Letter to the Editor: Obtaining information about Madison’s May 9 special election

Editor’s note: The following is a letter to the editor addressing the upcoming May 9 special election and city manager issue. The views expressed in all letters to the editor and editorials in The Madison Record do not necessarily express the views of The Record. To submit a letter to the editor, email john@themadisonrecord.com. We reserve the right to edit all submission for space considerations in the paper and content.

Dear Editor,
First, I want to direct attention to the actual wording of the May 9th Ballot, which is included in the informational electronic article (3-14-2023) on TheMadisonRecord.com website titled “Former Madison mayor questions city council over city manager proposal; special election date set.” Former Madison Mayor Sandy Kirkindall, at the 3-13-2023 Madison City Council meeting, asked a series of questions that cut to some of the many unanswered questions on the Council-Manager form of government.

As a longtime city resident, I have been catapulted into heavy involvement in gathering information and witnessing the state of Madison City since 2022. I have been attending city council meetings since November 2022, and have asked relevant questions on city management and finances at these city council meetings. I have been involved with two grassroots citizen organizations concerned with the city’s direction leading up to this municipal election. One of these grass root citizen groups formed a PAC the week of January 27, 2023, dontmesswithmadison.org. A PAC had to be formed to legally wage a campaign for the ‘Vote NO’ on the May 9 ballot.

When ‘there is trouble in Rocket City Jr’, one must be involved. There is a wealth of information on this PAC website, including a graphic that shows how the city manager is not accountable directly to the voters. Many current Madison residents have lived elsewhere and have experienced layers of bureaucracies. I have spoken with at least 70 Madison residents, including longtime Madison residents, and they all want to maintain our mayor-council form of government.

Our larger neighboring city, Huntsville, continues to operate quite nicely with the mayor-council form of government. Like Huntsville, Madison has a full-time appointed city administrator, who is an assistant to the mayor.
The unknowns with a multi-year transition to another form of government, the higher costs of operating with a council-manager form of government, are the tip of the iceberg with cascading problems. I want my elected mayor to continue to run Madison’s city departments. With so many unanswered questions, a safe response on this ballot is to vote NO.

Sincerely,
Bernadette Mayer
Citizen of Madison

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