich traditions this departments founded itself on and put their lives on the line for complete strangers when the followers of Ellerbe are more likely to perform acts of cowardness than heroism….

    98% of us know what this whole charade is about and unfortunatly the mission of the 2% has ZERO to do with service to the citizens and visitors to the Nations Capitol….I wasn’t a fan of Rubin and Co. but there comes a time to grow up and act like a big boy and stop the childisb paybacks towards those you think followed Rubin and Co. and get on with the fair and transparent leadership style YOU said you’d bring when you first arrived….

    Kenneth Ellerbe….you are a complete failure and have lost the confidence of the majority of the members in the department. Your ability to lead has passed, but your egotistical mind thinks otherwise…..Its blame others for your failures and convince your buddy Vincd that you’re trying to move this department ahead when you’ve actually moved it back years…..

  • Anonymous

    It is troubling that the Channel 7 News Reporter stated that the issue is one of shift change and “interference with part-time jobs.” Someone needs to straighten him out or it is a case of journalistic bias. The shift is anything but source of trouble for the Agency. If you frame the arguement and show a graphic of the DC Firefighters and Medics working”one day on and three days off,” the public would say “they don’t work enough.”

    This is one of several instances of labor-management conflict and not even the main issue at this point. He certainly has brought back the old racial antagonisms of 20 years ago and the damage he has done will take years to fix.

    • E McG

      The WJLA 7 report is incorrect. Their graphic shows the current schedule as 24/72, but also shows the proposed schedule changing to 2-2-4, when in fact the proposed schedule change for firefighters is 3-3-3.

  • smokeshowing

    Sad that there’s even a Progressive Black Firefighters Organization, just sad. this job has nothing to do with race, fire doesn’t care what color, gender, or orientation you are. This organization is undermining the union, they need to look up the definition of the word Union. FYI I’m not white.

    • Anonymous

      Why not have the Progressives? Do you feel the same about the Emerald Society? FYI I’m not Black.

    • Older than Ol’ School

      Ditto. The Progressives are being used. I guess there are some folks that legitimately like Ellerbe and that’s their prerogative, I am a African American firefighter and fed up with both sides. We need to focus on making this DCFD the best in the USA. If you told me that you are going changed our name ( for the record I like “DCFD”) but guarantee that we have the best maintain apparatus, I would take that. The petty shit is growing tired. On Thursday, we will see the EMS union dude and the Chief make it about them. The truth will come out eventually.

  • the great gazoo

    You made some valid points in your blog.BUT there are some issues that is part of our reality. First,it is a fact that most of the members who voted no-confidence have negative outlook of riding the ambulance.

    Why do members keep the citizens are in danger. We know its not about the well fare of the citizens.Most of theses guys could care less if they didn’t have to ride.

    The problem lies with attitudes on the job relating to ambulance duties.For example fire apparatus are washed detailed (dried off,sometimes armor all),but those pestsky ambulances usually get driven looking nasty.

    Virtually the vote of no contest means nothing.Everyone knows its split rite down the middle.You wonder why alot of blacks don’t show up for union meetings?. Because many do not feel the union represents their interest.

    I donot or want to believe there is a serious racial divide going on here,but yesterday sure enough removed doubt.You say Chief Ellerbe isn’t the right man for the job.So I guess Rubin was with the disparity in discipline and promotions,I guess that doesn’t count.

    With the exception of capt stern eveeryone else who were disciplined deserved it for violating orders or policy of the department.Capt. Stern is the only one who has a legitimate gripe against the Fire Chief.

    So the guys crying foul for being transferred or demoted, just look at what they did.When Rubin was in charge the blacks said morale was terrible….now that Ellerbe is running things the whites are complaining.

    Until someone comes along that can be fair across the board its not going to change.The last administration by no means was fair with promotions,transfers ect…Ok so you say this admin. isn’t either ok I hear you and I respect that.

    I know there are alot of members who get along and respect eachother on this job black and white.We have different views of how we see this job and the vision for the future.

    Alot of what was said yesterday needed to be spoken infront of the members.We are with the union but that doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything the union advocates.Yesterday showed we have alot of work to do.Lets stop the infighting and come up with some solutions to improve the department.

    If you’re going to stay on the get rid of the chief tirade,well than we are not with you on that issue.What we do support is a contract,better disability,more apparatus and hiring of personnnel to augment our force.

    @ Anonymous thats showing the public how divided we are as a department.

    • Brokenhearted

      Let’s just touch all your points, since none of you in favor of LRB touched on the points in the motion and instead devolved into waving the racecard, I’ll show you how it’s done.

      “Members who voted no confidence have a negative outlook on the ambulance.” The members of the executive board are comprised 100% of people who don’t ride the ambulance, they voted unanimously for no confidence. 300 votes for no confidence comprised of a mix of officers and firefighters. Yes those firefighters ride the ambulance. With a 98% approval rating. Every single incident that has been in the news about the ambulance service has been because an AMBULANCE DIDN’T SHOW UP. This has nothing to do with attitudes of those riding it, and everything to do with the fact that the system is overtaxed and failed to provide the so called “negative outlook” members on an ambulance.

      “Why do members keep the citizens are in danger” Well if you paid attention, not even 24 hours before the vote we had three MAJOR working fires in the city. Did the members fail to put these fires out because they want to keep citizens in danger? I mean how delusional can you be. Do you really think the 2 Black, 2 White, and 1 Latino member cared what color the citizens were inside that house on 48th Place when they almost gave their lives? You’re living in a fantasy land of things you’ve made up in your mind.

      “Attitudes and ambulance washing” The order book states apparatus will be cleaned on Saturdays. Anything else the members are doing above and beyond what they are called upon to do, and they are 100% of the time doing it on their own dollar. The Department does not provide the materials needed to wash apparatus other than the water. Everything else is purchased on the member’s own dime.

      “no contest (confidence) means nothing.Everyone knows its split rite down the middle. blacks don’t show up for union meetings?. Because many do not feel the union represents their interest.” No Confidence means that we have publicly voted as a body to show that we do not trust the chief to keep our members or the public safe. I think that’s pretty clear what it means. Whether or not someone shows up to the meetings is on them. Every member has a voice and a vote and that much was evident on Tuesday. The membership of the union overwhelmingly voted with their hearts because they care about the city and their citizens. If you think the Union isn’t battling daily for ALL of our members regardless of their race, you’re not paying attention. Call the contract committee, call the guys handling discipline. Actually back your spew up with factual information before you just make stuff up.

      “racial divide/Rubin” The racial divide I saw yesterday was the members speaking in favor of LRB showing grandious race card usage and accusations of racial divide where there is none. Some people will always look for it where there isn’t one. They’ll blatantly ignore the fact that the vehicle in which they’re riding is falling apart just for one chance to call someone else racist. Not one of those people who pulled the race card spoke to any of the items in the official vote of no confidence itemization. They failed to address any failings of the system and completely ignored what’s actually happening in the system. They often times brought up payraises, paycheck, and the like, showing that they care more about the pay then about being a public servant. They also brought up Rubin alot. These faces were the same faces I never saw at union meetings during the Rubin administration. If they did actually show up they’d know that we were close to a no confidence vote against Rubin but then president Ray Sneed advised the membership that it was a bad idea. They’d know that the union fought hard against the new discipline procedures. They’d know that the union fought to get the guys from Gramarcy their jobs back. They’d know that the membership voted unanimously against the zero % pay raise contract that the Rubin admin submitted. They don’t know these things because they’ve only ever shown up to one union meeting, yesterday’s. Morale has been on a steady decline for 10 years. It wasn’t only blacks whose morale was low under Rubin, but it’s easy pulling that race card isn’t it?

      “Discipline” Fair discipline including demotions and the retaliatory transfer of our Union President right? If you were a real brother you wouldn’t forget that it was ruled retaliatory in COURT. You’d see that your Fire Chief has been found guilty of retaliatory action, and you’d have Ed Smith’s back 100%. If you were a real brother.

      Can we really stop crying foul about what Rubin did and didn’t do and move on. Bringing Rubin into the conversation does nothing constructive to help us with our current situation. Should I bring up how shitty it was when the Chief got rid of horse drawn wagons? Or maybe how shitty it was that Georgetown had volunteer firefighters in the 1800s. Stop bringing up old stuff that has no bearing on today’s issues.

      “Get along and respect each other on this job black and white.” I don’t just get along or respect the other members I work with. I see them as blue. I love them as unto one of my own. I get on the rig with them and I see someone who is family. Who I may die with in five minutes. I see someone who I care about, who I want to see do well, who I’d give my life for. Whose family off the job is important to me, because he’s my brother/sister. This is where we differ. I don’t see my coworkers as coworkers. I see them as family who I’d lay down my life for. We have different views of how we see this job because you see it as a job, and I see it as a lifestyle, as a calling. It’s not about the paycheck for me, the same way it isn’t for the majority of your brothers.

      “What we do support is a contract,better disability,more apparatus and hiring of personnnel to augment our force.” Did you even listen yesterday? Did you even read the motion of No Confidence? Or were you too busy vomiting your race card bs to see that literally every single one of these issues is listed in the no confidence vote?

      “how divided we are as a department.” What I saw yesterday showed how unified we are, and that a very small minority, less than 1% are still stuck thinking we work in the 60s where race was actually an issue. This 1% cares only about the paycheck. They are the igotmines of the FD. They don’t care about their own safety, the safety of their brother and sister firemen, or the safety of the city. They ignore the dire straights that we are in because they are so focused on pulling the race card and not understanding the very basic tenants of what makes us capable of serving our citizens. They do not realize that where you live has no effect on how you perform your duty. They are stuck in some weird quagmire of racial divide fantasy that they’ve created for themselves.

