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Possible Governance Transition

A disclaimer can be found at the bottom of this page

Do you think Madison should hire a city manager and change from a mayor-council government to a
council-manager government? 

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The citizens of Madison will decide!

The change to shift how Madison is governed is being led by citizens, and it will ultimately be up to citizens to decide. In order for the change to occur, 900 residents must sign a petition in favor. A special election is then held. The citizens of Madison will determine if the change occurs.


A special election will take place Tuesday, May 9th!

Both the Madison and Limestone County Probate Judges have approved the petition to place the governance transition issue onto a ballot. Mayor Finley announced at the March 13th City Council meeting that the special election will take place Tuesday, May 9th. The city has created a page on their website with additional details about the upcoming election.  

The resubmitted Petition was denied 

Madison Forward resubmitted the petition to the Probate Judge on January 17. This document shows that it was denied on January 31.

A citizen's group filed an injunction, and it was denied

An injunction was filed by a citizen's group on January 13. This document shows that the injunction was denied on January 31. 


Informational Meeting hosted by Don't Mess with Madison
Monday, March 20 at 6:00PM

Citizen's group/PAC Don't Mess with Madison will hold an informational meeting on Monday, March 20 at 6 pm at the Madison Public Library. 

I Vote Madison is not affiliated with Don't Mess with Madison

Redistricting 101 - Virtual Community Training
Tuesday, April 4th at 6:00PM

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This report was created by the mayor's Governance Transition Committee and was presented to City Council and the mayor on 1/26/22 when they recommended that the city transition to a council-manager government and institute staggered elections for City Council members.
View the slide presentation that the Governance Transition Committee presented to the mayor and council.
The committee presented its findings to the Mayor and Council and the city attorney presented information on 1/26/22. This video is courtesy of I Vote Madison. The city has not made this available. The audio is poor quality, but microphones were not being used in work sessions at that time. 
Visiting city managers answered questions during this city-sponsored, educational community meeting on 7/3/22
View the slide presentation from the city that accompanied the 2nd Community Meeting (pertaining to the role of mayor under a council-manager form of government).
During this city-sponsored, educational community meeting on 9/19/22, Auburn mayor Ron Anders joined Mayor Finley to answer citizen questions about the role of a mayor under a council-manager form of government. 
I Vote Madison partnered with Braver Angels and the League of Women Voters of the Tennessee Valley to hold an educational debate for Madison residents. 

On the agenda at the January 11, 2023 City Council work session was a governance transition update presented by the city attorney. I Vote Madison attended this meeting and recorded it for citizens since the city does not, as a general rule, record work sessions. The video is timestamped to make is easy for residents to jump to this agenda item.

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To provide a different perspective, I Vote Madison invited Dr. David Hill, former Auburn mayoral candidate, to discuss council-manger forms of government and answer questions from citizens.

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I Vote Madison is pleased to welcome our special guest, Zephyr Scalzetti, a Graduate of the SCSJ's Community Redistricting Organizations Working for Democracy (or CROWD) Academies.

Information provided during this virtual event will include:


  • Why the redistricting process is needed

  • How a change to city manager would impact redistricting

  • How the redistricting process works

  • How to use Dave’s Redistricting Tool, a free resource that allows you to design your own maps

  • Guidelines the community should request the council adopt for any redistricting process going forward

Register here

Citizen's Debate

I Vote Madison and Braver Angels will host an in-person citizen's debate in April.
Date and time TBD

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I Vote Madison's Role

I Vote Madison is nonpartial on this issue. Our role is to provide objective information. We do advocate that the city be transparent and provide outreach and education to keep residents informed. This is a decision the citizens of Madison must make, and we want them to be informed throughout the process. As always, we want to see voters who are engaged, informed, and empowered.

Advocates for the transition

Madison Forward

Madison Forward is a group of citizens in Madison that is advocating for this transition. They think Madison could be better served by a council-manager style of government. In June 2022, Madison Forward became a Political Action Committee (PAC). 

Read their guest post on our blog here.


I Vote Madison is not affiliated with Madison Forward.

Advocates against the transition

Don't Mess with Madison

Don't Mess with Madison is a group of citizens in Madison that opposes this transition. They formed because they thought citizens needed more balanced information than what Madison Forward and the city were providing, including the potential downsides of a council-manager government. In January of 2023, Don't Mess with Madison became a Political Action Committee (PAC).

Read their guest post on our blog here.

I Vote Madison is not affiliated with Don't Mess with Madison.

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This webpage serves as a one-stop shop that enables residents to easily access information presented by the city via regular city meetings, town hall meetings hosted by the city, and any documents found on the city's website pertaining to the possible governance transition.

This page also includes resources created by I Vote Madison, such as an online debate, online community discussion, recordings we have taken of city work sessions, and blogs that recap our resources and the city's meetings.

Our intent when we created this webpage was that the resources found on, and linked to from it, be a starting point for residents who want to learn about this issue and wish to be more engaged in our local government.

The resources on this page, whether they have been shared from the city or created by us, have never been intended to be perceived as all a resident might need to make a fully informed vote on this matter if it is placed on a ballot.

I Vote Madison is neither for nor against a transition in Madison's government. Resources found on this page, or linked to from this page, contain information, including assertions and opinions that are not the assertions and opinions of I Vote Madison, and they should not be construed as such. The sharing of the resources should also not be seen as an endorsement from I Vote Madison.

One will notice that when we write recaps of information, such as blog posts of city meetings, we attribute any opinions and assertions that are not our own to those who have communicated them.

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