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New council, mayor preside at first meeting

Madison City Council members elected in the 2016 municipal election held its first formal meeting on Nov. 14. CONTRIBUTED
Madison City Council members elected in the 2016 municipal election held its first formal meeting on Nov. 14. CONTRIBUTED
MADISON – City leaders elected in the 2016 municipal election presided at Madison City Council’s meeting on Nov. 14.
Councilman Gerald Clark said the willingness to communicate with the new mayor is quite noticeable and hopes that this atmosphere continues throughout the next four years.
In congratulating the new council, resident Bebe Oetjen said, “I want you to remember who put you in those seats. The work sessions were wonderful, and I hope you will have them. Don’t forget the public.”
In promoting open communication, Mayor Paul Finley has scheduled two hours every two weeks (30-minute slots) for residents to meet with him. “Eight out of 10 people who come to see us have great ideas or need information they can’t find,” he said.
Taylor Edge is working with departments to update the city website (www.madisonal.gov). Edge is working as City Administrator, a slot that was funded previously but not staffed.
President Dr. Terri Johnson with Madison Board of Education discussed filling the vacancy for superintendent of education after Dr. Dee Fowler’s resignation. Central Office staff will post the notice of job vacancy online on Nov. 18. (madisoncity.k12.al.us)
Applications will be due around Dec. 19. Johnson expects the board to conduct interviews in January 2017 and name the new superintendent in February.
School board member Ranae Bartlett said boards use two major search methods: a search firm or in-house by school board. “We saw pros and cons for both,” Bartlett said. A search firm takes longer and charges a fee. Taking the search in-house, applications become public record, which concerns most candidates who currently are employed.
“We adopted a hybrid approach,” Bartlett said. The school board decided to have board attorney Woody Sanderson to accept and screen applications. Dr. Ed Nichols is serving as interim superintendent.
Director of Engineering Gary Chenowyth discussed shifts of the Hughes Road overpass bridge. “The slope of the west side is stable, but the safety factor is not the way we want to see it.” A topographic survey has been completed, and a geo-technical firm is studying cracks in the pavement and earth. “We do not see the bridge as an imminent danger to the public.”
In bill payments, council authorized $71,803.41 to Holzheimer Bolek & Meehan for architectural and engineering services for Madison Public Library’s construction. A partial payment went to Littlejohn for $25,737.04 for engineering and inspection on County Line Road, Phase II.
During council reports, Councilman Steve Smith hopes that council will approve approximately $30,000 for Madison Baseball Association to coordinate a regional tournament this summer.
Council President Tommy Overcash received approval for an updated job description for Fire Chief. Overcash committed to accelerate the search to replace Fire Chief Ralph Cobb, who retired at the first of October.
Council accepted a proposed ordinance to rezone property south of Powell Road and west of Segers Road from agricultural to residential. Belle Mina Land Company LLC owns the property.
Council will conduct a work session on Nov. 22 at 5:30 p.m.
Council will meet on Dec. 12 and 19 to avoid conflicts with the Christmas holiday.

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