Madison considers change of government format, mayor could join council

Madison

MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) — Council members for the city of Madison heard from the Madison Governance Transition Committee about a recommendation to change the form of government for the city on Tuesday.

The proposed change would put the mayor as part of the city council and a professional manager would be hired to oversee the day-to-day operations of Madison.

Currently, the city operates with a council-mayor format, with seven voting district representatives and mayoral recommendations with no vote.

The committee, appointed in August 2021 by Mayor Paul Finley, unanimously proposed that Madison should shift to a council-manager form of government. This would require redistricting Madison into six districts, with a voting mayor elected at large.

If enacted, the form would place a credentialed City Manager professional in charge of daily operations of the city, providing continuity of city management, despite the change of elected officials.

Policy-making would still reside with elected officials, mayor and council would share legislative functions with the mayor serving as the council president. The committee said the city manager position could be removed by the mayor and council if they don’t fulfill their duties, but that the function of the manager would keep politics out of city administration.

The transition, if authorized, would be a long process. Procedures for the change would start with a petition, followed by a special election for citizens of Madison to vote.

Al.com reported in 2015 that a similar proposal was made to the council for a change of government format, but went no further.

A recommendation was also made that council and mayoral elections should be staggered to allow for a continuity of experience of those serving on council at all times, reducing the risk of full council turnover during election cycles.

Madison will start the defining process of hiring a qualified City Manager, along with developing plans for redistricting with staggered term legislation. Staggered terms would begin in 2025 after the current administration serves out its term.

According to al.com, the Madison council plans to hold a work session soon with the Governance Transition Committee to further discuss the proposal.

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