New mayor, city council in Madison promise teamwork and communication

MADISON, Ala. -- In Madison, the oaths of office are administered and there are three returning council members, plus a new mayor and four new council members governing the city.

Mayor Paul Finley took his oath of office first Monday night. It's something he's done before.

"Having been through it once before, I don't think I appreciated it the first time," he said of the moment he raised his right hand.  This time, Finley took the time to soak it all in. He knows his strategy better, and he knows where he fits in the government. But he also has different goals: "I'm going to find a solid balance between this job and my family," he said.

Finley told the crowd he won't do much looking back though: "It's not about what we've done in the past, it's about where we are in the future," he said.

The council members followed, each taking their own oaths followed by applause. Although there were some nerves, there was also a ripple of excitement as they realized it's time to get to work.

"I'm excited, and relieved, thankful it's over," commented Maura Wroblewski about the moment she took a seat in her new council spot. "I think we've got a marriage here. There will be some ups and downs, but as long as we put the people of Madison first, we're all going to be better for it."

For Greg Shaw, the swearing in was the hurdle to hop before getting down to business.

"I'm like, let me get in the chair and get this over with!" he told WHNT News 19. "I'm really not a flashy person, all I want to do is sit down and go to work for the Madison community."

Finley said it's all about open communication for him, with the city and with the council.

"They're the ones who vote, so we have to keep them informed throughout the process. Get them the information they need," he explained.

Newly-chosen council President Tommy Overcash said having so many new people on the council isn't unheard of, but there will be an adjustment period they're ready for.

"It's an art form, not a science," he said. "It takes a little while to find out how people like to do business, what they like, what they don't."

Each person seemed acutely aware of the big things they need to do, from finding a new fire chief, to dealing with the Limestone County tax issue, to deciding what to do about a proposed recreation center. There are big decisions ahead.

Overcash added one more: "And, rebuild a little credibility in city hall. There's some confidence that needs to be reestablished, so we're looking forward to doing that also."

Overcash and Finley agreed this new group is already coming in strong.

"I think everybody is fully on board with solid communication, they're already showing great communication," Finley said. "People expect results, that's how we're going to get it."

"We're not always going to agree, but I think as long as we all bring in good ideas to the table and we are all working for Madison city, we're going to be successful as a group," commented Shaw.

The new council members said they knew they have a job to do, and a responsibility to those who elected them.

"It should be a solid team," Finley added. "The community will know. Four years from now they have another chance to vote and if we haven't done what we said we'd do, they won't want us back."

The new council is as follows:

District 1: Maura Wroblewski

District 2: Steve Smith

District 3: Teddy Powell

District 4: Greg Shaw

District 5: Tommy Overcash

District 6: Gerald Clark

District 7: John Seifert, II