Last year, Mayor Theresa Kenerly allegedly told a member of City Council that she had ‘yanked’ Keith Henry’s resume out of a group of 4 finalists – simply because he was Black and the city wasn’t ready for this. Henry was actually a strong candidate for the job.
Henry stated that he had been interviewed on the phone by Kenerly. At the time, he didn’t think she was racist. The racist comments were whispered over to a previously unnamed City Council member during a closed-door meeting. Eventually, Kenerly was thrown under the bus by Councilwoman Hope Weeks.
According to the Atlanta Journal Weeks stated, “She proceeded to tell me that the candidate was real good, but he was Black, and we don’t have a big Black population and she just didn’t think Hoschton was ready for that.”
Naturally, the NAACP called for an investigation for Kenerly’s comments along with Jim Cleveland, who had stated that he opposed interracial marriage. When Kenerly was approached by reporters, she said, “I can’t say I said it or not said it.”
She may have realized that she sounded guilty because she issued another statement later saying, “I do not recall making the statement attributed to me regarding any applicant for the City Administrator position, and I deny that I made any statement that suggest prejudice.”
The residents of Hoschton formed a campaign to force Kenerly and Cleveland out of office. After the allegations had been made, Councilman Cleveland was forced to resign, saying that he’d rather leave office on his own terms. Before leaving, he also let people know that he ‘understood’ why Kenerly said what she said. Kenerly resigned a short while later.
As of now, Hoschton’s city code reads, “There shall be no discrimination exercised because of race, national origin, color, religion, creed, age, sex … All personnel actions shall be based solely on individual merit and fitness.”