Chapter 2.10


2.10.010    Council meetings.

2.10.020    Presiding officer.

2.10.030    Officer and employee duties.

2.10.040    Decorum and order.

2.10.050    Duties and privileges of members.

2.10.060    Order of business and agenda.

2.10.070    Consideration of business.

2.10.080    Public comment.

2.10.090    Procedure for council meetings.

2.10.100    Commissions and lay-committees.

2.10.110    Miscellaneous.

Prior legislation: Ords. 280, 429 and 502.

2.10.010 Council meetings.

(1) Regular Council Meetings. The council shall hold a minimum of one regular meeting each month on a day designated by the city council. Regular meetings shall be convened in the city council chambers at City Hall, and shall be called to order at 7:00 p.m. for regular city business.

(2) Executive Sessions. Executive sessions may be called by the presiding officer or any two members of the council. Only council members and persons specifically invited by the council shall be allowed to attend executive sessions, other than those sessions at which the council conducts deliberations with persons designated to carry on labor negotiations. No matter discussed during executive sessions may be disclosed by any person present during such session.

(3) Special Meetings. Special meetings may be called by the presiding officer, or by request of any three council members. Written notice of all special meetings shall be given at least 24 hours in advance of the scheduled meetings. Notice shall be given to each councilor and business office of each local newspaper, radio and television station which has on file a written request for notice of special meetings. Such notices may be delivered by mail, electronic facsimile (FAX), or by personal delivery.

(4) Emergency Meetings. An emergency meeting of the council is a special meeting which can be called when less than 24 hours’ notice can be given. The minutes need to state the nature of the emergency. Emergency meetings may be held by consent of a majority of councilors. An attempt must be made to notify the public or the press of the need for this emergency meeting. Only the emergency matter(s) giving rise to the need for an emergency meeting may be considered.

(5) Public Attendance. All regular and special meetings shall be open to the public. [Ord. 519 § 1, 2005].

2.10.020 Presiding officer.

(1) Mayor. The mayor shall preside at all regular and special meetings, and executive sessions of the council, and shall be the recognized head of the city for all ceremonial purposes.

(2) Council President. At the first meeting of the new year after each general biennial election, the council shall elect, by majority vote, a council president from its membership. In the mayor’s absence from any council meeting, the council president shall act as the presiding officer. Whenever the mayor is unable to perform the functions of the office, due to absence, illness or other cause, the council president shall act as mayor pro tem. [Ord. 549, 2011; Ord. 519 § 2, 2005].

2.10.030 Officer and employee duties.

(1) City Recorder. The city recorder shall be the clerk of the council, and shall keep minutes of meetings and shall perform other duties within the function of the meetings as ordered by the presiding officer or other members of council.

(2) City Attorney. Requests to the city attorney for advice requiring legal research shall not be made by a member of the council except with the concurrence of the council. Before requesting research or other action by the city attorney, the council is encouraged to consider consulting with the department heads and/or city administrator to ascertain whether the request or action can be accomplished more cost effectively by alternate means. Outside a council meeting, a council member should make requests of the city attorney through the department heads and/or city administrator. Exceptions to this are issues related to the performance of the department heads and/or city administrator and unique and sensitive personal, yet city business-related requests. The city attorney shall in either case provide any written response to the full council and the department heads and/or city administrator.

(3) Chief of Police. The chief of police or his deputy shall attend each regular council meeting, and serve as the sergeant-at-arms. For the purpose of maintaining order and decorum at the council meetings, the sergeant-at-arms shall carry out all orders or instructions upon the direction of the presiding officer, or upon any other procedure specifically provided by these rules. [Amended during 2011 codification; Ord. 519 § 3, 2005].

2.10.040 Decorum and order.

(1) Presiding Officer. The presiding officer shall preserve decorum and decide all points of order, subject to appeal of the council.

(2) Councilors. Councilors shall preserve order and decorum during council meetings, and shall not, by conversation or other action, delay or interrupt the proceedings or refuse to obey the orders of the presiding officer or rules of council. Councilors shall, when addressing staff or members of the public, confine themselves to questions or issues then under discussion, shall not engage in personal attacks, shall not impugn the motives of any speaker, and shall at all times, while in session or otherwise, conduct themselves in a manner appropriate to the dignity of their office.

(3) Staff and Public. Employees of the city and other persons attending council meetings shall observe the same rules of procedure, decorum and good conduct applicable to the members of the council.

