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District 19

Alder Keith Furman

Image of Alder Keith Furman,
Council President

Alder Keith Furman,
Council President

Contact Information

Council Office

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

District 19 Blog

Ahrens and Clear Launch City Government Reform Initiative

March 16, 2016 10:05 AM

Alders David Ahrens and Mark Clear launched a City of Madison Government Reform Initiative today, proposing a package of changes that would strengthen the Council's ability to shape the budget and future investment in neighborhoods. Alder Ahrens called the initiative "a reasonable next step to ensure the integrity of Madison's democratic government."

The initiative includes creating a finance committee appointed by the Council President to replace the current Board of Estimates, which is appointed and chaired by the Mayor. Alder Mark Clear, having served as Council President, said the change, "will allow for greater clarity for the public and improved legislative oversight of the budget process."

A second change would put the Council President in charge of Alder committee appointments currently made by the Mayor. Citizen committee appointments would continue to be made by the Mayor.

The reforms were spurred by discussions in a Council subcommittee on strategic plans and priorities and resulted in this initiative to bring Madison in line with typical practices in Wisconsin cities and to balance the responsibility of the executive and legislative branches, especially in the budget process.

Additional changes include extending council leadership terms to two years instead of one, and renaming the Common Council Organizational Committee to the Common Council Executive Committee for clarity to the public on its function.

Reiterating the value of these proposals to the public, Alder Ahrens said, "We are a city committed to strong democratic institutions and accountable government. These reforms will position the Common Council to be more responsive to our neighborhoods and their priorities."

All members of the Council subcommittee have indicated support for the measures (Council President DeMarb, President Pro Tem Cheeks, former Council Presidents Bidar-Sielaff and Clear, Alders Phair and Zellers). After drafting formal language, the reforms will be introduced on April 19 and could be enacted into law by June.

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