Mayor Theresa Kenerly is facing backlash after her racist remarks were exposed.
What We Know:
- The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported that Mayor Theresa Kenerly excluded an African-American candidate, Keith Henry, for the city administrator position, based on his race. She allegedly stated, “Because he is black, and the city isn’t ready for this.”
- The mayor felt the city of Hoschton, whose population is 80% white, would not accept an African-American city administrator.
- According to Councilwoman Hope Weeks, the mayor made the comment twice in March. Once during a city council meeting and again to her personally after the meeting. Weeks recalls “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.”
- Kenerly claims she does not remember making the racially charged remark about the applicant.
- Weeks decided to discuss the racist comments with another councilwoman, Susan Powers, and together they exposed the Mayor’s corrupt actions to the city attorney. While these two councilwomen are taking a stand, other officials are defending Kenerly. Councilman Jim Cleveland, said: “She might have been right. I understand Theresa saying that simply because we’re not Atlanta things are different here.” He also made sure to include “I have black friends, I hired black people”…Nice save.
- Cleveland added to the Hoschton controversy when he said interracial marriage made his “blood boil” during an interview about the Kenerly’s remarks.
- Hoschton citizens have asked both Mayor Kenerly and Councilman Cleveland to resign. Neither has stepped down.
- The city attorney worked out a deal with city officials which allowed the Mayor to be present during the rest of the hiring process but she was not allowed to speak or give any input. Henry ended up taking himself out of consideration for city administrator by accepting a different employment offer.
It is illegal to disqualify an applicant based on race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age, nationality or disability. This cannot go unchecked.