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Mayoral candidates debate at James Clemens

James Clemens High School hosted the mayoral debate on Aug. 17. CONTRIBUTED
James Clemens High School hosted the mayoral debate on Aug. 17. CONTRIBUTED

MADISON – Paul Finley, Hanu Karlapalem and Troy Trulock stated their vision for Madison’s future and pointed a few fingers during the 2016 Madison Mayoral Debate.

Madison City Council of PTAs sponsored the debate at James Clemens High School. WHNT-TV anchor Jerry Hays served as moderator.

A few questions follow that the candidates answered:

Question: Should Madison have a referendum to decide if the city needs a city manager?

* Trulock: “I’m not supportive of city manager because it takes away the voice of the people … who now vote every four years.”
* Karlapalem: “If the mayor had been doing his job all these years, we wouldn’t even be talking about it.”
* Finley: “In (my) administration, we excelled in communication and teamwork. We didn’t need a city manager.”

From the audience, Ryan Williams, a Bob Jones High School student, asked how candidates would maintain funding for superior education:

* Karlapalem: A lack of vision caused funding problems. Karlapalem would involve all stakeholders and establish a school foundation solely for Madison.
* Finley: As mayor in 2008, Finley immediately organized a planning committee and met with Superintendent Dr. Dee Fowler to plan for construction of James Clemens.
* Trulock: Trulock helped the school system refinance two bonds. “We have the strongest revenue ever and looks even stronger in 2016,” Trulock said.

Should Police chief Larry Muncey get his job back?:

* Trulock: “Legal issues are associated with that. As CEO, I have to listen to legal advice. I can say that he is on administrative leave.”
* Karlapalem: “Lack of leadership. Since 2009, 80 police officers quit Madison Police Department. That’s a lot of turnover. That’s unacceptable.”
* Finley: “The decision should have been made already. The mayor should talk first with council, find temperature with police department” and decide.

Dr. Terri Johnson asked if any city departments need more personnel:

* Trulock: “I’m a conservative gentleman. We’re not in favor of large government.”
* Karlapalem: “Let’s do an analysis. Do we economic development team?”
* Finley: “The one department that needs another employee is the mayor’s office with return of the mayor’s aide.”

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