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After five years in his position, D.C. fire chief Gregory Dean is retiring. Dean sent an email to the FEMS department yesterday afternoon announcing the news. At a press conference this morning, Mayor Muriel Bowser announced his retirement officially and said she’d nominate current assistant chief John Donnelly for the position.
When Mayor Bowser appointed Dean to the top job in 2015, D.C. FEMS had a deep hole to dig itself out of. Sober news sources consistently described his predecessor, Kenneth B. Ellerbe, as “embattled,” thanks to complaints from EMTs and firefighters that the department’s service was shoddy and putting lives at risk—ambulance response time was especially slow east of the Anacostia River, and in some high-profile cases, firefighters failed to respond to emergencies.
Dean, who previously worked at the Seattle Fire Department for more than four decades, including one as its chief, came out of the gate by setting himself up to be the opposite of Ellerbe. In 2016, he wrote in the Washington Post that FEMS “would need bold solutions to break up the status quo.” A notable “bold solution:” The city partnered with private ambulances to cut down 911 response times.
Dean is 70 and came out of retirement once already to take this job. At the press conference, he said he had considered retiring in May, but when COVID struck, the timing seemed wrong.
Three weeks ago, the Office of the D.C. Auditor told DCist it’s considering an audit of the Office of Unified Communications, which handles 911 services, and a month ago, OUC sent rescuers to the wrong location after three men went overboard from a boat in the Potomac. All three were later found dead. —Emma Sarappo
CITY DESK LINKS, by Amanda Michelle Gomez (tips? firstname.lastname@example.org)
City Desk will return next week.
LOOSE LIPS LINKS, by Mitch Ryals (tips? email@example.com)
- What Deon Kay’s mentor wants you to know about him. [WCP]
- Mayor Bowser’s “citywide” crackdown on guns actually targeted mostly Black neighborhoods. Bowser says she didn’t know. [Post]
- Actually, the USAO will charge those alleged “rioters.” The latest in the tussle between Bowser and the DOJ. [WCP]
- A guide to the people whose names could be removed from D.C. buildings. [Post]
- MPD Chief Peter Newsham is on the Politics Hour this afternoon. [Kojo]
YOUNG & HUNGRY LINKS, by Laura Hayes (tips? firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Taqueria Xochi will open on U Street NW in early fall serving Mexican comfort food from different regions, including cemitas. [WCP]
- Federalist Pig is getting a head start on its Hyattsville location by serving out of a temporary trailer. [Washingtonian]
- Tom Sietsema-approved family-style feasts available for take-out. [Post]
- Exploring the idea of an “anti-gentrification” restaurant. [Eater]
ARTS LINKS, by Kayla Randall (tips? email@example.com)
- I’m Thinking of Ending Things is a disturbing film about the limits of self, our critic writes. [WCP]
- New documentary Anacostia Delta: The Legacy of DC’s Telemasters highlights local music history. [DCist]
- Here are the latest updates from the Helen Hayes Awards on Zoom. [DC Metro Theater Arts]
SPORTS LINKS, by Kelyn Soong (tips? firstname.lastname@example.org)
- The Mystics’ Natasha Cloud and Wizards’ Bradley Beal have bonded through their shared missions on and off the court. [NYT, Bullets Forever]
- Frances Tiafoe has reached the third round of the U.S. Open for the first time in his career. [USOpen.org]
- The Washington Spirit heads to Segra Field in Leesburg tomorrow to play Sky Blue FC at 1 p.m., one of its two games this month at the new stadium in Loudoun County. [CBS Sports]
- The Washington Football Team has released running back Adrian Peterson, who had been seen as a potential starter during the year in the crowded backfield. [USA Today]
- Step Afrika!’s new feature-length performance Stono commemorates the 281st anniversary of the largest uprising of enslaved people in Britain’s North American colonies.
- Glen Echo Park’s Yellow Barn Studio’s annual instructor exhibit spotlights the talent and versatility of its art teachers, and despite the variety, the exhibit feels anything but miscellaneous.