Editor's note: the story has been updated to include quotes from Mayor Gene Hobgood and council members Bill Grant and Sandy McGrew.
Ward 3 Councilman Glen Cummins is the sole finalist for the Canton city manager position.
The city on Friday afternoon announced the news, and the City Council is slated to consider Cummins for the position during its July 3 meeting.
The position has been vacant since January after the resignation of former City Manager Scott Wood and Cummins has been serving in the interim since mid-January.
State law requires the city to release the name of up to three finalists for the position 14 days before it comes to the council for consideration. If approved, Cummins would have to resign his Ward 3 council seat to become city manager.
According to the city's charter, if he were to resign before Jan 1, 2015, the city would have to call a special election.
Cummins is the second finalist announced in the last three months for the position. In March, Mayor Gene Hobgood announced former Main Street Woodstock Director Billy Peppers was the city's sole finalist for the role.
However, Peppers' nomination did not have the backing of the majority of the council, and he withdrew his name from consideration.
Cummins, who did not return calls requesting comment, told Patch in March that he did not support Peppers' candidacy for the position is now the finalist for.
"In my opinion, he does not have the necessary experience, qualifications, and background for this position," Cummins stated earlier this year.
After Peppers withdrew is name as finalist, Cummins then submitted his name to be considered for the post.
Along with Cummins, council members Hooky Huffman and Jack Goodwin have not returned phone calls requesting comment.
Hobgood noted the choice for Cummins as the finalist was not unanimous, but it was the consensus of the majority of the council.
Hobgood said hiring a manager with no prior city or county management experience will mean a longer learning curve. Part of that has to do with the candidate learning the ins and outs of government, including being familiar with the various resources and financing options available to cities, the mayor said.
For example, Hobgood said someone right off the street or with a "strong business background" may be unfamiliar with backdoor general obligation bonds, which involves the use of an independent government entity to sell bonds to build a public facility and then lease that facility to a city or county.
However, the mayor did note Cummins has become familiar with a lot of that nuanced information due to his tenure on the city council.
The mayor stopped short of saying whether he'd support Cummins in the position, but added his colleague is "capable of doing a good job."
"Once the council has spoken, we have to work with that and do the best we can," he added.
Councilman John Rust said he is in support of Cummins as the finalist, adding he "was the absolute best candidate for the job."
"He’s proven over the course of his career that he’s extremely capable manage," Rust said, adding Cummins would have been more than willing to step aside and support a candidate who would have been a better finalist.
Councilman Bill Grant, however, has already come forth and said he will not support Cummins as the finalist.
While he agrees his colleague has done a great job in the interim, Grant stated he felt "we had other candidates who were very passionate about a city management career, and they could have contributed innovative ideas and best practices from their previous positions."
He cited two reasons why he can't support Cummins as the finalist: residents who've clamored for the council to hire someone from outside the city with no current ties to the city and his belief that the city would be best serve by an administrator who offers an "objective perspective and a fresh set of eyes."
"We have great department heads and wonderful employees," he said. "In addition to sound management principles of the past, I am convinced our city requires current innovative strategies and progressive municipal management practices to move forward in a positive direction."
Council member Sandy McGrew said the council narrowed the field of candidates down to two people as possible finalists.
They interviewed many "talented, qualified applicants," one of which was Cummins. She noted Cummins' handling of the city's daily operation has been "very good," while the the other candidate made a career out of city management, had impressive credentials and touted innovative ideas.
"But the majority of the council has chosen to bring forth Mr. Cummins as the sole candidate for the city manager position," she added. "Whomever the council votes to take the position of city manager will have my support. I will work along side of each and every one to move this city forward."