Council names Cummins interim city manager
by Joshua Sharpe
January 17, 2014 11:01 PM | 2805 views | 5 5 comments | 28 28 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Staff/Todd HullNewly elected Canton council member Glen Cummins will take his postition on January 5th.
Staff/Todd HullNewly elected Canton council member Glen Cummins will take his postition on January 5th.
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CANTON — The Canton City Council on Thursday night named Councilman Glen Cummins as interim city manager, as a search is ramping up for a full-time replacement for former City Manager Scott Wood.

The council voted to appoint Cummins in a 5-0 vote — with Cummins abstaining — following an executive session.

Cummins will receive $10,000 a month, less his council salary, until a replacement can be found for Wood, who resigned in a controversial move minutes before the new council’s first meeting Jan. 2.

Hobgood appointed a committee Thursday night, consisting of new councilmen John Rust and Bill Grant, to search for a permanent city manager. Exactly how long that process will take, Hobgood said he wasn’t sure.

“I would hope in the next few days we’ll have that search committee (meeting),” the mayor said after the meeting. “It could be a very short period, and it may not be.”

Hobgood added the committee will make a short list of potential candidates and the city council will make the final decision.

Cummins said he was willing to work the job as long as it takes.

“But I’m hoping that we’ll be able to find somebody in three to four months, maybe five,” he said after the meeting. “The vote of confidence is excellent.”

Even Councilman Hooky Huffman voted to approve giving Cummins the job, after making accusations earlier this month that Hobgood threatened to fire Wood if he didn’t quit.

Hobgood did not confirm or deny if Huffman’s claim was true. Wood noted in his resignation letter he wasn’t “angry with anyone,” prompting others to question his resignation, along with the fact that the council voted to give him six months’ severance pay, which his contract required only if he was fired “without cause.”

But although Huffman has been a vocal critic of Wood’s resignation and accused Hobgood of trying to run a “Chicago-style, Washington-style type of government,” he spoke during the meeting Thursday and expressed regret for his behavior.

“I think most people understand why I’m disappointed, but I’ve got to realize that change is always going to be,” Huffman said to the council. “With that, I’ve got to tell you that I want to change the past two weeks, because it was so disturbing to me that I went and got some outside counseling. I want to change my attitude. I want to change my behavior.”

Huffman added he realized since three new council members came on board Jan. 2 he might be the “vocal minority.”

“It’s not a pleasant seat but I imagine I can deal with it,” Huffman said to the council. “I do believe this council and the people in the audience, that we all have the same goals and directions that we want this city to go ... I realize I may not be loved by all. But I will say, Mr. Mayor, I love you, and I love every one of you.”

Cummins, who is entering his third year on the council, was chosen by a committee Hobgood appointed to name an acting city manager after the two-week period of Chief Financial Officer Nathan Ingram’s service in that role. Ingram has said he wasn’t interested in going after the job full time at this point in his career.

Cummins said he was qualified to serve.

“If you research my background, I think you’ll find this is something I’ve done before — not city manager (specifically),” he said after the meeting.

Cummins is a retired businessman with more than 30 years’ experience as a manager with large companies, and has a Bachelor of Science degree in business administration, according to his website. He also worked for seven years with pharmaceutical company Schering Plough, managing a department of more than 140 employees, his website says.

Grant, who chaired the committee to choose the interim city manager, said the committee was confident in its choice.

“We have full faith in our recommendation,” Grant told the council.

Also during the meeting Thursday, the council:

• Voted unanimously to start a task force made up of Jennifer Dunn, Kendall Jones of Must Ministries, and Gary Lamb of Action Church to organize emergency warming shelters in the city. Hobgood asked Grant to serve as council representative for the task force;

• Heard Hobgood’s announcement that a committee to consider fire services would be reformed with Cummins, Councilwoman Sandy McGrew and Grant. Grant was selected as chair;

• Voted unanimously to deny and have staff research a rezoning request for an existing business on Railroad Street; and

• Unanimously approved Grant as mayor pro-tem.

Comments
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SorryAboutYourShoe
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January 22, 2014
Get over it "Citzens of Canton". The only puppets were Scott Woods and they are running for the hills. Even Huffman sees that. Watch out..it is only going to get better!
Joel Greene
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January 20, 2014
I've rarely felt the urge to take pen to paper to write about politics in the City of Canton but, after having read the article about Glen Cummins being named Interim City Manager, I felt compelled to do so.