(4) Removal of Any Person. Any person who makes personal, impertinent, slanderous or unauthorized remarks, or who becomes boisterous while addressing the council or attending a council meeting, shall be removed from the room if the sergeant-at-arms is so directed by the presiding officer. In case the presiding officer should fail to act, any member of the council may obtain the floor and move to require enforcement of this rule. Upon affirmative vote of the majority of council, the sergeant-at-arms shall be authorized to remove the person or persons, as if the presiding officer so directed. Such persons may be barred from further audience before the council and, in aggravated cases, an appropriate complaint shall be issued by the presiding officer and the person or persons prosecuted.

(5) Censure.

(a) The council has the inherent right to make and enforce its own rules and to ensure compliance with those laws generally applicable to public bodies. Should any councilor act in any manner constituting a substantial violation of these rules or other general laws, the council, acting as a whole, may discipline that councilor to the extent provided by law, including public reprimand.

(b) Any member accused of a substantial violation of council rules or any other general law shall have the right to present a defense to the allegations, including the right to present rebuttal evidence, and to have representation by counsel. Upon finding, beyond a reasonable doubt, that a substantial violation has occurred, and the violation affects the councilor’s ability to represent the interests of the city as a whole, the council may, upon unanimous vote of the councilors other than the councilor subject to censure proceedings, impose a proper sanction. [Amended during 2011 codification; Ord. 519 § 4, 2005].

2.10.050 Duties and privileges of members.

(1) Code of Ethics. Councilors shall conduct themselves so as to bring credit upon the city as a whole, and to set an example of good ethical conduct for all citizens of the community. Councilors should constantly bear in mind these responsibilities to the entire electorate, and refrain from actions benefiting any individual or special interest group at the expense of the city as a whole. Councilors should likewise do everything in their power to ensure the impartial application of the law to all citizens, and equal treatment of each citizen before the law, without regard to race, national origin, gender, social station or economic position.

(2) Debate.

(a) Any councilor who has the floor shall confine himself or herself to the question under debate, avoid personalities and refrain from impugning the motives of any member’s argument or vote. No member shall address the chair or demand the floor while any vote is being taken.

(b) Councilors shall limit their remarks on a subject to five minutes unless granted additional time by the majority of the council.

(c) A councilor, once recognized, shall not be interrupted while speaking, unless called to order by the presiding officer, or unless a point of order is raised by any councilor while he or she is speaking, in which case, he or she shall cease speaking immediately until the point is determined. If ruled to be in order, he or she shall be permitted to proceed; if ruled to be out of order he or she shall remain silent or shall alter his or her remarks as to comply with the ruling.

(3) Communication with Staff. Any council members shall respect the separation between policy making and administration by limiting individual contacts with city employees so as not to influence staff decisions or recommendations, interfere with their work performance, undermine the authority of supervisors or to prevent the council from having benefit of any information received. All written information given by the department heads and/or city administrator, or designee, to one council member shall be distributed to all council members. Council members shall respect the roles and responsibilities of staff when and if expressing criticism in a public meeting or through public electronic mail messages. Staff shall have the same respect for the roles and responsibilities of council members.

(4) Right to Appeal. Any member may appeal to the council for a ruling of the presiding officer, and if the appeal is seconded, the member making the appeal may briefly state his reason for the appeal and the presiding officer may briefly explain his ruling but there shall be no debate on the appeal and no other member shall participate in the discussion. The presiding officer shall then put the question, “Shall the decision of the chair stand as the decision of the council?” If the majority of the members vote “yes,” the ruling of the chair is sustained; otherwise it is overruled.

(5) Dissent and Protest. Any councilor shall have the right to express dissent for or protest against any ordinance, resolution or decision of council and have the reason therefor entered upon the council minutes. Such dissent or protest must be filed in writing, couched in respectful language and presented to council not later than the next regular meeting following the date of passage of the ordinance, resolution or decision objected to.

(6) Excusal During the Meeting. No member may leave the council meeting while in regular session without permission from the presiding officer.

(7) Personal Privilege. The right of a member to address the council on a question of personal privilege shall be limited to cases in which his integrity, character or motives are assailed, questioned or impugned. [Amended during 2011 codification; Ord. 519 § 5, 2005].

2.10.060 Order of business and agenda.

(1) Order of Business. The business of all regular meetings of the council shall be transacted as follows; provided, however, that when it appears to be in the best interest of the public, the presiding officer may change the order of business:

(a) Call to order.

(b) Invocation.

(c) Pledge of allegiance.

