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Union Votes 'No Confidence' In D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe

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Proposed changes to scheduling have led D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe into a clash with the firefighters' union.
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Proposed changes to scheduling have led D.C. Fire Chief Kenneth Ellerbe into a clash with the firefighters' union.

The D.C. firefighters' union says it has no confidence in Chief Kenneth Ellerbe to lead the department. Union leaders say a "no confidence" resolution in Ellerbe was approved Monday by a tally of 300 to 37, or 89 percent in favor.

Union president Ed Smith says Ellerbe's mismanagement of the fire department fleet has created gaps in coverage that are endangering firefighters and district residents.

Deputy Mayor for Public Safety Paul Quander said in a statement Monday that he continues to support Ellerbe's efforts to modernize the department. He's calling on firefighters to work with the chief to accomplish that goal.

Ellerbe has clashed with the union over his proposed major change to firefighters' work schedules. He says the schedule change is needed to get more firefighters working during the day, when the call volume is higher, especially for medical emergencies. Ellerbe's supporters say the chief is being vilified for the proposal.

Ellerbe has also faced scrutiny since the city had to summon an ambulance from Prince George's County, Md., to transport an injured police officer. Union leaders say his mismanagement of the department fleet is endangering firefighters and residents.

The last time the union voted "no confidence" in a chief was in 2001.

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