Dothan citizens continue fight to save city manager’s job

DOTHAN, Ala (WDHN) — The citizens of the Circle City are fighting to save the job of soon-to-be-former City Manager Kevin Cowper.

The plea to save Cowper’s job comes after the Dothan City Commission voted 4-3 not to renew his contract during a heated meeting Tuesday morning.

Once the vote came down, many in the crowd stood up and left, seemingly upset with the commission’s decision.

“You’ll be up for a vote one day,” one woman said while pointing at the commissioners.

READ MORE: Dothan City Manager loses fight to renew his contract despite resounding community support

Just hours after the commission chambers emptied, a concerned Dothan citizen, Oscar Handal, took action and launched a petition on to save Cowper’s job.

“I am deeply troubled by the recent dismissal of our visionary and innovative city manager, Kevin Cowper. Kevin has proven to be an invaluable asset to our community,” said Handal on the petition page.

The organizer continued to say Cowper has been an experienced and “invaluable asset to our community,” bringing an extensive background in community development and public finance.

Before Tuesday’s vote, Commissioner Bradley Bedwell (District 3) and Mayor Mark Saliba said it would be a mistake to fire Cowper during the significant changes in Dothan, a sentiment Handal agreed with.

“The abrupt removal of such a dedicated public servant is detrimental to the continued growth and prosperity of Dothan,” said Handal. “We believe this decision was made without considering the long-term impacts on our community.”

Cowper has been at the forefront of the ambitious City Center Project, a so-far successful $200 million plan to revitalize Dothan’s downtown area.

Handal is currently asking for 500 signatures. As of Wednesday afternoon, around 280 citizens had signed the petition.

One signee said under Cowper, Dothan has “finally” started making progress after being stagnant for years.

Some commissioners who voted against renewing Cowper’s contract claimed he had been involved in public and “embarrassing” situations but would not elaborate.

During Cowper’s tenure, the Dothan government came under fire after a scandal involving the city’s after-school feeding program was revealed. This resulted in the FBI launching an investigation.

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