Madison city council members explain change of government study very differently

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MADISON, Ala. (WHNT) – Talk of a change of government continues to ripple through Madison.

We spoke with two city council members Monday night, both supporting the study looking at a variety of changes — including moving toward emphasizing a city manager over the mayor and staggering city council elections.

The council members presented the study very differently though.

Let’s start with the common ground.

District 6 City Council Member Gerald Clark says, “I do support the change in city government or the study for the change in city government.”

Council President Tommy Overcash says it this way, “We really just want the most efficient product we can get for the city.”

But councilman Clark says outright the city government is having problems, “Sometimes the responsibilities of duties have been questioned, whether people are overstepping their bounds or just aren’t doing their job.”

However Overcash says the study just makes sense in the context of a number of proposed inter-departmental positions, like a mayor’s aide and a communication director, “This task force is interested in researching it for us, and so much like we did with the school system, we formed a committee and spun them off. They’re off and running and will come back and report to us.”

Clark puts it bluntly,  “Behind the scenes there is a lack of communication between the mayor and the council, and there’s also a lack of communication within the council itself.”

But Overcash attributes his interest more to the city’s growth, “When I moved out here in 1985 there were 6,000 people. Now we’re pushing 50,000 people and city hall has not really grown that much. Police and fire have grown a certain amount just because of the territory, but within city hall, the majority of the departments are not much larger than they used to be.”

Both say they want to hear the recommendations from the group examining change — though it would seem it’s for different reasons.

The study group is expected to take six to eight weeks to return their report.

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