Current Auburn assistant city manager Kevin Cowper has agreed in principle to become Dothan’s next city manager, though an official vote still needs to take place.
Mayor Mark Saliba confirmed the news to the Eagle Thursday. Cowper would replace retiring city manager Mike West, who has served as city manager or acting city manager since November 2004.
While Cowper has agreed to the contract the city has offered to him, his hire will not be official until the Dothan City Commission votes on the matter Tuesday. A favorable vote would end a 13-month search for the city’s next top employee.
“ You can’t get impatient with this (process). The goal is to get it right,” Saliba said. “(Cowper is) ready and willing to move forward.”
West announced his retirement, effective at the end of 2018, in February 2018. The city commission hoped to find a replacement by late last year but decided to reopen the search in December after initially whittling the potential candidates to two in November.
Saliba said the city, through its consultant Slavin Management Consultants, contacted Cowper in the initial search. Cowper applied for the position during the relaunch, leading to his potential hire.
Because of the length of search, the city hired West to fill the vacancy temporarily under the “acting city manager” title. That contract ends on March 31.
If the commission approves Cowper on Tuesday, he will begin working for Dothan on April 29, meaning the city commission will select two department heads to share city manager duties during most of April, Saliba said.
Saliba declined to immediately release Cowper’s salary. For reference, Saliba said West made about $185,000 in his last full year of the job.