Firefighting, Leadership

Washington D.C. Union Votes “No Confidence”

The Washington D.C. firefighters union voted overwhelmingly to declare it has “no confidence” in Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe, reports The Washingtonian.

“This motion was not reached in haste,” said the resolution, which members approved 300-37. “The lives and careers of many of our members have been adversely affected by the lack of action, the inappropriate action and the harassment by … Ellerbe.”

The four-page resolution also accused Ellerbe of policy decisions that “jeopardize the safety” of firefighters, residents and visitors, along with “an extensive and unfortunate history of management by intimidation and retaliation.”

Edward Smith, the union’s president, described the vote as a “huge step” that his membership supported because of a widespread feeling that “the public is at risk and firefighters are at risk under the current leadership.”

In a statement, Ellerbe indicated he does not plan to leave his post. Mayor Vincent Gray, a longtime Ellerbe friend, has stood by the chief.

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