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 john@themadisonrecord.com. 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

Madison

Madison Fire & Rescue responds to second baby surrender through Safe Haven Baby Box

Bob Jones High School

Robertson finds ‘perfect fit’ as Special Education Coordinator

Liberty Middle School

Liberty’s Mardi Paws Parade raises funds for shelter animals

James Clemens High School

11-day tour to Korea, Japan in summer 2025 open to Madison teens

James Clemens High School

Players eager for 2024 Grade-Level City Chess Championship

Harvest

‘Brews for Enable’ at Yellowhammer to benefit Enable Madison County

Bob Jones High School

MCCL members, teams grab awards at Rookie Rally

Madison

State board lauds Heritage in ‘Top 25 Percent Schools’ for Alabama

Harvest

Parker composes, performs and mentors songwriters in lifetime of music

Bob Jones High School

Bob Jones AFJROTC named Grand Champions at Hoover

Bob Jones High School

TVA’s School Uplift grants can reduce energy costs and improve campus

Bob Jones High School

Warm-up Quads on Feb. 24 to prepare players for City Chess Championship

Liberty Middle School

Chander, Grieve, Rajput win national awards in PTA Reflections

Bob Jones High School

Knights of Columbus’ donations buy pods for MCS Special Education

Madison

Love is alive and well in the heart of this special artist

Digital Version

Digital version of The Madison Record – Feb. 14, 2024

Bob Jones High School

Bob Jones, JC girls gear up for region play today at Wallace State

Business

Billboard selects Orion Amphitheater as “Top East Coast Amphitheater”

Madison

School choice: Is there really choice?

Bob Jones High School

Lady Patriota best James Clemens again to win Area 8 crown

Harvest

Triana chosen for Smithsonian’s ‘Crossroads: Change in Rural America’ exhibit

Bob Jones High School

Madison Street Festival grants reach $20K for 35 school projects

Harvest

Senior center members launch Arise2Read at Harvest elementary

Madison

MVP to promote Monarch butterfly survival with mural, contests

x