ELECTION RESULTS: Madison overwhelmingly rejects city manager proposal
By Maria Rakoczy
MADISON – On Tuesday, May 9, Madison citizens resoundingly voted to reject the city manager proposal.
The unofficial numbers reported Tuesday night stand with ‘yes’ votes numbering 1,865 and ‘no’ votes totaling at 5,553. Nearly 75% of the 7418 voters casting their ballot in the special election wanted to stay with the current mayor-council form of government.
In the wake of the election results, Mayor Paul Finley stated, “The city of Madison was happy to see engaged citizens for this election. Our community voiced its opinion to continue operating under a Mayor-Council form of government. We have a proven track record of success with this form of government, and we have managed growth and numerous projects for long-term progress. Your elected officials will continue to work hard for quality of life in Madison. Whichever way you cast your vote, as Council and Mayor, we are encouraged in our community’s involvement with municipal government.”
For years, city leaders have been pushing for Madison to adopt a city manager form of government, saying the move will bring better stability to the operations of the city. Mayor Paul Finley kicked off the process by appointing a committee in August 2021 tasked with looking into the proposed change and developing a recommendation for the city council. In early 2022, the “Madison Governance Transition Committee” unanimously recommended that the city should shift to a council-manager form of government.
A similar push was initiated in 2015, but never made it to a public vote.
To bring the issue before the people in an election this time, as required by law, a petition dispersed by a local citizens group, Madison Forward, was approved by Limestone County and Madison County probate judges in February.
If the change had been approved by a majority of voters, it would have required redistricting Madison from the current seven districts to six, with the mayor serving as an elected-at-large city council president. The mayor would have become the “face of the city”, representing Madison in public events and in meetings with neighboring cities, and a city council-appointed city manager would run the daily operations of the city.
The proposal generated lively debate in the weeks and months leading up to the election.
Now, the city council will canvas the ballots from Tuesday’s vote at a special council meeting next Tuesday, May 16 at 12 pm. The official count of votes will come out after that meeting and notice will be given to state offices and the probate court of those results.
Below are the election unofficial results: