Madison Alderman-at-Large Warrent Strain, Ward 1 Alderman Tawanna Tatum, Ward 2 Alderman Pat Peeler, retiring City Attorney John Hedglin, Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler, Ward 4 Alderman Steve Hickok, Ward 5 Alderman Mike Hudgins and Ward 6 Alderman Guy Bowering.
Madison Alderman-at-Large Warrent Strain, Ward 1 Alderman Tawanna Tatum, Ward 2 Alderman Pat Peeler, retiring City Attorney John Hedglin, Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler, Ward 4 Alderman Steve Hickok, Ward 5 Alderman Mike Hudgins and Ward 6 Alderman Guy Bowering.
MADISON — Tears were flowing Tuesday night as Mayor Mary Hawkins Butler presented City Attorney John Hedglin with a resolution for decades of public service during Hedglin’s last meeting as counsel.

Hedglin retires this month after serving as in-house counsel for 16 years. Prior to that, he worked for a firm that handled the city’s legal needs for 15 years.

“He has been a wonderful caretaker of the city, a wonderful lawyer, a wonderful friend, and a wonderful citizen with a wonderful family,” Hawkins-Butler said while fighting back tears.

Hawkins-Butler and the board of aldermen dedicated Sept. 19, 2017, as John Hedglin Day. She said he was instrumental in influencing growth and had a deep sense of loyalty and devotion to the city and its citizens.

Prior to working with Madison, Hedglin was a city attorney for Jackson and had spent 40 years in municipal law. His family moved to Madison in 1966 and his wife’s family has been in Madison since 1898.

“We’ve got deep roots in Madison,” he said.

Hedglin remembers when they all discussed the one traffic light in town. He has seen the growth go from 200 residents to 25,000. And in between, he’s been there to fight the hard battles.

Hedglin fought lawsuits against the city over apartments, multiple annexations, and even federal litigation with Bear Creek Water Association during a period when he says they were “very acrimonious.” Now, he says the city and the water association have a great relationship.

“I appreciate the mayor and board for giving me the opportunity to do this important work and I especially thank my wife Kay and my sons for letting me devote so much of my life to my work,” he said. “The city is extremely fortunate to have the kind of continuity in leadership and in administration and — frankly — in public servants they’ve had.”

Hedglin plans to decompress for a few weeks or a month until working on some special projects people have approached him about. He said he doesn’t want to practice full-time anymore.

“Between the City of Jackson and the City of Madison, I have spent over 40 years where the focus of my practice one way or another has been municipal law,” he said. “This point in your life you look back and say ‘this is how I spent it.’ I think it was a worthwhile endeavor.”