DC fire chief orders background checks – Yet another issue Rubin warned Ellerbe about

DC Ellerbe & Rubin
Did Kenneth Ellerbe even read what Dennis Rubin wrote for him?

More coverage at Firefighters Worldwide

More DC coverage: Firefighters fail to help dying man – Curt Varone’s FireLawBlog.com; STATter911.com

Read Chief Dennis Rubin’s transition report

After about a dozen recent arrests, including a firefighter with a suspended license driving an ambulance, DC Fire & EMS Department Chief Kenneth Ellerbe has ordered background checks on all 1800 uniformed employees. The Washington Times’ Andrea Noble broke the story last night:

Many of the arrests had not been reported to the agency, as required by department policy, prompting Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe to issue a special order notifying employees they have 10 days to report any arrests or driving revocations from the last three years or face termination.

“Members shall receive this notice as information that the agency shall pursue, at the culmination of this period, an extensive criminal background check of every operational employee utilizing all legally authorized methods of review,” states the special order, issued Friday.

“Any employee who is found to have failed to report prior infractions, particularly where a citation for DUI, DWI, or an arrest of any type has occurred, shall be subject to termination,” the order states.

Once again, Kenneth Ellerbe is dealing with a problem that was brought to his attention years earlier by his predecessor Dennis Rubin. How do we know it was brought to his attention? Because it was in the transition document The Rube prepared for Ellerbe. Read Priority 5 below.

DC Transition background checks

Yes, just like problems at the maintenance shop, apparatus issues and the shortage of paramedics, all items that have worsened during the three years of the Ellerbe administration, Dennis Rubin made it clear that getting the background check issue solved should be a priority.

At this point one has to ask if Kenneth Ellerbe ever read the report Dennis Rubin left for him? Or, did the bad relationship between these two men lead Chief Ellerbe to toss it into the trash can?

Regular readers know I am not the biggest fan of the former DC chief and he can’t stand me. But as I have mentioned previously, the Rubin transition report provided a blueprint for the new chief.

What is clear from the headlines over the last year or so is that Kenneth Ellerbe had a different set of priorities for the department and seems to only address Dennis Rubin’s priorities after they make news.

It’s not just the transition report where Dennis Rubin makes it clear that background checks were a serious problem. As I mentioned last July when “DC Fire” by Dennis Rubin was reviewed by The City Paper’s Will Sommer, I thought the most useful part of the mostly self-serving book  was The Rube’s description of the various problems related to the criminal history of some of its employees. I’m guessing Chief Ellerbe didn’t read that either.

At $39 a copy, maybe I can’t blame Chief Ellerbe for not buying the book. But the transition report? No excuse. That was a freebie.

DC Fire by Dennis Rubin
Buy Dennis Rubin’s “DC Fire”. Tell The Rube, Statter sent you.