Ad Spot

Letter to the Editor: Vote yes to adopt council-manager form of government for Madison

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 We reserve the right to edit all submission for space considerations in the paper and content.

Dear Editor,

On May 9th we have the opportunity to preserve the quality of life in our community well into the future by voting “Yes” to adopt the Council-Manager form of government.

Madison, Alabama’s premier school system and growing economic vitality have made Madison one of the fastest growing cities in Alabama where families and businesses alike come to plant their roots. By most measures, Madison has emerged as one of Alabama’s premier cities. However, the growth and development that has descended upon the city creates a significant threat to our future if we do not take action to assure greater accountability and professional management of our city government.

Under our current form of government, the mayor has no vote on the legislative matters before the city. Instead, the mayor is asked to run the day-to-day operations of government with a budget of nearly $80 million – whether they actually have any knowledge or experience managing such an operation. As Madison continues to grow, we need a mayor and city council who work collaboratively to focus on the needs and interests of the people. And just like any sound business, we need a chief executive officer who is held accountable for achieving the goals and objectives of our elected representatives without undue political influence.

By adopting the council-manager form of government, the mayor would be elected at-large to be a voting member of the City Council with the power to set the Council agenda. The mayor would be required to work with fellow Council members to establish a vision for the city and make critical decisions on the city’s future. In turn, the mayor and council would hire a city manager based on their professional experience running a city government who would serve as the chief executive officer and manage the daily operations.

Just as our school board appoints a superintendent to run the daily operations of the schools, so too would our city council appoint a city manager to run the daily operations of government. The city manager would be responsible for hiring department heads based on their professional experience rather than political influence. The city manager would be hired for an indefinite term and can be fired at any time with a simple majority vote of the city council if the manager fails to serve all people and businesses effectively and efficiently in accordance with the council’s policies. This high level of accountability and professionalism in the administration of government provides the assurance that our government will be more innovative and effective in addressing the growing needs of our community.

Independent academic research on the benefits of council-manager government over mayor-council is overwhelming. Council-manager governments have been shown to have less bureaucratic administrations than mayor-council cities. They are more likely than mayor-council governments to utilize sophisticated revenue forecasting and expenditure analysis techniques. They are more likely to prepare multi-year budgets. They are 57% less likely to have corruption convictions. They have better financial outcomes, increased bond ratings, and stronger budget solvency than mayor-council cities. Voting “yes” on May 9th for a council-manager form of government will increase the likelihood that our government will meet the demands of the residents of Madison.

Ultimately, the decision on whether to adopt the council-manager form of government comes down to whether we believe the people are best served by a government where a chief executive officer is accountable to the people on a daily basis or only to the voters on election day. Our current mayor and council have served us well. But we need to look forward to the future and make certain our form of government provides for a prosperous future under the growing complexity of our city.

James Ross
Co-Chair Madison Forward

Liberty Middle School

Avula earns Mayor’s Award for Scholastic Excellence


Redstone Arsenal to celebrate Army’s birthday


Messiah Lutheran installs Kristine Schroeder as pastor

Digital Version

The Madison Record digital version – May 31, 2023

Discovery Middle School

Mackey honored as Discovery’s ‘Staff Member of the Year’


Madison Lions Club gives eye screening at health fair

Bob Jones High School

American Legion Auxiliary names 4 for Alabama Girls State

Bob Jones High School

Central Office chooses Sellers as top staff member


Huntsville City Football Club to continue first homestand at Joe Davis Stadium 


Joint statement from the city of Huntsville, city of Madison, and Madison County on U.S. Space Command investigation


Strong, Rogers launch investigation into delayed U.S. Space Command HQ announcement 


Alabama Jubilee Hot Air Balloon Classic to be held on Memorial Day weekend


At Age 89 Charles Terrell To Walk The 5K Cotton Row Run With Three Daughters Alongside


Gun store’s proximity to schools sparks debate at city council meeting

Digital Version

The Madison Record digital version – May 24, 2023 – Special Graduation Issue


Para-Cycling Road World Cup puts athletes and Huntsville on world stage

James Clemens High School

‘Teacher of the Year’ at Horizon goes to Rebecca Wilson


Crews prepare for this weekend’s Alabama Jubilee in Decatur


Rotary Club honors Madison’s employees of the year


Eats 4 Education food truck event to support The Schools Foundation set for Thursday


Make Music Day Huntsville encourages residents to let their talents shine on June 21


Local churches join together to build new church in TN


Jets, Patriots baseball have plenty of college-bound players


Sparkman Softball makes deep playoff run