MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) – One city, different opinions. Next month, people who live in Madison will have their say in what their city government looks like.

The city is hosting a special election for whether the city will change from a mayor-council form of governance to a city manager-council format.

The Republican Women of Madison held a forum on the topic Tuesday evening to talk about the two options.

While organizations like Madison Forward and Don’t Mess With Madison have different opinions on the format of governance, both agree Tuesday’s event was important and needed to educate the voters. 

It was the community organization Madison Forward that submitted a petition to change the governing format of the city. 

This would leave the mayor as the face of the town and the president of the city council. A city manager would then be put in charge to handle its daily operations, carrying out the vision of the mayor and the city council.

Madison resident Terri Johnson says Madison would join several other cities in Alabama with a council-manager format. 

“I think having a professional, credentialed person to run the day-to-day operations of the city. We’re talking about a person with a degree in urban administration who has experience working in a city. I think that provides the best services in a non-political way to our residents,” added Johnson.

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Don’t Mess With Madison is in support of maintaining the current mayor/council form of government. 

During the forum, Madison resident Tiffany Knox spoke to the crowd about what the change would take away from residents. She’s encouraging everyone to do their research before they head to the polls. 

“The downfalls of the change would be that voters would lose their voice. They no longer get to choose the person who’s running the city. The change, also, will disrupt the checks and balances process in our government. The mayor will lose his power to veto – which is a major check on the council’s power that will go away. There will be no function for the council to check the city manager’s power either,” stated Knox. 

The special election is scheduled for May 9th. 

Stay with News 19, we’ll be following this election closely.