After officers accused them of stealing, Kenly’s entire police force and two Kenly clerks in North Carolina submitted their resignation letters. “hostile work environment”The issue had emerged about one month following the appointment of Black woman to town manager.
The North Carolina town, which serves nearly 2,000 people, is now without any full-time police officers and is currently relying on the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office to respond to emergency calls from Kenly, according to CBS 17.
WRAL learned that the police force already had a shortage of officers before the resignations. From eight to five officers, it was already overstaffed, according to Josh Gibson, Police Chief.
Some of the seven resignation letters that police officers submitted claimed that they were leaving their job due to “the stress”It is a part of the work environment. “The work area is very hostile and I will not let myself be around that kind of atmosphere,”One staffer sent a resignation letter WRAL initially acquired the rights to this informationInside Edition Digital reviewed the article.
“Unfortunately there are decisions being made that jeopardize my safety and make me question what the future will hold for a Kenly Police Officer,”Another writer.
The letters didn’t name Justine Jones, the newly appointed town manager, but at least three of them indicated their resignations. “Due to the hostile work environment now present in the Town of Kenly.”
Gibson, the police chief, also took to Facebook about Jones, writing in a post reviewed by WRAL, “the new [town manager] has created an environment I do not feel we can perform our duties and services to the community.”Since then, the post has been either removed or deleted. Gibson stated to WRAL that he would be open to returning to the police force in the event Jones is fired.
The resignation letters of staff did not contain any mentions of hostility. Some residents believe that the discord is caused by Jones’ race. All the officers who resigned were white.
“They don’t want to be led by anybody Black; that’s Kenly,” Kenly resident Cynthia Kirby told the News & Observer. “They’re always harassing Black people. It’s racial.”
But resident Christal McGowan told News & Observer she was hoping the Town Council would side with the officers and remove Jones.
“They’ve been here over 20 years. This woman comes in and I have a lot to say, but I can’t,” McGowan told the News & Observer. “She sued Virginia, she sued South Carolina and I wouldn’t doubt it if she sues us.”
Jones, who has been on the job for about a month, previously served as a manager of research and as assistant director for gender and racial discrimination in Richland County in South Carolina before she sued her employer there after allegedly receiving “hostile”Reporting bad behavior can lead to retaliation or treatment. WRAL Report. In a lawsuit, she claimed that she was not being paid fairly and was treated differently because of an illness. Jones was terminated from her position in Richland County on March 30, 2015. The lawsuit she filed was later voluntarily dismissed for reasons that court records do not make clear, WRAL reported.
Jones was appointed to her position in Kenly by the town council after a “nationwide search”According to 30 candidates To a town press release. Since 1996, she’s been working in the public sector. “progressively responsible positions” at local governments in Minnesota, Virginia, South Carolina and North Carolina.
On July 22, town leaders held an emergency meeting between the council and town manager, according to CBS 17. According to CBS 17.2, the town council decided against taking any action.
Neither Kenly Mayor Herbert Louis “Tooie”Inside Edition Digital did not reach out to Halles II or members of the town’s council to request comment.