Residents of the City of Fairhope, Ala. were poised to head to the polls October 2 to vote in a special election to decide whether or not they will change the city’s form of government, but now they’ll be making the decision on Nov.6, in conjunction with the state’s general election, instead. The change was made less than a week before original voting day, according to a press release from Baldwin County Probate Judge Tim Russell.
Fairhope voters will now wait to decide whether or not they believe the city should switch from its long-running Mayor-Council form to a Council-Manager system.
Under the Council-Manager system, a new governing body known as the “Council of the City of Fairhope,” would have the same executive powers and duties of the council, and the mayor would become a member of the council. Meaning the mayor would no longer preside over all city employees, or the council. Instead the mayor would be in charge of ceremonial events, and serve as a representative of the city.
“I am disappointed… citizens took the extraordinary step to go door-to-door gaining signatures, as required by law, to have a voice in the future of their city. The referendum election date was noticed and advertised and now, a few days before the election, suddenly extended to the general election,” said Wilson. “What is further concerning is how this delay came about, first in a special-called meeting by council to research the election and at the eleventh hour the city attorney, without my knowledge, contacted the probate judge. Per usual, I was the last to know.”