      Me, I’ll continue go to work, sit on that jump seat, look across the piece to my coworker, see one of my own family members over there, because they’re my family, and know we’re going to provide the best service this city can get, regardless of our skin color. I’m going to be frustrated with the working conditions, frustrated that we don’t have decent apparatus to ride, frustrated with all the items in the no confidence vote, and still do the job the best of my ability.

  • Anonymous

    Yesterday’s Vote of No Confidence was an excellent start to bring into focus exactly waht Ellerbee has done, and what his continuous pattern of Behavior speaks as to who, what, how, why he is. Failurs to staff EMS Vehicles, total lack of Maintenance kept up on a 24/7 Basis. IE; Ellerbee his Deputy Chief Puppet for Public Safety has absolutely no clue or has any Basic Body of Knowledge of the DC Fire and EMS Dept. It is quite obvious Ellerbee and his Merry Band of Black Panther Racists Tattletales either do not know, nor donot care about
    “STAFFING,APPARATUS,MAINTENANCE” all three of these components are the Bread and Butter for “DC Fire and EMS “OPERATIONS”. Without anyone or combination or all three can and has placed the Taxpayers of DC in an un Safe state of confidence with DC Fire and EMS for Readiness to Respond and Manage any 911 Emergency. The Mayor I believe is still under Federal Investigation which he can only speak of confidence in Ellerbee. It is Pathetic and an absolute shameful disgrace the way Ellerbee has degraded the Time Honored History and Traditions from which DC Fire and EMS has progressed to the level as being Respected as one of out Nation’s best most Professional Fire and EMS Delivery Systems. All one has to do is recall some of the most noteable Incidents DC Fire and EMS has handled. (1) June 2009 Mass Casualty Metro Train Derailment. (2) January 1982 Air Florida 90/Metro train Crash.
    (3) April 1968 Riots resulting after Dr. Martin Luther King
    Assination. (4) Early 1950’s Standard Tire and Battery Explosion 10th and H Streets NE. Fire Chief Millard Sutton
    (Good Lord Rest His Soul) almost lost his Life. Then that same day Train crashed into Lobby at Union Station. That day was noted as “Black Thursday”. There are other day to day Fire and EMS Responses where DC Fire and EMS has performed their duties in the Highest Professional Standards. People were Rescued from Burning Structures Lives were Saved. Then DC Fire and EMS
    also suffered some serious injuries to their Personnel performing their job in these incidents. Some unfortunate incidents where DC Fire and EMS Firefighters lost their Life.
    It is evident that Ellerbee and Quander are both like out of control Adolescents. One can only wonder why no mention or attempt to correct what can only be described as a Total Unprofessional mess in OUC. Why hasnot any real Remedial Training, and/or establish real Professional Standards as they apply to 911 call taking, Proper Radio procedures. It would seem OUC personnel either donot know or choose to avoid/ignore the Truth that 911 is the Eyes and Ears of the City Taxpayers and the DC Gov’t.

  • Experienced

    I have spent years on both sides of the fire department ranks and have seen too many of these battles. So, it most likely is about shift change. Most firefighters use the fire service as a means of gaining insurance and a retirement. We will quickly turn on our leaders if they interfer with our off-day job which generally becomes more important than the committment we should have to serving the public. It is sad that we have to see this inner battle being aired in public leaving the fire service tarnished more with each battle.

    As for the Chief, I do not know the whole story but I know enough about the inner politics to know there is usually some sort of abuse of power by any Chief who feels he has become untouchable, it is either that or the Chief is taking a bullet for those in the Mayor’s office who wish to hide behind, “He is the Chief and I support HIS Decision”. It is usually a decision he has been directed to take.

    You may also want to address the history of the DC Fire Department. In the fire world they are well known for bashing any Fire Chief who fails to bow to the unions. It is not a pretty world but is one that seems to work for the citizens in DC. Until the citizens say enough-is-enough, the firefighters who usually don’t live in the Distrct, will continue to have other priorities.

    • Brokenhearted

      “Most firefighters use the fire service as a means of gaining insurance and a retirement.”

      What are you smoking and where can I get some of it. Is this how you really think? How did you come to this conclusion? Apparently it’s wrong to have a second job and try to make a better life for you children. It just means you are here for insurance and retirement. You are literally in la-la land.

      You have no idea what it’s like to want to be a Fireman do you? To want to serve the citizens? To want to help people and put fires out? You just love your govt J-O-B.

    • play4keeps

      Sorry, you don’t know what you are talking about in the first paragraph. You say “it is about a shift change and we use the job, is that correct?” You obviously don’t understand that the men and women are very commited and are operating under a contract that was ratified a decade ago. It is difficult to survive and raise a family in DC or close-by. This is is a fact. The only reason that someone would work a part time trade or job is to support a very basic quality of life at this point.

      What I don’t think you understand or most don’t understand it that the quality of life has diminished significantly in the US and the blue collar trades have been pushed out of the City by a very high cost of living. This has nothing to do with “serving the public.” In fact, the Fire Chief’s own brother brought up a point about the cost of dental benefits and other contract issues at the meeting. Unfortunately, what I don’t think the Fire Chief understands is the black vs white dynamic became a labor vs management dynamic after Sharon Pratt became mayor and the ensuing chiefs fell for it in an effort to “bring accountability.” They never really understood the underlying politics at work, which is that the labor force should made to produce for the least amount of money and that it was sufficient that morale was the least of concerns.

      BTW, while most place don’t have a racial issue like DC or Philly, they have continual labor disputes. The exception is the jurisdiction has provided a stable contract, which includes a decent shift schedule.

    • Pipeman27

      Actually I think you have it backwards. It’s usuall the city guys who are in in for the pay and insurance, the guys who drive 2 hours to work do it because they love the job. Quit stirring the pot.

  • 1dctaxpayer

    Ellerbe was a big supporter of the Progressives back in the day as was Ray Alfred his mentor.
    It is very easy to see the big picture here, and his motives. As for a shift change, at no time was this ever mentioned .This is a back spin by the administration to take the focus away from the real issues during the no confidence vote.
    Next it will be all retired members must live in the city after retirement, that’s just how wacked this guy is. I really hope if you ever need serious surgery, you only use a doctor born and raised in D.C. just sayin.


    @great gazoo….Chief Ellerbe waa found guilty by an arbitrator for retaliation against President Smith….before we move on….what should be his punishment?????….im all ears…

    BTW…Chief Sloan..a very well respected BFC was transferred in Ellerbe’s routine retaliatory leadership style, which only came to light and what we already had known, when Ellerbe was found guilty of retaliation….

    As for the Emerald Society…that is an uneducated response to something you know clearly nothing about….though the majority are white, there are black members….how many white members are in the Progressives ?????
    I know a now retired white DFC showed up to a Progressive FF’s meeting and was turned away…though I personally have never attended an ES mtg., I’ll put $$ that if you were black and sincerely wanted to become a member….you would not be asked to leave…..ill put my paycheck on it that the ES does nothing but good and does alot of charity, fishing tournaments etc….what does the Progressive FF’s do for charity or activities that promote a fraternal organization for ALL and not just for their own agenda….im all ears….

  • Tora tora tora

    I agree Hookman is a non factor.Its a shame how divided we are, make no mistake about it.I like to commend president Smith on how well he conducted the meeting.We need to come together and stop all this racial division.Going back and forth with the media, look at what their doin to us.You cant trust them either.This is tearing the department apart and its like a runaway freight train with no breaks.I disagree with Hook on his character assassination of the members holding the signs.They may not agree with the majority of the guys that were there yesterday,but nontheless they are passionate dedicated members of this department.As far as I know neither of them have been suspended or fired in their career.So lets stop throwing stones and act like men like I know us to be.

    Respectfully Brothers and Sisters

  • the great gazoo

    @Hookman does it mean that the arbitrator got it right? They could be wrong in their decision.If they had said he was found not guilty,you would’ve said mayor vinnie fixed it.

    Ok let me ask you? if the arbitrator had found him not guilty what than?.So your saying being well respected should make you untouchable according to your statement.Everyone thats found guilty of something isn’t always truly guilty and vice versa.

    You were found guilty of charges and terminated…should you have remained terminated.That could’ve went either way buddy fortunately it worked out for you.By the way there are members who believe you were guilty and should’ve remained fired.

    You are bandwagoning ( i made up a word)on something that is subjective just like your situation.

  • 1dctaxpayer

    The news clip from channel 4 on Ronnie Few, with Ellerbe in the back ground is priceless.
    A blind man could read his facial expression. Gee I wonder why He did not get selected as chief over Ronnie Few?. O that’s right, it was proven he was vindictive, and incompetent while serving as interim fire chief. I say bring on a shift change, this administration is unable to put out a personal action without making correction after correction. O and the Paramedics will be the only ones who leave, good luck explaining that one to the Mayor, and city council.

  • DCres

    The union undermines itself with its flimsy arguments in favor of keeping the outdated shift system. “Tradition” is not a legitimate reason to make public policy, nor is the desire to allow workers to live hundreds of miles from the city (the FDNY actually has residency requirements in the city or near suburbs, imagine that).

    “Brotherhood” has a long history in the fire service of being used to justify discriminatory hiring practices. It wasn’t that long ago that firefighters would openly say that having a black or female firefighter would undermine the “brotherhood.”

