Madison continues to explore possible city manager

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MADISON, Ala. (WHNT)-- The Madison City Council is continuing discussion about changing the city's form of government to include a possible city manager position.

The committee formed to research the idea over the summer has now made its recommendation. Chair John Allen said they researched for weeks and visited multiple Alabama cities to gain perspective. They looked at multiple forms of government, but the majority agreed to recommend the city manager-council-mayor form for Madison.

"Typically you find a city manager that his employed for a long period of time," said Allen. "And so they have commitment more so to a long term vision." He said continuity is a benefit of this type of government, especially through election season.

"Change is always difficult," he said. "People don't want to change, but change is sometimes necessary and good for future success." He commented that Madison is growing, and with it, its form of government should also expand to keep up and manage responsibilities.

Others, including mayor Troy Trulock, argue that Madison's current success is proof in the pudding that what they're doing now works.

"I am opposed to the city manager, period," he told WHNT News 19. "I do not want to see this tremendous growth and prosperity turn around for no reason."

Tuesday was the first time both sides heard from the voters.  There were also opposing views between them as they came to speak for public comment.

"To me, there's not a problem now and given how successful our city is right now doesn't change it," said one woman. "It doesn't make sense."

Another said he would be excited to see this change: "I have experienced it. I know it can work. And I hope that eventually happens here."

Another commented that a division of the mayor's workload as the city grows would be helpful. "Is everything getting done?" he wondered.

Committee member Bob Drolet came to public comment concerned about separation of powers under a city manager accountable to the council, and not elected by the voters. "All of the power is vested under one branch, the council," he explained.

When push comes to shove, though, the city manager research is the only thing on the table. Council members say decisions as to implementation are far from being made. Tommy Overcash explained that any decisions about Madison's form of government will not be taken lightly, or made quickly. He said, this is a look at what's best for Madison in the years to come.

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