Chapter 3.05
ASSEMBLY – RULES OF PROCEDURE

Sections:

3.05.010    Rules of order.

3.05.020    Order of business.

3.05.030    Assembly agenda – Amendment of agenda.

3.05.040    Public participation.

3.05.050    Teleconferencing.

3.05.060    Motions, debate, and discussion.

3.05.070    Decorum in debate.

3.05.080    Point of order and appeal.

3.05.090    Suspension of the rules.

3.05.100    Reconsideration.

3.05.110    Basic concepts of parliamentary procedure.

3.05.120    Quorum, actions, and votes.

3.05.150    Minutes and recordings of proceedings.

3.05.010 Rules of order.

The most recent edition of Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised is adopted and made part of these rules of procedure and governs the conduct of meetings of the assembly except as otherwise provided by the Charter of the City and Borough of Wrangell, the Wrangell Municipal Code, these rules of procedure, or the Alaska Statutes. [Ord. 882 § 2, 2014.]

3.05.020 Order of business.

At all regular meetings of the assembly, the order of business shall be:

A. Call to Order. The mayor shall call the meeting to order at 7:00 p.m. in the Borough Assembly Chambers.

1. Pledge of Allegiance.

2. Invocation.

3. Ceremonial matters – community presentations, proclamations, awards, certificates of service, guest introductions.

B. Roll Call. The borough clerk shall conduct a roll call of each elected and duly qualified member of the assembly. The roll call will result in a record entry of those present or absent from the meeting. The roll call is primarily used to determine if sufficient members are present to conduct a meeting.

C. Amendments to the Agenda. The assembly may amend the agenda as provided in WMC 3.05.030(E). The manager also may request agenda changes.

D. Conflict of Interest. The purpose of this agenda item is to provide a time for any conflict of interest disclosures and determinations on such disclosures by the mayor, as may be necessary and appropriate under WMC 3.04.112.

E. Consent Agenda. Items listed on the consent agenda or marked with an asterisk (*) are considered routine and will be passed in one motion unless the item has been removed from the consent agenda by the manager, the mayor, or an assembly member.

1. Approval of minutes.

2. Communications.

F. Borough Manager’s Report.

G. Borough Clerk’s File.

H. Mayor and Assembly Reports and Appointments. This agenda item is reserved for special reports by the mayor and assembly members. Information such as municipal league activities, reports from committees on which members sit, and conference reports are examples of items included here.

I. Persons to Be Heard. This agenda item is reserved to provide an opportunity for persons to address the assembly on non-agenda items. The rules of public participation for “persons to be heard” are set out in WMC 3.05.040(A).

J. Unfinished Business. This agenda item includes matters transferred from the consent agenda and other items of unfinished business.

1. Administrative or committee reports;

2. Public hearing;

3. Assembly action.

K. New Business.

1. Administrative or committee reports;

2. Public hearing;

3. Assembly action.

L. Attorney’s File.

M. Executive Session. The procedure for executive session is set out in WMC 3.04.120.

N. Adjournment. [Ord. 882 § 2, 2014.]

3.05.030 Assembly agenda – Amendment of agenda.

A. The agenda shall be prepared by the clerk subject to review and revision by the manager and the mayor. An agenda shall be prepared before every regular meeting of the assembly and the agenda shall be posted at City Hall by noon (12:00 p.m.) on the Friday preceding the meeting.

B. Borough Staff Submission of Items for Agenda. All reports, ordinances, resolutions, contracts, and other matters proposed by borough staff to be included on the assembly agenda at a regular meeting must be submitted to the borough manager or borough clerk no later than noon (12:00 p.m.) on the Thursday preceding the next regular meeting.

C. Requests by Members of the Public for Placement of Items on Agenda.

1. Persons other than borough staff or a member of the assembly requesting that an item be placed on the assembly agenda at a regular meeting are urged to meet with borough staff first, in an effort to come to a resolution on the item before the item may be placed on the agenda. If resolution cannot be reached, the person must submit a written request either:

a. In the form of a letter stating that this is a request for an item to be placed on the borough assembly agenda, and explaining in detail what is requested; or

b. By completing an “Agenda Item Request Form” provided by the borough clerk’s office.

