City of

District 3


Council Office

Common Council Office:
210 Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd
Room 417
Madison, WI 53703
Phone: (608) 266-4071
Fax: (608) 267-8669
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District 3 Blog

Proposed council policy changes and neighborhood meeting reminders

March 16, 2016 10:50 AM

Blog Post 3/16/16


Hi neighbors and Happy Pi/Pie Day, Happy National Nap Day (which I did not get to observe and I'm a little ticked), and Happy St. Patrick's Day


2 Things To Bring to Your Attention Today:

By way of reminder, a group of our dedicated and thoughtful neighbors has initiated a process to discuss our vision for the Rolling Meadows/Heritage Heights Neighborhood and to hopefully move toward a neighborhood plan in the future. There is a meeting tonight 3/16 from 630-8pm in the Kennedy Elementary Library. I'm bringing a sound system so we can all hear one another as I know that's been an issue in the past.

There is a meeting next week to specifically discuss the proposed Kwik Trip development. That meeting is Wednesday 3/23 6pm-8pm in the Kennedy Elementary Library. As with previous proposed developments in our district, I will get the plans out to you ahead of the meeting so that if you cannot be there you can still review the plans and share your input.


The second item for your consideration are some changes we, as a common council, will be considering to the nuts and bolts of how we do business. I know for many of you dear neighbors your approach to municipal governance is, 'here. I voted for you. Try not to do anything stupid.' You may prefer to leave the nuts and bolts up to the council and generally let us get on with things. I humbly request, then, your attention to the following as I believe the proposed updates better hew to Madison's character.

In an effort to make your city government run a little better, a few alders have put together changes to a) how city committees including the board of estimates are put together, and b) the structure of council leadership

Currently the mayor handles all appointments to city committees, including alders. That's a great deal of power for an executive to have. The new proposal calls for the common council president to make the alder appointments instead; the mayor would continue making citizen appointments to committees. For a strong executive this may feel like the council is horning in on his/her authority, but it decentralizes a bit more power in a city whose culture is much more community and group-oriented. I believe this is the right choice for Madison.

Under the proposal, the council president and president pro tem will be elected to 2 year terms instead of 1 year terms. This will provide better continuity and commonality of purpose in the council, which will result in better efficiency for the city.

Finally, the proposal renames the board of estimates the finance committee and the common council organizational committee the common council executive committee, both of which are just better descriptions of the work of the two committees. The chair of the finance committee would be elected by the members. This is an important change as it makes very little sense for the mayor to submit the annual budget and then chair the committee which considers the budget. Again, in a city which favors a group-oriented approach to decision making and which is loathe to see too much authority in one office, this is a common sense update which better hews to Madison's character.


Thanks for sticking with me through some nuts and bolts discussion of how the council does what it does day to day. If you have questions or comments, please click reply and let me know what's on your mind. I look forward to hearing your input.

Looking forward, also, to seeing you tonight and next Wednesday as we discuss our vision for the neighborhood and what is the best use of space here in our great community.

Be well and see you soon,

Amanda Hall
Alder, District 3


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