Canton manager search narrowed

Interviews, meet and greet set for March 1
By DeeAnna Haney | Feb 25, 2014
The Canton Board of Aldermen has narrowed its search for a town manager to three candidates. A public meet and greet is scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday at the Canton Armory.

The Canton Board of Aldermen has narrowed its search for a new town manager down to three candidates and they're giving the community a chance to get involved in the process.

The board will be interviewing the three final candidates during a closed session special called meeting at 8:30 a.m. Saturday, March 1. After the interviews, the community is invited to share in a meet and greet with the candidates at 2 p.m. at the Armory.

The search for a new town manager has been a long and drawn out process beginning in January 2013 when former town manager Al Matthews announced that he planned to retire in January 2014.

The previous board interviewed seven of the original applicants for the job, but were unable to reach a consensus before the new aldermen were elected in November. Board members were at odds last year about whether to hold a public meet and greet with the manager finalists.

The mayor argued in favor of the idea, but the remainder of the board feared they would scare away candidates who may not have told their present employer they were searching for another job. The aldermen also said that a public meet and greet should have been discussed earlier on and disclosed to the candidates when they applied.

With an entirely new board in November came a blank slate regarding the manager search. They appointed then-Assistant Town Manager Jason Burrell interim town manager until they fill the position.

About 50 Canton area residents attended a planned public forum in January to voice their views on what they would like to see in a town manager. At the time, Mayor Mike Ray said there were 80 applicants for the position.

Many at the forum said they wanted a manager who cared about recreation and town employees, others asked for someone who could help promote growth along Champion Drive.

Other requests included someone who lives within city limits and pays taxes there, who respects the culture of the mill town and listens to his or her employees.

Ray said the board has not yet determined a target hire date for the new manager.