Montgomery County executive talks withdrawing fire chief nomination

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MONTGOMERY COUNTY, Md. (DC News Now) – Montgomery County Executive Marc Elrich nominated Montgomery County Fire and Rescue (MCFR) Division Chief Charles Bailey for the fire chief position last November, but earlier this week, withdrew his nomination.

Elrich says his decision to remove his nomination of Bailey is “pretty straightforward.” He says there’s a process where the county executive recommends a candidate to the Montgomery County Council, and after they ponder the nomination of that candidate, they decide whether to move forward with the process.

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“Knowing that we did not have the votes on the Council,” Elrich said. “There was no point in putting it back out there.”

Elrich’s nomination withdrawal comes just days after the Montgomery County Office of the Inspector General found that an unnamed senior MCFR employee violated the department’s code of conduct in 2019 and 2021.

When asked if these findings had any bearing on his decision, Elrich says he isn’t able to comment on personnel matters but was read to put Bailey forward again. The county executive says they will continue to work to have the vacant fire chief position filled as soon as possible.

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“We know just from our data,” Elrich said. “That the calls for Fire and Rescue are increasingly becoming health-related rather than fire-related, and it would be nice to have somebody who’s aware of that, and potentially been in the department that’s trying to do the change management that system requires anyway.”

Elrich said there will be future discussions on whether to search for the next fire chief within the department or do an external candidate search.

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