Amidst Controversy, City Manager's Contract Extended

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Over a six week period, Dothan City commissioners’ evaluated City Manager Mike West's performance on the job.

Tuesday, that evaluation led to a vote to extend West's contract.

However, District 2 Commissioner Amos Newsome says he has a bit of a chip on his shoulder.

We reported it in the past about the revision to Dothan’s nearly 60 year old civil service act. The revision would cause the city personnel board director, who hears employee complaints, to report directly to the city manager.

Newsome says that's the reason behind his concern. He's never heard of a city manager wanting to control the city's personnel director because of a board he considered a hindrance. "I don't see that as a hindrance, I think you deal with what you have," he said.

However, Mayor Pat Thomas says changes to have the personnel director report to the city manager weren't those of Mike West, but past commissioners. "I've been here with the last few city managers and each of them had a problem with the way the personnel department reported," explains Thomas.

West is one of the highest paid city manager's in the state, with a salary of more than $146,000 dollars. Perks include a traveling allowance and a company car, while answering to the city commission as he oversees Dothan’s day to day operations.

On his evaluation, commissioners wanted West to better communicate, but still praised him for his leadership.

"I look forward to working with you in the future," said District 5 Commissioner Taylor Barbaree.

West’s arrival in 2004 was on the helm of former City Manager Dennis Ruben, who left to pursue a career in Atlanta. That was a critical move, which some speculate is a reason Dothan should change its form of government toward a full-time mayor.

"At this point and time we love living here. My wife has just begun renovating the house, so in the foreseeable future, my plans are to stay in Dothan, Alabama" says West.

West’s contract isn't up until October 31st 2008.