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The city of Byron fired Rachel Mosby as fire chief citing a list of “recent indicators of lack of performance.” However, her attorney says the action was discriminatory based on her gender identity.
Mosby, who was assigned male at birth and has transitioned and identifies as a female, was fired Tuesday.
A letter to Mosby from Byron City Administrator Derick W. Hayes outlines three reasons for her alleged lack of performance:
▪ Failed to release new and renewal business licenses for approval in a timely manner, causing undue delays in customers’ requests. The letter noted that this has been issue since late last year and that Mosby has been notified via email and at staff meetings.
▪ Attended only five of 21 classes offered at the Georgia Association of Fire Chiefs conference earlier this year. The letter noted Mosby didn’t take any classes the first two full days of attendance “which cost travel monies that should not have been spent.”
▪ Failed to maintain fire investigator certification required in the city’s job description for fire chief. The letter noted that Mosby attended the arson investigation class twice at the city’s expense, but failed to maintain the certification.
“The city no longer has confidence in your ability to lead our fire department,” Hayes said in the letter.
Kenneth E. Barton, Mosby’s attorney, in a statement, denies the allegations about her performance.
“Chief Mosby has and maintained all of the necessary certifications for her position, and there is nothing about Chief Mosby’s performance that warranted her termination” he said. “Quite simply, the city’s stated reasons are untrue.”
In a telephone interview with The Telegraph, Barton said, “Based on a review of the evidence, those do not appear to deal with legitimate or actual reasons for termination. We believe that it was discriminatory in nature.”
Barton said that he will attempt to resolve the matter with the city.
“Our hope is that the city of Byron will understand that they’ve made a mistake and work with us to fix it,” Barton said. “And I think that is our first priority. It is not our intention to have to resort to legal action.”
That being said, Mosby has several avenues available to her, including filing a charge of discrimination with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, Barton said.
Discriminating against someone on the basis of gender, including their gender identity, is a violation of both state and federal law, Barton said.
Barton also said in his written statement:
“Over the last 12 years, Fire Chief Rachel Mosby has proudly served the residents of Byron, where she has built Byron’s Fire Department from an all-volunteer organization into the professional agency that it is today. She was shocked on Tuesday when she was notified of her termination, effective immediately, and escorted out of her office by a police officer.
“While her coming out as transgender at work received local media attention, nothing has distracted Chief Mosby from her duties of protecting the citizens of Byron.”
Later, he also added in the statement, “If this termination had occurred just a few months ago, Chief Mosby would have requested an appeal. However, due to a recent change in their policies, Chief Mosby is the first department head in Byron who has absolutely no recourse internally with the city.
“The city’s termination of Chief Mosby was, in fact, discriminatory and a violation of her constitutional right of due process. It is unfortunate that the city chose to single out one of its long-time employees because of her gender. We hope that the city will reconsider its termination and allow her to continue serving her fellow residents of Byron as its fire chief. If we are unable to resolve this matter, Chief Mosby is considering all of her legal options.”