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The search continues for a Madison police and fire chief

MADISON, Ala. - Madison is still trying to get back on it's feet after multiple department heads parted ways with the city.

The city has been operating without an official police or fire chief for months.

Former Madison Fire and Rescue Chief Ralph Cobb retired on October 1 of last year. That happened after Cobb spent six months on administrative leave.

Cobb was under investigation by Madison city officials for claims of age discrimination. Those allegations came to light following a class he taught to younger firefighters.

Just weeks after Cobb's retirement, former city police chief Larry Muncey submitted his resignation.

Muncey had also been on administrative leave at the time. He was found guilty of contempt of court for questioning his officers during the trial of Madison officer Eric Parker.

Now, with two vacant seats, there's a lot of work in progress.

"From a fire chief stand point, we are kind of in the down select portion of it now. We've had 50 applicants. Very qualified. So, the down select process, even getting it down to 12 is going to be just difficult," said Mayor Paul Finley.

Finley said both positions are critical to the safety of those who live in Madison. As mayor he wants the person selected as police chief to hold the department to a high standard.

"Community policing is something we want to make sure our police officers, led by our police chief do. We want to be in the neighborhood. So the kids and the parents feel safe. So, we won't be sitting on the side of the road trying to nail you for doing a 43 in a 35," said Finley.

Fire chief interviews are expected to be conducted in February. Finley said the city council plans to present five candidates to the public in early March. The mayor estimates the police chief search will be finished about a month and a half after the fire chief search is complete.