    The union has strong arguments against the Chief and appears to have a powerful ally in Tommy Wells. But insisting that there is some sort of fundamental right for firefighters, unlike every other city employee, to work a schedule that allows them to have part time jobs and live several states away from DC is a losing argument.

    The reality is that EMS is what drives the fire service today. Fire suppression staffing levels are too high and need to be adjusted to reflect the realities of modern construction and research. The union could be leaders in changing the DCFD to reflect the realities of the city’s public safety needs. That would mean shorter, more frequent shifts; mandatory cross-training of all firefighters as paramedics; the use of hybrid suppression-transport units; and better integration of the DCFD and the city’s hospitals. That is real leadership that would be respected by the citizens and the elected officials.

    • Pipeman27

      Can you honestly tell me how a 6 12 hour shifts are better than the shift that we work now?

    • anonymous

      What is outdated is the shift LRB is proposing. Also, this is America. You are free to live wherever you like. Why are you so interested in people’s personal lives like that? If they come to work and do their job well, as our members do, then why are you concerned about where they live? That is discriminatory.

    • UseToBeDC

      FDNY’s residency requirement is about taxes NOTHING else.
      One can live two hours away in Long Island but NOT twenty minutes away in New Jersey.

      And as to being overstaffed for fire suppression you obviously have no idea what you are talking about.

      DCFD Line of Duty Death investigations in the 90s pointed to understaffed firefighting units as a major contributing factor in each death!!

      Shame on you for forgetting or worse dismissing those findings.

    • Brokenhearted

      I can actually show you scientific evidence that the 3-3-3 shift is the literal worst possible shift you can work in this line of work.

      Actually I’m wrong, the worst shift they found was the 3-3-6, which has 6 days off between the 6 days on. The shift the chief wants has only 3 days off. So it’s even worse.

    • Rich Schaffer

      A shift change to 3-3-3 is an attempt to get firefighters who live a greater distance from the city to quit or resign from DCFEMS. Most are white, and I believe that this issue is the driving force. The shift change has no other merit and is an antiquated work schedule that nearly every department has abandoned. Only an IDIOT would endorse such a shift as 3-3-3. I will argue this issue to the end, and I am sure my congressional rep and that of every other firefighter who moved away from bad schools and crime-ridden neighborhoods would do the same.

      • UseToBeDC

        It’s a reduction of 1/4 of the DCFD.
        NOT merely a shift change.
        This fact needs to be made more well known!!

      • DCres

        Guess what Rich, its not 1995 anymore. The city has changed. Do you notice all the people moving in? They are well educated professionals, people who choose to live in DC over the suburbs. The days of white flight from DC are over, in fact, the reverse is happening. The crime rate is down, and while some schools are still struggling, others have lotteries because so many parents want their kids to get in. Plus you have the strongest system of free charter schools in the country. There is absolutely no reason for any family, white, black, whatever, not to live in DC today.

        • Glad I live in VA

          There are school lotteries because there are so few schools that are on par with suburban schools, and it falls off quickly in middle school or high school. There is almost no TAG program – just one lottery school.

          Homes in districts with great elementary schools are 2x the cost of similar homes in Fairfax or Montgomery and 3x or more the cost of similar homes in Howard, AA, Frederick, Loudon, PW, etc.

          I truly wouldn’t mind living in DC, I’m optimistic about it’s future — especially when politicians like Barry and Gray stop getting elected, and we stop viewing city services (like the FD) as a means to reduce EOR unemployment and start expecting them to be run like ‘world-class organizations’.

        • Anonymous

          Hey DCres. Should we keep all the DC residents from working in Va. I sit in traffic every morning going home behind DC tags headed to tysons to work. This is the good ol USA. We have freedoms to live where we want. I defended this Country for these rights. If you survey any fire department around us you will see employees from all over. Its called a diverse and capable work force. You have to recruit from beyond your borders to accomplish it. How did Ellerbe ever come to work in Sarasota Fl? Oh my god he wasnt a Sarasota resident when he got hired.How was that possible. Do the hospitals in DC only recruit nurses from DC? This is such a ridiculous argument. I am so sick of this BS . Maybe we all should quit and just see how well things work out for the city. Hell we should just close the borders. No non residents in and no residents out just like North and South Korea. My family grew up in NE DC. All I ever wanted was to be a DC fireman. I never would of thought how the DC government and citizens look down on their public servants. Unbelievable

    • Rich Schaffer

      Hey DCres, no other city employees have to risk their lives to save others. ’nuff said?

      Furthermore we had a residency requirement but the city leaders at the time allowed DC to become a cesspool. So we firefighters were allowed to live 25 miles out. Later council permitted us to live where we wanted to, which at the time seemed to be a condition of not providing a contract AND now the firefighters havn’t had a raise in almost a decade. It is impssible to afford to live here and raise a family on anything other than 125k plus a year. Also, if you are going to raise the issue, FDNY pays firefighter/emt’s 100,000 dollars a year after 5 years. What does DC pay? Half? Perhaps if DCFEMS slalries were contemporary with FDNY salary it would be a different issue regarding where we live, amongst other reasons.

      “Tradition” has nothing to do with it. You are upset because white boys drive a long way to work here- and they are some of the best firemen this city has ever seen. Highly experienced, often with college degrees, sometimes veterans, and many of them with some form of managerial experience. DC could not recruit this level of expertise just hiring from within the city- and I believe this is the reason you hate and want to destroy these firefighters from out of state.

      Lets get another issue clear about “brotherhood”. This was a mostly black fire department when I came on. I have been a paid firefighter (in DC and before that in Mont Co) for almost 30 years now. Brotherhood has never stood for anything but everyone, all together. Get your facts straight. I have never heard of brotherhood being discriminatory as you described or experienced. Perhaps they just hated you?

      Tommy Wells is smart, that is why he is a strong ally to Local 36. It dosent take a genius to see that the only fire/ems department in COG with constant problems is DC. And the ONLY agency with constant problems in DC Gov’t is FEMS. It is embarassing to him and everyone else.

      Mr Wells understands that firefighters are not meter-maids or trashmen or parking enforcement. Firefighters have to sacrifice when they come to work and face hazards that could include serious injury or death. We are not “other” city employees. When a union has concerns about the job it is by all means with merit. 1000+ firefighters will be heard. And if firefighters want to have part time jobs in their down-time or live several states away what difference does it make? We come to work, we do the job well and the citizens can depend upon us. You have a losing argument DCres- and your desire to change the shift is, to me, just another bit of proof of who you really are. You HATE the fact that white-boys drive in from out of state. It infuriates you that a city agency with the most pride is not made up entirely of what you think it should be comprised of. I live in WV, but in reality I am closer than most folks coming in from Md or Va. (66 miles away) We had to move there because we couldnt afford (then) to live in the metropolitan area. ALL of my neighbors commute to DC for the same reason. And if I had to continue to live in Northeast DC I was going to shoot someone sooner or later for breaking into the house and our car again and again. So if the firemen drive in from PA or WV or live in Northeast DC- as I once did- what difference does it make? It is none of your business- and I dont ask my local doctors or cops or firefighters where they live. They provide a professional service that they are compensated for. The municipality deemed them most fit for the job. They took a test, they were found to be the best candidate, they were hired and sworn in as essential employees. What they do when they go home wherever that may be is none of your business.

      Ugh, this is so frustrating- it is idiots like DCres that keep DCFEMS in the news weekly- regarding your comment about “staffing is too high for modern construction and research” is, um, embarassing to read. (I would challenge you to a public debate if you were not so ashamed of yourself and your unsubstanciated comments!) The counties have lower paid staffing that is augmented by volunteers, and if not that, then they have an exterior firefighting standard that won’t work in DC.

      Btw, ALL of the union’s decisions are based on fact finding- by hundreds of professional managers/researchers/firefighters in DC and thousands across the nation. Safety is our union’s most important goal- The “shorter, more frequent shifts” is dangerous and exhausting. It is proposed for one reason. Otherwise 24/48 would be considered. Instead the firechief wants to punish those coming into the city by increasing their transportation time considerably, and he knows this is damaging to them. The 3-3-3 shift is not being proposed to benefit the public or the department or to enhance training or safety or for any other reason- it is being proposed only to punish and hurt those that can only afford to (or desire to) live further away. And those are the people he seems to hate most. In fact it almost seems as if he hates the ENTIRE department in some form or another for some reason. Deep resent and hate. I don’t get it. I admired the pride Rubin had in this department. The current firechief’s first order of business was to destroy everything Rubin had done. I don’t understand it :(

      I am confident Local 36 can and will lead the way for a better department. Just keep the faith.

      DCres, as long as you hide behind a screen name your argument has no merit. Let us know who you are. And I wish you firemen would use your names as well, show some pride and stand up for what you believe in.

      • DCres

        Wow. A lot to digest and respond to here.

        First off, I have never advocated for a residency requirement, not for the FD nor for any city employee. I don’t think it matters where you live, but, I do think that the union will never win the argument if it relies too heavily on the rights of FFs to live wherever they want.

        -I would suspect that the MPDC officers would disagree with your statement that FFs are the only city employees who risk their lives to save others.

        -Tradition is often misused and overused. Tradition is fine, but you can’t serve the public today with the methods of the past. Tradition doesn’t make you a better FF, or make a fire department better at doing its job. It is a crutch that is too often leaned on by people who are unwilling to change.

        -Any history of the fire service in this country will include a discussion on how the concept of “brotherhood” has been used as a tool of discrimination.

        -I agree with you about Tommy Wells. I look forward to voting for him when he runs for mayor.

