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The Daily Cardinal Est. 1892
Tuesday, January 26, 2021
<p>The City-County building serves as the seat of Madison's local government.</p>

The City-County building serves as the seat of Madison's local government.

Madison City Council hears proposals to change council structure

The Madison City Council heard a presentation Tuesday night regarding a proposal to implement recommendations for a full-time, smaller, higher-paid common council.

The Task Force on Government Structure’s presentation was organized on behalf of a five-member workgroup tasked with turning the recommendations from the task force’s report into actionable proposals, including Alders Abbas, Foster, Furman, Kemble and Tierney. 

Assistant city attorney John Strange, who led the presentation, also touched on other key recommendations aside from restructuring the council, including implementing new and robust resident engagement strategies and creating an Office of Resident Engagement and Neighborhood Support.

“I’m hoping that the work in the design and the overall structure of the community engagement, that they come together so that there is one concise [agreement on] ‘this is how the city does equity, this is how the city does community engagement,’” Ald. Harrington-Mckinney commented. 

The TFOG report, first introduced to the council on Jan. 7, states the city's current structure is "fundamentally unfair" to many including people of color and low-income residents. It recommends changes to the 20-member council in order to foster better community engagement and efficiency.

The recommendations for the common council include moving to a full-time, 10-member council paid $67,950 annually and elected to four-year terms instead of the current part-time 20-member council paid $13,570 annually and elected to two-year terms. 

“Madison’s current government structure works best for people with the time, resources, and knowledge to actively participate within the framework of Madison’s current structure,” the task force report found.

Some of the proposals, such as making the council full-time, can be made through the city’s budget. Other proposals, including changing the size of the council and length of terms, would require a charter ordinance enacted through a binding city-wide binding referendum.

While no decisions were made, there is a meeting for the Committee of Whole Discussion to address the recommendations scheduled for Oct. 8.

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