Thu Sep 03 00:17:18 PDT 2015
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Newest Dothan commissioner ruffling feathers at city hall
Ken Curtis

Next time Dothan Commissioner Beth Kenward is in a meeting with city department heads and she’s speaking don’t look at her---watch the department heads. Watch their eyes and body movement. Watch and you may see a frustrated sigh. Some of them don’t like the newest member of the commission though, of course, none will say so publicly. Actually, it may be more they don’t like what she’s doing---asking lots of questions. And Kenward does ask many. Just this week, she questioned why the city would pay a private engineering firm nearly $15,000 when there are 10 or so engineers on the city’s staff. She recently questioned the need for a sewer fee increase and balked at the amount of money city employees are spending on travel. And, that, ruffled feathers. “I think it’s my job to ruffle feathers. I think that is why people elected me—to ask questions. Does that make friends at all times—no it does not---but I’m not here to make friends,” Kenward said. Recently elected, Kenward claims she has a good working relationship with department heads, mayor, fellow commissioners and city manager. “We do work together,” she said. In fact, Kenward claims, with a unified effort, travel costs were recently slashed by twenty percent. What makes Kenward different from past commissioners is she does not automatically vote “yes” on all agenda items. “I will never be a rubber stamp. I hope it’s clear to people that we’re (at city hall) to question everything. This is not my money, it is taxpayer’s money,” she said. Its likely Kenward will continue ruffling feathers. As for the eyes, they’ll keep rolling.

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