2. Deadline for Written Request. A written request from a member of the public to place an item on the agenda must be received by the borough clerk no later than noon (12:00 p.m.) on the Thursday preceding the next regular meeting. Any request received after deadline will be considered for the next succeeding regular meeting agenda.

D. An agenda is not required for special meetings of the assembly; the list of topics contained in the notice given for a special meeting shall instead suffice.

E. Amendment of Agenda. The assembly may by majority vote approve a motion to amend the agenda to add or delete items from the published agenda during the course of a meeting, subject to the limitations in this section.

1. No action item may be added to the agenda by a motion to amend the agenda. An action item is an item which:

a. Introduces an ordinance;

b. Is a resolution;

c. Awards a contract;

d. Expends nonbudgeted funds;

e. Expends budgeted funds or authorizes expenditure of budgeted funds in excess of $25,000; or

f. Is a matter which, due to its significant or complex nature, requires more extensive public notice.

2. This amendment of agenda provision is intended to allow the addition of agenda items that are in the nature of:

a. Requests or directives that the manager, borough clerk, or borough attorney investigate and report on an issue, or prepare a document, report, or other item for future consideration by the assembly;

b. Naming mayoral appointees selected, or the low bidder for a contract, when the fact of the appointment or contract award has appeared on the published agenda, and the name(s) of the appointee(s) or recommended choice(s) have been made available at the start of the meeting;

c. A call for an executive session concerning an item that appears on the published agenda; or

d. Is for purposes of receiving information only without making a decision. [Ord. 882 § 2, 2014.]

3.05.040 Public participation.

A. Persons to Be Heard. There shall be an opportunity for public participation on non-agenda items at each regular meeting of the assembly, which shall be listed on the agenda as “persons to be heard” and conducted according to the following rules, which shall be posted in the assembly chambers:

1. Any person desiring to address the assembly under “persons to be heard” shall first sign up on the sheet provided at the meeting and be recognized by the presiding officer prior to speaking.

2. The speaker will precede their remarks by stating their names and, unless otherwise allowed by the mayor, their place of residence.

3. The mayor or an assembly member may ask questions of the speaker, but shall not deliberate at that time on matters raised, or answer questions directed by the speaker to the members.

4. Speakers shall address their remarks to the assembly as a body and not to any individual member of the assembly.

5. The mayor may, prior to the call for persons to be heard, prescribe time limits, request designated speakers for groups, determine redundancy, and other effective meeting procedures.

B. Public Hearings. Public participation during public hearings on ordinances, resolutions, and other matters, other than appeals, will be conducted according to the following rules, which shall be posted in the assembly chambers:

1. The hearing will be conducted by the mayor as chair.

2. The mayor will open the hearing by summarizing its purpose and reemphasizing the rules of procedure.

3. The mayor may set a time limit for public testimony, for individual speakers, or both if it appears necessary to gain maximum participation and conserve time. The time limit may be extended by a majority vote of the assembly. The time limit shall be uniform for all speakers, provided the mayor may grant additional time to a person speaking on behalf of a group present in the chambers.

4. The mayor may request designated speakers be chosen for groups of persons wishing to address the assembly on the same subject.

5. Citizens will be encouraged to submit written presentations and exhibits.

6. Members of the public will precede their remarks by stating their names and, unless otherwise allowed by the mayor, their place of residence.

7. All speakers, members of the public, and members of the assembly must be recognized by the chair before speaking.

8. All speakers, members of the public, and members of the assembly will be recognized by the chair by name.

9. The mayor will set forth the item or subject to be discussed and will rule inappropriate comments, or comments that are not germane to the subject, out of order.

10. Members of the assembly will not direct questions to each other or to the chair during public participation except as to the conduct of the hearing.

