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Dothan Alabama Can Take Plays From Auburn Alabama Playbook

Rickey Stokes

Viewed: 8413

Posted by: RStokes
Date: Mar 07 2019 3:50 PM

AUBURN:      RSN has been doing some research on City Manager’s and Assistant City Manager’s.

One city we have looked at is Auburn Alabama. They have a great idea of which Dothan ought to implement, and that is an Assistant City Manager position.


Dothan’s former City Manager, Mike West, announced to the Dothan Mayor and Commissioner’s he was going to retire in December 2018. When that date struck the Dothan Mayor and Dothan Commission had not made a City Manager selection.

Then the Dothan Mayor and Commission decided to enter into a contract agreement with Former Dothan City Manager Mike West through April 30, 2019. The clock is ticking fast on that date. 

The Dothan Mayor and Commission have been very quiet on this issue and the local media have not pressed for updates from the Mayor and Dothan Commissioners.

Auburn Alabama has a City Manager with an Assistant City Manager. Our city, Dothan Alabama is large enough for an Assistant City Manager. The Assistant City Manager can handle a lot of details on issues. The Assistant City Manager is also someone who can step in when needed should the City Manager be out of town or leave Dothan or retire such as West has retired.

Dothan can operate without a City Manager. Under the form of government Dothan exists as a City Manager is required. And the vision’s for the future are at a stand still without the Captain of the ship ( City Manager ) being on board.

The Assistant City Manager of Auburn Alabama, Kevin Cowper gave a recap to the media concerning the most recent Auburn City Council meeting.


Cowper has been the assistant city manager of Auburn, Alabama, population 60,000, since 2007. He oversees planning, public works, environmental services and water resource management. His duties also include work with budgets.

Cowper’s resume highlights his accomplishments as implementing organizational, operations and personnel changes to improve performance and inter-department coordination. He also introduced inter-department project management teams to improve project delivery and design, and he has overseen downtown redevelopment and prepared a growth management strategy.

Cowper’s previous jobs include Pensacola’s Community Development director from 2001-07; director of Planning and Zoning for Baldwin County, Alabama, from 1995-01; and land development planner for Shelby County, Alabama, from 1991-95. He holds a master’s degree in city and regional planning from the University of Memphis.

In 2011, Cowper turned down an offer from the Vestavia Hills City Council to become its city manager, according to The Birmingham News. Cowper, the top-ranked candidate for the job, emerged from salary negotiations with a final offer from the city of $135,000 but turned it down because he sought $148,000, according to reports.

City reorganizes departments for efficiency ( Auburn Al. )

The City of Auburn is in the process of restructuring its departments in an effort to increase efficiency and meet the current future needs of the growing population. ( 2018 )

The reorganization groups departments with similar services and missions together into what the city is calling "business units." Several new positions have been created in this process, and there will be no job loss, said Assistant City Manager Kevin Cowper.

Cowper said the restructuring has been discussed for years.

"We started out with (asking), what is the vision for the future of the city? Where do we see things going?" Cowper said. "We laid out a lot of things ... for neighborhoods and businesses, economic development, for maintaining public safety, having state-of-the-art recreation facilities, having a great downtown, having a great city organization to support all the growth and development in the city.

"I think it will make things definitely more efficient and will really just allow us to focus the organization on the things that are important moving forward."


When it comes to conflict resolution, Cowper said dealing with conflict is something that happens almost daily.

“I believe in talking through concerns,” he said. “In general I have a calm demeanor and I use that during confrontation to try to calm the situation.”

Cowper has been quoted as saying there would never be a shortage of ideas.

“My mindset is, ‘We’re doing good, but what can we do better,’” he said. A city manager’s job is to be a visionary.”

Cowper said he views himself as a fairly adaptable person who can shift his approach based on the situation. Cowper has been quoted in articles in his quest for City Manager positions as saying "if chosen for the position, Cowper said he would “take things slowly, grow into the position and focus on building relationships, credibility and trust.”


In 2011 Vestavia Hills, Alabama:

VESTAVIA HILLS, Alabama --- Vestavia Hills’ search for a new city manager will continue.

Kevin Cowper, an assistant city manager for Auburn, rejected the city’s counteroffer regarding his proposed contract.

The Vestavia Hills City Council and mayor had offered Cowper, 46, the city manager job last week and were in negotiations with him regarding salary and other benefits.


In 2017 Cowper was one of the two finalists for City Manager in Dunedin Florida. The city manager from Coral Springs Florida was the final selection.

Commissioner Deborah Kynes said she thought Bramley and Cowper were great candidates and had strong skills, but she felt Bramley was the best fit for Dunedin.

Both candidates have good skill sets and strong development backgrounds, Freaney said.


Apparently Auburn has an aggressive City Manager's Office. And it is apparent Cowper is a leader and visionary as he works side by side with the City Manager.

Only time will tell who Dothan selects to lead us into the future.

Dothan Alabama Can Take Plays From Auburn Alabama Playbook

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