Canton town clerk appointed despite backlash

Updated: Dec. 31, 2020 at 3:40 PM EST
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TOWN OF CANTON, N.Y. (WWNY) - Despite public backlash, the Canton town board went forward with appointing Karin Blackburn as the new town clerk.

After Canton town clerk Lisa Hammond officially retired on Wednesday, a special year-end meeting was held on Thursday to fill the vacancy.

In a unanimous vote, the board appointed recently-resigned town board member Karin Blackburn as the new town clerk.

Some residents felt deputy clerk Heidi Smith should have filled the spot, but town board member Bob Washo defended his decision

“While she does exhibit on-the-job experience, on-the-job experience is not the only consideration when fulfilling a search,” he said.

Some town residents voiced their concerns over Smith being overlooked for the position.

“I just don’t think you gave her a good enough reason as to why she was passed over on this. It’s pretty clear with the answers we are getting that we’re not going to get the answers that we would like,” said Heather Newcombe, who lives in Rensselaer Falls.

While some questioned the integrity of the interview process, others were unhappy the job was never publicly advertised.

“No one had any idea that it was open and to place that on the people that we just magically have to know that this is open says a lot,” said Kathryn Liscum, Canton resident.

But lawmakers are touting Blackburn’s experience, which includes a job as a director of human resources and former chief clerk at St. Lawrence University in the office of the vice president.

Blackburn will serve the last year of Hammond’s term. Voters will have their choice in town elections next year.

We have reached out to Blackburn for comment on her new appointment, but have not heard back.

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