        -I don’t know which shift schedule is best for the DCFD. But what bothers me is that as soon as anyone even suggests a change (and Ellerbee is not the first to do so) the immediate reaction is opposition, not for safety or operational reasons, but to protect the rights of FFs to live far from the city and have part time jobs. You have an absolute right to live where you want and to do whatever you want in your off time. But, don’t use that as a justification for keeping the current shift schedule.

        -Apparatus staffing issues have been the subject of enough research to fill a library. The key is flexibility in staffing so that you can quickly redeploy EMS personnel (who are needed more often than suppression) to suppression when needed. That is why I brought up things like cross training as paramedics and the use of hybrid response vehicles (see Broward County Florida for example). I would love to see the union lead on this and doing so would ultimately protect their members. We can then talk about closing and moving fire houses (or better yet using staging areas that change throughout the day to reflect population shifts such as away from downtown after business hours) to better deploy personnel and equipment based on call statistics.

        -The local union and the IAFF are not research agencies. They are unions with the sworn (and important) responsibility to serve their members and protect them. They use research only to the extent it serves this mission.

        -Let me end with this. I am not happy with the job Ellerbee is doing and he has shown no ability at all to communicate the rationale for his decisions to the city council or residents. The IG’s report is beyond the pale for me and should result in his termination as well as a federal investigation.

        • A Nonny Mouse

          DCres, I have to respond to a couple of your points.

          Apparatus staffing issues:

          Flexibility is important, and we may be able to do more, but with our call volume, dedicated (independent) staffing of an individual vehicle is called for. Dependent staffing is more appropriate for lower volume systems.

          Hybrid vehicles require trade-offs in design. Because of that, they don’t do any of their jobs as well as a dedicated vehicle. Additionally, if a vehicle becomes unable to perform one of its duties for mechanical reasons, it becomes unavailable for the others as well. Given the problems with maintenance, that seems to be a bad bet.

  • Thomas Fant

    Chief Ellerbe: It is said once.Don’t take a job as DCFD Chief unless you’re prepard to Lose the Job.Don’t act like you know something you don’t.You should have done more listening than talking.Your seccess is only Driven by the person you are and now that is the downfall of your personal Agenda.In short term,s Chief you failed the DCFD.Its time for you to move on.

  • Anonymous

    “Chief Ellerbe waa found guilty by an arbitrator for retaliation against President Smith….before we move on….what should be his punishment?????….im all ears”…

    The same punishment Rubin received when he was found guilty of retaliating against you..(so you say)….This is old news, now let’s move on.

    “As for the Emerald Society…that is an uneducated response to something you know clearly nothing about….though the majority are white, there are black members….how many white members are in the Progressives” ?????

    You have no clue as to what I know about.

    “ill put my paycheck on it that the ES does nothing but good and does alot of charity, fishing tournaments etc….what does the Progressive FF’s do for charity or activities that promote a fraternal organization for ALL and not just for their own agenda….im all ears”….

    While the Progressive FF’s may not sponsor golfing or fishing tournaments etc., to say that they do not do work for charities further displays your ignorance.

    • the great gazoo


  • UseToBeDC


    It seems your “Experience” hasn’t taught you much. You comment on a subject authoritatively that you admit you don’t know much about.

    First off the media reports(particularly Channel 7’s) say the issue is about changing the shift from 24 to 12 hours. Either the media is misinformed or LRB has changed his plans. I suspect the media has been misinformed. Perhaps intentionally.

    LRB’s plan is to change the schedule from 4 platoons working 24 hour shifts to 3 platoons working 12 hour shifts(6 of them in a row. With 3 days off.)

    This is a REDUCTION of 1/4 of the DCFD. It’s not a shift change plan but a huge and unnecessary cut. The city has a surplus of money in case you were wondering.

    To support this conclusion I would point to LRB’s testimony and statements that his plan would save the department MILLIONS of dollars. A change from 24 to 12 hours would increase overtime due to calls at change of shifts(essentially doubling that possiblity) And therefore wouldn’t save millions as LRB has said.

    Unless of course he IS cutting 1/4 of the Department.

    As to the DCFD union always disliking the Chief the shame of it is the DCFD has never had a good Fire Chief. The Chiefs have been hired for the wrong reasons and many with little experience. It has nothing to do with bowing to the Union. It has to do with making sure the Fire Department is adequately funded and the safety of the members and citizens is paramount! Many chiefs, including LRB, have advocated cutting the Department despite the fact there was adequate funding available. Others during more lean times have failed to be advocates of the Department they were sworn to lead.

    Washington DC is a city where fires still occur and that seems to be lost on the leadership of DC and in some cases the Fire Department as well.

    There are fixes to the EMS issues but the leadership of DCFD seems to want to reinvent the wheel. Many times looking to emulate western Fire Departments with little fire duty instead of similar north eastern Fire Departments to pattern their EMS systems after(FDNY’s system isn’t perfect but it’s a similar department that gets it mostly right. I’m sure there are others)

    As to your insistence that “Abuse of Power” occurs by every fire chief I say BULLSH*T. A good leader doesn’t need to intimidate and demote those who disagree with him. Instead he will win them over IF he does the right thing. LRB wouldn’t know the right thing if it smacked him in the face.

    Good luck to you I hope your “experience” serves you better in the future.

    • Pipeman27

      If he cuts 1/4 of the dept and goes 3-3-3 with the call volume we have now, the dept will collapse.

  • Anonymous

    If they change our work schedule, how will I be able to tick in PG, Charles, Calvert and St. Mary’s counties? Not to mention back home in PA?

    • Pipeman27

      Quit trolling

    • Brokenhearted

      As much of a troll this is, this will actually increase volunteering as it will be easier just to go to the volunteer house for your 12 hours off.

      Ignorance, must be bliss huh?

  • JackWagon

    The Progressive Black Firefighters Organization is no position to even comment on issues that deal with the firefighters of Washington D.C. They do NOT bargain the rights of the Firefighters. That Organization is a club just like the Emerald Society is to the IRISH/AMERICAN Firefighters. I would assume that everyone on the Board of the PBFFO are in the Chief’s back pockets as well. Gotta take care of the Brothers. Scratch my back and I will scratch yours!

    I’m far from being a racist, Hell My GF is Black and I’m damn proud of it!

  • ukfbbuff

    Since I’m just observing this from California, my 2 cents on this is:

    My vote would be: For the Vote of NO Confidence.

    Basically with a two year track record, Ken Ellerbe, seems to have followed a Model similar to that of the: Pre Donald Austin leaders of the:

    Detroit, Mich., FD.

    and as well as that of: Pre-Sofa Super store fire leadership of the Charleston, SC FD.

    The continued support of the Mayor only shows that:

    1. Either The Mayor is clueless about what actually goes on daily in the DCFD or

    2. The Mayor is using an agenda against the DCFD firefighters and using Ken Ellerbe as the instrument to ruin a World Renowned FD.

    The level of incompetence showed by Ken Ellerbe can only and still retaining the Mayor’s support can attest to the Croynism and “Tammony Hall” politic’s that exist.

    Change is called for! If needs to start with a NEW Mayor then
    so be it. But it looks like if Ken Ellerbe is allowed to stay in office without any improvements being made, DCFD will look like the Detroit FD within a couple of years.

  • Anonymous

    “As to the DCFD union always disliking the Chief the shame of it is the DCFD has never had a good Fire Chief. The Chiefs have been hired for the wrong reasons and many with little experience. It has nothing to do with bowing to the Union. It has to do with making sure the Fire Department is adequately funded and the safety of the members and citizens is paramount! Many chiefs, including LRB, have advocated cutting the Department despite the fact there was adequate funding available. Others during more lean times have failed to be advocates of the Department they were sworn to lead”.

    Does that include “Our Savior…. The Great Thomas Tippet”?

    • UseToBeDC

      Tippett was, in fact, was the only good Chief.
      Unfortunately he was only chief on an interim basis.

      • Glad I live in VA

        Yeah, Tippet. I remember him. “Here are your ambulances, I quit”

  • Anonymous

    “You have no idea what it’s like to want to be a Fireman do you? To want to serve the citizens? To want to help people and put fires out? You just love your govt J-O-B”.

    What about performing EMS duties

    • Brokenhearted

      Firemen provide EMS, don’t be coy.

  • the great gazoo

    Thats bologna,stop saying you are here for the citizens…that’s bullshit.I TELL YOU WHAT,NEXT TIME YOU ARE AROUND SOME CITY LOCALS…WHY DON’T YOU SAY I WANT TO RUN A FIRE TODAY.I GUARANTEED THEY WILL LOOK AT YOU IN DISGUST AND YOU MIGHT GET CUSSED OUT.Your fake firefighters you don’t give
    a sh@t about the inhabitants of the city.All you want to do is hope somebody house burns down so you can get your rocks off.

    To be frank,it’s down rite disgusting to hear firemen say that.The residents don’t really know how the firefighters feel about them.Who says this “I didn’t come here to ride an ambulance I’m a firemen”.Who calls the ambulance the shit box?

    When we have to do community service who are the members that complain we have to do it? From my experience it’s the FF’s from out of town. To say you are here for the citizens means you don’t get pissed showing apparatus to kids.I know you worry if your out of service you might miss a box.

    Firefighting is no calling….that’s some ol BS that you made up.Being a preacher or priest is a calling.This is a profession that one chooses to do whether from familiarity,family tradition,good pay ect.

