Chief Few's Appointees Lied in Resumes; Three Falsely Claimed Rank of Chief

Article excerpt

Byline: Jim Keary, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

Three top appointees of D.C. Fire Chief Ronnie Few lied about their professional and educational experience in their resumes and employment applications, The Washington Times has learned.

Resumes of Assistant Chief Gary L. Garland, Assistant Chief Marcus R. Anderson and Deputy Chief Bruce A. Cowan say they each held the rank of chief at the East Point, Ga., Fire Department. But none of them ever rose higher than the rank of lieutenant, according to East Point's city attorney and the former fire chief.

City Attorney David Couch said the three held auxiliary positions as chiefs, not as an official rank. "Within our ranks, we had the chief, deputy chief and battalion chiefs," he said. "Those were the ranks of chief. Anything [else] was a designated position."

A consent decree governing promotion tests barred the three firefighters from applying for chief positions because they were not qualified, Mr. Couch said. To become a chief, a firefighter first must attain the rank of captain, then pass a test to become a battalion chief.

Chiefs Garland, Anderson and Cowan worked for Chief Few when he headed the East Point Fire Department from 1995 to 1997, when Chief Few left to lead the Augusta-Richmond County, Ga., Fire Department.

Chief Few, who was hired as the District's fire chief in 2000, appointed his three aides during the past two years under an arrangement with the D.C. Council that allowed him to make the appointments without competition.

The East Point Fire Department has about 110 workers; the D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services Department has 1,920 employees.

Former East Point Fire Chief David Hawkins, for whom the three firefighters worked from 1997 until they left for the District, said they served in support capacities, not as command officers.

The resumes of Chiefs Garland, Anderson and Cowan also note their attendance at universities that have no records of their having enrolled or received degrees.

When confronted with discrepancies in their resumes, the three fire officials - along with Chief Few - insisted they had held the rank of chief at East Point. They also said they had made mistakes in detailing their educational experience.

"They were [chiefs]," Chief Few said. "I was there."

Chief Few told The Times last week he did not check the credentials of his three appointees because he knew each of them personally.

The Times delayed publication of this report to allow the three aides to present documentation to support their claim that they had held the rank of chief at East Point. They presented copies of memos and business cards in which they referred to themselves as chief, but they did not present any letters of promotion, chief test results or any official personnel document showing they had attained the rank of chief.

According to documents obtained from the East Point City Attorney's Office, Chief Garland and Chief Cowan held the rank of lieutenant and Chief Anderson the rank of sergeant. Chief Cowan was assigned as "Fire Marshal," Chief Garland as "Training Officer" and Chief Anderson as "EMS coordinator" in East Point.

In a letter to The Times dated Monday, D.C. fire department spokeswoman Lisa Bass contradicted information in the resumes. She said Chief Garland, whose resume says he was "Training Chief" at East Point, had served as the "Chief Training Officer." Chief Anderson, whose resume says he was "Chief Emergency Medical Services Division," had served as "EMS Director and Division Chief." Chief Cowan, whose resume says he was "Chief Fire Marshal," had served as "Fire Marshal."

When told of the false resumes last week, Mayor Anthony A. Williams said he would investigate the matter.

"I think we have a system that inspires the confidence of our citizens and our employees. These folks have to pass the muster, in terms of all the rules and regulations in basic business practices - that you are who you say you are," Mr. …