Chapter 2.08


2.08.010    Types of meetings.

2.08.020    Attendance.

2.08.030    General rules.

2.08.040    Presiding officer.

2.08.050    Council meeting agenda.

2.08.060    Motions and voting.

2.08.070    Audience participation.

2.08.080    Filling council vacancies.

2.08.090    Executive sessions.

2.08.100    Preserving the attorney/client privilege.

2.08.110    Good faith cooperation with insurance carrier.

2.08.120    Ultra vires actions.

2.08.130    Criminal convictions and violations of the code of ethics for municipal officers and oath of office.

2.08.140    Violation of council rules of procedure.

2.08.150    Suspension and amendment of rules.

*    For statutory provisions regarding the time and place of council meeting, see RCW 35.24.180.

2.08.010 Types of meetings.

(1) Regular Council Meetings. The council shall meet on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 7:00 p.m. When the meeting falls on a holiday, the council may determine an alternate day for the meeting or cancel the meeting. The council may reschedule regular meetings to a different date or time by motion. The location of the meetings shall be the council chambers at City Hall, unless specified otherwise by a majority vote of the council. All regular and special meetings shall be public pursuant to Chapter 42.30 RCW, the Open Public Meetings Act.

(2) Special Meetings. Special meetings may be called by the mayor or any four members of the council. The city clerk shall prepare a notice of the special meeting stating the time, place and business to be transacted. The city clerk shall attempt to notify each member of the council, either by telephone or otherwise, of the special meeting. The city clerk shall give at least 24 hours’ notice of the special meeting to each local newspaper of general circulation and to each local radio station and/or television station which has filed with the clerk a written request to be notified of special meetings. The council may not make final disposition on any matter not identified in the special meeting notice.

Special meetings may be called in less than 24 hours, and without the notice required in this section, to deal with emergencies involving injury or damage to persons or property or the likelihood of such injury or damage.

(3) Study Sessions and Workshops. The council may meet informally in study sessions and workshops (open to the public), at the call of the mayor or of any three or more members of the council, to review forthcoming programs of the city, receive progress reports on current programs, receive other similar information from city department heads or conduct procedures workshops; provided, that all discussions and conclusions thereon shall be informal and do not constitute official actions of the council. [Ord. 1545 § 2, 2015.]

2.08.020 Attendance.

(1) Attendance – Excused Absences. Pursuant to RCW 35A.12.060, a council member shall forfeit his/her office upon failing to attend three consecutive regular meetings of the council without being excused by the council. To be excused, the member shall contact the mayor before the meeting and give the reason for his/her inability to attend the meeting. If the member cannot contact the mayor, the member shall contact the city clerk/treasurer or deputy clerk/treasurer, who shall convey the message to the mayor. The chair shall inform the council of the member’s absence and reason therefor, and ask if there is a motion to excuse the member. Upon passage of such motion by a majority of the members present, the absent member shall be considered excused and the appropriate notation will be made in the minutes. If the motion is not passed or the above procedure is not followed, the minutes will reflect that the absence is unexcused.

(2) Attendance of City Staff. The city attorney, clerk/treasurer or deputy clerk/treasurer, fire chief, police chief, and public works director shall attend all regular meetings of the city council unless excused by the mayor. Staff attendance at special meetings and/or workshops will be at the discretion of the mayor or per contracts. The city attorney, upon request from the mayor or council, shall give an opinion on legal questions. The city clerk/treasurer shall keep the minutes of council, record all council votes and actions and perform such other duties as necessary for the orderly conduct of the meeting.

(3) Attendance of Media at Council Meetings. All meetings of the council and its committees shall be open to the media, freely subject to recording by radio, television and photographic equipment at any time; provided, that if such recording interferes with the orderly conduct of the meetings the mayor may make such orders as necessary. The mayor or presiding officer shall designate a space in the meeting room from which such recording activity may take place. The council reserves the right to adopt by motion additional rules and procedures applicable to a meeting in progress. [Ord. 1545 § 2, 2015.]

2.08.030 General rules.

(1) Recording of Meetings. A journal of all proceedings (minutes) of the council shall be kept by the clerk/treasurer and shall be entered in a book constituting the official record of the council.

(2) Right of Floor. Any council member desiring to speak shall first be recognized by the mayor and shall confine his/her remarks to one subject under consideration or to be considered.

