Atlanta mayor: Fire chief’s termination based on judgment, not faith

Former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran, right, speaks as religious groups rally to support him following his termination at the state Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, in Atlanta. Mayor Kasim Reed says Cochran's termination was based on his judgment and not anti-gay statements in his self-published religious book. David Goldman, AP

Former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran, right, speaks as religious groups rally to support him following his termination at the state Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, in Atlanta. Mayor Kasim Reed says Cochran's termination was based on his judgment and not anti-gay statements in his self-published religious book.David Goldman, AP

Former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran, right, speaks as religious groups rally to support him following his termination at the state Capitol, Tuesday, Jan. 13, 2015, in Atlanta. Mayor Kasim Reed says Cochran’s termination was based on his judgment and not anti-gay statements in his self-published religious book.

ATLANTA — Religious groups have rallied to support former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran, however Mayor Kasim Reed reiterated Tuesday that Cochran’s termination was based on his judgment and not anti-gay statements in his self-published religious book.

Mayor Kasim Reed announced Cochran’s suspension in late-November after learning of his self-published book in which he described homosexuality as a perversion. Reed announced Cochran’s termination Jan. 6.

An investigative report shows that Cochran didn’t have clearance to publish the book, which he distributed to several subordinates at work, Reed said in a statement.

Those subordinates included a battalion chief who didn’t ask for the book but was given one during a counseling session, Reed said.

Cochran and the battalion chief were discussing his upcoming promotion to assistant chief, which is the only position in the department that Cochran had power to appoint anyone to using his sole discretion, Reed said.

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Cochran has said he did get approval from city officials to publish the book.

His termination has led to outcry from several local and national groups, including the Washington-based Family Research Council and the Georgia-based Faith and Freedom Coalition.

Reed on Tuesday said arguments that Cochran was fired over his religion and statements he made in the book are inaccurate.

“Mr. Cochran and I are both men of faith,” Reed said in a statement. “Mr. Cochran ignored the City’s Ethics Code,” which Reed said establishes “a clear protocol which must be followed before a Commissioner may engage in private activity for pay.”

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