Chapter 2.60
COUNCIL RULES OF PROCEDURE

Sections:

2.60.010    Purpose and scope.

2.60.020    General rules.

2.60.030    Presiding officer.

2.60.040    Council meeting agenda.

2.60.050    Motions.

2.60.060    Voting.

2.60.070    Audience participation.

2.60.080    Complaints to council.

2.60.090    Filling council vacancies.

2.60.100    Executive sessions.

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

2.60.120    Preserving the attorney-client privilege.

2.60.130    Good faith cooperation with insurance carrier.

2.60.140    Ultra vires actions.

2.60.150    Staff and council relations and representation.

2.60.160    Violations of council rules of proceedings.

2.60.170    Amendment of these rules.

2.60.010 Purpose and scope.

It is up to every town council to establish rules for the conduct of their meetings. With new personnel and increased public involvement, the council has determined that updating the current council rules of procedure will make council meetings more efficient and professional and will instill the public’s confidence in town government. [Ord. 792, 2018]

2.60.020 General rules.

(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 chair before the meeting and give the reason for his/her inability to attend the meeting. If the member cannot contact the chair, the member shall contact the town clerk or deputy town clerk, who shall convey the message to the chair. 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. The council may excuse an absent member by a majority vote. The recorder will note in the minutes whether the member’s absence was excused or unexcused.

(2) Journal of Proceeding. A journal of all proceedings (minutes) of the council shall be kept by the town clerk and shall be entered in a book constituting the official record of the council. Meeting minutes are a summary of the proceeding but may be more detailed or completed verbatim as needed. Regular meetings of the council may be recorded. All meetings where a public hearing or land-use item is on the agenda shall be recorded.

(3) Right of Floor. Any members desiring to speak shall first be recognized by the chair.

(4) 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 chair. 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 town’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.

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

(6) Audio/Video Area. All audio or video taping by the public and/or press shall be done from the back of the council room.

(7) Meetings to Be Public. All meetings of the council shall be open to the public with the exception of executive sessions for certain limited topics (as detailed in Chapter 42.30 RCW). The journal of proceedings shall be open to public inspection.

(8) Quorum. A simple majority of council shall be in attendance to constitute a quorum and be necessary for the transaction of business. If a quorum is not present, those in attendance will be named and they shall adjourn to a later time, but no adjournment shall be longer than until the next regular meeting date.

(9) Types of Meetings.

(a) Regular Council Meetings. The council shall meet on the second and fourth Mondays of each month at 6:00 p.m. and shall adjourn by 8:30 p.m. unless by unanimous vote of the council to extend. If at any time, any regular meeting falls on a holiday, such regular meeting shall be held the next business day (CMC 2.04.010). The council may reschedule regular meetings to a different date or time by motion. All meetings of the town council, both regular and special, shall be held within the corporate limits of the town and all such meetings shall be public and posted as law requires.

(b) Special Meetings. Special meetings may be called at any time in accordance with the provisions of RCW 42.30.080. The town clerk shall prepare a notice of the special meeting stating the time, place and business to be transacted. The town clerk shall attempt to notify each member of the council, either by telephone or otherwise, of the special meeting. The town clerk shall give at least 24 hours’ notice of the special meeting to the town’s legal paper of record or other local newspaper of general circulation or to each radio or television station which has filed with the clerk a written request to be notified of special meetings. No subjects other than those specified in the notice shall be considered. The council may not make final disposition on any matter not mentioned in the notice.

(c) 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 two or more members of the council, to review forthcoming programs of the town, receive progress reports on current programs or projects, receive other similar information from town department heads, discuss budget items or conduct procedure workshops; provided, that all discussions and conclusions thereon shall be informal and do not constitute official actions of the council. Study sessions and workshops held by the council are “special meetings” of the council and notice is required by RCW 42.30.080.

(d) Emergency Meetings. An emergency meeting is a special council meeting called without 24-hour notice. An emergency meeting deals with an emergency involving injury or damage to persons or property or the likelihood of such injury or damage, when time requirements of a 24-hour notice would make notice impractical and increase the likelihood of such injury or damage. Emergency meetings may be called by the town administrator or mayor with the consent of the majority of council members. The minutes will indicate the reason for the emergency.