(3) Decorum. All members shall preserve order, decency and decorum at all times while the council is in session. No member shall, by conversation or otherwise, delay or interrupt the proceedings or the peace of the council, nor disturb any member who is speaking. No member shall refuse to obey an order of the mayor. Members shall confine their remarks to one subject under consideration or to be considered. Discussion shall relate to the subject under consideration and shall be relevant and pertinent thereto so as to provide for the expeditious disposition and resolution of the city’s business. No member shall use any impertinent, degrading or slanderous language as to any other member, staff or public. There shall be no lectures, speeches or grandstanding. For purposes of this section, “member” includes the mayor.

(4) City Staff Decorum. City staff and employees shall observe the same rules of order and decorum as are applicable to the council.

(5) Council Roles. The city council is to work through the mayor when dealing with administrative services of the city. Members of the council must avoid intrusion into those areas that are the responsibility of staff. Individual council members may not intervene in staff decision-making, the development of staff recommendations, scheduling of work, and executing department priorities without the prior knowledge and approval of the city council as a whole. This is necessary to protect the staff from undue influence and pressure from individual council members, and to allow staff to execute priorities given by management and the council as a whole without fear of reprisal. If a council member wishes to influence the actions, decisions, recommendations, workloads, work schedule, or priorities of staff, that member must prevail upon the whole council to do so as a matter of council policy.

No council member, directly or indirectly, shall become involved in or attempt to influence personnel matters that are under the direction of the mayor. The council is not prohibited, while in open session, from fully and freely discussing with the mayor anything pertaining to appointments and removals of city officers and employees and city affairs.

(6) Council Representation. If a council member appears on behalf of the city before another government agency, community organization, or through the media, for the purpose of commenting on an issue, the council member shall state the majority position of the council, if known, on such issue. Personal opinions and comments which differ from the council majority may be expressed if the council member clearly states these statements do not represent the majority council’s position. Council members, when serving as a city of Clarkston representative, may act without authorization on specific votes for matters which pertain to the general operation of the organization or are emergency in nature. Issues which have a direct financial impact on the city’s finances, or the level of service provided in Clarkston, or are issues of significant policy shall be reported back to the council for feedback and potential authorization before taking action.

If an individual council member wishes to contact an outside agency or business regarding city business, the council member shall identify to that agency or business that he or she is making the contact as an individual, and not as a representative of the council. Any information that the individual council member requests from the agency or business that the council member wishes to present to the city council for consideration shall be submitted in writing from the agency or business.

(7) Council/Mayor Relationship. The relationship between the mayor and city council honors the fact that the mayor is the chief executive of the city. The council’s dealings with the mayor, whether in public or private, should respect the authority of the mayor in administrative matters. Disagreements should be expressed in policy terms, rather than in terms that question satisfaction with or support of the mayor.

The mayor respects and is sensitive to the policy responsibilities of the council and acknowledges that the final responsibility for establishing policy direction of the city is held by the city council. [Ord. 1545 § 2, 2015.]

2.08.040 Presiding officer.

(1) Mayor. The mayor shall preside at meetings of the council, and be recognized as the head of the city for all ceremonial purposes. In case of the mayor’s absence or temporary disability, the mayor pro tempore shall act as mayor during the continuance of the absence. In case of the absence or temporary disability of the mayor and mayor pro tempore, the members of the council shall select a member to act as mayor during the continuance of the absences. The mayor or mayor pro tempore is referred to as the “chair” or “presiding officer” from time to time in these rules of procedure.

(2) Call to Order. The meetings of the council shall be called to order by the mayor, or in the mayor’s absence, by the mayor pro tempore. In the absence of both the mayor and mayor pro tempore, the meeting shall be called to order by the city clerk for the election of a temporary chair.

(3) Preservation of Order. The chair shall preserve order and decorum, prevent attacks on personalities or the impugning of members’ or public motives and confine members or public in debate to the question under discussion.

(4) Points of Order. The chair shall determine all points of order, subject to the right of any member to appeal to the council. If any appeal is taken, the question shall be: “Shall the decision of the chair be sustained?”

(5) Questions to Be Stated. The chair shall state all questions submitted for a vote and announce the results. A roll call vote shall be taken upon request of any member.

(6) Presiding Officer – Powers. The mayor shall have the powers set forth in Chapter 35A.12 RCW. In addition to Chapter 35A.12 RCW powers, the chair shall have the powers of the chair as set forth in Robert’s Rules of Order when those powers are not inconsistent with the rules and procedures set forth herein.

