Madison City Council members present task force plans for possible city manager at tension-filled meeting

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MADISON, Ala. (WHNT)--  A squabble between the Madison City Council and Mayor Troy Trulock takes into question a ten-member, citizen-led task force set up to research a possible city manager.

Would a city manager or other administrative position be good for the city? That's what the task force members are tasked with finding out, by going to various communities with similar positions and doing other research, then reporting findings back to the council.

"The Madison City Council as a body is open to discussing the different possible configurations of administrative personnel within the city hall," commented Council President Tommy Overcash. He adds the City Administration Task Force will be chaired by community leader John Allen.

Things got messy at Monday's meeting, though.

Mayor Troy Trulock came armed with several questions for supporters of this task force.

"My concern is that you have not identified a need for this committee," he said. He went on to say he believed the previous discussions about this task force were not property accounted for in minutes and agendas.

"Is it possible we are trying to hide this activity from our citizens?" he asked. He also wondered about the makeup of the task force, questioning possible biases that he says could exist.

"The formation of this citizens advisory group is suspicious," said Trulock.  He added that Huntsville runs well with a city administrator who answers to Mayor Battle, and that's a much larger municipality than Madison.

But council members asked in reply, what's the harm in doing research?

"They're not making any decisions," said council member DJ Klein of the task force. "That's why I'm so frustrated with this conspiracy theory, that you're so defensive about this study that's just giving us information," he said to Trulock. "It's completely off-base. This was an effort that was brought up by citizens, it's led by citizens, and the fact that we're going down this path that we'd like to learn more information is that we want to listen to the citizens."

At the end of it all, Overcash drew this bottom line: "We as a body endorse this task force and it will report back to us on the subject." He says that should take a few weeks. He said he would give more tails about the task force later this week, including who will be on it. He also says the task force will look into other issues such as staggered council terms. He told the mayor before the council that he would address Trulock's other concerns in the coming days.