Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is defending his decision to terminate the city’s fire chief following the publication of a controversial book.
Mayor Reed’s office released an investigative report Tuesday from the city’s Law Department into the publication of the book by now-former Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran. Also on Tuesday, supporters of the former chief, bolstered by evangelist Franklin Graham, gathered at the Georgia State Capitol for a rally in support of Cochran.
Cochran was fired by Reed last week after being suspended in November over Cochran’s comments in the Christian book, Who Told You That You Were Naked, which characterized homosexuality as “unclean”, “a sexual perversion”, “vulgar” and “inappropriate.”
The 30-day report says that Cochran did not have the authority to publish the book, which is required by the city’s code of ordinances. The report also says Cochran distributed the book to at least nine subordinates at work. According to the report, at least three of those who received the book said it had been given to them unsolicited.
In addition, the report says Cochran gave the book, unsolicited, to a battalion chief during a professional one-on-one meeting. The purpose of the meeting, the report said, was to discuss what the battalion chief needed to do to prepare himself for appointment to the position of assistant chief. The assistant chief’s position in the Atlanta Fire Department is the only sworn position that a fire chief may appoint at his sole discretion. All other sworn positions in the fire department are filled through a pre-determined selection process.
The report describes a consensus among employees interviewed in conjunction with the investigation that publication of the book undermined Cochran’s ability to lead the fire department.
According to the report, continued assertions that Cochran was fired for his religious beliefs were demonstrably false.
SOURCE: Michael King & Duffie Dixon