Saturday, January 10, 2015

Atlanta Mayor Fires Fire Chief

The mayor of Atlanta, Kasim Reed, fired his fire chief Kelvin Cochran for self-publishing a book containing anti-gay comments. In the self-published book titled "Who Told You That You Were Naked?"

Cochran referred to homosexuality as "unclean," "a sexual perversion," "vulgar" and "inappropriate."  Cochran received a month long suspension in November and at that time Reed said, "I want to be clear that the material in Chief Cochran's book is not representative of my personal beliefs, and is inconsistent with the administration's work to make Atlanta a more welcoming city for all citizens — regardless of their sexual orientation, gender, race, and religious beliefs."

Cochran says that he checked with the city's ethics department on the book and didn't receive any "pushback."

Alex Wan, the only openly gay member of the Atlantic city council, issued a statement supporting the mayor's action. In that statement Wan claimed that Cochran's suspension came because of complaints from Cochran's employees over the distribution of the book to them.

This strikes me as being perilously close to a violation of Freedom of Speech. I suppose a possible mitigating circumstance could be that it's the mayor's administration and he can fire appointed officials that publicly disagree with him.

Some additional information came to light Friday when Mayor Reed acknowledged that Cochran was fired for distributing his book to employees which is apparently a violation of administrative rules.

What I have to wonder though is if Cochran's book hadn't contained controversial material would anyone have cared?

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