Five months have passed since former mayor David Madison stepped away from public service after 32 years in charge of Bexley.

Five months have passed since former mayor David Madison stepped away from public service after 32 years in charge of Bexley.

He believes retirement was the correct choice.

"It's a wonderful feeling just not to worry about people and the responsibility," Madison said in a recent interview with ThisWeek. "I enjoy the freedom. That's the right word -- doing what I want to do and when I want to do it, and I don't have all those nighttime meetings."

Madison said that for the first time in his life he's now sleeping in -- until 8 a.m.

Both he and wife, Cheryl, are surprised he doesn't miss the mayor's job more.

"I miss my people, though," he said. "I worked very close with my employees."

Cheryl Madison said, "I'm surprised after doing the job for so long that he doesn't miss it. He leaves about every day to go to his office (in his son Andrew's real estate firm.) He's a really happy guy."

Cheryl Madison also doesn't miss the late-night calls.

"We don't get those 2 o'clock in the morning calls anymore," she said. "Even if a tree went down, he wanted them to call him."

Madison said he doesn't miss the problems that a mayor faces.

"If you're dealing with people youjust can't leave them at the office," he said. "I'd come home and worry if someone had a problem or if something wasn't getting done."

He said he still gets calls once in awhile from residents about such things as barking dogs. He forwards the concerns to Mayor John Brennan's office.

"John Brennan and I talk every once in awhile," Madison said. "He's doing a really good job."

Madison said he's received several job offers, but prefers volunteer work, at least for now.

"I don't want full-time," he said. "I just don't want a schedule."

In February, he joined Ohio first lady Frances Strickland's initiative to raise funds to build a learning center at the governor's residence in Bexley.

"I'm co-chair of a statewide fundraiser to build a learning center for children and adults to visit when touring the residence," Madison said. "We need to raise $3- to $5-million. It's interesting; I've met some wonderful people."

Plans call for the learning center to be about 3,000 square feet and built out of Ohio lumber, Madison said. The center will house books, displays and educational tools about the state.

Madison's service to Bexley was recognized last Saturday when the city pool was renamed the "David H. Madison Community Pool." A bronze plaque featuring the name and an etched image of Madison was installed at the pool's entrance last year.

"It's a wonderful tribute to him," Madison's son, Tim, told ThisWeek. "People talk about him being mayor for 32 years, but he was on council for eight years before that. Forty years of his life he dedicated to the city. He loves he city of Bexley. It was his life, and still is."

Madison said he's thrilled about the honor.

"We worked very hard on that pool," Madison said. "I have to tell you though, a lot of people did a lot more work than I did on that pool."

Madison said he's traveled to Michigan and Florida in retirement, and plans to continue traveling. He's also working on the list of thank you notes he owes people who sent him letters upon retiring.

"I'm way behind on that," he said, "but I'm writing three a day."

bbutcher@thisweeknews.com