Reed writes letter explaining fire chief firing

Atlanta Mayor Kasim Reed is speaking directly to supporters to explain why he fired Kelvin Cochran, his former fire chief. Cochran wrote a religious book that described homosexuality as “unclean” and grouped it with bestiality.

Reed, in a letter distributed to his supporters obtained by The Atlanta Journal-Constitution, said he fired Cochran because Cochran did not get required clearance to write the book. Reed further says that Cochran compromised his ability to oversee gay employees and opened the city up to discrimination claims.

Christian groups have criticized Reed for firing Cochran over his religious views.

Here is the letter.

Dear Supporters,

Last week, I made the decision to terminate our Fire Chief, Kelvin Cochran. It was a decision that was not made lightly because I appreciated Chief Cochran’s service to the City of Atlanta. While you may have read articles that asserted the issue at hand was Chief Cochran’s religious beliefs, I can assure you that those comments could not be further from the truth.

The truth is that I am a man of deep faith myself, and we are a city of laws. Chief Cochran’s book, “Who Told You You Were Naked,” was published in violation of the city’s Standards of Conduct, which required prior approval from the Board of Ethics. I believe his actions, decisions, and lack of judgment undermined his ability to effectively manage a large, diverse workforce. Every single City of Atlanta employee deserves the certainty that he or she is a valued member of the team and that fairness and respect guide our employment decisions. His actions and his statements during the investigation and his suspension eroded my confidence in his ability to serve as a member of my senior leadership team.

Please take a moment to read this editorial that was published in today’s New York Times.

Thank you for all of your kind offers of support. Please take a moment to remind everyone you know that the City of Atlanta is a city too busy to hate.

Sincerely,

Mayor Kasim Reed

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