(d) Appearance of interested citizens.

(e) Action items.

(f) Information items, reports and presentations.

(g) Consent calendar.

(h) Council comments.

(i) Executive session.

(j) Adjournment.

(2) Agendas.

(a) Staff shall prepare an agenda for every regular, and if requested, for every special council meeting. Items may be placed on the agenda by any person, but such items shall be presented to the city recorder in writing at least four business days prior to the meeting at which they are to be discussed.

(b) Agendas for regular meetings shall be accompanied by a summary of upcoming business, copy of previous month’s minutes, financial report for previous month, and any other informational material relevant to such council meeting. Agenda packets shall be distributed to the council at least four days prior to the meeting.

(c) New business brought before the council in a meeting may be referred to future council meetings for consideration or discussion.

(3) Additions to Agenda. A request to add an item for council consideration to the council agenda may be presented at the council meeting, but shall require a majority concurrence of the members present to be so added.

(4) Special Orders of Business. Agenda items that are of special importance to the council may be treated as special orders of business. Special orders of business agenda items take precedence over all other items. [Ord. 538, 2010; Ord. 519 § 6, 2005].

2.10.070 Consideration of business.

(1) Quorum. A majority of the council shall constitute a quorum to do business. A lesser number of council members may meet to authorize payment of regular bills and expenses. All other business shall be tabled.

(2) Voting. Unless otherwise provided by statute, ordinance or resolution, all votes shall be taken by voice; provided, that upon demand by any member of the council, a roll call vote shall be made upon any question before the council. No councilor may explain the reasons for his or her vote during the roll call.

(3) Procedure Generally. When the question has been called for, the presiding officer shall first ask for the “yes” votes, followed by the “no” votes. After a vote has been taken the presiding officer shall announce the results of the vote.

(4) Voting Required. The concurrence of a majority of those present and voting at a meeting, provided that a quorum is present, is required to determine any matter before the council. Each councilor present must vote on all questions before the council unless the member has a conflict of interest which would disqualify the member from voting. If a member abstains, the reasons for the abstention shall be entered in the record.

(5) Minimum Votes Required in Certain Situations. The passage of any ordinance shall require the affirmative vote of at least a majority of the whole council.

(6) Tie Vote. In case of a tie in the votes of any proposal, the mayor shall break the tie. [Ord. 519 § 7, 2005].

2.10.080 Public comment.

(1) Policy. The council recognizes that public input into the governmental process is a valuable aid to informed decision making. Therefore, it is the policy of the council that all citizens shall have the right to speak before the council on matters of public concern, but each citizen shall be responsible for abuse of such right. Consequently, to ensure that the greater public interest is fostered, each citizen or group of citizens who desire to speak before the council shall have the duty to exercise this right in a manner that furthers the greater public interest.

(2) Public Comment Generally. Any member of the general public wishing to address the council a matter of public concern may do by using so at the time set for public comments during each regular session of the council. Any member so addressing the council shall be limited to a period of three minutes within which to make themselves heard. The council, in its sole discretion, may extend this time, or may request further information be presented to the council on such date and in such manner as it deems appropriate. The right to discuss the business before the council is reserved exclusively for the mayor, councilors, the department heads and/or city administrator, and the city attorney, with the following exceptions:

(a) Public hearings; and

(b) Citizens wishing to speak on nonagenda items.

The presiding officer shall recognize any city staff member or member of the audience for discussion of any matter before the council. No person shall be permitted to speak or present evidence until recognized by the presiding officer and given permission to speak or present evidence. All comments, evidence or questions from the floor will be addressed to the presiding officer. In the case of questions, the presiding officer will request input from the appropriate sources (staff, council, or presenters). No person shall represent irrelevant, immaterial or unduly repetitious testimony or evidence; provided, however, that reports and documents prepared by city personnel shall be deemed relevant, material and the weight or competency thereof shall be determined by the council.

(3) Persons Sharing Common Concerns. If any group of three or more persons sharing a common viewpoint on any subject wishes to address the council during the time for public comment, the group shall select a spokesperson, who shall present the views of the group to the council. The council, in its sole discretion, may request to hear the views of additional speakers from the group. Additional support for the views of the group, in the form of petitions, letters, videotapes, etc., may be presented to the council for consideration at the conclusion of the spokesperson’s remarks.

(4) Roster. All persons or groups wishing to address the council during the time set for public comments shall, prior to the convening of the meeting, sign the roster provided by the city recorder, indicating the name of the person, the residence of the person, and the subject of public concern on which the persons or groups wishes to address the council.