When the mayor is unable to act as chair and the mayor pro tempore, or his or her successor, acts as chair, the mayor pro tempore’s or successor’s right to vote on matters coming before the council at that meeting is not abridged and his or her vote shall count. [Ord. 1545 § 2, 2015.]

2.08.050 Council meeting agenda.

(1) Agenda Preparation. The city clerk/treasurer, under the direction of the mayor, will prepare the agenda for each council meeting setting forth a brief description of each item and any supporting documentation to be considered by the council. Prior to submission to the council, the agenda shall be reviewed by the mayor.

An item to be considered by the city council at a regular meeting may be placed on the agenda by the mayor, clerk/treasurer or any member of the council. Agenda items should be vetted through one of the council standing committees or a council workshop before being placed on the agenda. Routine items, such as proclamations or requests for letters of support, do not need to go to committee prior to being placed on the agenda. Subject to the council’s right to amend the agenda, no legislative item shall be voted upon which is not on the council agenda, except in emergency situations (defined as situations which would jeopardize the public’s health, safety or welfare) as determined by majority vote of the council.

The clerk/treasurer will distribute a copy of the agenda and supporting materials to council members, the mayor and the press before close of business on the Thursday before a regular council meeting. The agenda packet will be sent by email to the mayor, council members and members of the press who have requested copies, and a hard copy will be placed in each member’s mailbox at City Hall. In addition, the agenda shall be posted to the city’s website by close of business the Thursday before a regular meeting.

(2) Order of Business. The order of business for all regular meetings shall be transacted as follows unless the council, by majority vote, suspends the rules and changes the order:

(a) Call to order.

(b) Pledge of allegiance.

(c) Roll call. Motion to excuse absent members may be made at this time.

(d) Approval of minutes.

(e) Communications.

(i) From the public.

(ii) From the mayor.

(iii) From staff or employees.

(f) Committee Reports.

(i) Finance/administration.

(ii) Public safety.

(iii) Public works.

(g) Public hearings.

(h) Consent agenda

(i) Unfinished business.

(j) New business.

(k) Council comments.

(l) Questions from the press.

(m) Executive session (if needed).

(n) Adjournment. [Ord. 1601 § 1, 2018; Ord. 1545 § 2, 2015.]

2.08.060 Motions and voting.

(1) Motions. Motions should be clear and concise and shall not include arguments for the motion within the motion. Members who wish to make a motion must first be recognized by the mayor. After the member makes a motion and it has been seconded (if required), the chair must then restate it or rule it out of order, then call for discussion. Most motions require a second, although there are some exceptions: nominations, points of order, and motions to table.

Motions for items not related to an item on the agenda may be considered by the council if the matter is an emergency or action cannot wait until the next regular council meeting. Motions that do not fit this criteria will automatically be placed on the agenda for the next meeting.

A motion may be withdrawn by the maker of the motion at any time if there is no objection from any member of council.

(2) Motion to Table. A motion to table does not require a second and is not debatable. The mayor will state the motion and call for the vote. The purpose of a motion to table is to enable the council to lay a pending question aside temporarily when something else of immediate urgency has arisen or something else needs to be addressed before consideration of the pending question.

(3) Motion for Reconsideration. Motions for reconsideration must be made by a member from the prevailing side. Any member may make the second. The motion to reconsider must be made at the same or succeeding regular meeting. Council members who wish to have a matter reconsidered must notify the clerk/treasurer in time for the reconsideration to be listed on the agenda. No motion to reconsider an adopted quasi-judicial written decision shall be entertained after the close of the meeting at which the written findings were adopted.

(4) Motion to Postpone. A motion to postpone requires a second and is debatable. The motion should specify a certain time when the motion will be considered, or it should be a motion to postpone indefinitely.

(5) Motion to Call the Question. A motion to call for the question shall close debate on the main motion and is nondebatable. The motion requires a second and fails without a two-thirds vote of those present. Debate is reopened if the motion fails.

(6) A “motion to amend” is defined as amending the motion that is on the floor and has been seconded, by inserting or adding, striking out or substituting.

(7) Questions of Interpretation. The city attorney shall decide all questions of interpretations of these policies and procedures and all other questions of parliamentary nature, to the best of his/her abilities, which may arise at a council meeting. All cases not provided for in these policies and procedures shall be governed by the most recent version of Robert’s Rules of Order. In the event of a conflict, these policies and procedures shall prevail.

