HUNTSVILLE, Ala. (WHNT)--November 15 will usher in a new ear for the Madison County Commission.
"I'm excited about the new ideas that will coming to the commission," said commission chair elect Dale Strong. "I look forward to working with these new commissioners and again just a few days away from swearing-in historically something Madison County has never seen."
Republican Dale Strong will soon become the first new Madison County Commission Chair in a generation, following the leadership of veteran chairman Mike Gillespie. As for the man filling Strong's shoes in district 4?
"I'm his biggest fan," said Strong of Phil Vandiver. "I'm also going to be the biggest fan of any other new commissioner that may be elected."
A native of Madison County, Phil Vandiver says the commission changes will bring new challenges and new thinkers.
"We're going to lose about eighty years of experience off the commission and that's invaluable, what we're not going to have there to rely on anymore. We're working with the new guys already to try to start relationships with them so we can get to know each other a little bit better and understand the needs of each of their districts and what they are looking forward to doing in the future. I'm expressing some of my interests to them too in road projects and other things that we need in our district and just working to get things rolling. we want to make sure that when November 15 gets here we're ready to go," said Vandiver.
Dale Strong says the man replacing Faye Dyer in representing Madison City District 2 will bring a unique perspective to the commission. In serving two terms on the Madison City Council, Steve Haraway has hands-on experience with economic development and budget preparation. Haraway's district will now increase by over 40,000 Madison residents.
"It's going to be a big jump," Haraway says. "It's going to be a lot different, things at the county, it's going to be interesting to learn the processes, how they do things and right now I'm getting to know people in the different departments finding out a little bit about what they do, how they function, what goes on within their department, who the key players are and getting to know a whole different group of people."
Chairman elect Strong says time management and tasks like reining in a nearly 18 million dollar expenditure on county employee healthcare yearly will all be a part of getting Madison County's fiscal house in order.
"We work for the public," said Strong. The money that pays the bills of Madison County, it's not the county's, it's not the state's, it's not the federal government's--it's the people of Madison County--and always having input from the people I have seen has been beneficial. that's the direction we will continue to go."
District five's Phil Riddick and district six commissioner Bob Harrison were both unopposed this term.
Jeff Cooper and Eddie Sisk are vying for commissioner Jerry Craig's vacated district three seat. District one's Roger Jones is trying to hold on to his seat in November's race against republican Tim McNeese.