Dothan Petition Controversy Continues

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A petition drive to change Dothan’s form of government could be in jeopardy. City officials are asking the attorney general's office to determine if they can legally do what the petitioners want.

Dothan officials are questioning the wording of the petition. The document calls for a referendum to change Dothan to a mayor/council form of government under Title 11-Chapter 43-C of the Alabama code.

The trouble is that section pertains to cities with five-member governing boards and Dothan has seven.

Therefore, the petition puts the change on hold until the Alabama Legislature amends the law and Dothan officials contend they have no control over state lawmakers.

Dothan City Attorney Len White said, “The petition proposes a form of government that will not take affect until the legislature changes existing law. In other words, if the election is scheduled and there is no change by the legislature, then the city has spent thousands of dollars for nothing and the results will count for nothing.”

So, the city is asking for an attorney general's opinion to settle the issue.

Former Dothan Mayor Kenneth Everett spearheaded the petition and he's hoping voters will still get a chance to go to the polls. “I just hope all of you will get with the program and let's do it right and then let the people hear the two arguments on which way to go and vote,” he said.

Dothan officials hope to have their request ready for the attorney general by next week. They hope to get a response within 30 days.

Dothan officials say so far, they've checked out 605 of the 6,300 signatures on the petition and 450 have been certified.

They say the certification process will continue while they await word from the attorney general's office.