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Bishop Talbert W. Swan, II [tswan@cogic.

To: Leydon, James []
Wednesday, September 02, 2015 5:08 PM

Dear Mayor Sarno,

I respect the efforts of your administration toward addressing public
safety issues and concerns. Please know that my request for a meeting
had nothing to do with "non-productive grandiloquence as so flippantly
put in your correspondence. My request was based on the concerns of
residents, parishioners and community stakeholders who live, work and
attend church in the neighborhoods most affected by violence and
gunplay. It was a followup to a commitment you made in April to afford
our church members and community residents the same courtesy you
afforded to the administrations of Springfield College and AIC when they
held similar concerns regarding the safety of their staff and students.
Regarding community strategic sessions, which you note that I have
been absent from, please note that I represent hundreds of residents via
the church I pastor and the Greater Springfield NAACP. Although my
hectic travel schedule and other considerations prevent me from
personally attending many of those sessions, please do not presume
that I am not represented. You are well aware of the demands of a busy
schedule and the inability to attend every event. This is evidenced at the
fact that we have welcomed you aids at many events that you have
personally been unable to attend. I am certain that you would not expect
the Bishop of your diocese to have the time to personally attend
community meetings given the demands that come with the office.
Assisting with the administration of over 60 COGIC churches throughout
the Commonwealth and holding responsibilities with the national
denomination should at least garner the same considerations you afford
to your own bishop.

Regarding becoming an ambassador on our city streets and

encouraging resident participation, I have done that for past 25 years.
Our efforts have kept scores of youth off the streets and I have
personally worked with the citys police department in providing a safe
haven for residents wary of going to the police station to share
information with law enforcement.
In closing, my request was a reasonable followup to a previous
commitment on behalf of concerned residents. I am at a loss for
understanding why offense would be taken. Need I remind you that the
emailed response from your Chief of Staff to my April request noted your
willingness to bring your team to a meeting, which I would host, and give
community residents the same briefing afforded to the colleges.
Renewing that request was neither a slight on your administrations
efforts nor an attempt at political grandstanding. I am a preacher and
not a politician. I am not seeking any office. I am however, seeking to
address the concerns of my constituents regarding the continued
violence that threatens their lives and liberty. Reaching out to the citys
chief executive is an important step toward that goal.
Bishop Talbert W. Swan, II