New Canton board to hold public forum on vision, direction for town

Canton residents will have the chance to weigh in on the town board’s yearlong search for a town manager at a public forum scheduled for 2 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 18, at the Colonial Theatre.


There, town residents will be able to voice their priorities for qualities in a new town manager and make more general comments about their vision for the town. 

“It will be whatever the public wants to address,” said Canton Mayor Mike Ray. “The forum will be to listen to the community and get their input and thoughts. We always want to listen to our community.”

Ray said the board will welcome views on the direction the town should be taking or challenges it faces. That input, in turn, could help inform the town’s ongoing selection of a new town manager.

The town board began its search for a new town manager in January 2013 when former manager Al Matthews announced he would retire at the end of that year.

After narrowing down applicants to the top five, the board decided to reopen the application period in August, a move that increased the pool of applicants from 40 to about 80. 

But all four aldermen on the board chose not to run for reelection and didn’t arrive at a town manager decision before stepping down.

So the hiring process was passed off to the incoming aldermen. Alderman Zeb Smathers said he looks forward to hearing the public’s thoughts at the forum.

“We want somebody who is very involved in the community as a public face,” said Smathers. “If we make a good hire, it will last for years, so we want to make a good decision.”

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