Toward the end of the night’s agenda meeting, the council and Mayor Gene Hobgood went into executive session to discuss personnel and litigation. About 20 minutes later, the council returned without discussion and voted 5-0 to keep Wood on as city manager. Councilman Jack Goodwin was absent.
“I’m certainly grateful for the support of the majority of the city council,” Wood told the Cherokee Tribune after the meeting. “I will continue to do the best job I can representing the administrative interests and responsibilities of the city of Canton.”
Councilman John Beresford — who had been one of Woods’ fiercest critics — made the motion to end the probationary period for the embattled city manager. He also asked that the council “scrub” Wood’s personnel file of the matter.
But City Attorney Bobby Dyer clarified that the record of Wood being placed on probation cannot be expunged, though it will be noted that the probationary period was terminated.
“Whatever happened, happened,” Dyer told the council. “It’s in the file.”
In April, Wood was placed on a six-month probation in a 5-1 vote by the council, with Beresford in the minority. The vote stemmed from the resignation of Canton police Officer Daniel Henley after a video surfaced of him pulling over the city manager for speeding after a council meeting on March 15.
Wood faced accusations that he had used his position to be let off easily by the police officer. Wood denied the charge. He was also questioned by council members about a subsequent conversation he had with Cherokee Sheriff Roger Garrison, which interim Canton Police Chief Todd Vande Zande overheard when Wood inadvertently called him.
In the end, Wood managed to repair his relationship with the council over the past six months. The majority of council members wrote glowing performance evaluations that praised the city manager’s work and professionalism.
Wood said he believed that he had been given a clean slate after the first vote in April.
“I think this is just a ratification of the efforts that we’ve all put together to try to make things better,” he said.