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DC Councilmember Mary Cheh says Chief Kenneth Ellerbe should resign. Read letter.

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Cheh’s press release

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Cheh’s letter (pdf)


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    Excellent idea CM Cheh….I doubt this morons ego will allow him to do this….

  • Snarff

    Finally other the council members are staring to notice what the union has been saying all along. Good Bye you douche bag!

  • the ear

    Should this be explained to LRB so he knows what his future looks like with DCFD.
    Start packing you poor excuse for a fire chief.Be happy to add you to the list of malfunctioning DC fire chiefs:
    R. Few
    R Alferd
    and many others.

  • David S.

    How long does it take to remove this chief? Enough is enough.

  • bill

    Someone should ask Ellerbe what he thinks of bald eagles


      I hope you don’t think that this “corps of volunteers” is something Cheh just blindly threw in there. This administration has been touting the 10 year plan as “career EMS” and “volunteer fire”.


      The Gray, Quander & LRBEE show reminds me of an episode of Spongebob Squarepants where Spongebob & Patrick Star played opposite world with Squidward….so in opposite world…LRBEE has dome an outstanding job and no doubt is deserving of a performance BONUS

  • Anonymous

    Yes, thats the answer. She is brilliant. FEMS needs a corps of volunteers.

    • DCClownShow

      I hope you don’t think that CM Cheh is the one who floated this idea of volunteers. This administrator spewed a whole bunch of nonsense to them early on about his 10 year vision for the department and included “career EMS side” and volunteer “fire side”.

  • Anonymous

    Over/Under on 10 days before LRB steps down? I’m going under.

  • Retired Battalion Chief

    Ellerbe won’t leave as long as the Mayor and Public Safety Director support him. The Department has been run by Quanders for the last three months and nothing has improved. The fire department’s problems can now solely be blamed on the Mayor and his political appointees.

    When the check book was opened for Chief Ellerbe about a year or so ago and he stated he didn’t need anything; we all knew he wasn’t in charge of the Fire Department. What Fire Chief of the District of Columbia wouldn’t jump at the chance to build upon the Department or at a minimum, staff it fully.

    When he stated a month ago he again didn’t need any more money, it was again clarified that he is a Puppet of the Mayor and does not have any real interest in the Fire Department or it’s members.

    When a Council Member is now looking for Volunteers to fix the Fire Departments staffing issues, and the Mayor/Public Safety Director still support the Chief — THERE IS NO FIRE CHIEF. — and it has nothing to do with Volunteers!

    • JRP

      Regarding EMS, everything the union claimed seems proven true through news reporting & different events.

      What if the rank & file, or their immediate supervisors, who understand the problems because they LIVE them every day, could come up with solutions and implement them?

      As a citizen I’d like an emergency committee of LT’s up to Battalion Chief’s but no higher, to find some solutions then have an exec group of 3 or 5 (including at least 1 LT) implement.

      I have no idea how you’d do that esp. if Ellerbe isn’t resigning. I don’t know if you could force him to accept it. I just feel like replacing him & bringing in others at the top is critical, but only 1 element. People running the calls already know exactly what’s not right & have a pretty good idea how to fix it or at least what can be done short-term to immediately improve conditions.

  • Anonymous

    He’ll play the race card. Watch.


    Here is a staffing plan: START HIRING OFF THE 2008 LIST!! Everyone is screaming about staffing? Why is there no mention of the thousands of eligible candidates from this exam? When Gray and Ellerbe took over the DCFD, the first thing they did was freeze hiring of recruits for almost two years as the vacancies grew(with the exception of cadets). Now everyone acts like there is NO ONE for DCFEMS to hire?!

    Anyone that has scrutinized the Ellerbe administrations oversight documents submitted to the Committee on the Judiciary since he took office will see that the cadet hires were used to offset/eliminate vacant recruit positions. And the saga continues… with more cadet hiring…”veterans” hiring drives… single role paramedic and emt hiring drives quietly promoted to city residents only. This is not a conspiracy theory. All of this could be observed by following the documents released by FEMS and following press releases, the news, social media, etc. The “shift change” was just a means for the Gray/Ellerbe Admin. to implement their own hiring agenda. Again: not a conspiracy theory. Many public statements have been made by this Admin. expressing the desire to HIRE CITY RESIDENTS ONLY, AND FORCE ATTRITION ONTO FIREFIGHTERS THAT LIVE OUTSIDE THE CITY. These statements have been in the news and on this blog. These hiring practices are in violation of the DC HUMAN RIGHTS ACT OF 1977 posted on the DCFEMS website in the employment section. Ellerbe and Gray have pushed the false narrative of: OUT OF TOWN FIREFIGHTERS ARE A RISK TO THE CITY to promote their agenda, and to make their goals seem legitimate. Any reasonable,impartial, analytical person following this story can see that the hiring agenda of the Gray/Ellerbe Admin. disparately impacts certain groups. Some favorably, some unfavorably. ***NOTE: the FDNY Vulcan Society and the USDOJ have successfully sued the FDNY on the basis of disparate impact to fundamentally alter the FDNY’s merit based hiring system. Now, any resonable, impartial, analytical person following that case knows how bogus the case against the FDNY is. My point is this: LOOK AT THE LEGAL BATTLE OVER THIS ISSUE WITH THE FDNY!!!

