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.
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.