Above is the video from what I believe was one of the strangest DC City Council hearings I had covered in my 25 years as a TV reporter. The contentious April 1, 2009 hearing before Phil Mendelson's Committee for Public Safety and the Judiciary had then DC Fire & EMS Department Chief Dennis Rubin and his staff on the hot seat about a used city fire engine and ambulance that had been donated to the city of Sosua in the Dominican Republic. Trying to get to the bottom of this supposed good deed by the administration of Mayor Adrian Fenty was not an easy task. A series of reports were issued. Links for some of those reports are above.
Now the latest report is out. It is from the DC Office of the Inspector General. Here's how the Washington Examiner's Freeman Klopott described the findings:
Top members of the Adrian Fenty administration violated District regulations when they developed plans to donate a used D.C.-owned fire truck to a Dominican Republic city, a D.C. inspector general investigation has concluded.
"The lack of proper oversight allowed private parties … inappropriately to influence the activities of District government employees," the inspector general wrote. "This further resulted in a waste of District government resources."
One of those cited for violating city rules is a deputy fire chief. Here's a summary from the report:
B. The Deputy Fire Chiefs Conduct
Fire truck #S-104 and ambulance #S-671, which ultimately were designated for donation to Sosua, were not identified for decommissioning and disposal until after the Nonprofit 2 Founder rejected fire truck #S-194 and the first ambulance. The Deputy Fire Chief, without regard to District decommission and disposal procedures, selected vehicles that had not yet been identified for decommission and disposal and expedited the process so that the vehicles were available for donation in less than 1 month, instead ofwithin 60-75 days as he initially indicated. 19
Accordingly, the OIG finds that he used his position as a FEMS employee to benefit a private interest and expedited the decommissioning and disposal of the vehicles without following proper procedure.
After being invited by the former DMPED DOD to a Super Bowl party in Sosua, the Deputy Fire: Chief informed FEMS that he had scheduled training for SosUa fire officials. This resulted in the • Deputy Fire Chief obtaining authorized paid leave from FEMS for his time in Sosua. He then traveled to Sosua, at District government expense (costing more than $800 for his airfare and per ' diem), accepted a free meal and transportation from Sosua officials, and accepted a plaque from Dajabon officials. Therefore, he violated the DPM by accepting gifts from prohibited sources because Sosa and Dajabon were attempting to obtain property from the District, specifically FEMS.
Accordingly, the issues of whether the Deputy Fire Chief violated DPM § 1803.1 (a)(1) (Using public office for private gain); § 1803.1 (a)(2) (Giving preferential treatment to any person); § 1803.1 (a)(3) (Impeding government efficiency or economy); § 1803.1 (a)(4) (Losing complete independence or impartiality); § 1803.1 (a)(5) (Making a government decision outside official . channels); § 1803.1 (a)(6) (Affecting adversely the confidence ofthe public in the integrity of government); § 1803.2 (A District government employee shall not solicit or accept, either directly or through the intercession ofothers, any gift from a prohibited source); and § 1803.6 (An employee shall not accept a gift, present, or decoration from a foreign government), are SUBSTANTIATED.
Also on STATter911 …
- Judge rules psych eval ordered for former DC fire captain legitimate. Throws out Vanessa Coleman’s lawsuit. Another DC fire whistleblower suit in court. – September 28, 2012
- Can’t anyone get it right around here? For third time in just 24 hours Chief Kenneth Ellerbe says DC reporters got a story wrong. – February 23, 2013
- Ruling says case of DC EMT fired in 1997 to live on. Court allows suit over failing to reinstate & provide back pay eight-years-ago to continue. – November 3, 2012
- DC fire chief responds to call for resignation. His bosses blame previous administration & say Ellerbe isn’t going anywhere. – July 3, 2013
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