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Wells Calls for D.C. Fire Chief, Deputy Mayor to Resign

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D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe (Photo credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe (Photo credit: MANDEL NGAN/AFP/Getty Images)

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WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — A D.C. councilmember says the city’s fire chief and deputy mayor for public safety should resign because of a man who died after collapsing outside a fire station and other issues in the department.

Tommy Wells, who chairs the council’s Committee on the Judiciary and Public Safety and is running for mayor, says Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe and Deputy Mayor Paul Quander should step down.

Wells called for both resignations in a letter issued to Mayor Vincent Gray on Tuesday.

Read: Wells’ Letter to Mayor Gray

Wells said there has been “systemic mismanagement” of the city’s fire department under Ellerbe’s watch and cited Cecil Mills’ recent death as “just the tip of the iceberg” in terms of the department’s shortcomings.

“The department has a consistent record of failure,” Wells said in a statement.

Mills died last month after he went into cardiac arrest across the street from a fire station. An internal investigation revealed that five firefighters were aware that a man across the street needed help, but none came to his aid.

Wells said he expected more disciplinary action from the Gray administration in the wake of Mills’ death other than “reminding firefighters to ‘follow the rules.'”

“… This department has enormous and urgent challenges to overcome. Yet the administration has no coherent plan to improve the department’s performance,” Wells said.

A spokesman for Gray calls Wells’ letter “a shameless political stunt” and says the mayoral candidate is “desperate to revive his pathetic campaign.”

(TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Radio Inc. and its relevant subsidiaries. CBS RADIO and EYE Logo TM and Copyright 2014 CBS Broadcasting Inc. Used under license. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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