City Council members heard from the Madison Governance Transition Committee on their research and recommendation of changing the form of government for the City of Madison. The committee is comprised of involved community members appointed by Mayor Finley, as well as Madison's City Attorney serving as a staff advisor. The committee's scope of work focused on what form of government will serve Madison best through our community's growth, as well as considering staggered Council-Mayor elections in the future. Currently, the City of Madison operates with a Mayor-Council form of government, with 7 voting district representatives and Mayoral recommendations with no vote.
The committee unanimously recommended to Council that the City of Madison should shift to a Council-Manager form of government. After several listening sessions with 6 of Alabama's leading cities, as well as discussions with current City of Madison departmental directors and former City leaders, the committee concluded their research regarding the benefits of a Council-Manager form of government. This form would require redistricting Madison into 6 districts, with a voting Mayor elected at large. If enacted, this form of government would place a credentialed City Manager professional in charge of daily operations of the city, which would provide continuity of city management even as elected officials change. While policy making would still reside with elected officials, Mayor and Council would share legislative functions with Mayor serving as the Council President. The committee reported that the City Manager could be removed by Mayor and Council if not fulfilling duties, but the function of the manager would keep politics out of City administration.
The City will move forward with procedures outlined in the Alabama Council-Manager Act, starting with a petition, then moving to a special election for the citizens of Madison to vote. The committee also recommended Council and Mayoral elections should be staggered to allow continuity of experience of those serving on Council at all times, as well as reducing risk of full council turnover during an election cycle, with the potential for fresh perspectives every two years versus the current 4 year cycle.
With the Governance Transition Committee's recommendations, the City will start defining the process of hiring a qualified City Manager, as well as develop a plan for redistricting with a staggered term legislation. Following a request to the Alabama Legislature for approval, the staggered terms would begin in 2025 after the current administration serves out their term.
Click here to view the Governance Transition Committee's full report to Council on January 10th.