Former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran
Former Atlanta fire chief Kelvin Cochran

Family Research Council’s Travis Weber is too clever by half. Were Atlanta officials circumspect in their statements regarding the termination of fire chief Kelvin Cochran Weber would claim that they were hiding something. Now that the city has issued a statement, Weber claims “Atlanta Mayor Steps up Disparaging Attacks on Chief Cochran.” Weber goes on to claim:

The fact that the city feels it needs to immediately and publicly respond to this complaint shows that the city is aware of the public importance of this debate. … The city’s behavior here is unusual because now these statements can be used against the city if it contradicts them …

What Weber claims are “disparaging attacks” amount to different versions of the truth. For example, certain outside activities require the city’s approval in advance. In his complaint to the EEOC Cochran claims that the city’s ethics department authorized publication of the his book but now the city claimed that the mayor’s approval was required.

In their statement the city’s version is quite different. According to the city, the city code required Cochran to obtain the approval of the city’s Ethics Board — something that he did not acquire.

Mr. Cochran states in his EEOC charge
that he was told his faith influenced his leadership style and that this
was the reason for his termination. According to the city, what he was actually told was that
his distribution of a book about his beliefs within his department had
caused his employees to question his ability to continue to lead a
diverse workforce. That is consistent with statements made by the city at the outset of this saga in November. Weber goes on to claim:

The viciousness of the city’s response (accusing Chief Cochran of committing perjury, and the sharpness of the city’s language in disputing him) reveals the nerve that the EEOC complaint touched.

The city’s version of events is different from Cochran’s. There is nothing “vicious” about making these differences known. In point of fact, the city’s ethics code requires exactly what the city claims. Sec. 2-820.d states:

Commissioners, deputy commissioners, department heads, chief operating
officer, deputy chief operating officers, chief of staff, deputy chiefs
of staff, bureau directors, and employees of the office of the mayor who
report directly to the mayor shall not engage in any private employment
or render any services for private interests for remuneration,
regardless of whether such employment or service is compatible with or
adverse to the proper discharge of the official duties of such employee.
However, the employees named in this paragraph may engage in private
employment or render services for private interests only upon obtaining
prior written approval from the board of ethics in accordance with this paragraph

Mr. Weber is correct when he notes that the city’s statement can later be used against them. Weber, who received a law degree from Pat Robertson‘s Regent University, is attempting to suggest that the city was foolish. Perhaps but they are also compelled to be truthful in their public statements.

I cannot determine if Cochran is a liar or just plain stupid (or both perhaps), As for Mr. Weber, he could have reviewed the city code as easily as I did. Doing so would have prevented him from looking stupid. Of course I would question the mental acuity and even competency of anyone who chooses to work for an anti-gay hate group like Family Research Council. The day will come when the association will prove an embarrassment to Weber. Lie with dogs …

By David Cary Hart

Retired CEO. Formerly a W.E. Deming-trained quality-management consultant. Now just a cranky Jewish queer. Gay cis. He/Him/His.