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Northwest Voices

Seattle Times letters to the editor

May 21, 2009 at 4:00 PM

Fire chief resigns

A lesson in good leadership

Thank you, Fire Chief Gregory Dean, for taking responsibility for your actions [“Fire official at center of scandal quits; chief rebuked,” page one, May 21]. Good leadership is about recognizing when you make mistakes and learning from them. Mayor Greg Nickels may benefit from learning such a practice.

I don’t recall Nickels reprimanding former Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske after he failed to punish any of the officers involved in the violent incident that lead to the beating of a local man, even though records showed the civilian director of the Office of Professional Accountability (OPA), which oversees internal police investigations, found two were guilty of excessive force and all three were guilty of serious breaches in conduct [“Police chief exonerated officers in violent arrest,” seattletimes.com, Local News, June 26, 2007], costing taxpayers far more than $196,000.

Nickels is a far cry from a good public administrator. To point out a couple obvious points here: Fire Department Lt. Milt Footer, Kerlikowske, all the officers involved in the violent beating of the local man and Nickels are Caucasian; Dean is not. I guess the message here is that good leadership is determined by a bad leader with bad ethical practices and principles, and who clearly needs to take a course in ethics and undoing institutional racism. Although I could be overreacting.

— Adrienne Bandlow, Seattle

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