    But here in DC we have a Mayor that has been under Federal investigation for 2 years and has admitted to being elected with the help of a shadow campaign, employing a Fire Chief that has been found guilty of retaliation and in controversies ranging from sexual harassment to tax fraud, AND NOBODY IN THE PRESS, THE CITIZENRY, THE CITY COUNCIL, OR THE LEGAL COMMUNITY BLINKS WHEN THEY PUSH A HIRING AGENDA THAT IS IN PLAIN VIOLATION OF CIVIL RIGHTS LAW.?

    Again, this is not theory, do your homework DC reporters, and do your jobs.

  • 19262007

    Let me see if I’ve got this right. Mary has decided (finally) that the Fire “chief” is incompetent and demands he should resign and it appears 3 other council members are in agreement. Ms. Cheh is demanding that the executive branch come up with a new and better plan with specific time frames for the improvement of the FD. Didn’t the executive branch choose this dude for Fire “chief” and isn’t this the same council that “vetted” this same dude? How can you expect the executive to come up with a “better” plan?!

  • Frank Rudabaker

    Thats a great start to rid your department of this idiot. I have to disagree with the use of volunteers/corps. That kinda soured the whole article. Afterall.. are there volunteer police officers in DC?

    • tonysmallframe

      There is a volunteer police officer force in DC – you can either volunteer to do administrative duties (fingerprinting, filing, etc..) or join the Reserve Corps, starting out as an unarmed officer with arrest powers while with a sworn officer and graduating to an armed officer with arrest powers while on your own. So, there is a tradition of using volunteers for Police – I’m sure the Council is looking at that program and trying to parallel it to the Fire and EMS side.

  • New Paramedic

    Instead of all this bitching about staffing how about they open the hiring process? Single role or duel role medic. I don’t give a shit I would take any job right now.

    • DCClownShow

      It has been open for weeks and still is. The reason you haven’t heard is because they are only telling the “select group” that they want to hire. Go to DCHR and search “current openings” and apply.

  • Miller

    Dc do police do have volunteer.So why cant the fire dept.This problem has been going on over 25yrs. with no units available.Stop crying guys,local 36 wanted u on the ambulance.Fire chief is aint that bad . stop cryiny overpaid girls

    • Pipeman27


    • Fire21

      I’m just amazed at the lack of grammatical capability and proofreading in Miller’s post. Sad.

    • bs

      An idea here is to learn english……spoken like a true resident

  • Ol Skool 86

    It disgusts me that the mayor says he still endorses this chief, with a smug look on his face! THE MAYOR,DEPUTY MAYOR, AND FIRE CHIEF DOES NOT CARE ABOUT DC FIREMEN..PERIOD!
    Don’t try to shake my hand on the scene and don’t try to visit me in the hospital if I’m injured. It’s been clear from day one what his plan was….we all know it. Finally counsel sees it too. He should be arrested for gross negligence. This dept has no upper mgmt staffing, he refuses to fill any chief spots . Our dept has no management! HELLO, DO YOU HEAR THIS….everyone’s promotion dates and steps are screwed for life because of his mismanagement. Shame on those that have blind loyalty to this guy…’s a miracle we have not killed firemen under this leadership..ask any bfc ” what direction and goals does Dcfd have?” Not one bfc can answer..that’s a problem…..

  • Oh- No!

    Why would he leave? He’s getting full pay and who else will hire him now. Might as well stay til the well runs dry.

  • Anonymous


    No, this fire “chief” was not “vetted” at all. He just got appointed by the mayor with no discussion or research whatsoever.

  • Anonymous

    According to their social media submission, they are very proud of the large summer youth hires they just brought on board for the summer.

  • Anonymous

    @ Frank Rudabaker… Yes. There are volunteer police officers with full police powers in DC, believe it or not.

  • Jake Speed

    I am a career firefighter in a neighboring suburban county, and I fully support the rank and file members of the DCFD. They have an incredibly difficult job under very trying circumstances, even without the lack of financial, emotional or moral support from the administration.
    Both city and suburban departments have their individual hazards and obstacles; while the city departments may not have the funding the suburban departments have, the suburban departments may not have the minimum staffing the city departments enjoy. Both have such different working conditions, the only thing they have in common at times is the fact that the majority are staffed by dedicated men and women who only want to excel in their chosen profession, be supported by their management, and go home at the end of their shift happy and healthy.
    Getting rid of this current fire chief, his administration, and any other bad apples, then hiring a competent fire chief who has the right mix of old school fire mentality and progressive new ideas to handle the department’s ever changing needs, will restore this department to its previous stature. He/she should in turn immediately institute a mass hiring of competent recruits that will relieve the overworked current employees. I believe that fully.
    Having said that, I don’t ever want to hear a DC firefighter speak against career EMS and volunteer fire when so many of their brethren promote that in neighboring jurisdictions by volunteering there.
    Good luck to you all in the DCFD, I hope you get rid of that clown soon and return to where you used to be, at the forefront of the DC metropolitan area firefighting departments.