11. Members of the assembly may direct questions to members of the public only to obtain clarification of material presented. The questions may not be argumentative.

12. Speakers may direct questions to the assembly or the borough administration. The questions may not be argumentative. Speakers shall address their remarks to the assembly as a body and not to any individual member of the assembly.

13. Speakers may direct questions to the chair only as it pertains to the conduct of the hearing.

14. The assembly and members of the public will refrain from argument and debate between them.

15. The manager may participate in the same manner as the members of the assembly.

16. After public hearing has been closed and a motion made by the assembly, no person shall address the assembly without first obtaining permission from the chair.

C. Disorderly Conduct at Meetings Prohibited. The chair may call to order any person who is breaching the peace or being disorderly by speaking without recognition, engaging in booing or catcalls, speaking vulgarities, name calling, personal attacks, or engaging in other conduct which is determined by the chair to be disruptive of the meeting. Any person so disrupting a meeting of the assembly may be removed and barred from further attendance at the meeting unless permission to return or remain is granted by a majority vote of the assembly. [Ord. 882 § 2, 2014.]

3.05.050 Teleconferencing.

A. The mayor or an assembly member who will be absent from a meeting, including public hearings and work sessions of the assembly, may participate in the meeting by telephone or other electronic means as provided in this section and provided the following circumstances are met:

1. The meeting is held with a quorum of members physically present;

2. Reasonable technical capabilities are available at the meeting location to allow the member to participate by teleconference, including being able to hear and engage in discussion, and being audible to all persons participating in the meeting;

3. Prior to the meeting reasonable efforts will be made to ensure that the member participating by teleconference is provided with the meeting agenda and other pertinent documents to be discussed and acted upon; access to the agenda and documents from the borough’s website will be considered sufficient access.

B. Participation of Mayor and Assembly Members by Teleconference.

1. An assembly member may request to participate in any meeting of the assembly by notifying the clerk to arrange for teleconference participation by 4:00 p.m. on the Friday before the Tuesday regular assembly meeting, and at least 12 hours before any special assembly meeting.

2. The mayor, or the presiding officer in the absence of the mayor, may request to participate in any meeting of the assembly by notifying the clerk to arrange for teleconference participation by 4:00 p.m. on the Friday before the Tuesday regular assembly meeting, and at least 12 hours before any special assembly meeting.

3. The mayor and any assembly member participating by teleconference shall be deemed to be present at the assembly meeting for all purposes, including for quorum and voting; provided, that:

a. The mayor, or the presiding officer in the absence of the mayor, shall not preside over the assembly meeting when participating by teleconference;

b. Participation by teleconference shall not be allowed for any executive session by the mayor or any assembly member.

4. The mayor and any assembly member participating by teleconference shall have the same right to participate in any matter, other than an executive session, as if physically present at the assembly meeting, including debate under WMC 3.05.060, adjudicatory matters, and presentations. Reasonable efforts shall be made to make available to the mayor and any assembly member participating by teleconference any pertinent documents that are to be discussed and/or acted upon, including the assembly packet.

5. The mayor and any assembly member participating by teleconference shall have the same right to vote on any matter as if physically present at the assembly meeting. All voting at the meeting shall be by roll call vote. The assembly member who is participating by teleconference, or the mayor when participating by teleconference, determines whether the member or the mayor has had the opportunity to evaluate all pertinent information, including any testimony and/or evidence, and is prepared to vote.

6. Teleconference participation at any assembly meeting by each assembly member or by the mayor is limited to four times during the 12-month period commencing January 1st each year. However, teleconference participation by a member or the mayor will not be allowed consecutively for more than two regular meetings. Participation in a meeting by teleconference while out of town on municipal business does not count toward the four times for which teleconference participation is permitted or toward the two consecutive regular meetings limit on participation by teleconference.

C. All votes taken at the meeting are by roll call of the members physically present at the meeting and the members participating by teleconference. [Ord. 915 § 3, 2016; Ord. 882 § 2, 2014.]

