Elect by district not county?

Published 12:01 am Tuesday, March 8, 2016

Chairman to ask commissioners to OK resolution

Covington County Commission Chairman Bill Godwin said he will ask fellow commissioners to approve a resolution seeking legislation to have commissioners elected by district instead of county-wide.

The commission is set to meet at 8:30 a.m. Wednesday.

At present, a member of the commission must live in the district he represents; however, candidates must stand for at-large, or county-wide election.

Godwin would like to see residents of a district select their own representative.

“In the last two elections, we’ve had a commissioner elected who did not carry the vote in his district, but carried the vote countywide,” Godwin said in January, when he first publicly proposed the idea. “People would like to know they could elect the person in their district who will be accountable to them.”

The method could be changed with a local bill in the state legislature, but it has long been the custom of the local delegation – Rep. Mike Jones (R-Andalusia) and Sen. Jimmy Holley (R-Elba) – to bring local legislation only when it is requested by resolution.

Godwin said he doesn’t know if fellow commissioners will support his proposals or not. Two of the four, Commissioner Carl Turman and Commissioner Harold Elmore, did not seek reelection this year. The other two, Joe Barton and Kenneth Northey, were unopposed.

In a debate in January, Greg White, who defeated Godwin last week in his bid for reelection, said he is comfortable with the current system.

Moving from at-large voting would not affect the race for chairman, which would still be decided county-wide.

Godwin will continue to serve as chairman until November.