    Flame away

  • Bmorecareful

    Ellerbe and Clack can pack each others bags.

  • bs

    I’m sure the volunteers would love to come here and get spit on and assaulted by the residents. After they pick the same person up for the fourth time in a shift they will ask themselves why the f*** am i doing this and move on. I’m sure no one is thinking about that

  • Pingback: ‘One city, one license’ prevails()

  • Terry Miller

    Why shouldn’t the DIstrict focus on hiring its own residents? I am white and a long-time resident of DC. I would prefer that the firefighters and EMTs be DC residents, all other things being equal. And the problem with management is long standing and is not limited to this current chief. It takes more than two years to drive an agency to the ground and although this chief has not done what he needs to do, neither did his predecessorChief (Rubin). I would love to see a fire chief who was a respected firefighter and a progressive administrator but does such an individual even exist? I don’t think so. Normally, the chiefs replicate the paramilitary, top down approach to management, with a chief heading every department (whether they are qualified or not). Did you know that a law was passed several years ago requiring the head of the training academy to be experienced in education administration? That law has never been implemeted.

    • it continues

      Thats an incorrect statement sir. In 2 years this department has been demolished. 200 vacancies, no apparatus, barely any supplies. Compartments, doors and bumpers taped to vehicles so they dont fall apart. This department is fully funded there is no excuse for this. All the newest equipment was ordered under the Rubin admin. If you dont believe that it can clearly be seen in the seats because the patch that this clown worries about is stitched in the backs of the seats.

      If you think the department is in the news now, hire as many DC residents as you can find and see what happens. Once a hood rat always a hood rat. Unless of course some of the yuppies in NW are going work for $44,000 a year before deductions……..

      • Anonymous

        And once trailer trash always trailer trash as well!

  • Anonymous

    Does this mean the clock is now “TICKing”?

  • Miller

    it continues says That’s a racist statement u made?Fire Dept in dc never had so many new trucks and engines in years like this.Twenty yrs. ago the fire dept. had nothing but Hahns and e-ones which the fireman was buying paint for.To paint the rims and steps.If u have a problem with the hoodrats be a man an tell one,which u don’t have the balls Bitch. Work where u live sucker

    • Titanic

      There may be a bunch of newer apparatus in the fleet than 20 years ago, but 20 years ago the city didn’t have several hundred million dollars in surplus. Many companies are using water supply engines and reserves on a permanent basis bc their front line pieces are out of service and have been for some time.

      Try and buy a decent house in a safe neighborhood in DC when you make less than 50K before taxes and other deductions. It’s not happening. Last I checked, Equal Employment Opportunity laws are very clear about not discriminating against people in hiring. That includes where they live.

  • T Miller


  • Anonymous

    I told you she was Cuckoo for Coca Puffs!!!!

  • Inside looking in

    Man the things the people you work with and employed by DCFEMS post on the Internet is pure entertainment. Where to begin. Didn’t CM Cheh ask Mayor Gray to resign also? Now all of a sudden these City Councilman members care about the city fireman. Where were these same Council members when then Mayor Adrian Fenty was offering 0%, 0%, 0% in contract negotiations. Where was all the love then? Not one said a dayum thing about it. Politics is a mofo. L36 played politics at Ellerbe’s confirmation hearing. They knew who Ellerbe was his résumé didn’t change from then to now. Why didn’t L36 go against his confirmation? And can you all please! please! quit with the whining about not being able to afford to live in the city. You think all those who have moved into the city are making more than city fireman, you are sadly misinformed. About the volunteer scenarion mentioned in Cheh’s letter. Nobody should have anything negative thing to say about it.

    • Anonymous

      Why do you live in Maryland?

  • 20 Years In

    Ellerbe’s resume *has* changed: interfering with discipline and justice, retaliation, sexual harassment, incompetent management of fleet resources, incompetent management of paramedic resources, failure to staff units properly…

    And, no, firefighters can’t afford to have the same lifestyle outside of the city as in. Many of the new, single and childless firefighters are moving into the city. Many of the other new city residents also move OUT of the city once they have kids, though more are staying.

    I hope the ones that stay decide that they’d rather have an effective fire & EMS service than one that is used as a jobs program for otherwise unemployable residents of the city. (Ellerbe & Gray’s goal, not mine).