    If this was a calling you wouldn’t cringe at serving the public no matter what your duties are.(i.e.riding the ambo)Only in your dreams could you even fathom that you care about the citizens more than someone who is from here.We have family and close friends… many or most of you dont.

    Thats not to say that all of the FF’S that do not live here aren’t genuine…because some of them are.But they get poisoned upon coming on the job or they bring that negativity from where they come from.Lets face it the negativity riding the ambo derives from the out of towners.

    The culture and tradition of the fire service is not ems friendly.Thats why you could have a FF who was assigned to T15 with tags that said I hate ems.Did any FF approach him and say “hey this is what we do you are dishonoring the job and people we serve.In contrast if he had a tags that red “I hate boxalarms” everyone would have had something to say.

    The department has always needed improvement…but it doesn’t happen over night.Change isn’t always a bad thing…sometimes it hurts in the beginning but you can get through it.The fire chief isn’t going no where as much as you like him to.Ifyou do your job PROPERLY you have nothing to worry about.The only guys complaining of discipline are the ones who were f@cking up.

    No more naked guy cooking in the firehouse or coming to work with a ankle bracelot on.Oh and for the guys who are accused
    of harassment at the training academy…if found guilty they shall have to pay a heavy price.See I don’t care who are if you mess up you got to take your lumps.thtas all for now

    • Hydro Engineer

      Well I have not met a member yet who is excited about riding an Ambulance, Black, White, or Lives in or out of the City. I also dis agree with you about members not caring about the citizens if we do not live there! Members who do live in the city care just as much! Yeah the frequent flyers who abuse the system get a little overwhelming but still get delivered to the hospital.

      Safety, reliable equipment, proper discipline, and responsibility are the main reasons for the Vote of no confidence!!! Ellerbe does not care about any of that!!!

      You say the only members complaining of discipline are the ones who are messing up, so then you agree that under Rubin the members who complained were messing up?
      I believe that you if you do something wrong it does need to be fixed! However most of the issues could be handled by the company officer. If it goes to the BFC, a good one will handle it. We are loosing that do to promoting yes men and passing issues on up the chain. We have lost the ability for Officers to be Officers.

      As for Ellerbe, at the council meeting’s when asked a question from the council, you should know the answer. You are supposed to be in charge and know you department. You do not refer questions to your Subordinates to answer then threaten them with a demotion. So if lrb asks a Captain a question he can say let me get the sergeant?

      • the great gazoo

        Hydro your not being honest…the disdain for the ambulance comes from members out of town.When you are hired from the metro area and have not been in the fire service…you come on the job with a open mind.

        You haven’t been poisoned with the attitudes and negative rhetoric about riding the ambo.That’s an outside thang.I know of some members who are not from here that do not complain…they take it in stride.

        Why don’t members bid on medical calls like they do boxes? It’s in your first due area…why not take it instead of passing the buck.In reality ALOT of FF’s look at ems as beneath them.Is a heart attack a true emergency Hydro?.Shouldn’t you get out the house as fast as a box to save some one?.

        I mean isn’t that what we are here for?….but guys would sit there and do everything else but get on the piece as though it isn’t an important call.

        How was the safety 3-4yrs ago Hydro?…you are putting your spin on this like everyone else.Did equipment break down?…what about morale how was it…I know it was ok rite.

        Of course it was because you were able to do what you wanted and get away with it.Remember the little stunt you pulled while an aide…and you got sent back to your regular battalion.See you would’ve got away with it the last administration….but not this one.

        Under Rubin those members that got disciplie prpbably deserved it…but when you willfully hold special reports so that the time expires before the dept can take action…well that makes an unlevel playing field.

        So that’s why members were raising hell about the disparity of discipline.Someone mentioned about the instructors who were accused of harassment at the TA…well lets say I wouldn’t want to be them….if it’s true…because you kmow this admin doesn’t play.

        Keep your chin up and color inside the lines and you won’t have a problem.

        • Hydro Engineer

          The disdain for the Ambulance comes from everyone who rides it. From the metro area or not. I do hear the complaints about the ambulance all the time, I feel for everyone who rides them. It should be put back into the Officers hand and let the members switch out when needed.

          Members do not bid on medicals because the AVL can’t be wrong? right?. It picks the closet unit right? That system, if it does not work is a Managers issue. Yes we do bid on Boxes and the Chief asks what our location is. If closer we may go on it. On a medical they don’t ask for units location so they may not be closer, but I have and do bid on medicals.

          I use to run for the apparatus on a Box, not anymore. I also do not dillydally on a medical call. An Ambulance is not even allowed to go as fast as a Fire Apparatus. 35 mph MAX on any road!!

          Let’s look at Safety. Last Administration ordered fire retardant station wear but did arrive till this admin got here. This admin would not issue it at first. Last admin started buying new apparatus, this admin has not placed an order. Last admin issued safety vests. At least some safety issues were addressed.

          If one decides each days details, and at that time I did, then why couldn’t I detail myself? No rule was broken!!

          I still love this job, and I have a smile on my face everyday on every call at anytime of day :)

    • ClownShow

      Get the F out of here. You know exactly why guys call the ambo the shitbox. 90% of the ambo runs are bullshit people calling and abusing the system. I do not know one guy that bitches about actually going on a EMS run for someone that actually needs help. And I think you mean if you are BLACK then you have nothing to worry about with the fire chief. I’m tired of this crap. How can you defend this scumbag. Our fire trucks are falling apart, our EMS system is broken, and moral is in the toilet.

      • the great gazoo

        Clown show all of the people who call 911 need help…no matter if you don’t think it’s important or not.I know we have frequent flyers and the occassional my stomach hurt calls.

        Nontheless to them they need to go to the hospital,and since we are not in the business of refusal there you have it.

        Now to address if your BLACK you have nothing to worry about.
        I guess the Lt that use to be at 14 engine who was told to retire for an incident there was white….no he was black

        What about the Deputy at apparatus division I guess he was white….you know the deputy who was told to retire or take a demotion.

        So your statement is baseless and without merit.This administration is handling any and all who screw up regardless of who you know….or how popular you maybe.

        Did you complain about morale or apparatus clownshow when the last administration was here.If you did than I apologize…but I bet you can’t produce evidence on a blog that you did.

        So don’t act like this is some new sh@t that just happen over nite…I know you want the public to believe that…but we tell them the truth while we are out here.

        This is the chiefs baby for sure and I surely hope he can turn things around.The difference between you and me is I truly hope he can pull it off….you on the other hand want him to fail and leave.

        This is bigger than improving the department…you all don’t want him here at all because you believe he messed the game up you had going on.Hookman I applaud you because you do have the incite to see it both ways….your the only one whose been real about it…and I respect that.

        The rest of you are just disgruntled spoiled FF’s that want it your way.I can see the problems that we have I’m not in denial.Clownshow morale was in the toilet for-a-long time years ago….so puhlez!

    • Pipeman27

      You’re an udiot

    • Anonymous

      The guys from the TA got good spots after being accused of SEXUAL misconduct. Of course LRB said the females were mistaken and it was not sexual in nature.

      Also why is it the city residents are always the last one to work? Why do they all want to be in the slowest companies?

      Also why don’t you ever bring up the single role EMTs. They call out sick at a much higher rate than FF and abuse the system more than anyone?

      • the great gazoo

        Theres no need to come to work at 5:30 if you live here.When you live 2-3hrs away you cant wake up at 5am and get to wk by 7am.

        To address the staffing of where members are assigned…you know darn well how alot of members are funneled to certain houses….because they volley or is kin to someone.

        Alot of members you may speak of came from running companies so if they put their time in….they earned the rite to slow down.

        Now if you want to be a fool and stay in a runnng company your whole career beating your body to hell,that’s smart of you.

        I’m not concerned with what the EMT’s do or don’t…if they don’t show up for work….that’s what we are here for to fill in….period

        I know that’s not what you wanted to here but it’s the truth….we fill the spots when they take off…so what it’s part of our job.

        • Anonymous

          Thats why they need to be completely phased out.

          The aides were put in those spots based on SKIN COLOR.

          I live 25 minutes away in MD and get there at 5. I do it because I want to be there, I’m not there to only collect a check like the rest of the city residents.

    • Brokenhearted

      You don’t think it’s a calling because you’re hear for the paycheck.

      You want to bring up the ankle bracelet again? Oh how soon we forget that the man who shot at a tow truck driver is now an officer. He’s an officer because the Union fought for him to get his job back. Oh I guess that doesn’t play into the racecard play so we’ll just forget about that little detail.

      Oh and by the way you’ve once again shown that you can’t reply to the issues and you just ramble at the mouth.

      • Anonymous

        As I recall the union didn’t fight for said firefighter who’s an officer now, chief Schultz did because he knew that that officer was defending his property from a thief for one for 2 said officer had and still has a great track record of service on the job as well as his community. If I recall that firefighter fired his union attorney, and hired his own attorney. Im white and work with this officer on a regular basis, and will follow that man anywhere because he’s a leader, and he judges people for who they are and not their skin color. So the next time you speak something about a person make sure you have the facts right.

  • anonymous

    Look at the two members of the Progressives who were doing all of the talking to the media regarding the shift change. One of them is retired, and the other has a lot of time on the job and is eligible to retire. So, you have the biggest proponents of LRB’s shift change plan being two people who are never going to have to work that shift if it ever did go into effect.

    I’m not noticing any members of the department who would have to work that shift pushing to go to 3-3-3 instead of 24/72.

    That speaks volumes about how much the membership, regardless of race or where they live, are all against the shift change.

  • haveyouseenmybaseball?

