Canton to mull Wood’s status
by Marcus E. Howard
mhoward@cherokeetribune.com
October 18, 2012 01:26 AM | 1871 views | 0 0 comments | 5 5 recommendations | email to a friend | print
CANTON — The Canton City Council will take up the issue of City Manager Scott Wood’s six-month probation when it meets at 6 p.m. tonight at Canton City Hall.

According to documents obtained by the Cherokee Tribune, Wood has enough votes on the six-member council to hold on to his job, which he has held since his appointment in 2009.

Individual, written performance evaluations submitted in late September to the city clerk’s office by five council members — Bob Rush, Jack Goodwin, Hooky Huffman, Bill Bryan and John Beresford —– gave Wood positive reviews.

“In my view during this six month probationary period, Mr. Wood has performed admirably amidst a significant amount of contentiousness both from inside and outside of city hall,” Rush wrote in his evaluation. “Consequently, I cast my vote for complete expungement of the probation and a return to the status of a vested and valued employee.”

Goodwin said in his evaluation that Wood has a done a “great job in the duties as Canton city manager as laid out in our charter.” Goodwin added, “He is diligent, trustworthy, confident, and has great leadership skills. I fully support Scott Wood as Canton city manager and feel confident in his abilities as our manager.”

Huffman said Wood had “exceeded expectations.” In his review, Bryan described Wood’s performance as “satisfactory,” and recommended a letter of commendation be placed in his personnel file.

In April, Wood was placed on a six-month probation in a 5-1 vote by the council, following a closed-door executive session. Councilman John Beresford voted in the minority.

The decision came on the heels of the resignation of Canton Police Officer Daniel Henley after a video surfaced of him pulling over the city manager after a four-hour council meeting on March 15.

The latter half of the video contained no audio, which raised questions on whether the officer gave preferential treatment to Wood. But Wood insisted that he did not ask for any preferential treatment and that he identified his job title to the officer simply to convey that he did not pose a threat.

In placing Wood on probation, the council set an Oct. 15 deadline to provide written evaluations of his performance during the probationary period.

Wood this week declined to comment about what actions the council might take at tonight’s meeting.

At the April meeting, Beresford expressed reservations about Wood’s job performance as city manager. The councilman said the city of Canton had a “non-manager” in the city manager’s position and accused Wood of consistently passing the buck to his employees when challenging issues arose.

Six months later, however, Beresford expressed a change of opinion in his written evaluation.

“Scott, as you know we have had our differences in the past, but you have met the requirements for a very strong city manager these past six months,” wrote Beresford. “I appreciate your efforts and hard work. I look forward to working with you, as we continue to move our city forward.”

Only Councilman Glen Cummins declined to provide a written performance evaluation. In a letter dated Oct. 15 that he submitted, Cummins said that it was his opinion that Wood could not be fairly evaluated “because of the turmoil that has occurred during the last six to eight months.”

As city manager, Wood is responsible for the day-to-day administration of city affairs and management of all city departments. He reports directly to the mayor and council, and is paid $150,000 annually. He previously served as county manager of Bulloch County and as city manager of Milledgeville.

Other items on the agenda include:

* Approval of $30,000 holiday lights budget amendment;

* Approval of city check signers;

* Approval of city manager’s designation for acting city manager;

* Action on a Canton Theatre movie equipment budget amendment;

* Discussion of the occupational license tax structure;

* Discussion of a GO Bond for the fire services program;

* Action on fire district ordinance revision;

Update on Etowah River and Killian Parks;

* Discussion and possible approval of SCADA System Contract Award;

* Discussion of travel policy revision;

* Discussion of Canton Code Section 2-22.
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