After Entire Police Department Quits, Council Fires Town Manager

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When an entire government department resigns en masse, you know something major is going wrong.

When that department happens to be the police force, the alarm bells should start going off.

That is what happened in a small town in North Carolina when the town’s law enforcement officers resigned in the face of what they called the “hostile work environment” created by the recently hired town manager.

The dust-up in Kenly began on July 19 when Police Chief Josh Gibson and four other full-time officers handed in their resignation letters. On Aug. 2, the officers turned over their badges, uniforms and other equipment, WTVD-TV reported at the time.

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Following the shocking mass resignation, the Kenly Town Council launched an investigation into town manager Justine Jones’ behavior.

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The town, situated about 40 miles east of Raleigh, hired Jones only three months ago. On Tuesday, the town council voted 3-2 to release her from her contract, The News & Observer reported.

Despite the firing, officials did not say that there was any truth to the police officers’ accusations.

The month-long investigation led by Town Attorney Chip Hewett and the North Carolina League of Municipalities found no evidence that Jones had fostered a hostile work environment, according to the Observer.

“This really didn’t surprise us,” Hewett said. “Could there be some improvements, or could there be some things changed? Yes.”

The reason given for Jones’ firing? A vague “She wasn’t working out.”

“The termination of our contract with Jones is not solely related [to] the investigation and the resignation of the employees,” Mayor Tooie Hales said. “Those are separate items, and we looked at them separately.”

Tellingly, Hales would not explain exactly why Jones “wasn’t working out.”

One former Kenly police officer, Jason Tedder, said one of the problems was that Jones would give Gibson “crazy write-ups” for things like talking with local business owners while on duty, the Observer reported.

Tedder also said Jones refused to listen to the concerns the officers had.

“When you’ve got a problem, the very first thing you do is sit people down and say, ‘Hey, this isn’t going right, how do we fix this?’ None of that ever happened,” he said. “I would love to go back. … But there needs to be a more professional work environment where people can sit down at a table together.”

Naturally, some progressives are claiming it’s all about race when an all-white police force resigns after the hiring of a black town manager.

But Tedder pointed out that some of those on the town council who voted to fire Jones are black, and he said that the accusations of racism are untrue and unfortunate.

“The only reason racism still exists is because the old people still talk about it,” Tedder said. “It hurt me that it went to [race] because it was nothing like that.”

For her part, Jones blasted the council members for not divulging the reasons they decided to fire her.

“The decision to not communicate the entire story and publicly share the findings of the report is most unfortunate,” she said in a statement, thanking those who appreciated “the difference I was making.”

Perhaps, though, she also hinted at why she was fired when she said, “Through our conversations, I am confident the citizens of Kenly want a more progressive and equitably served community and will hold all members of council accountable for moving the Town toward that goal.”

Right there could be the biggest reason. Jones took the job wanting to force a progressive agenda on the city. And one of the most prevalent progressive tenets is hatred and distrust of the police.

It seems likely that Jones went into office with animosity toward the Kenly police officers before she even had her first interaction with them.

It all shows just how dangerous the progressive ideology is, as it brings conflict and division and ultimately puts the safety of the citizenry in jeopardy.

This article appeared originally on The Western Journal.

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