*A Georgia mayor is facing calls to resign following a report that she dismissed a candidate for a city administrator position because of his race.
Mayor Theresa Kenerly reportedly told a member of the city council that she withdrew the application of Keith Henry “because he is black, and the city isn’t ready for this.”
Kenerly oversees the small town of Hoschton, Ga., which boasts a population of 2000 and is 84.6 percent white and only 3.5 percent black, according to census data. When Kenerly was asked about turning down the resume of the only candidate of color who was being considered for the gig, she feigned ignorance, the Atlanta Journal-Constitution reports.
“I do not recall making the statement attributed to me regarding any applicant for the City Administrator position,” she said in a statement, adding. “I deny that I made any statement that suggest (sic) prejudice.”
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Councilman Jim Cleveland defended Hosxhton, GA Mayor Theresa Kenerly rejecting a job applicant “because he is Black, and the city isn’t ready for this.”
“I understood where she was coming from..Blacks and whites together, it makes my blood boil…”https://t.co/e0r1sfszao
— Bishop Talbert Swan (@TalbertSwan) May 6, 2019
Councilwoman Hope Weeks said the mayor made the comments during a closed-door session and then reiterated her views in the parking lot.
“She proceeded to tell me that the candidate was real good but he was black and we don’t have a big black population,” Weeks said of the incident, according to the Constitution-Journal. “And she just didn’t think Hoschton was ready for that.”
Meanwhile, one of Kenerly’s defenders excused her actions because interracial relationships are against his religion.
“I’m a Christian, and my Christian beliefs are you don’t do interracial marriage,” Councilman Jim Cleveland told the AJC. “When you see blacks and whites together, it makes my blood boil because that’s just not the way a Christian is supposed to live.”
Documents show that Hoschton Mayor Theresa Kenerly told a City Council member that she had taken the resume of Keith Henry out of contention from a four-candidate shortlist “because he is black, and the city isn’t ready for this,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution reported Monday.
The investigation “revealed not only a deeply flawed hiring process, but also hard racial attitudes inside Hoschton’s government,” The Atlanta Journal-Constitution said.
Contacted by the newspaper, Henry said Kenerly did not give off bias vibes during their phone interview but that it “comes with the territory” of job-hunting while black. “If you live in America as a minority you can’t be naïve that it is the reality that you face.”
Henry said he removed his own name out of the running because the town wouldn’t cover his travel expenses from Texas for an in-person interview.