Fire Chief Says He's Not Stepping Down

Responds to a call from one councilwoman for his resignation

D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe says he's not stepping down, days after a D.C. councilwoman called for him to do so.

Ellerbe has been under fire for a series of ambulance response issues in the city. A recent report by the D.C. Council's Judiciary and Public Safety committee revealed the department has a serious shortage of paramedics, is using outdated and incorrect information and is exceeding its budget by millions of dollars.

That led D.C. Councilwoman Mary Cheh to call for his resignation. But Thursday, Ellerbe told News4's Mark Segraves he's staying in his job.

"Anybody in leadership has to expect there will be criticism," Ellerbe said. "There may be folks who don't see your vision. But that's part of leadership.

"It takes courage to be in these positions, and as I told the Council when we started to unveil this plan, it's going to take some courageous folks to get behind this, because it represents a change in the status quo."

Ellerbe has said he wants to shift fire and EMS staffing to daylight hours. His plan would have put more paramedics on duty during the hours when most calls come in, but it would've also reduced the number of paramedics on duty during overnight hours.

However, Ellerbe's proposed ambulance redeployment plan has been denied by the Judiciary Committee.

Cheh's call for Ellerbe's resignation came in a letter to Councilman Tommy Wells, chair of the Judiciary committee. She said the committee should demand a plan from Mayor Vincent Gray that will return the District's Fire and EMS department back to "excellence" and "prestige."

Cheh's letter also said, "I believe the current Chief no longer has the confidence of the people of the District and should resign."


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