Kenly Town Council Votes 3-2 To Terminate Town Manager

KENLY – Tonight (Tuesday), the Kenly town council voted to fire town manager Justine Jones. The council voted 3-to-2 to terminate Jones effective this Friday, September 2nd. The vote was taken following a two-hour closed session.

Justine Jones. TownofKenly.com photo

Jones was hired June 2, 2022 by the Town of Kenly. On July 20, the entire full-time police force, and two other full-time employees, submitted their resignations. In a social media post that day, former Police Chief Josh Gibson stated, “The new town manager has created an environment I do not feel we can perform our duties and services to the community.”

On July 22, the town council and mayor held a closed session emergency meeting. On July 27, the council announced they were hiring an outside firm to investigate the issues with Jones and the town employees.

On August 2, Kenly police officers completed their final patrols and law enforcement protection was taken over by the Johnston County Sheriff’s Office. The State Highway Patrol said they would investigate all traffic accidents in the Kenly city limits.

On August 8, the town council voted to form a committee to search for a new police chief. The committee includes District Attorney Susan Doyle, Sheriff Steve Bizzell, and Mayor Tooie Hales. At last report, a new police chief has not been selected.

The decision to fire Justine Jones as the town manager reportedly followed a review of the independent investigative report submitted to the mayor and council during the two-hour closed session tonight. That report has not been made public.

40 COMMENTS

  1. I smell some racist crap. I hope she sues for every penny kenly has She did nothing wrong but try to change the look the kenly has had in the past with all the corrupt mess the police department has had. They found a way to get rid of her I would not let not one that threaten to resign come back I hope she gets a really good lawyer

  2. She was a progressive and was not vetted appropriately from the start. Someone needs to take responsibility for not vetting this candidate properly, this is part of the job responsibilities of those in leadership roles.

    • No what happened is Kenly town commissioners had an agency do the vetting for them. Seems like instead of hiring everything done they should do a bit of it themselves. But yet I wonder how many of them will be voted back into office? Seems like none of them can handle the job to start with. Which I’m willing to bet there were several candidates that were a lot closer and a lot better suited for the job but were skipped over…for one reason or another.

  3. This is home territory for School Board Chairman Todd Sutton and he may have told them a long Labor Day Weekend is coming so now is the time to do it while us on the school board votes to erase more votes for Ronald Johnson a elected school board member than any other sitting school board member in 2020.

    BREAKING OPINION
    BREAKING COMMENTATOR

    Parents, Taxpayers and Voters it has been brought to us via special intelligence that has analyzed the chatter of Johnston County Political Powers To Be are indeed placing Operation Overturn 2020 into action should the Johnston County DA office fail to overturn the 2020 election of Ronald Johnson. This will not be achieved by vote flipping machines or by middle of the night bags of ballots dropped in dropped boxes but by six selfmade courageous board members of a certian school board that has made the decision that all cannot be lost by leaving Ronald Johnson in a position of possibly being elected Johnston County School Board Chairman by this November election? Operation Overturn 2020 is said to go into effect the next Johnston County School Board meeting should the Johnston County DA Office fail to fall inline and remove Ronald Johnson. Sources has said that the six courageous members will simply hold a vote to undo the 2020 election of Ronald Johnson and nullify the 52,718 votes of Johnston County Citizens. Just as a footnote Mr. Ronald Johnson got more votes in the 2020 election than Lyn Andrews, Kay Carroll and Mike Wooten who only beat Terry Tippitt by 1556 votes. Some are saying this is only being done so the outgoing JCPS Chairman Todd Sutton can appoint a loyal teachers union replacement and hold the majority after the November election and others are saying this is being done to give the newly elected board members in November a clear warning to fall inline or history can repeat it self.

    https://jocoreport.com/johnson-leads-ticket-in-school-board-race

  4. Now kenly will get sued like her last two and will pay out money they don’t have. Should have stripped her of any power and put her in a corner office for the remainder of her contract. Since they know she is going to sue I wonder if anyone in the counsel gets a kickback?