    So let me get this straight. The crux of mr. e’s problems are the FD members fighting his shift proposal. Our current shift of 24 hours on duty with 72 hours off averages out to a 42 hour work week and we get part of EVERY weekend off. I’ll be the first to admit it’s a great shift and there is plenty of recuperation time for the members working at busy companies and on the ambulances. This shift has been in effect for over twenty years with no problems except for the perceived ones “management” likes to make up and we all know how they like to make things up. Now I’m supposed to be overjoyed at the prospect of working six days to get three off, increasing my work week from 42 hours to 56 WITHOUT being compensated for the extra 14 hours? mr.e has said there would be kelly (extra) days off added to the 3-3-3 to make it a 42 hour work week but he hasn’t showed how it would work and I’m pretty sure it would be quite the abortion. All 3-3-3 would do would be to get rid of 1/4 of the department, that’s the same guys who respond on those ambulances the city is having such a hard time getting to every call. Never mind that the city’s population is growing EVERY MONTH, never mind that the city has a surplus of 1.6 BILLION dollars. If we were 1.6 billion in the hole I could see trying to eliminate a shift, but this makes zero sense. In fact, I’m pretty sure that if I was happy about this idiotic proposal it would simply make me stupid. “WHAT?! We’re gonna get to work more hours for less money?? COUNT ME IN!! Thank you mr.e!” This is a cockeyed scheme for mr. e to give back even more money to uncle vinnie, a contrived and manufactured crisis that is affecting EVERYONE who lives, works, and visits DC everyday. Tell you what, I’ll gladly go back to 3-3-3, but this time let’s try compensating the members correctly, the same way the single role civilian EMS providers and MPD is compensated, in other words, shift differentials, night shift differentials, weekend differentials and time and a half for overtime. Time and a half overtime for Firefighters, what a concept. Oops that’s another monumental eff up brought to us by DC government…

    • Tora tora tora

      Haveyousenmybaseball no one wants a shift change no one! We can all agree with that 100%.I don’t want to see guys lose there jobs…but you took this job and nothing is gauranteed.

      If there is a surplus and I think there is one according to the gov’t own admission….than there should be no reason to change the shift.

      We are all together regarding the shift change.But there are other areas that we are divided on.So for the record none of the guys who were against the no-confidence vote are for a shift change.

      But we smell sabotage a mile away and it stinks.Just because your part of the union doesn’t mean you have to agree with everything.So is that clear enough for you we don’t support a shift change….but there are other aspects of the chief’s initiatives we do support.

  • DCFD Officer

    @DCRes…..old and outdated shift system? You do realize that
    3-3-3 is decades older than both the 24/48 and current 24/72 system, right? Ellerbe wants the old and outdated 3-3-3. To those speaking of second jobs and insurance etc. I raise my children on my days off. The rest and regular time with my family improves my on the job performance. I work more hours per pay period than most people with “regular” hours. I would also like to address staffing and “modern” construction. I agree the staffing levels need to be changed. With more people in a smaller area than ever, aging rowhouses, and lightweight /shoddy four and five story apartments, we need 6 on squads/ trucks and five on the wagons. This is an increase of one on all apparatus.


    Tora…i never said all were cowards, however, I did say the people I saw standing outside were ones that were capable of performing acts of cowardness…..Ive seen them in action with ome of them performing acts of cowardness on a fire that injured members from Engine 4….maybe thats why they’ve never been terminated…We all know cowardness is a chargeable offense, but never enforcex because there’s too many members saying s**t…f**k etc to be charged….and out of the ones I did see standing, I know 4 of them need an interpreter when giving a size up due to the excitement which in turn makes them scream and stutter on channel 03…that you cannot hide, because that’s recorded information…..I won’t even begin to comment regarding my ability to clearly understand what on gods earth the Progressives President was talking about….honestly…they could use a better spokesman in front of the camera….

    Anonymous….I have no clue who you are..because your anonymous….however…since you want to rehash the past, but you brought it up….so I ask you….When was former Chief Dennis Rubin found by a court of law for retaliating against me?
    Until you can answer that simple question, ill disregard your comment as a simple clerical error on your part…..

    As for me being a bandwagon guy….I dislike equally…believe it or not…i too gave Rubin a shot, just as much as I gave Ellerbe the same….however, when someone says they’ll be fair and transparent across the board and everyone gets a level playing field and that turns out to be anything close to being a fair and transparent field…..sorry….not going to support your vindictive and retaliatory reign as FEMS dictator…..for those that do support this man and clearly are enjoying the payback leadership style of Ellerbe….you’ll be remembered….nobody has to like me, but i grew up to treat people fairly, keep an open mind about them when others aren’t reluctant to do so….but when you obviously go against the grain that i personally pride my ownself with…sorry Jack….you’re on your own.

    So what if Ellerbe was found not guilty……well the answer to that would be pretty easy…he’d be not guilty……As for the arbitrator in his ruling….I’d say he made the right decisio and considering Ellerbe’s rumored past….the shoe certainly fits in this case…..I’m sure if there’s
    a process to clear his name, it wouldn’t be up to me….until then….you’re guilty as charged….and along with that should come consequences…where on earth are you found guilty for something and aren’t punished ?

    Asbfor the ES v Progressives….i simply asked what they do in comparison to charity work and giving the impression they’re a fraternal organization just like the Emerald Society….You didn’t provide me any answers as to what good the organization does….Yesterday was the firat time I’d seen the Progressives out in force with protest signs….I didn’t see the ES protesting with signs…I got there a lil late, so maybe I missed them….

    But everything aside….you’d have to be dummer than the days long to realize what the Progressives support for Ellerbe was about yesterday….so hide behind the shift change all you want…we know its about destroying the traditions of the DCFD and gettin rid of those pesky Pennsylvanians that are taken those darn District Government jobs from the citizens…but remember…when you walk into 4600 Sheperd PKWY….pause and look at the LODD wall….ALL of them made the ultimate sacrifice for the ” DCFD “…..

    • Tora tora tora

      Also Hook I’m not with retaliation tactics…not saying that’s what the chief is doin…because I’m not the chief nor in his head.But if I violate the rules I expect to be disciplined just like anyone else.

      I want fair treatment for everyone regardless of your affiliation.But that wasn’t always practice on this job.Example look at the sons of chiefs on this job…where are they assigned?.I can tell you this none of them are in the 5th battalion…coincidence maybe…nah I think we both no the answer to that.

      Ive seen members transfer without the capt. of the house approval or knowledge. Thats the bad tradition that has to be eradicated….someone has to go to the 5th.Everyone should rotate so they can get a feel for other areas…also to learn different aspects of the job.

      There are officers in the 5th battalion now who have never been there in their career.Why was that hook? because they were so knowledgeable they needed to stay in running companies.That’s bulls@ht everyone can be replaced and the company or battalion won’t skip a beat.

      Benson which I thought was the smoothes guy I ever heard on the radio is gone now….but did the department stop running firegrounds?.No sir the battle continues…so none is that valuable that they can’t be replaced.Thats what I respect Chief Ellerbe for… moving people around and giving others a chance to learn different skills.I’m not blind to the plight of the department.

      We are in need of alot of things to get us upto speed.Its a process and its gonna take time….if by the time his tenure is up and we haven’t improved….than some of the critics complaints would be justified.

      You see I’m reasonable and can recognize truth….but can others on here I say not. tora tora tora

    • the great gazoo

      Hook I’m going to apply your litmis test…your rule…now what about the officers who got members burned on 44th st NE.What about cherry rd?….kennedy st?

      I say this not to mock anyone I have respect for the fallen really I do…we have to be careful how and when we use such words(coward)or as you put it potential to commit the act.

      Fire can and will be an unpredictable phenom. at times….sometimes no matter how routine and complacent we may get….something docile can turn on us in a flash.

      So let’s try not to say who will or won’t get burned or screwed up ….because it has happened to the best and worst of us.You can’t bend the rules as you go along….so stop all of that….apologize be nice…

      • dave statter

        This is not directged specifically to you the great gazoo, but all on this thread. Discuss and provide your opinions about Chief Ellerbe, the union, the mayor, the council, fires and any other related topic. From this point on please stop using this forum to personally attack each other. Tell each other how wrong they are but stop all of the other bs please.

        You are wasting my time making me read it.


        • the great gazoo

          Dave, I agree 100% with your statement….I have been guilty of it myself and so have many others.Question and I’m not taking it personal,but why single out “the great Gazoo” if it wasn’t specifically for me.That led me to believe you thought I was in your mind the number one perpetrator.

          Others have done this for a while…mainly one of your favorites….and it seemed it was ok…but when someone counters there statement its a problem for many.

          I will adhere and follow your rules from this point forward….because I have said in the past bickering is counter productive and gets nothing accomplish.

          Respectfully the “the great gazoo”

          • dave statter

            I wanted to get in the middle of this via a “reply” so the people who were conversing would get it. I believe yours was the most recent. It meant absolutely nothing that I chose you.

            I aprreciate you taking it in how it was intended. Sorry to make it look like it targeted you.

  • DCFD Officer

    There is a lot of lip given about discrimination, racism, etc. The Progressives should turn there attention to the real discrimination and hostility in the department. It is aimed squarely at those (black, white, Hispanic, gay, straight, male female) that are not residents of the city. During a council hearing over a year ago I heard the Chief call those of whom have bled, sweated, and worked to protect the visitors and residents “a problem” the most on the council agreed and used the term several times referencing those non-resident firefighters.