(e) Executive Session. An executive session is a council meeting that is closed except to the council, town administrator and staff members and/or consultants authorized by the mayor. Executive session subjects are limited pursuant to RCW Title 42, including considering real property acquisition and sale, public bid contract performance, complaints against public officers and employees, public employment applications and public employee evaluation, elective office appointments, and attorney-client discussions. 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 the regular meeting at the close of the executive session, that fact will be announced along with the estimated time for the executive session. The announced time limit for the executive session may be extended to a stated later time by the announcement of the chair.

(f) Continued and Adjourned Sessions. Any session of the council may be continued or adjourned from day to day, or for more than one day, but no adjournment shall be for a longer period than until the next regular meeting. Regular council meetings shall adjourn at or before 8:30 p.m., except the time may be extended to a later time certain upon unanimous approval of the council.

(g) Public Hearings.

(i) Definitions. There are two types of public hearings: legislative and quasijudicial. Hearings focus on the rights of specific parties and decisions must be based on a formal record. The mayor will state the public hearing procedures before each public hearing. Citizens may comment on public hearing items.

(ii) Speaker Sign-In. Prior to the start of a public hearing, the chair may require that all persons wishing to be heard sign in with the town clerk or specific sign-in sheet, giving their name and whether they wish to speak as a proponent, opponent, or from a neutral position. Any person who fails to sign in shall not be permitted to speak until all those who signed in have given their testimony. The chair, subject to the concurrence of a majority of the council, may establish time limits and otherwise control presentations. (Suggested time limit is three minutes per speaker or five minutes when presenting the official position of an organization or group.) The chair may change the order of speakers so that testimony is heard in the most logical groupings (i.e., proponents, opponents, adjacent owners, etc.).

(iii) Conflict of Interest/Appearance of Fairness. Prior to the start of a public hearing, the chair will ask if any council member has a conflict of interest or appearance of fairness doctrine concern that could prohibit the council member from participating in the public hearing process. A council member who refuses to step down after challenge and at the advice of the town attorney, a ruling by the mayor or chair and/or a request by the majority of the remaining members of the council to step down is subject to censure. The council member who has stepped down shall not participate in the council decision nor vote on the matter. The council member may be asked to leave the council chambers while the matter is under consideration; provided, however, that nothing herein shall be interpreted to prohibit a council member from stepping down in order to participate in a hearing in which the council member has a direct financial or other personal interest.

(iv) The Public Hearing Process. The chair introduces the agenda item, opens the public hearing, and announces the following rules of order:

(A) All comments by proponents, opponents or other members of the public shall be made from the podium; any individuals making comments shall first state their name and address. This is required because an official recorded transcript of the public hearing is being made.

(B) No comments shall be made from any other location. Anyone making “out of order” comments shall be subject to removal from the meeting. If you are disabled and require accommodation, please advise the town clerk.

(C) There will be no demonstrations during or at the conclusion of anyone’s presentation.

(D) These rules are intended to promote an orderly system of holding a public hearing, to give every person an opportunity to be heard, and to ensure that no individual is embarrassed by exercising his/her right of free speech.

(1) The chair calls upon town staff or consultant to describe the matter under consideration.

(2) The chair calls upon proponents, opponents, and all other individuals who wish to speak regarding the matter under consideration.

(3) The chair inquires as to whether any council member has questions to ask the proponents, opponents, speakers or staff. If any council member has questions, the appropriate individual will be recalled to the podium.

(4) The chair continues the public hearing to a time specific or closes the public hearing. [Ord. 792, 2018]

2.60.030 Presiding officer.

(1) The mayor shall preside at meetings of the council and be recognized as the head of the town 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 or 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 his 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 town clerk or clerk’s designee 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 member’s 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 shall be taken upon request of any member.

(6) Mayor – Voting Powers. The mayor shall preside at all meetings of the council. The mayor shall have a vote in the case of a tie of the present council members. In the absence of the mayor the council may appoint a mayor pro tempore. In the absence of the clerk, the mayor or mayor pro tempore shall appoint one of the council members as clerk pro tempore. [Ord. 792, 2018]

2.60.040 Council meeting agenda.

(1) The town clerk, under the direction of the town administrator or mayor, shall arrange a list of proposed matters according to the order of business and prepare an agenda for the council. After the proposed agenda has been approved by the presiding officer, a copy of the agenda and supporting materials shall be prepared for council members, the town administrator, other town staff and the press, if requested on or before noon the Friday before the regular council meeting. The presiding officer shall have the option of deleting any item from the agenda until the next regular council meeting when the full council shall vote on whether to place the item on the current agenda or schedule it for a subsequent council meeting. The presiding officer, three council members, or the town administrator or mayor may introduce a new item to the agenda.