3.05.060 Motions, debate, and discussion.

A. Until a matter has been brought before the assembly in the form of a motion proposing a specific action, it cannot be debated. A motion must be made by a member of the assembly. The mayor may not make a motion of any kind.

B. Reduce Motion to Writing. A motion must be reduced to writing when required by the chair or when any assembly member so demands.

C. Request to Divide the Question. When a motion relating to a single subject contains several parts, each of which is capable of standing as a complete proposition on its own, the parts may be separated or divided and voted on as if they were distinct questions. This is done when one or more members requests that the question be divided or split. The division of the question is arranged by unanimous consent of the assembly.

D. The term “debate” applies to the discussion on the merits of a pending question. Every member of the assembly and the mayor has the right to speak to every debatable motion before it is finally acted upon. The manager or other staff person upon the manager’s request, the borough attorney, or the borough clerk may give information or advice pertinent to the pending question. [Ord. 882 § 2, 2014.]

3.05.070 Decorum in debate.

A. Members of the assembly may not address one another directly, but must address all remarks through the chair. As much as possible, the use of names should be avoided in debate. Before making a motion or speaking in debate, a person must address the chair and be recognized. Any member who seeks the floor while entitled to it must be recognized.

B. In debate a person’s remarks must have bearing on whether the pending motion should be adopted and should be germane to the question before the assembly.

C. Every person while speaking shall avoid personalities, and under no circumstances may a person attack or question the motives of another person. Every person shall refer to any other person in a respectful manner. Every person shall avoid the use of profanities at all times. The chair must act immediately and decisively to correct a member violating decorum in debate and prevent its repetition. [Ord. 882 § 2, 2014.]

3.05.080 Point of order and appeal.

A. When a member of the assembly thinks the rules of the assembly are being violated, the person may make a “point of order” calling upon the chair for a ruling and an enforcement of the regular rules. A “point of order” takes precedence over any pending question and is in order when another member has the floor. It must be raised promptly at the time the breach occurs. It does not require a second and, unless the point is submitted to the assembly for a vote, it is not debatable.

B. The point of order is normally ruled on by the chair. No vote is taken unless the chair is in doubt and submits the point to the assembly for a vote or unless the ruling is appealed. Any two assembly members can appeal by one member making the appeal and the other seconding it, but the appeal must be made at the time of the ruling. If any debate or business has intervened, it is too late to appeal. The question shall be: “Shall the decision of the chair be upheld?” A majority or tie vote sustains the decision of the chair on the principle that the decision stands until reversed by a majority. [Ord. 882 § 2, 2014.]

3.05.090 Suspension of the rules.

The rules of order and the order of business shall be observed in all cases unless temporarily suspended for a special purpose by a two-thirds vote of the authorized membership of the assembly. [Ord. 882 § 2, 2014.]

3.05.100 Reconsideration.

A. The purpose of reconsideration of a vote is to permit correction of hasty, ill-advised, or erroneous action, or to take into account added information or a changed situation that has developed since the taking of the vote.

B. The motion for reconsideration must be made by a member of the assembly who voted on the prevailing side of the motion under consideration. Any member may second it, and the motion must be seconded at the time it is made. If no other question is pending, the debate and vote on a motion to reconsider may be taken up immediately or postponed.

C. The motion for reconsideration must be made and seconded during the meeting at which the action to be reconsidered was taken, or by written notification to the clerk within seven days of the adjournment of the meeting signed by both the moving member and the member seconding the motion.

D. A motion for reconsideration may be applied to the vote on any motion except:

1. A motion which can be renewed within a reasonable time;

2. An affirmative vote whose provisions have been partly carried out;

3. An affirmative vote in the nature of a contract when a party to the contract has been notified of the outcome;

4. Any vote that has caused something to be done that is impossible to undo.

E. Any member of the assembly may call up a motion for reconsideration which has been duly made and seconded at any time during the meeting at which it was made, or at the next regular meeting of the assembly; a motion to reconsider and enter on the minutes may be called up only at the next regular meeting of the assembly. A motion to reconsider may be called up during a special meeting occurring before the next regular meeting provided notice of such reconsideration is stated in the notice of the special meeting.

