Committee recommends city manager-mayor-council
MADISON – The results are in.
Madison Governance Committee 2025 has concluded its analysis of Madison’s government structure, specifically to research and evaluate three configurations, which are “afforded to municipalities in the State of Alabama (and) completely feasible and legal”:
* Mayor/city administrator-council.
* City manager-mayor-council.
Madison City Council established the council on Aug. 15 for this study. Committee chairman John Allen presented the group’s 16-page report to council on Nov. 9.
The committee concluded the “City Manager-Mayor-Council form of municipal government is best for our community. The City of Madison can move from ‘good to great’ with a professional team, leading and managing the city, capable of engaging on local and regional concerns from a position of knowledge and strength.”
The committee cited benefits of adding a city manager as “continuity in city government” to avoid having new personnel after elections each four years, managing the city’s current and future direction and “appropriate experience and expertise to properly administer and execute public services.”
City Council is responsible for the hiring and firing a city manager. This manager “provides expertise in management and delivery of public services, performs as a professional and expert in budgeting and money management, oversees the day-to-day operations of the city and appoints and removes department heads.”
In this configuration, a mayor “serves as the ‘Face of the City’ for community events and serves as official representative at business, community and planning meetings, events and relationship-building opportunities,” the committee stated.
According to the report, a city manager is not accountable to the voters but is hired as an administrator. City Council must answer to citizens.
The city manager is “not vulnerable to political process or election cycle, taking politics out of city administration” and is “accountable to City Council, reducing gridlock and conflict.”
A possible risk exists. “A dysfunctional city manager-mayor-council relationship can be changed by the council. A dysfunctional mayor-council relationship must wait for the next four-year election cycle.”
The committee believes “success or failure of implementing any option rests heavily on our community leadership and informed citizenry engagement in the future of our city.”
City Council has scheduled a work session with the committee to discuss recommendations on Nov. 17 at 5:30 p.m. in Council Chambers. The public can comment and ask questions at this session.