  5. Breaking news…..small hick town fires town manager because the white conservative cops cant stand having a black liberal woman be their boss…….and still conservatives will scream in defense how theyre not racists…..as a white kenly resident…the chit chat im hearing amongst the locals isn’t good……i stand behind my comment

    • Deesnuts, your full of crap. Do a little research but keep pulling the the race card when the truth hurts and facts do not matter.

    • I too live in Kenly, and for you to call it a “hick town” is beyond me. I will say that I know a few of these people that walked and I will tell you that the ones I know are NOT racist. These people that have been there for 15 yrs or should tell you that there has been a good working relationship with all the new town managers that have been through already and there have been a few in the last few years. With that being said, she came in and apparently tried to throw weight around b/c she demanded more than their job titles required for their pay. If she had really wanted to make it work it was up to her to show this and be a team player. Good people have left their jobs and that says it all. She made her bed and now she can lay in it. Good luck and good bye!!

  6. Appears strongly that she never should have been hired to begin with. How sad so many lives were disrupted and are disrupted everywhere she goes.

  7. “After meeting in a closed session for about two hours, Mayor “Tooie” Hales told WRAL News the investigation into the claims of a toxic work environment did not have a huge impact on the decision.

    He simply said Jones wasn’t a good fit for the town.”

    • The public needs to know “why” she wasn’t a good fit for the town. Where is the transparency? If she was not a good fit, you can bet the work environment was not pleasant.

    • Wow!! He should have realized that before hiring her! Put your professional pants on mayor and leave biden’s cue cards at home for your next interview

  8. Those who are making this more than it is should digest ALL information, investigations, previous work ethic, etc. BEFORE throwing out the race card.
    If I had questionable incidents in my past work background or private for that matter, working with children, would you feel confident letting me take care of your child every day? Or would you find someone else without issues?
    That is all I am saying. It is not a race, sexual, religious, or any other issue.

  9. Why are they keeping her until Friday? What is she going to do beside contact a lawyer and prepare sue. The town had someone very interested that applied months ago and was local that worked there in Kenly and was a great fit but missed out on him. They need to call him back. What a mess for Kenly again. Another lawsuit poor taxpayers.

  10. what yall do not know is that she did not go into a permanent position until sept 2. they had 3 months to decide to keep her or not

    • Based on what you revealed, I would say that those who walked out early did the town a big favor. Better to bring things to a head and confront them before the door closes.

  11. If the town admits she created a toxic environment, the employees that left will know the evidence has already been gathered for their lawsuit. The town leadership is walking a tight rope. The incompetence of the town leadership and Triangle J they hired did not do their duties in vetting this candidate. The people of Kenly, NC will be the losers in all of this.

  12. If the employees can’t reapply for the openings and Kenly wants a fresh start then the Mayor and commissioner’s need to go too. They had more to do with this than anyone. Looks like they could have stopped and fixed this before driving off the entire workforce. If they were in good standing before the leaders hired the town manager then they carry no fault whatsoever. Someone in leadership allowed this to get out of hand.

    • I don’t live in Kenly but I agree 100% with this comment. No one who did not work under this woman, white or black should make assumptions. Obviously the employees voiced complaints prior to resigning. So why didn’t the Mayor or Commissioners do something about it before they left? Unless that was their intent from the start…

  13. Racism to me is when a person uses their own origin and or skin color to drive or influence their decisions concerning other people of a different origin or skin color.
    That said ; if the manager was white and lost all it’s employees at once is incompetent. Chances of this many people giving up their careers because of skin color just isn’t possible. To go that far would mean they hate more than need for housing, retirement, food and peace of mind and their own families health care. No race is that willing to destroy their own lives just because the boss looks different. Stop with the accusations please.

  14. Based on what I saw on a national news program, Jones tried bringing her progressive BS into a conservative town, she also tried to dictate who law enforcement could and could not speak with. Glad she’s gone, she’s been fired from 2 previous jobs, on to the next town she tries to destroy.

  15. So what is next for the town? Have they talked to the staff that left to see if they will come back to help or train new staff if someone hires them? Who is going to open the office Monday and take payments, pay bills, answer the phone? They have no game plan at all. Probably haven’t even thought about what to do next week. Lack of leadership in Kenly. Why don’t they reach out to past top candidates they interviewed and see if they are interested still? But do background checks and reference checks!

Leave a Reply