Meck County hires woman who resigned as equity initiative leader amid controversy

CHARLOTTE — Mecklenburg County has a new director of Child, Family and Adult Services -- a woman who previously resigned from a role leading Charlotte’s Racial Equity Initiative.

Tuesday marked Kim Henderson’s first day in the new county position.


Last year, amid controversy, Henderson quickly resigned after being hired to lead the initiative in February 2022. The “Mayor’s Racial Equity Initiative” is a $250-million campaign to help address racial equity in the Queen City.

A state audit of Henderson’s work as director of the Ohio Department of Job and Family Services found billions of dollars in overpayments. Claims of fraud totaled $3.8 billion, which prompted calls for a criminal investigation.

The State Auditor’s Office in Ohio said during the time when Henderson worked there, they found more than $475 million had been paid to criminals and more than $3.3 billion in overpayments in the state’s unemployment system during the pandemic.

Henderson said she resigned because she did not want public misperceptions to jeopardize her work in Charlotte.

“Foreign and domestic criminals used the pandemic as an opportunity to defraud unemployment benefits systems across the nation at an unprecedented scale,” she said in a statement last year.

(WATCH RELATED: Charlotte’s equity initiative leader resigns after questions surrounding previous role in Ohio)