Voters in the small northeast metro city mobilized after an Atlanta Journal-Constitution investigation found Kenerly sidetracked a candidate for a city administrator because of his race. According to interviews and documents reviewed by the AJC, Kenerly told council members she withheld the resume of a candidate because "because he is black, and the city isn't ready for this."
Kenerly has said she does "not recall making the statement attributed to me," but in a court hearing in October she did not counter sworn testimony recounting the statement.
Along with Kenerly, voters have targeted Cleveland for recall after he, while defending the mayor, Cleveland aired his own attitudes about race. In comments to the AJC and other media outlets, Cleveland said he does not support interracial marriage and that seeing blacks and whites together on television “makes my blood boil because that’s just not the way a Christian is supposed to live.”
Residents responded to the controversy with candlelight vigils, dozens of ethics complaints, and finally, with the recall campaign. In addition, two new council members were elected earlier this month by running on a campaign of restoring the community's honor.
“It comes down to values. It comes down to standing up for the town and the community,” Fuller said. “It’s reclaiming our name.”