Madison City Council approves the resignations of 3 department heads

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MADISON, Ala. - Three department heads in the City of Madison government put forward resignations for Madison City Council's consideration Monday night. All three were approved unanimously, with little to no discussion from the council members.

Police Chief Larry Muncey

Madison Police Chief Larry Muncey submitted his resignation letter two weeks ago. The council's approval of his departure essentially closed the book on a long drama entangling the city.  “Right now, it gives us closure," says Madison Mayor Paul Finley.

Chief Muncey had been on administrative leave since being found guilty of contempt of court for questioning his officers during the trial of Madison Officer Eric Parker.

Mayor Finley says Muncey's resignation was the best possible outcome. “With what happened, it did make it easier for us to move forward and that’s exactly what we’ll do," he says.

Outside of the contempt charges, the mayor and council praised Muncey for fulfilling major goals during his 7 year stint as chief.  “That was bringing community policing to our city. We’ve had national and international awards," says Finley.

Chief Muncey's last official day on the job is Wednesday, but has been on administrative leave for several months.

Fire Chief Ralph Cobb

The council also accepted the departure of Fire Chief Ralph Cobb, who had also been placed on administrative leave for several months. He first announced his retirement in June.

City Attorney Kelly Butler

City Attorney Kelly Butler also announced she's leaving the city's legal department. Mayor Finley declined to give background information as to why Ms. Butler resigned, but told WHNT News 19, "As Councilman Overcash said, we met with her and accepted her resignation."

The Replacement Process

All three resignations were accepted in quick, unanimous decisions by the council.  “Now our responsibility as Mayor and Council will be to go find the best possible fit in each respective job that supports the City of Madison," says Mayor Finley.

Major Jim Cooke was officially named Interim Police Chief, after already serving as Acting Police Chief for the last several months. Deputy Chief Brandy Williams will serve as Interim Fire Chief.

Megan Zingarelli began serving as acting city attorney during Monday night's meeting, and officially received the interim title as well.

Mayor Finley says all can apply for the permanent job, but the city will also do a nationwide search. “We’ll take the best possible 10-12 applications, we’ll do internal interviews, bring council 3-5 candidates at which point we’ll have public forums where people can listen to these interviews," he says.

The mayor says the council's first priority will be filling the police and fire chief positions, in the next 2-4 months.

He says they will then assess whether they want to do a search, or just hire Interim City Attorney Megan Zingarelli for the full-time position.