By Tia Lynn Lecorchick staff writer

Madison Mayor Fred Perriman and the city council members held a retreat at the Northeast Georgia Regional Commission (NEGRC) in Athens. on Feb. 5 to review the Madison Charter, which outlines the nature and duties of the city’s leadership.

“This is an opportunity for the council, especially our new members, to understand our roles and responsibilities to the city of Madison,” said Perriman.

Perriman welcomed new council members, Carrie Peterson-Reid, who represents Madison’s Distrct 1 and Chris Hodges, who represents Madison’s District 5 and Bobby Crawford.

City Council member Rick Blanton and City Manager David Nunn also attended the retreat.

“This is such a wonderful council. I feel elated to work with you all,” said Perriman.

James Dove, the executive director of the NEGRC, facilitated the event and encouraged Madison leaders to continue running the city as a team, united in the commitment to preserve “the longstanding tradition of excellence” in Madison.

“People know Athens and they know Madison. There is something special there,” said Dove. Joe Reitman, Madison’s city attorney, reviewed the Madison Charter and led the discussion concerning the most essential points.

“The city is very involved in growing the community, steering the community in the direction of positive growth,” Reitman told the council.

Reitman outlined all the ways in which the city leadership handles Madison’s operations including roads, utilities, the police department, the fire department, planning and zoning, urban development, maintaining green space, determining the millage rate, and creating clean gateways into Madison.

“Madison has a strong and proud history of working with local government for the common good,” said Rietman.”And not every community is as fiscally responsible as Madison,” said Rietman.

Reitman stressed the need for the mayor and council members to work through the City Manger, David Nunn, instead of circumventing Nunn and dictating directly to city staff. Reitman explained that the city manager is responsible to the city council. According to the Madison Charter, Nunn is in charge of appointing and removing city employees.

Reitman reminded the mayor and council that since Nunn is in charge of all city employees, it is Nunn’s role to “exclusively” direct all employees of city departments. “He is our eyes and ears on the ground handling all the day to day operations,” said Reitman. “He is a key resource. He has his hand on the pulse of the city.”

Reitman closed his presentation by urging the mayor and council to utilize each other when leading the city. “It’s a team. It’s a partnership. It’s a group working together as one body,” said Rietman

“You all make the decisions, consider the public comments, and you represent your community to the best of your ability,” said Reitman.

“You shape the policy, and the staff, through David Nunn, carries it out,” added Dove.