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DC update: Is Chief Ellerbe fire proof? Watch hearing live. Relatives of patients in high-profile cases scheduled to testify.

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Is Chief Kenneth Ellerbe fire proof?

Watch City Council hearing live

There has been a good deal of build up to today’s DC City Council hearing on the state of EMS in the Nation’s Capital. It is scheduled to start at 11:30 AM EDT and you can watch it here. There are a lot of expectations that the hearing could bring some clarity to the issues after the dozens of stories over the past few weeks. My experience tells me maybe or maybe not.

Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety Chairman Tommy Wells has made it known he has been dissatisfied with the answers so far. Whether all of this finally makes sense will depend on how to-the-point the questions are from Wells and how willing Chief Kenneth Ellerbe and the administration of Mayor Vince Gray are to opening up on the issues of the last two years.

Above is Part 1 of the April 1, 2009  hearing. Click for Part 2, Part 3 and Part 4.

All you have to do is recall one of the most bizarre City Council hearings involving the DC Fire & EMS Department over the last 30 years to understand how unclear everything can still be after one of these public events. That was the one that had Chief Dennis Rubin on the hot seat over the Fenty administration’s give-away of a fire engine and ambulance to the town of Sosua in the Dominican Republic (see videos above). It took an IG report to finally get some real answers in that case (click here to read the report & see related articles). But the topic of today’s hearing is much more important than those shenanigans.

In anticipation of today’s hearing reporters have done a number of stories. One of the most interesting comes from Washington City Paper Loose Lips columnist Alan Suderman who asks after all of the bad news and baggage is Chief Kenneth Ellerbe really “fire proof”?

Suderman makes the case that other administration officials have been asked to leave based on a lot less than the record amassed by Chief Ellerbe. Suderman reviews that record in the column.

Last week, the latest department head to get the boot was Harold Pettigrew, who senior Gray administration officials say was fired for not moving fast enough to reform the Department of Small and Local Business Development.

But Gray’s tolerance for controversy or alleged ineptitude isn’t always so slight; he’ll stick with some department heads no matter how much heat they generate. Consider Fire Chief Ken Ellerbe, whose two-year tenure has been marked by steady controversies and who is likely to be the subject of intense questioning by the D.C. Council on Thursday.

Early on, Ellerbe pledged to be a “transformational” leader who would bring together a fractured fire department, improve relations with the firefighters union, and be a better community partner. But up until now, Ellerbe has made headlines for all the wrong reasons.

Suderman’s article also looks at a transistion document sent to Chief Ellerbe by Chief Rubin.

Other pre-hearing stories include the video at the top of this post by Paul Wagner. He interviews Marcus Rosenbaum who is scheduled to testify today. Also scheduled to testify is Durand Ford Jr. who was interviewed by April Burbank of the Washington Examiner. Both men had relatives who were the patients in a pair of high profile EMS cases.

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Comments - Add Yours

  • cladcromwell

    Apparently no one in Mr. Pettigrew’s family ever played softball w/ the empty suit, or he is not a member of the right Masonic lodge.
    Maybe some of the elite news readers in this town need to do some research.

  • cladcromwell

    looks like kenny forgot his magic Harvard cup

  • DCres

    Ellerbee looks lost up there. The more he speaks, the less confidence I have in him. Plus he tends to repeat the questions which is a classic way of stalling for time when you don’t have an answer.

  • DCres

    Ambulance driver couldn’t find Sibley? It gets worse and worse. You can buy a GPS unit for about $100 online. How about a map book? Incredible.

    • dave statter

      At one time they did have GPS units.

      • Anonymous

        The Tough Books on board have GPS capabilities…..granted, they’re not perfect but they’ll get you there.

  • Anonymous

    It’s funny that the Ambulance driver getting lost en route to Sibley didn’t make the news.

    Probably because the Chief couldn’t be blamed for that.

    • dave statter

      Probably because no one told the press. I did plenty of lost ambulance stories beginning in TR Coleman’s administration and through Dennis Rubin’s administration. I can’t imagine a reporter who wouldn’t want that story.

      • Anonymous

        Wonder why???

  • DCres

    IAFF just came out in favor of multi-role FFs. I wonder if the rank and file would agree with them on this.

    • Pipeman27

      Are t we already

  • InfamousJ

    the imobile in every unit has integrated GPS built in. No matter who the chief is, their is no excuse anymore for not finding an address.

  • DCres

    Sad to say, but I am no longer surprised when a witness at a DC Council hearing claims that something is the work of the devil.

  • UGH123

    Can Ellerbe find someone to back him that has a firm grip on the english language?

  • A concerned taxpayer

    Wow, Kenny “Lyings” is really sandbagging Local 36

    • DCres

      I actually think Lyons is coming off the best of the union witnesses.

      • Rich Schaffer

        DCres that is because you are him in one form or another.

  • Anonymous

    What I found funny was the statement ” The current proposed EMS redeployment plan is not the power shift model that was used years ago” You are right LRB its not the same; it’s placing more transport units OOS than the last time.

  • HOOKMAN

    Dave….im surprised nobody wants the story about Ellerbe being found guilty of retaliation….sure it was reported by a few, but why no follow up reports as to why Mayor Gray doesn’t or hasn’t disciplined his subordinate agency head….it amazes me how rank n file members would be crucified at Kennys Trial court where he stacks the trial board panel with people who’ll render the decision HE wants….oh wait….im sorry….he doesn’t do that #MYbad

    As far as the hearing….I watched as much as I could bare….I wanted to hang on for Ed and the rest who would testify to the blatant lies and untruthfulness of

    Squander & Chief Fraud, but my ethical and moral brain couldn’t listen to dumb and dumber Dingleberry

  • HOOKMAN

    oops..typo….cont…….”any longer”

    What really was amazing from what I watched…was how many programs have been implemented after each ? was asked….hmmm…guess when you uncover things…implenting programs is the way to get out of the jam….also, the 100 people who deliberately called in sick on NYE ????….really Mr Squander….your now a medical professional who determines who’s sick and who’s not….you my friend are a bigger POS s**t than the person who was sitting to your right….

  • Anonymous

    “Dave….im surprised nobody wants the story about Ellerbe being found guilty of retaliation….sure it was reported by a few, but why no follow up reports as to why Mayor Gray doesn’t or hasn’t disciplined his subordinate agency head”.

    That ship has sailed……..LIG…….Let It Go!!!!

    • Anonymous

      Stop bringing up Rubin.

      Why has he not been held responsible for anything?

  • Anonymous

    What’s up with Mendelson? I mean trying to pin Two (2) UNFORTUNATE deaths that occurred under the previous Administration on the current Administration?

    Can anyone say “Witch Hunt”? This happened under Mendelson’s watch as the Judiciary Chair. You’d think he’d remember WHO was In-Charge of the Department.

    http://www.nbcwashington.com/news/local/WAMUo-DC-Fire-Chief-Calls-for-Review-of-NE-Mans-Death.html

    http://statter911.com/2010/03/12/watch-testimony-of-dc-fire-ems-department-chief-dennis-rubin/

  • UseToBeDC

    If you think the media should do a story on something give them a call. Many times they are unaware of even well known stuff.

  • HOOKMAN

    Anonymous….ill let it go when I see that somebody will do something other than report what happened…..if you feel that this man should slide after being found guilty of retaliation, than its pretty obvious your a bigger zero than the idiot who was found guilty….