    There are several instances of line of duty harassment by the Chief and his henchmen against non-resident heroes. In a city that steeps itself in the banner of “diversity” and “tolerance” it is shameful to see just how shallow those words are in reality.

    Open my personnel jacket and you will find, as with the majority of firefighters, that they do not live in the city and have letters of compliment and thanks from residents and visitors alike for their courteous service. Where you reside has no bearing on your performance to the people you are paid to serve. Over the years I have seen bad service rendered by both residents and non-residents alike. All situations were addressed and changes made.

    The argument by the Progressives is as hollow as a politician’s heart. They only back the Chief and any shift change because they believe they can cause harm to the “Pennsylvania MFer’s” i.e.white firefighters whom live outside the city. I have heard members of the group say these exact words. The Progressives are a small and bitter group of lackluster members whom let their anger drive them. They do not, by any means, represent even a small percentage of the black firefighters I know and work with. The Progressives had maybe 6 members at the union hall, let that be the true measure of where the majority of members (without regard to race, creed , color, gender, etc) stand.

    • the great gazoo

      FOR THE RECORD NO ONE IS BACKING THE CHIEF FOR A SHIFT CHANGE IS THAT CLEAR.Now what some applaud the chief for is leveling transfers,and accountability for their actions.@ Hookman you are delusional and are in no position to do anything on this job.So hold on to your steering wheel and continue to do nothing as usual on wisconsin firedog.

      • Anonymous

        Leveling transfers, just look at the aides!!!!!

  • DCSituation

    How many more OIG reports will it take before some people start to see that this isnt a race issue. I can tell you that there are many more on the way, including staffing. The OIG is an unbiased source comprised of members of all races, whose sole mission is to watch for wanton neglect by a DC agency. If the chief was doing his job the OIG would not need to get involved with our operations.

  • michiganFF

    Dave, why so many “tags” that don’t correspond to the current article? This one had 171 tags! It makes it hard to search sometimes.

  • Seeing the Forest from the Trees

    Oh how quickly the Progressives and LRB forget the fact that for a Chief who is so against “Out of Towners” and their “Part Time Jobs” he is the same man who was “Double dipping” as the Fire Chief of Sarasota, Florida; while still on the books in Washington. This all boils down to a vendetta by the Narcissistic Fire Chief, who is trying to stick it to the “Out of Towners” because he got caught scamming the residents of Washington D.C. and was ordered back to work. Much to the relief of the members down in Sarasota…where he was facing some of the same allogations from his employees as he has been accused of in Washington. And to think, they are all bent out of shape about employees living in MD and PA, mean while their Fire Chief was living nearly 1000 Miles away.
    Oh wow, the Mayor and Deputy Mayor have “Full Confidence” in the Fire Chief. That makes me feel so much better (insert sarcasm). This is the same Mayor who, Less than 3 Months into his Term, was already under an FBI investigation for Campaign Fraud. The list of corruption charges and accusations about the current administration is more than enough for me to not have any Confidence in who this Mayor believes is fit to be the Fire Chief of Washington D.C., the corrupt tend to stick together.
    The truth is, these Liberals…i mean “Progressives”, can’t defend the actions of this Fire Chief by using Logic and Facts so they do what comes natural to every other Hypocritical Liberal…Cry Racism.

    Pathetic, simply Pathetic.

  • Anonymous

    “Anonymous….I have no clue who you are..because your anonymous….however…since you want to rehash the past, but you brought it up….so I ask you….When was former Chief Dennis Rubin found by a court of law for retaliating against me?
    Until you can answer that simple question, ill disregard your comment as a simple clerical error on your part”…..

    You are correct. I stand corrected! I believe at last count, Rubin (and the city) has 8 wins to zero losses in lawsuits filed against him/them.


    Gazoo….nobody is backing the FC on his proposed shift change..hmmm….guess you didn’t hear Gary Wiggins speaking to the reporters….maybe I misunderstood him and he was speaking about another department and their proposed shift change….as much as I adore parts of DC, I could not afford to live in DC and why I choose my residence well beyond the Metro area…

    I’m glad you believe I’m in no position to do anything, however, I’ll continue to do what I do and in the end…we’ll see who comes out on top…I can assure you that I will not be on the bottom no matter how you look at me….

    As for leveling the transfers etc…I agree that officers can be moved around and have some been in a spot way longer than others..I’d say yes….however, the way Ellerbe has moved people to the 5th or transferred some to day work, is beyond obvious…especially people who walked out at his first State of the Dept. Address/Mess….don’t think for a second he didn’t want to know who every single one of them were….he’s already been found guilty of what we’d already known for sometime…RETALIATION…you can’t hide behind the everyone needs to see different parts of the department…plenty are seeing it more than others…and that’s a fact…just look at the SO’s since his arrival…

    I’ll spare you the special treatment those have received since Ellerbe’s arrival, however, if you know me as you think you do, lets sit down and ill show you in writing….see, I don’t play favorites nor do I believe its retrobution or payback time for those who may or may not have gotten special treatment from the previous administration…..

    In my mind and maybe the reason why I held out a bit longer and hoped Ellerbe would actually stay true to his word and put an end to all the favorable treatment for some and disparate treatment for others, which has been a pattern I’ve seen and probably existed long before I was appointed….

    Chief Ellerbe had the opportunity to stop this pattern and could have been the greatest Chief the DCFD has ever seen, however, he chose to do otherwise…..if you want to believe in someone who in two years has done absolutely ZERO to move this department forward and want to believe like he does and that its everyone elses fault for the mismanagement of this department…than be my guest….good day

    • the great gazoo

      Hook I gotta admit sometime you speak rational…than other times you let your anger get the best of you.We all have been guity of this I’m sure.

      Ill give you the fact that you held on as long as alot of people(true).You may have given the chief a chance….but most of the members did not.

      Come on now with the exception of you…why wouldn’t firemen go have a one on one with the dept head.That was so innovative…I have never heard of a chief doing that.

      It must have been a concerted effort by many to snub the chief by not going to grimke…for their 15mins to express their thoughts to the chief.

      That is what some members are ticked off about…he (Chief Ellerbe) was prosecuted before he could get in the door.It’s a mess here right now…simply because we are at odds with eachother.

      Make no mistake brother…we may see things different but I or anyone who opposed the no-conf. vote… wouldn’t hesitate to save a brother in need.

      We are all committed to improving the department and we are pro-union.BUT being pro-union doesn’t mean you have to agree with the union all the time.

      What I’d like to see is all the issues addressed that the membership are requesting.At the same time Hook…we can’t operate like an out of control 3rd world country.There has gotta be accountability on this job.This isn’t a volunteer department…we are a paid profwssional dept with rules and policies…and they must be followed.

      There are some fundamentally differences that set us apart on this job…but we all share a common goal…and that is to provide the city with the best custoer service that we can.

      No one is standing here wishing anyone get sh@t on by no means. Now Hook you gotta admit you can’t just go around violating department rules…and think it’s ok.Capt stern and may be Sloan may have a legitimate reason to be at arms with the chief.But the rest of the guys who were demoted did that to themselves.

      They weren’t singled out…they brought the heat on themselves.Come on now disobeying an order from a deputy chief that’s just down rite stupid.And look at what one of the Lehans was doing up at telestaff…he should’ve been removed a long time ago.

      All the BS went on because Shultz boys had their hands in everything….and nobody said anything.Hook don’t try to belittle someone’s character because they don’t agree with you or the mass.I know those brothers that you spoke of in an earlier post…and they are proud and passionate members of this department.

      You don’t need to wear “tatts” or walk around talking about running boxes all day to be assionate about this job.Do they show up for work on time?…are they doing their job?…are their members getting paid?…do they stay outside while their members go in?.So don’t use the word coward on anyone use less it has been proven.And saying they have the potential well that’s crazy talk…and by your account it can be labeled on anyoe.

      If you can make on the mean streets of DC I think what ever dcfd has to offer is a piece of cake.I know fear when I see it and I don’t since it when I look into their eyes.Lets stop all this race hating and insults…it’s not improving the situation.Until we can come together we will not be nothing as a department.

  • Titanic

    Regarding the argument for residents vs non-residents…… The argument is always that people who live outside the boundaries of the city are not able to provide quality service to the population that we serve. Further, that only those who reside within the confines of the District of Columbia could possibly care for their fellow citizens. For this to be true, the inverse must also be true.
    By this logic, District residents would not be capable of providing emergency services to the approximately 410,000 people who commute to DC everyday, since they do not live in the same place as these people.
    And what about the tourists who visit from all over the world? In 2011, a record 17.9 MILLION people visited DC as tourists. 27% of those visitors were international tourists. DC residents certainly don’t live in the same city as all of these people.
    Around 18,300,000 people who spend time in DC are NOT residents. Of the total population of people we are expected to provide services for, less than 3.4% are District Residents. So, if the residency of those riding fire trucks, ambulances, and special ops vehicles needs to resemble the population we serve, then (according to the residency logic) it looks like we need fewer DC residents and more members from other states and countries.
    According to the residency logic, any time a district resident is dispatched downtown to an office building they need to ask communications if the calling party is from DC. If not, they should request a unit with members from the same city as the caller. And DC residents should NEVER respond to a hotel in the city because (according to the residency logic) members who are DC residents could not possibly provide quality services to someone visiting from another city.
    What about those who were born in DC, but moved out for various reasons? When are they supposed to stop caring about DC residents? Was it the first day they moved out, or is it a more gradual process?
    My permanent residence is not in DC, but I spend more than 25% of my life there just for work. Not to mention coming to the city on my days off to walk and drive my local alarm area. Or coming into DC with my family to spend money at various local businesses.