My decision to write this note is based solely on my recent first-hand experience interacting with Glen which followed a request that was made of him this past Friday afternoon on behalf of our neighbor's family. After that request was first made of Glen and he refused to act upon it, whereupon Mayor Hobgood was called directly and the request was then properly acted upon, Glen behaved boorishly (while foolishly declaring that the task had been handled solely due to his efforts). Glen also seemingly felt empowered by his new position to reprimand me by e-mail while appearing to offer threats that he could choose to categorize me as a "complainer" and that would subsequently make me unworthy of his future consideration.

Thus, based on this experience, I can tell you that I am certainly not impressed with either Glen's demeanor or attitude. And while I feel that he's a bright enough fellow (although, he's certainly nothing to write home about, regardless of how he may feel about himself) I'm afraid that Glen will serve neither me nor many of my fellow residents of Canton very well in the "three to four months, maybe five" that he'll simply be taking $10,000 per month out of the City's coffers while he's being provided with On-the-job training.

Being that I'm not typically known to be a shy, retiring wallflower, I wrote back to Glen on Saturday morning immediately following my receipt of his note to me and I advised him that he should not forget that he is an elected official who is in his position to serve the people who elected him - not the other way around. However, while the personal arrogance of the man is astounding, it was apparently not so much that he would respond to my comments - or, maybe it was exactly because he's so arrogant that he chose not to do so.

If Glen Cummins is the best that City Council Members John Rust, Bill Grant, and Sandy McGrew were able to come up with in their first task as Committee Members representing the City of Canton, I'm afraid that we're in for a long couple of years with the three of them and Glen Cummins serving our City.
Old Joe
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January 22, 2014
Obviously, arrogance incites arrogance. Mr. Greene, don't take your personal issues with Mr. Cummins out on others that are trying to make a positive difference in Canton. It's very easy to sit back and complain without offering forward thinking solutions. Sorry that your buddy is not longer employed by the city, but the voters have spoken. It's time to move forward.
Citizens of Canton
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January 19, 2014
It's astounding to me how the citizens of Canton can stand by and watch Mayor Gene Hobgood appoint the three newest City Council Members, those with the least amount of government experience, to be responsible for naming the person to act as the Interim City Manager.

And then, surprise, surprise, surprise, the Mayor's three puppets, i.e., Grant, McGrew, and Rust, (no doubt after careful consideration; who shall we name Mr. Mayor??) chose to nominate the most arrogant, egotistical, and obnoxious person one would ever expect to encounter in any professional setting to play City Manager - Councilman Glen Cummins - at an exorbitant cost to the Canton taxpayers of $10,000 per month.

Candidly, the citizens of Canton deserve better than what they're going to receive from the Mayor and the new cast of what is now, no doubt, Hobgood's puppet show. As testament to that, consider whether there is a legitimate reason why the last City Council routinely moved to side against the Mayor's agenda 5-1, with only Cummins siding with the Mayor's position.

Now however, it would seem that Hobgood has provided the payback to Cummins for his allegiance by gifting him no less than $30,000 of the taxpayers' money. Simultaneously, the Mayor granted favors to the three newest puppets for granting him their votes to allow the Mayor to threaten now departed City Manager Scott Wood with termination. The Mayor then re-paid part of his debt by naming Councilman Bill Grant the Mayor Pro-Tem, and Councilwoman McGrew and Councilman Rust to key committees, including the committee to name both the Interim and the new City Manager.

Honestly, would it surprise anyone if they turned out to be one and the same person?

To stop the deceit, abuse of power, and the wasteful spending of our tax money, the citizens of Canton need to make a concerted effort to actively participate in the Canton City Council Meetings. They start at 6:00 PM on the first and third Thursday of each month and it's important to the City that the citizens allow their voices be heard - in part to drown out the voices of those supporters of the Mayor who are routinely "planted" in the audience by the Mayor and his cronies to falsely promote his agenda.

Enact Term Limits now and Recall Mayor Gene Hobgood!!
ReadTheArticle
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January 22, 2014
Did you not read the part that says: "The council voted to appoint Cummins in a 5-0 vote — with Cummins abstaining — following an executive session." Obviously everyone agreed that this was indeed the best decision. You can be negative all you want. This City is moving forward in a very positive direction. So, happy up, and come along. Contribute to your city instead of being a detractor.
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