WASHINGTON (CBSDC/AP) — District of Columbia Mayor Vincent Gray is standing by his fire chief and deputy mayor for public safety amid calls for their resignation.
Gray said Wednesday that the department is moving in the right direction under Chief Kenneth Ellerbe and Deputy Mayor Paul Quander.
D.C. Councilmember Tommy Wells has called on Ellerbe and Quander to step down for what he says is an inadequate response to the death of a man who collapsed outside a fire station and got no help from the five firefighters inside. Wells is running for mayor.
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.
on Tuesday, a spokesman for Gray called Wells’ letter “a shameless political stunt” and said the mayoral candidate is “desperate to revive his pathetic campaign.”
On Wednesday, Gray praised Quander’s report on that incident, which called for the firefighters and four call center employees to be disciplined. And he says Ellerbe is reforming the department, in part by hiring more district residents.
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