F. A proper motion for reconsideration which complies with subsection (C) of this section suspends implementation and effect of the vote on the question for which reconsideration is sought until the next regular meeting adjourns or until the assembly takes action on that motion, whichever occurs first.

G. A motion for reconsideration is debatable in all cases in which the motion proposed to be reconsidered is debatable, and when debatable, opens to debate the merits of the question whose reconsideration is proposed. It is not amendable. It requires only a majority vote.

H. There may be only one reconsideration even though the action of the assembly after reconsideration is opposite from the action of the assembly before reconsideration. No question may be reconsidered twice. [Ord. 882 § 2, 2014.]

3.05.110 Basic concepts of parliamentary procedure.

A. The borough attorney shall act as parliamentarian when present, with the borough clerk as acting parliamentarian during the attorney’s absence.

B. Rules of parliamentary procedure are intended to expedite the transaction of business of the assembly in an orderly and fair fashion, and are deemed to be procedural only.

C. Failure to strictly observe rules of parliamentary procedure shall not affect the jurisdiction of the assembly or invalidate any action taken at a meeting that otherwise conforms to law.

D. Business is brought before the assembly by motion made by an assembly member. The basic procedure for a motion is:

1. An assembly member makes a motion.

2. Another member seconds the motion.

3. The presiding officer states the motion, thereby formally placing it before the assembly.

4. The assembly members debate and discuss the motion. During this time the motion is considered pending and it can have secondary motions applied to it.

5. The presiding officer puts the question to a vote. This should include restating the motion to be voted on or requesting the borough clerk to do so.

6. The presiding officer or borough clerk makes a complete announcement of the results of the vote.

E. Types of Motions and Order of Precedence. The following are common motions listed in order of precedence. When a given motion on the list is immediately pending, any motion above it on the list is in order and any motion below it on the list is out of order.

1. Fix time to adjourn;

2. Adjourn;

3. Recess;

4. Raise a question of privilege;

5. Call for orders of the day;

6. Lay on the table;

7. Previous question;

8. Limit or extend debate;

9. Postpone to a certain time (or postpone definitely);

10. Commit (or refer);

11. Amend;

12. Postpone indefinitely;

13. Main motion. [Ord. 882 § 2, 2014.]

3.05.120 Quorum, actions, and votes.

A. At all meetings of the assembly, four assembly members or three members and the mayor shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business. In the absence of a quorum, any number less than a quorum may adjourn a meeting to a later date.

B. As provided by Section 2-8 of the Charter, actions of the assembly are adopted by a majority of the membership present when the vote is taken. The term “assembly member” or “membership” includes the mayor for purposes of quorum, actions, and votes (Charter Section 2-1).

C. Each assembly member present shall vote on every question unless required to abstain from voting on a question by law or authorized to abstain by the assembly. If an assembly member is required or authorized to abstain from the vote on any question, the member shall not participate in the debate on the question.

D. The vote on all matters considered by the assembly shall be taken by “yes” or “no” votes, which shall be entered in the record, except that if the vote is unanimous it may be recorded as “unanimous.”

E. When the mayor or the chair calls for a vote by roll call, the borough clerk shall alternate the order in which the roll is called; provided that the mayor, or a member serving as chair, shall be called last. [Ord. 882 § 2, 2014.]

3.05.150 Minutes and recordings of proceedings.

A. The borough clerk shall take and prepare minutes of assembly meetings and proceedings, which shall be subsequently approved, or amended and approved, by the assembly. After approval, the minutes shall be placed in a chronological record, maintained by the borough clerk.

B. Audio recordings of all assembly meetings and proceedings open to the public will also be maintained. The borough clerk will maintain the audio recordings for a period of 10 years after the meeting for which the recording is made.

C. No recordings shall be permitted for any executive session. [Ord. 882 § 2, 2014.]