(8) Voting. The votes during all meetings of the council shall be transacted as follows:

(a) Unless otherwise provided for by statute, ordinance, or resolution, all votes shall be taken by voice, except that at the request of any council member, the mayor shall take a roll call vote.

(b) The passage of any ordinance, grant or revocation of a franchise, any motion or resolution for the payment of money, and any approval of expenditures shall require a majority vote of the whole council, i.e., at least four affirmative votes. Any other motion requires a majority of the members present so long as there is a quorum.

(c) The passage of any public emergency ordinance (an ordinance that takes effect immediately), expenditures for any calamity or violence of nature or riot or insurrection or war, and provisions for a lesser emergency, such as budget amendment, shall require four affirmative votes of the council.

(d) Council members shall vote on all matters before the council except on matters in which he or she has been disqualified for a conflict of interest or under the appearance of fairness doctrine, or in which he or she has been granted leave to abstain by the city council in advance and for a stated reason. Any council member who is disqualified from voting on a matter shall not participate in the debate. If any council member refuses to vote “aye” or “nay,” their vote shall be counted as an “aye” and their conduct shall be considered disorderly. Abstentions shall be treated as the absence of a vote and abstaining member shall not be counted as present. [Ord. 1545 § 2, 2015.]

2.08.070 Audience participation.

These rules are intended to promote an orderly system of holding a public meeting and to give every person an opportunity to be heard.

(1) Manner of Addressing the Council. Citizens are welcome at all council meetings and are encouraged to attend and participate. Each person addressing the council shall step up to the podium, give his/her name and address and subject matter of comments for the record, and unless further time is granted by the council, shall limit their address to three minutes. All comments shall be made to the council as a board and not to any single member nor to staff or the audience. Any questions for council members or staff shall be presented through the presiding officer. The council will determine the disposition of any issues raised (e.g., placed on the present agenda, workshop, other agendas, refer to staff or do not consider).

(2) Conduct of Audience. All audience members shall abide by the rules of decorum contained in CMC 2.08.030(3). Any person making personal, inappropriate, disrespectful or disparaging remarks or who shall become boisterous while addressing the council may be requested to leave the meeting and may be barred from further audience before the council during that council meeting by the presiding officer. No audience member shall disrupt the conduct of the meeting or clap, cheer, hoot, holler, gesture, whistle, guffaw, jeer, boo, hiss, make remarks out of turn, use profanity, or the like. Any audience member who does so shall be determined out of order and mayor may have such person removed from the council chambers. Such person shall not be permitted to attend the remainder of that council meeting.

(3) Written Communications. Interested parties, or their authorized representatives, may address the council by written communication in regard to any matter concerning the city’s business or over which the council has control at any time. Written communication may be submitted by direct mail or by addressing the communication to the city clerk who will distribute copies to the council members. Items of a routine nature (minor complaints, routine requests, referrals, etc.) shall be placed in council member’s mailbox and/or emailed. A brief staff memorandum or note should accompany each letter explaining the request and recommending a course of action or which department is replying or taking action. Written correspondence which requires some council discussion, is of policy nature, or for which a non-routine official action or response is required shall be placed on the next regular council agenda, either under staff comments or new business, and accompanied by backup information. Some items may be routed through council committees as appropriate for committee recommendation before coming to the full council for review.

(4) Correspondence Directly Related to Quasi-Judicial Hearing Matters. Copies of such correspondence shall not be included with the agenda materials, but shall be placed directly into the appropriate hearing file, so that the contents of the quasi-judicial file will be only circulated to city council members at the time that the matter comes before the council for a quasi-judicial hearing, and as a part of the hearing exhibits. [Ord. 1545 § 2, 2015.]

2.08.080 Filling council vacancies.

(1) Notice of Vacancy. If a council vacancy occurs, the council will follow the procedures outlined in RCW 42.12.070. In order to fill the vacancy with the most qualified person available until an election is held, the council will widely distribute and publish a notice of the vacancy and the procedure and deadline for applying for the position.

(2) Application Procedure. Applications will be accepted on a form prescribed by the city council. The application form will be used in conjunction with an interview of each candidate.

(3) Interview Process. All qualified candidates who submit an application by the deadline will be interviewed by the council during a regular or special council meeting open to the public. In order to make the interviews fair, applicants will be asked to remain outside the council chambers while other applicants are being interviewed. Council members will ask the same questions of each candidate. Each candidate will be allowed three minutes for closing comments.

