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Madison will retain current Mayor-Council form of government

The City of Madison currently operates under a Mayor-Council form of governance.

MADISON, Alabama — According to the unofficial results released by the city, Madison will retain its current Mayor-Council form of government. This is after a special election on May 9, 2023.

In a statement, the City said:

The unofficial results are in and the measure to transition to a Council-Manager form of government did not pass. The City of Madison will continue to operate under a Mayor-Council form. 

"The City of Madison was happy to see engaged citizens for this election. Our community voiced its opinion to continue operating under a Mayor-Council form of government. We have a proven track record of success with this form of government, and we have managed growth and numerous projects for long-term progress. Your elected officials will continue to work hard for quality of life in Madison. Whichever way you cast your vote, as Council and Mayor, we are encouraged in our community’s involvement with municipal government,” says Mayor Paul Finley.

The City will now canvas these numbers and collect any provisional ballots to verify the count. The official count will come in on May 16th at noon. The City will then provide notice to state offices and the probate court at that time.



The City of Madison is looking to change the way they govern.

Click here to learn more about the different forms of governance.

This is a decision that is ultimately up to the people of Madison.

This transition consists of moving from a mayor-council type of government to a council-manager type of government.

"Currently, we're in a mayor-city administrator role where the mayor has one person who serves at the mayor's pleasure and that can be whoever he or she decides to put in. If we transitioned, it would go to a council-city manager role, which means that the city council would put in the city manager. So, there's a little bit more accountability from seven people who put in one, versus a mayor who has his district his or her discretion on who they would want to put in," said City of Madison's Mayor, Paul Finley. 

Alongside more accountability, this transition would also add more consistency.

"It also adds to consistency because every four years we can and sometimes do switch out, versus a city manager who may be there through different layers of mayors and council folks," said Finley. 

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Too, beyond consistency, if transitioned, the newly appointed city manager would have the appropriate credentials to of course, manage a city!

'Again, if you go to a city manager role, then those seven council members, really six members and a mayor would hire a professional with credentials, a professional that would be looking to do that," said Finley. 

While some residents may be hesitant to transition, many like the idea of having a professional with those city managing credentials in charge.

"It's a really smart community, and they also recognize the value of a credentialed professional, doing it full time versus just an arbitrary choice by whatever mayor's in place," said Finley. 

You may be asking? Why now? Why make this change... now?

"We want to look at every option that's available as far as continuing to take a city that has grown as dramatically as we have and again, we're really proud of what we've accomplished which a lot of people are saying, 'why would you change?' it's not so much why would we change, it's how can we make sure we have the best possible system in place to make sure we improve quality of life in the best possible way."

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Again, this transition to council-manager government starts with the citizens of madison and can only happen with their consent.

When a special election on this matter can be held, all depends on how quickly more than 900 petition signatures are gathered. 

The earliest the city of madison would consider an election to the people is by spring of 2023. 

Here's the process in order:

1. Citizens sign a petition (900+)

2. Probate judge reviews the petition

3. Mayor calls for an election

4. City holds a special election

5. Mayor transmits results to the governor’s office

This is what it would take to transition from a mayor-council type of government to a council-manager type of government in the City of Madison, Alabama. 

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