(5) Complaints and Suggestions to the Council. When any citizen brings a complaint before or makes a suggestion to the council, other than for items already on the agenda, the presiding officer shall first determine whether the issue is legislative or administrative in nature and then:

(a) If legislative, and a complaint about the letter or intent of the legislative acts or suggestions for changes to such acts, and if the council finds such complaint suggests a change to an ordinance or resolution of the city, the council may refer the matter to the city attorney, staff, or a committee for study and recommendation.

(b) If administrative, and a complaint regarding administrative staff performance, administrative execution or interpretation of legislative policy, or administrative policy within the authority of staff department heads, the presiding officer shall then refer the complaint directly to the affected department head for review, if the complaint has not already been reviewed. The council may direct the department head to report to the council when the review has been made. [Amended during 2011 codification; Ord. 519 § 8, 2005].

2.10.090 Procedure for council meetings.

(1) Rules of Order. Unless otherwise provided by law or by these rules, the procedure for council meetings shall be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order.

(2) Construction of Rules of Order. The council has an obligation to the citizens to be clear and simple in its procedures and the consideration of the questions coming before it. Therefore, the rules of procedure should be liberally construed to that purpose, and councilors should avoid invoking the finer points of parliamentary procedure when such points serve only to obscure the issues before the council as a whole, and confuse the audience at public meetings and the citizens in general.

(3) Convening the Meeting. At the time appointed, the presiding officer shall take the chair at the hour scheduled for the council to meet and shall immediately call the members to order. The recorder shall enter in the minutes of the meeting the names of the members present.

(4) Requirement of a Second before Debate. No motion shall be debated until it has been seconded and announced by the presiding officer.

(5) Motions Reduced to Writing. Any councilor may request that a motion be reduced to writing and read by the city recorder.

(6) Citizen Participation. Citizens desiring to address the council shall first be recognized by the chair and shall limit remarks to the question then under discussion. All remarks and questions shall be addressed to the council as a whole and not to any individual councilor thereof.

(7) Precedence of Motions. When a question is before the council, no motion shall be entertained except:

(a) To abide by the rules.

(b) To adjourn.

(c) To lay on the table.

(d) For the previous question.

(e) To postpone to a certain date.

(f) To refer.

(g) To amend.

(h) To postpone indefinitely.

These motions shall have precedence in the order indicated. Any such motion, except a motion to amend, shall be put to a vote without debate.

(8) Motions to Be Stated by Presiding Officer/Withdrawal. When a motion is made and seconded, it shall be stated by the originator or the presiding officer before debate. A motion may not be withdrawn without the consent of the member seconding it.

(9) Motion to Adjourn – When Not in Order – When Not Debatable. A motion to adjourn will be in order at any time except as follows:

(a) When made as an interruption of a member while speaking.

(b) When the previous question has been ordered.

(c) While a vote is being taken.

A motion to adjourn is debatable only as to the time to which the meeting is adjourned.

(10) Motion to Lay on the Table. A motion to lay on the table shall preclude all amendments or debate or the subject under consideration. If the motion shall prevail, consideration of the subject may be resumed only upon motion of a member voting with the majority and with the consent of two-thirds of the members present.

(11) Division of Question. The presiding officer may, and upon request of the members shall, divide a question that contains two or more divisionable propositions.

(12) Motion to Postpone. All motions to postpone, except to postpone indefinitely, may be amended as to time. If a motion to postpone indefinitely is carried, the principal question shall be declared defeated.

(13) Suspension of Rules. No rule shall be suspended except by the vote of the majority of councilors present at the meeting. A motion to suspend a rule is not debatable.

(14) Adjourned Meetings. Upon motion and majority vote of council members present, any meeting of the council may be continued or adjourned from day to day, or for more than one day; provided, that no adjournment shall be for a period longer than until the next regular meeting thereafter. [Ord. 519 § 9, 2005].

2.10.100 Commissions and lay-committees.

(1) Repealed by Ord. 534.

(2) Ad Hoc Committees. Upon motion, the council may create an ad hoc committee. Members of an ad hoc committee may be nonresidents of the city. [Ord. 534, 2008; Ord. 519 § 10, 2005].

2.10.110 Miscellaneous.

(1) Amendments to Council Rules. Amendments to these rules shall be made by ordinance.

(2) Anonymous Communications. Anonymous and unsigned communications shall not be introduced in council meetings. [Ord. 519 § 11, 2005].