Madison Mayor-elect Paul Finley looking forward to returning to office, police chief decision looming

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MADISON, Ala. --  Madison Mayor-elect Paul Finley had a transition meeting Thursday with Mayor Troy Trulock in preparation for his Nov. 7 return to the mayor’s office.

Finley served as Madison’s mayor from 2008 to 2012, but decided not to seek a second term. Trulock won the 2012 election, but finished second to Finley in 2016 mayor’s race.

Finley won with 62 percent of the vote in the three-candidate race that also included Hanu Karlapalem.

Finley said he is looking forward to working with Madison’s new city council, which will include four new council members: Teddy Powell, John Seifert, Greg Shaw and Maura Wroblewski, and three incumbents returning for another term: Gerald Clark, Tommy Overcash and Steve Smith.

Finley said in the first 90 days he expects to work with the council to address a number of issues raised by voters on the campaign trail, including the ongoing school tax dispute with Limestone County.

An estimated 1,600 students who live in Limestone County attend Madison public schools, but Limestone County doesn’t provide any school tax dollars to Madison.

Finley said he also wants address economic development opportunities for Madison to help bolster the city’s tax base.

There are also ongoing questions about leadership of Madison’s police and fire departments.

Longtime Fire Chief Ralph Cobb was placed on leave earlier this year and later announced his retirement. Finley said he expects a nationwide search will be conducted to find Cobb’s successor.

Police Chief Larry Muncey has also been on paid leave since April, following his conviction on a federal misdemeanor contempt of court charge. Muncey is appealing the conviction.

His contract is up for renewal later this year and Finley said the council will address that issue as well. He said he’s been meeting with the incoming council members.

“Well that’s part of in meeting with each council member to get their understanding of where that stands with the police chief and what their thoughts are,” Finley said. “We need to help make a quick decision and depending on which direction it goes, support council.”

Finley said he plans to be accessible and open as mayor and will set aside a few hours every two weeks for residents to schedule appointments to meet with him.