By Stephen Janis and Taya Graham
Special to the AFRO

A controversial city manager, who’s hiring roiled a small town on Maryland’s lower Eastern Shore has resigned.

Pocomoke City Manager Jennifer Delude withdrew her acceptance of an offer from the city council last week, sources told the AFRO.

Delude’s hiring stoked controversy in the town after the AFRO reported on her previous job as city manager in a nearby city of Greensboro, MD.   During her tenure a Black teen died in police custody during an arrest initiated by a police officer who was hired despite pushback from the Black community.

(Courtesy Photo)

Currently, Pocomoke is under consent decree the result of a discrimination lawsuit filed by its first Black police chief, Kelvin Sewell.  Sewell was fired in 2015 without explanation by a nearly all-White city council. The lawsuit alleged Sewell was let go for refusing to fire two Black officers, who had filed EEOC complaints.  

The lawsuit was settled in 2019 for $1.6 million.  Part of the agreement included the decree which requires the city to end discriminatory hiring and employment practices.  

Pocomoke is evenly split between Black and White residents.  Activists say the decree and the tensions still lingering over Sewell’s abrupt departure in made Delude’s hiring ill-timed.  

“I believe that Delude’s resignation from the city of Pocomoke is just one step in the right direction,” former Talbot County NAACP President Richard Potter told the AFRO.  

“As the city council moves forward with their next hire it would benefit them greatly to solicit the members of the community in the selection process”.