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Police Force Resigns After Black Town Manager Takes Job

by Mike Creef, Staff Writer
Kenly Town Manager Justine Jones. (Town of Kenly)
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The Kenly, North Carolina police force submitted their letters of resignation after a Black woman took over as town manager.

Police Chief Josh Gibson, along with all officers on his force, resigned last week citing a “hostile work environment.” The resignations come just one month after Justine Jones took over as town manager.

For those who don’t know what a town manager is, it is a position that typically oversees the day-to-day operations of a town’s government. They typically work closely with the town’s mayor and town council, planning the city’s budget for approval by the council.

Kenly, North Carolina has a population of about 2,000 people. The town’s council is made up of six members: four White men, one Black man and one Black woman.

Justine Jones was selected by the town council after a “nationwide search” of 30 candidates, according to a Kenly press release. Jones has worked in public service for the past 16 years. Her expertise has supported local governments in Minnesota, Virginia, South Carolina, and North Carolina.

Along with Gibson and four full-time officers, two town clerks also resigned bringing the total to seven full-time positions vacant. In her resignation letter Christy Thomas also cited “the current situations and the stress in the work area lately” claiming the work area is “very hostile.”

The Johnston County Sheriff has said that his office will help with calls while officers are not present in Kenly.

“I will be there for the people of Kenly, and they can rest assured they will have deputies patrolling the streets,” Sheriff Steve Bizzell said.

The Kenly Town Council held a closed-door meeting last week to address the shortage of law enforcement officers. No information was provided about the meeting other than another one would be held this week.

2 comments

MommaJones July 28, 2022 - 9:18 am

The last town manager was black too. Lazy reporting.

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Chloe August 5, 2022 - 5:45 pm

Love a bunch of white guys & cops complaining about a hostile environment.

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