(4) Selection of Council Member. The council may recess into executive session to discuss the qualifications of all candidates. Nominations, voting and selection of a person to fill the vacancy will be conducted during an open public meeting. [Ord. 1545 § 2, 2015.]

2.08.090 Executive sessions.

Executive sessions or closed meetings may be held in accordance with the provisions of the Washington Open Meeting Act (RCW 42.30.110). Among the topics that may be discussed are: (1) personnel matters; (2) consideration of acquisition of property for public purposes or sale of city owned property; (3) potential or pending litigation in which the city has an interest, as long as legal counsel is present in person or by phone as provided in RCW 42.30.110. The council must keep confidential all written materials and verbal information provided to them during executive sessions to ensure that the city’s position is not compromised. The council may hold an executive session during a regular or special meeting. Before convening in executive session, the chair shall publicly announce the purpose for excluding the public from the meeting place and the time when the executive session will be concluded. If the council wishes to adjourn at the close of a meeting from executive session, that fact will be announced along with the estimated time for the executive session. The announced time limit for executive sessions may be extended to a stated later time by the announcement of the chair. [Ord. 1545 § 2, 2015.]

2.08.100 Preserving the attorney/client privilege.

No council member shall make any disclosures or release any information which would result in the waiver of the attorney/client privilege without first obtaining the approval of a majority of the council in open session. Such a request for disclosure shall first be raised during an executive session for discussion prior to a vote in open session. [Ord. 1545 § 2, 2015.]

2.08.110 Good faith cooperation with insurance carrier.

All council members shall cooperate in good faith with any insurance carrier or attorney representing the city in connection with a defense provided by an insurance carrier. [Ord. 1545 § 2, 2015.]

2.08.120 Ultra vires actions.

Council members shall not act ultra vires, or outside the scope of their authority and duties as council members. [Ord. 1545 § 2, 2015.]

2.08.130 Criminal convictions and violations of the code of ethics for municipal officers and oath of office.

No council member shall serve on the city council after having been convicted of any criminal violation of Chapter 42.23 RCW (as now enacted or hereafter amended) or any felony or malfeasance in office (RCW 9.92.120, as now enacted or hereafter amended). No council member shall serve on the city council after having violated any of the provisions of Chapter 42.23 RCW (as now enacted or hereafter amended). No council member shall serve on the city council after having been convicted of any offense involving a violation of his or her official oath (RCW 42.12.010(5), as now enacted or hereafter amended). [Ord. 1545 § 2, 2015.]

2.08.140 Violation of council rules of procedure.

(1) These rules of procedure are adopted with the intent that they be fully enforceable and that violations thereof result in council action against members as provided herein and pursuant to RCW 35.23.270 and RCW Title 35A, as now enacted or hereafter amended. Any violation of these rules of procedure is deemed to constitute disorderly conduct by such member.

(2) Any claim of violation of these rules of procedure must be made in writing by a council member and filed with the city clerk and made a part of the minutes of the council meeting where the charge is first considered.

(3) Violations of CMC 2.08.090 through 2.08.130 may be subject to removal from office pursuant to the process set forth in subsection (4)(c) of this section, unless the council determines to utilize the admonition and reprimand process contained in subsection (4)(a) or (b) of this section.

(4) Members violating any other rules of procedure shall be subject to admonition for the first violation of a particular rule, reprimand for a second or third violation of that same rule, and removal from office on the fourth violation of that same rule as follows:

(a) Admonition. An admonition shall be a verbal vote in open session, recorded in the minutes, made by the council to the member.

(b) Reprimand. A reprimand shall be administered to the member by letter. The letter shall be prepared by the city council after action in open session to approve such letter. If the member objects to the contents of such letter, he/she may file a request for review of the content of the letter of reprimand with the city council. The city council shall review the letter of reprimand based upon the request for review and record established, and may take whatever action appears appropriate under the circumstances.

(c) Removal from Office. Removal from office shall occur after trial on written charges before the city council upon a two-thirds majority vote of the whole council.

(5) The action of the city council in response to a violation of these rules shall be final and not subject to further review before the city council. [Ord. 1545 § 2, 2015.]

2.08.150 Suspension and amendment of rules.

(1) Suspension of Rules. Any provision of these rules may be temporarily suspended by a two-thirds vote of the city council.

(2) Amendment of Rules. These rules may be amended or new rules adopted by a majority vote of the full council; provided, that the proposed amendments or new rules shall have been introduced into the record at a prior council meeting. [Ord. 1545 § 2, 2015.]