The current Madison City Commission is considering a proposal to hire a city administrator to "oversee, operate and manage municipal services."
Under state law, "administrators report to the mayor and do not have the power to hire and fire employees," as well as other limitations. City managers, on the other hand, have duties specifically defined by state statute. They report to the mayor and city commissioners. Voters generally must approve a change to the state defined city manager. Communities that want to change to the role of city manager must go through the home-rule process which is similar to many other cities in South Dakota.
Currently, the job of mayor and commission is to oversee and provide direction to each of their defined individual departments. An administrator does not relieve them of this requirement under law.
If the current mayor and/or commissioners do not feel that they have the time or expertise to meet with their department heads now, when will they have the time to also be informed of the information from the mayor that the administrator provides to him?
The current developments in Madison that have been occurring are the results of years of planning, and cooperation between the mayor and city commission, Lake Area Improvement Corporation (a joint public/private funded group of local elected officials and businesspersons in Madison and Lake County), along with the Chamber of Commerce (again a public/private business group) as well as Dakota State University, Lake Central School District and others. These developments did not occur in a vacuum but would benefit from continuity within the city.
My position is that the current mayor and commissioners should put in the time and effort to explore and explain to the citizens of Madison the values of establishing a city manager who would have the full-time coordination of not just the city's departments but the other entities that make up the great city of Madison, i.e., DSU, MRHS, LCS, LAIC, MCC and others and let the voters decide.
Madison, Dec. 2