Commission tables proposal about district elections

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 10, 2016

Covington County Commissioners tabled Chairman Bill Godwin’s request to approve a resolution seeking legislation to have commissioners elected by district instead of county-wide.

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

The method can be changed with a local bill in the legislature, but it’s customary that Rep. Mike Jones and Sen. Jimmy Holley bring the local legislation only when requested by a resolution.

County Attorney Stacy Brooks said it was her understanding that there must be a unanimous agreement among the county commission before Rep. Jones would proceed.

Godwin told the commissioners he did not think it should be decided by the four of them but by the voters.

“Should you choose not to do this, it in fact denies the citizens the right to decide for themselves,” he said. “My job is simply to present the issues for your consideration.”

Commissioner Joe Barton said he felt there was already some confusion about whether commissioners are voted on countywide.

“I think the best solution would be to let the people vote,” he said. “With the situation now where some of us – a couple of the commissioners are not running for re-election. It might be best if we let them (the new commissioners) be involved because it would affect them more on their re-election process than us.”

Commissioners voted unanimously to table the request.