The mayor of a small Georgia town is under fire for allegedly disqualifying a Black applicant because of his race. 

According to an investigative report from The Atlanta-Journal Constitution, the town of Hoschton denied a job to a Black candidate claiming the residents would be against it. 

Mayor Theresa Kenerly reportedly told a member of the City Council she removed the resume of candidate Keith Henry “because he is black, and the city isn’t ready for this.” Henry was one of four finalists for the City Administrator position. 

On March 4, the mayor allegedly made the comments to a member of the council following a meeting. The AJC reports Councilwoman Hope Weeks was told after she overheard the two speaking.  

“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 wrote in a personal account.

Weeks then relayed the information to another councilwoman. Both women told the city's attorney Thomas Mitchell about the alleged act of discrimination. 

Emails obtained by The AJC showed a deal was struck allowing the beleaguered mayor to sit in on applicant interviews. However,  Kenerly would not be allowed to participate.  

“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,” Kenerly said in a statement.

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Henry withdrew his application in March because the city wanted him to pay his travel, room and board for an in-person interview. He resides in Houston, Texas, and was willing to relocate for the job.

As a frequent applicant to jobs in small southern towns, he realizes there are racial hurdles he must overcome. “It comes with the territory,” he said. “If you live in America as a minority you can’t be naïve that it is the reality that you face.”

But she may not be the only official who needs to be called out.  Councilman Jim Cleveland believes the town isn't ready for race-mixing. 

“I understood where she was coming from,” he told The AJC. “I understand Theresa saying that, simply because we’re not Atlanta. Things are different here than they are 50 miles down the road.”

Furthermore, the former AT&T employee claimed his Christain faith did not permit Black and white people having intimate relationships. 

“I’m a Christian and my Christian beliefs are you don’t do interracial marriage. That’s the way I was brought up and that’s the way I believe,” he said. “I have Black friends, I hired Black people. But when it comes to all this stuff you see on TV, 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.”

Hoschton has a population of approximately 2,000 residents. Census data shows 94% of the residents are white. 

Since the news broke, there have been calls demanding the mayor resign. Kenerly plans on staying in office despite the uproar from critics. 

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