D.C. Mayor Begins Task of Finding New Chief

D.C. Mayor Adrian M. Fenty yesterday began interviewing candidates for the District's fire chief job.

At least five candidates are being considered for the post, according to sources close to the process.

The candidates include:

  • Interim Fire Chief Brian K. Lee, a 21-year veteran of the D.C. fire department appointed by Mr. Fenty to the interim post last month.

  • David C. James, who most recently served as a chief officer for Emergency Medical Services in Buffalo, N.Y., after a career spent with the Miami-Dade County fire department.

  • Michael P. Bell, who recently retired as chief of the Toledo, Ohio, fire department, where he spent 27 years. He had served as fire chief in Toledo since 1990.

  • Dennis L. Rubin, a 31-year firefighter who has served as fire chief in Atlanta since December 2003. Chief Rubin has served as a firefighter in the District and in Norfolk.

  • Stephen M. Reid, who retired from the D.C. fire department in 2003 as the acting deputy chief of emergency medical services after a 30-year career.

Mafara Hobson, a spokesman for Mr. Fenty, would not confirm the list of candidates.

Sources close to the process said candidates were interviewed yesterday at the Franklin D. Reeves Center in Northwest before three panels, one of which asked questions about the fire service. A second panel asked candidates about EMS delivery, and a third panel asked about general personnel, management and budget practices.

It was not clear yesterday whether additional interviews were being scheduled. Mr. Fenty has said only that he hopes to have a permanent fire chief named within the first six months of his administration.

Mr. Fenty, a Democrat, pledged during his mayoral campaign to separate EMS from the fire department but has backed off that pledge since he was elected in November, saying that he still is studying possible EMS reforms.

Last year, while he was serving on the D.C. Council, Mr. Fenty called for former Fire Chief Adrian H. Thompson to be fired.

He pledged to dismiss Chief Thompson if elected mayor after an inspector general's investigation into the mishandled response to the emergency call for journalist David E. Rosenbaum in January 2006. Mr. Rosenbaum was beaten and robbed as he walked near his Northwest home. He died two days later.

Republished with permission of The Washington Times.

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