DC firefighters snub chief at State of Dept. speech
The president of the paramedics union and firefighters local were not at the event
By Karen Gray Houston
WASHINGTON — Once again, D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe has delivered his State of the Department address, and for the second year in a row, he received an unmistakable message from city firefighters. The rank and file basically didn't show up.
The brass was there at the University of the District of Columbia auditorium Wednesday evening. So was the latest crop of cadets. But two names on the program were notably absent: Kenneth Lyons, President of the paramedics union and Edward Smith, President of the firefighters local.
Last year at the State of D.C. fire department address, more than a hundred firefighters stood up and walked out when the chief finished his speech and opened the floor to questions. This past New Year's Eve, enough firefighters called in sick to leave nearly a dozen ambulances unstaffed.