Canton Mayor William Truly and Ward 4 Alderman Daphne Sims want to overhaul the Canton Tourism Board.

Sims made the motion last week to replace all but one of the current board members.

During discussion, Truly raised the issue of replacing board members who have served past their two-year term at a meeting of the Board of Aldermen last week.

Members of the Tourism Board, which is made up of restaurateurs and hotel owners or operators in the city, are appointed by the mayor and approved by the aldermen. Under their charter, board members serve two years.

The 1988 legislation which set parameters for the Tourism Board says the city shall nominate members to serve on the board that meet the criteria “to the extent available in the city” — a phrase Truly emphasized. He indicated during an exchange with aldermen that he intends to nominate appointees who might not necessarily meet that criteria laid out in the original legislation.

“The Legislature has written it in such a way that in the event you cannot find these individuals, you do the best you can,” Truly said. “These (current Tourism Board members) were appointed in 2015 to serve two years, not four.”

Multiple attempts to get the list of new board members from the city has been unsuccessful.

The Tourism Board is designed to consist of seven members. A quick Google search reveals more than 20 restaurants and 10 hotels located within the city limits.

Ward 3 Alderman Les Penn asked if anyone had spoken with the director of Canton Tourism Jana Dear for input on who should serve on the board.

When Truly responded that he was unaware of any such communication, Penn followed up.

“Don’t you think it’d be a good idea, as mayor, to get input from the director?” he asked.

“No, I don’t,” Truly said.

That’s when Penn asked why the city even employs a director, considering they weren’t going to ask for input in this kind of situation.

“My position is that we need to go in another direction,” Truly responded. “In a direction that benefits the whole city. That’s the basis for this change.”

The motion to replace board members passed 4-1, with Penn as the lone no vote.

Dear, who was at the meeting, said Wednesday she had requested a list of the new board members from the mayor’s office, but had not received a response.

“I will work with anyone and everyone,” she said. “As long as they represent the Canton hotel and restaurant community. I know there are several candidates from those industries that have not been contacted about serving.”

The Canton Tourism Board is responsible for bringing 250,000 visitors to the city each year.