Kenly City Council votes 3-2 to fire city manager

KENLY – Tonight (Tuesday), Kenly City Council voted to fire City Manager Justine Jones. The board voted 3 to 2 to fire Jones effective this Friday, September 2. The vote took place after a two-hour closed session.

Justine Jones. Photo by

Jones was hired on June 2, 2022 by the City of Kenly. On July 20, the entire full-time police force and two other full-time employees resigned. In a social media post that day, former police chief Josh Gibson said, “The new city manager has created an environment that I don’t think can perform our duties and service to the community.

On July 22, the city council and the mayor held an emergency meeting behind closed doors. On July 27, the council announced it was hiring an outside firm to investigate the issues with Jones and city employees.

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

On August 8, the city 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 the latest news, a new police chief has not been chosen.

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

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