Committee recommends changing City of Madison’s government structure

Published: Jan. 13, 2022 at 5:29 PM CST
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MADISON, Ala. (WAFF) - The City of Madison could be one step closer to changing its type of government.

The city’s Governance Transition Committee unanimously decided to recommend a city council/city manager style government. Since 1988, Madison has had a mayor/city council governance.

Madison Mayor Paul Finley created the seven-member Governance Transition Committee in Augustso they could figure out the best way to govern a city that’s growing at a fast rate.

In the proposed structure, the City Manager will take the responsibilities of the City Administrator. That means they would manage the day-to-day and personnel operations. However, the City Manager would serve at the pleasure of the city council rather than the mayor, like the City Administrator currently does.

Madison Mayor Paul Finley says this means the City Manager will be able to serve for a longer period of time since their job isn’t dependent on each mayoral election. “Right now, as a new mayor comes in they can change out who it (City Administrator) is and the community does not only have to deal with, not only a new mayor but who they bring in. In this case, they would have someone who would stay longer they would have a lot more stability to support the community and in turn, carry out a lot of long-range projects that need to be done.”

The mayor’s role will change as well. They will continue to be the figurehead of Madison but they will also serve as the President of the Madison City Council. That means the mayor would be able to vote in city council meetings which brings up a lot of questions because they would have to redraw districts so Madison has six, instead of its usual seven to keep an odd number of voting parties.

This is all happening during a time where officials have to analyze their population and redraw districts. They have to do this every ten years after the census comes out.

The City of Madison plans to have two maps drawn: one with six districts, if the city adapts the city manager style, and a second plan if they keep the mayor/city council structure.

There are still several steps to make this plan official. Madison City officials say it will take a few years to decide.

The next stage: city council will have a work session on changing governances. Leaders say that should happen at the end of January or beginning of February.

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