(2) The consent agenda may contain items which are of a routine and noncontroversial nature and may include, but are not limited to, the following: meeting minutes, payroll claims, accounts payable claims, budget amendments, park use requests, and any item previously approved by council with unanimous vote and which is being submitted to council for final approval. Any item on the consent agenda may be removed and considered separately as an agenda item at the request of any council member or any person attending a council meeting.

(3) Council Agenda. The town clerk shall prepare the agenda for council meetings in accordance with the procedure outlined in subsection (1) of this section subject to the council’s right to amend the agenda. No legislative item shall be voted upon that is not on the council agenda, except in emergency situations as determined by a majority vote of the council.

(4) Order of Business.

(a) Opening ceremonies.

(b) Public participation.

(c) Events application/s.

(d) Special presentations.

(e) Consent agenda.

(f) Public hearings.

(g) Old business.

(h) New business.

(i) Discussion items.

(j) Reports.

(i) Council reports.

(ii) Department reports.

(iii) Mayor’s report.

(k) Announcements.

(l) Executive session.

(m) Adjournment. [Ord. 792, 2018]

2.60.050 Motions.

(1) Members who wish to make a motion must first be recognized by the presiding officer. After the member makes a motion (and after the motion is 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, requests to remove an item from the consent agenda, and motions to table.

(2) A motion to table does not require a second and is not debatable. The presiding officer will state the motion and call for the vote.

(3) Motions for reconsideration must be made by a member from the prevailing side. Any member may make the second. The following rules apply to motions for reconsideration:

(a) Motion must be in a timely manner but in no instance more than six months after the original action.

(b) When six months have elapsed, any member may bring the item before the council.

(c) 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) Consensus Votes. When a formal motion is not required on a council action or opinion, a consensus voice vote will be taken. The chair will state the action or opinion. The council as a group will indicate concurrence or nonconcurrence. [Ord. 792, 2018]

2.60.060 Voting.

The votes during all meetings of the council shall be transacted as follows:

(1) 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 clerk shall take roll call vote. The presiding officer shall determine the order of the roll call vote.

(2) The passage of any ordinance, grant or revocation of franchise, any motion or resolution for the payment of money, and any approval of warrants shall require a majority vote of the whole council.

(3) 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 a budget amendment, shall require five affirmative votes of council.

(4) Council members shall vote on all matters before the council unless a statutory conflict of interest exists. If there is a conflict of interest, that council member shall abstain from voting. If any council member refuses to vote “aye” or “nay,” their vote shall be counted as “nay” vote and their conduct shall be considered disorderly and malfeasance of office. Council members may not abstain from voting except in the event of statutory conflict of interest, which must be stated for the record. Abstentions shall be treated as the absence of a vote and the abstaining member shall not be counted as present. [Ord. 792, 2018]

2.60.070 Audience participation.

(1) Addressing the Council.

(a) Agenda Items. Anyone desiring to speak to the council on an agenda item must first provide a properly completed request form to the clerk-treasurer prior to the start of the meeting. Request forms are provided by the town. When that agenda item is on the floor for discussion, the presiding officer will recognize such person to address the council.

(b) Non-Agenda Items. Anyone desiring to speak to the council on a non-agenda item must first provide a properly completed request form to the clerk-treasurer prior to the start of the meeting. The presiding officer, in his discretion, may permit such person to address the council and may limit the time for comment as needed.

(c) Be on the Agenda. Anyone desiring to speak to the council on an item must first provide the properly completed request form to the town clerk no later than noon the Wednesday prior to that council meeting date.

(2) Manner of Addressing the Council. Each person addressing the council shall step up to the microphone, give his/her name and address and subject matter of comments in an audible tone of voice for the record and, unless further time is granted by the chair, shall limit their address to three minutes. All comments shall be made to the entire council and not to any single member nor to staff. 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, workshops, other agendas, refer to staff, or do not consider).

