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Mayor Allegedly Pulled Candidate's Resume Because He Was Black

Georgia's Theresa Kenerly is under fire for alleged comments about city administrator applicant
By Evann Gastaldo,  Newser Staff
Posted May 6, 2019 1:32 PM CDT
In this 2008 file photo, Horace Johnson, right, and Theresa Kenerly joke with Chad Orr in Hoschton, Ga.   (AP Photo/John Amis)

(Newser) – The mayor of a small Georgia town is under fire after it was revealed that she allegedly withheld a candidate for city administrator from consideration because he was black. Theresa Kenerly, mayor of Hoschton, allegedly told a City Council member during a closed-door meeting on March 4 that she had pulled Keith Henry's resume out of a packet of four finalists for the job "because he is black, and the city isn’t ready for this." Ninety percent of Hoschton's residents identify as white, per the Atlanta Journal Constitution's investigative report into the incident. Council member Hope Weeks said in a written statement March 4 that Kenerly repeated the sentiment to her after the meeting: "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."

Weeks and another council member were "appalled" at the comment and took the matter to the city attorney, the other council member tells the AJC. He, in turn, struck a deal with the city's five elected officials that allowed Kenerly to attend the job interviews, but not participate in them. A third council member says Kenerly ultimately apologized for her comment in a March 12 meeting, saying she was just "looking out" for Henry. When asked about the alleged comments, Kenerly initially told the AJC, "I can’t say I said it or not said it," but later issued a statement reading: "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 (sic) prejudice." As for Henry, he ultimately pulled his application from consideration for unrelated reasons. See the full story here. (Read more Georgia stories.)

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