She’s FIRED – Voted Out 3-2!
(UnitedVoice.com) – Kenly, North Carolina, is a cozy little town of about 1,500 people. Nestled along the interstate between Fayetteville and Rocky Mount, the little borough became the subject of national news when its entire police force walked off the job in July, citing the reason as the new town manager and a hostile work environment. Faced with an unprecedented calamity, the city council had no choice but to act.
In a closed session on September 6, the council voted to oust Town Manager Justine Jones, hired just three months prior. Jones, a public servant in other districts for most of her career, originally signed a 2-year contract in June.
"Sometimes "things just don't fit well:" The Town of Kenly voted 3-2 to terminate the contract of Kenly Town Manager Justine Jones. It comes in the wake of the resignation of the entire police force and a subsequent investigation. https://t.co/YJ93XlAdvy
— ABC11 EyewitnessNews (@ABC11_WTVD) August 31, 2022
The issues with the new boss began when she refused to add anyone to the force’s roster, which requires eight officers for a proper rotation. Having only five, including its chief, the department worked under challenging conditions for long hours, creating a stressful workplace. Kenly’s city clerk and the utilities clerk also resigned.
A confidential investigation found no evidence to support a hostile work environment, but the council decided by a slim majority that Jones wasn’t a good fit for the town. The fired former manager won’t walk away empty-handed. She has half a year’s salary coming as severance, or about $50,000.
One of the former officers, Jason Tedder, told The News&Observer the number one reason he and his fellow officers quit was so the manager couldn’t fire them. They believed Jones, who Tedder alleged was overbearing and erratic, would ultimately have let them go, costing them valuable vacation time and sick pay. Other municipalities have already offered at least two of Kenly’s former officers jobs elsewhere.
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