(3) Conduct of Audience. All audience members shall abide by the rules of decorum contained in CMC 2.60.020(4). 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 the presiding officer may have such person removed from the council chambers immediately. Such person shall not be permitted to attend the remainder of that council meeting. [Ord. 792, 2018]

2.60.080 Complaints to council.

All citizen complaints shall be submitted to the town clerk in writing, on the form provided by the town. Such forms are available at Town Hall and must be signed by the person making the complaint. The town clerk shall forward any such written complaints to the appropriate person or department for review. Citizen complaints brought directly to the council during a meeting will not be heard or considered. [Ord. 792, 2018]

2.60.090 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 vacancy and the procedure and deadline for applying for the position.

(2) Letters of Interest. The council will announce the vacancy and will accept letters of interest from any interested, qualified town resident. A committee composed of the mayor and two council members will review the letters of interest and/or interview the applicants. The committee will then submit the top two names of the proposed appointee(s) to the full council for final action. [Ord. 792, 2018]

2.60.100 Executive sessions.

If the council convenes an executive session to discuss what is permitted by law, there is no valid reason to disclose publicly what was discussed and reviewed privately. Everything that is discussed during an executive session and all written materials that are reviewed during an executive session shall be considered confidential and no council member shall publicly disclose any such information. The council finds that disclosing publicly what was discussed and reviewed during an executive session undermines the whole purpose of meeting in executive session. Public disclosure may be made in the event a majority of the council members vote to approve the public disclosure prior to its disclosure. Any request for such a vote shall be first raised during an executive session for discussion purposes prior to a vote in open session. [Ord. 792, 2018]

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

No council member shall serve on the town 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 town 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 town 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. 792, 2018]

2.60.120 Preserving the attorney-client privilege.

No council member shall make any disclosures or release any information that 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. 792, 2018]

2.60.130 Good faith cooperation with insurance carrier.

All council members shall cooperate in good faith with any insurance carrier or attorney representing the town in connection with a defense provided by an insurance carrier. [Ord. 792, 2018]

2.60.140 Ultra vires actions.

Council members shall not act ultra vires, or outside the scope of their authority and duties as council members. [Ord. 792, 2018]

2.60.150 Staff and council relations and representation.

(1) Council Relations with Town Staff.

(a) There will be a mutual respect from both town staff and council members of their respective roles and responsibilities when, and if, expressing criticism in a public meeting.

(b) Council members shall not attempt to coerce or influence town staff in the selection of personnel, the awarding of contracts, the selection of consultants, the processing of development applications or the granting of town licenses or permits.

(c) No council member shall direct the town administrator to initiate any action or prepare any report that is significant in nature, or initiate any significant project or study without the consent of a majority of the council. New initiatives having policy implementation shall be directed to a council committee for consideration.

(d) Individual requests for information can be made directly to the department director unless otherwise determined by the town administrator. If the request would create a change in work assignments or town staffing levels, the request must be made through the town administrator.

(e) To provide staff the necessary preparation time, council members will provide staff advance notice of any questions or concerns they may have regarding an agenda item prior to a public meeting, if possible.

(2) Council Representation.

(a) If a council member appears on behalf of the town before another governmental agency, a 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 that differ from the council majority may be expressed if the council member clarifies that these statements do not represent the council’s position.

(b) Council members need to have other council members’ concurrence before representing (i) another council member’s view or position, or (ii) the majority of council’s view or position with the media, another governmental agency or community organization.

(c) As a matter of courtesy, letters to the editor, interviews or other communication by a council member of a controversial nature, which do not express the majority opinion of the council, should be presented to the full council prior to publication so that the council members may be made aware of the impending publication, when practical. [Ord. 792, 2018]

2.60.160 Violations of council rules of proceedings.

(1) These rules of procedure/proceedings 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 Chapter 35.27 RCW and RCW Title 35A, as now enacted or hereafter amended. Any violation of these rules of procedure/proceedings 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 town clerk and made a part of the minutes of the council meeting where the charge is first considered.

(3) Violations of rules in CMC 2.60.100 to 2.60.140 shall be processed as follows:

(a) Any member violating rules of procedure in CMC 2.60.100 to 2.60.140 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 subsections (4)(a) and (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 the same rule, and removal from office on the fourth violation of that same rule as follows:

(a) Admonition. An admonition shall be 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 town 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 town council. The town council shall review the letter of reprimand based upon the request for review and any 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 town council upon a two-thirds majority vote of the whole council.

(5) The action of the town council in response to a violation of these rules shall be final and not subject to further review before the town council. [Ord. 792, 2018]

2.60.170 Amendment of these 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. 792, 2018]