    If EVERY member of the department moved into the city, would everything be OK?

    This residency argument is severely flawed and needs to be dropped.

    Now can we please stay on the subject of the no confidence vote. This is about addressing some extremely important issues facing our department and effect ALL people who live, work, and visit our city.

    According to the US Census Bureau, as of July 1, 2011, the population of DC is around 618,000.

    An article about the commuter population.

    Article about Record number of tourists in 2011.

    end of rant….

    • A Nonny Mouse

      Dave needs a like button for responses like this one.


    Tora…you make alot of positive comments..I just hope you’re practicing what you preach…its easy for people to come at me when they know who I am…I stand behind what I say and believe…yes I too can correct myself when I’m wrong and agree, if I or anyone else, legitimately breaks the rules & regs, I should be punished accordingly and without influence from above or punished by someone who’s scared and is afraid of retaliation which prevents them from rendering a fair and just decision.

    If you believe that all transfers under Ellerbe have occurred for the good of the Department, than why would the ACLU get involved with our disciplinary process? As far as I know, the ACLU discriminates against nobody and takes the side of whats constitutionally right and litigates against those that choose discriminatory and retaliatory ways of discipline because their abuse of power….I’m glad the ACLU is going to work with the City to protect you, me and every other member of the department from retaliatory behavior….trust me….the ACLU does not help everyone, but when they step in…they step in for a reason.

    As I said in my previous comments, I agreed that officers are subjected to transfers to other companies, however, not all want to be at 30 Engine or any of the other busy engine or truck companies. That’s not saying there’s officers who’ve wanted to go to busy companies where others have been for upteen years and have had to settle for the 5th….My thing is to do it fairly and don’t send someone to a company just for the sole purpose to stir the shift up or bring a hostile environment with them….tell me this hasn’t happened and I’ll scissor kick mysef in the scrotum….

    And as far as the Progressives are concerned…my comments were directed to the ones that I personally saw there and not ones that were on TV…I don’t pass judgement on the entire origanization, because only a few can give a different perception….I personally know a few people that are associated with the organization and are good people…..However, people such as your President and just through his vile tone and body language, you’d have to be brain damaged to not see the message he’s trying to convey…..

    Therefore, I don’t like to play Emerald Society v Progressives, because they’re two different organizations. I asked as it relates to the positive things the ES does, what good does the Progressives do. The other day was my only time seeing them in action and only them. Though anyone has the right to protest or not agree with something, I simply asked what good does the Washington DC Progressive Firefighters do, as in charity work, donations etc….so far I’ve just gotten comments that address how dare I ask that ?, but since this story has been up, I’ve yet to see anyone answer my ?

    So I looked at the site for myself and it too does not give me any information as to what the Progressive Firefighters of DC do to promote a fraternal atmosphere for all and charity work they perform….maybe the site is under construction, but seeing the “Keep the Fire Burning for Justice” thing flashing across the home page, it gives me the impression of anything but a organization that promotes a fraternal and charity type atmosphere….So in comparison to the Emerald Society, I’d say most have an ill concieved conception that its just a whites only club…I know for a fact, its anything but!!!!!

    I’m glad too that people like yourself can agree to disagree on certain issues which were faced with now…that’s what makes for good decision, but I’m glad there’s others on here who hide behind their screen names and say mean things about me….they too are special…really special…lol… not really laughing out loud

  • Brokenhearted

    I’d like to see some of the people arguing on behalf of LRB address the bullet points in the vote of no confidence. Because that has YET to be done.

  • Anonymous

    Hookman, its funny how different screen names consistently argue with you. I would be willing to bet they all come from the same computer (XRAY, Tora, Gazoo,….)

    The bottom line is no one not even his friends can defend his actions. Every response is the last chief did this or that, they oppose the shift change, we need more money, and so on. Change the subject and make the members look bad or have someone take the fall for him.

    It’s simple, What has the chief done to better the department?

    If he can make this a better and safer department than he will have the majority behind him. But if his goal is what it appears to be (driving non-residents out). He will be opposed by the majority.

    • Anonymous

      “Hookman, its funny how different screen names consistently argue with you. I would be willing to bet they all come from the same computer (XRAY, Tora, Gazoo,….)”

      Way to RIDE his D@#$!!!

      • the great gazoo

        Sorry Anonymous…I think this was for the other one…ya’ll have to name yourselves anonymous 1 and anonymous 2 so I can keep tabs.One is an ally and one is a foe.

  • Anonymous

    Some people wonder why Local 36 is complaining to the press about the DCFD’s issues. Correct me if I’m wrong, but the most recent apparatus press release was in response to the Mayor’s aide stating that members were “fabricating” stories about busted trucks. I guess he was wrong about that!


    Ill go out of my way and say Gazoo & the other Anonymous are or could be the infamous Xray….because they’re the only ones willing to point out my anger issues….lol

  • Anonymous

    Why is it that some people say that Local 36 goes to the media to complain about DCFD’s issues, when in fact the most recent issue regarding apparatus in the media was in response to the Mayor’s office, which stated that members were “fabricating” stories about busted trucks. So either the Mayor’s office is also being bamboozled as is the Council or it is one big conspiracy!

  • Guy Fawkes

    Looking back at the Chief’s comments on The Watch Desk, as quoted on this site, when he was appointed, in my opinion I’m not sure he’s honored his promises.

    On Dec 17th, 2010 Chief Ellerbe wrote on The Watch Desk, “I can say this; there will be some changes. I’m going on record now so that if what I promise doesn’t happen, any of you can feel free to call me out on it. The changes that I can guarantee will be: transparency-we will operate out in the open for all to see and agree with or criticize freely; fairness-everyone will be treated fairly and anyone who doesn’t think that they can treat people fairly should be looking for another place of employment; accountability-everyone must be accountable, especially me. We will all be operating under a microscope and it’s part of my job to ensure that we do our jobs effectively and efficiently. I can’t do that without the full cooperation of every member. I don’t expect people to go blindly into the future. You have the right to question (as long as it isn’t in a life or death situation) and you have the right to criticize if you feel that bad decisions are made. Offering criticism or alternative solutions to challenges should not, and will not result in retaliatory responses.” (Note: Unable to locate on The Watch Desk, so quoting from Dave’s Dec 17 2010 posting)

    He was found to have retaliated against the Union President. The Department has not been transparent. He appears to be stifling any questioning and criticism, nor is does he appear to be treating people fairly. Most importantly, what happened to “everyone must be accountable, especially me” He sure isn’t being held accountable.

    If this was a Navy ship, he would be relieved for “Loss of Confidence In His Ability To Command”. He’s is the Chief of DC Fire and EMS, and he is responsible for EVERYTHING, that happens in the department. He is suppose to lead and command the department, and sets the tone and atmosphere for the department. From what I can see, he not a leader, nor a commander, but is just a political manager. As for the tone and atmosphere, well, does anything need to be added? Well other than new apparatus, and more staffing for both the suppression and EMS.

    “Keep a watchful eye, as many will do. I think that you will be pleasantly surprised.” Sorry Chief, I’m not pleasantly surprised nor am I unpleasantly surprised either. In fact, I’m not surprised at all.

    It may be time for the Mayor to call the Chief in and have the, to paraphrase our British cousins, “ For the Good of the City, the department (and my reelection), it time for you to retire, quit or be fired” speech.

    Don’t get me wrong, I see problems throughout the department, only a fool would say it was a perfect department. No department is perfect. It WILL take a great chief to fix the problems, and it doesn’t appear this chief is the one to do it.

  • Anonymous

    I miss the watchdesk……………. :(


    @Guy Fawkes….right on…lets see the half percent of his followers can comment on that since they could not logically or rationally answer to why THEY believe in Ellerbe and how after 2 years, he’s the one to move this department forward….Since they can’t speak on their own nor contest the no confidence vote with factual information, lets blame everything on the past administration and keep the focus on giving local residents an opportunity to be handed a job..not a lifelong dream of a career since they were little or what some have called a following, but a job…just like the Dollar Store…

    after all, its been over 2 years now with little if anything to show, except his personal accomplishments of interacting with the community and instilling a uniform policy he’s quoted as saying, “has been greatly improved”….So throw the shift change proposal in there or scare tactic, and make life difficult for those who chose to live beyond the confines of Metro DC, where quite frankly, the crime is lower and the cost of living is affordable….once you push these members out, you give the jobs away to local residents who may or may not give 2 S***S about the fire service….its not about efficient service to the city, its about race more than anything and quite frankly, the tone in which a few publicly spoke out about, have made that clear…right Gary Wiggins?????

    Its easier to say he’s a black fire chief, a yellow fire chief etc., and we don’t want to work for one, however, I don’t have a racist bone in my body and would work for a one legged bisexual oriental midget, as long as they were fair and transparent to everyone. Another thing a few of LRB’s supporters have failed to mention, is the majority of black fireman do not support Ellerbe and his leadership style….

    And like Gazoo or whomever he may be said, no matter what the differences are right this very minute, I’ll go to battle and work side by side no matter who you are and what your beliefs are…..DC is in my mind is such a diverse city where we have to learn to accept others for who they are and not what color they are……

    If Martin Luther King Jr were still alive today, he would be as sick to his stomach with Kenneth Ellerbe as much as I and those that choose to follow his leadership style….

    Today, when Ellerbe gives his testimony and answers questions with that low soft tone of his, I wish that a polygraph machine was hooked up to his fingers….I’m sure CM Wells would not like to see the other personalities he possesses…