Change of Dothan City Government

By: Deborah Tuff Email
By: Deborah Tuff Email

The saga continues after an Alabama attorney general's opinion ruled a petition to change Dothan's form of government was illegal.

Former Mayor Kenneth Everette wants the city manager out. News 4 spoke with a city manager from the Birmingham area that says the job carries a lot of responsibilities.

An advertisement in Sunday's Dothan Eagle reads, “Join the declaration of independence from taxation without representation”.

It calls for residents who want to take a stand against the recent sales tax hike and Dothan's current form of government to run in the July City Commission election.

Back in November, a petition circulated around Dothan to change the city's form of government, so the city manager's position would be abolished.

The votes were counted, but Attorney General Troy King later deemed the petition illegal.

Now, the Dothan area Chamber of Commerce hopes to educate residents about the city managers job through Mountain Brook Alabama's own City Manager, Sam Gaston.

"The City Manager sometimes acts as a buffer between the city commission and other groups, but the city manager also serves as a broker for different community investments," Gaston said.

Gaston has been doing the job for 14 years in Mountain Brook, a suburb of Birmingham.

He spoke to rotary club members about the challenges that come with being a city.

"Here in Dothan you have 940 full-time employees, 130 part-time employees, and a $140 million dollar operating budget,” Gaston says. “So, with the day-to-day operations that occur on such a large scales, a city needs a professional city manager not an amateur."

However, Kenneth Everett, the man behind the advertisement believes something different.

He says the more than 6300 signatures gathered for the petition speaks volumes about what he thinks the people want and he's not going down with out a fight.

Everette spoke to News 4 on the phone and says after the petition let down he hopes to educate people about the options they now have, which include:

1. To challenge the AG's opinion
2. Elect new people

In the 2007 and 2009 city elections, Everette aims to oust commissioners who voted for the city's sales tax increase.

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