Chapter 2.05


2.05.010    Meetings.

2.05.015    Public notice of meetings and hearings.

2.05.020    Council president – Mayor pro tempore.

2.05.030    Presiding officer.

2.05.040    Council committees and representatives.

2.05.050    Council meeting attendance.

2.05.055    Vacancy replacement.

2.05.060    Agenda for regular council meetings.

2.05.070    Agenda – Format.

2.05.080    Speaking procedures for agenda items.

2.05.090    Questions of parliamentary procedure.

2.05.100    Voting.

2.05.110    Council relations with town staff.

2.05.120    Separation of powers.

2.05.130    Code of ethics.

2.05.010 Meetings.

All regular town council meetings of the town of La Conner, Washington, shall be held at 6:00 p.m. on the second and fourth Tuesday of each month at Upper Maple Center, 104 Commercial Street, La Conner, Washington, or such other place as may be designated in order to accommodate persons with disabilities or for special presentations which may require the use of equipment unavailable at Upper Maple Center. [Ord. 919 § 1, 2004; Ord. 787 § 1, 2000; Ord. 744, 1999; Ord. 660 § 1, 1994.]

2.05.015 Public notice of meetings and hearings.

Pursuant to RCW 35.27.300, towns are required to establish a procedure for notifying the public of upcoming hearings and the preliminary agenda for the forthcoming council meeting. The procedure followed by the town of La Conner is as follows:

(1) Notices. Except where a specific means of notifying the public of a public hearing is otherwise provided by law or ordinance, notice of upcoming public hearings before the town council or the town’s planning commission shall be given by one publication of a notice containing the time, place, date, subject, and body before whom the hearing is to be held, in the town’s official newspaper at least six days before the date set for the hearing.

(2) Preliminary Agenda of Council Meeting. The public shall be notified of the proposed agenda for the forthcoming regular town council meeting by posting a copy of the agenda in the following public places in the town at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting:

(a) La Conner Town Hall, 204 Douglas Street, La Conner, WA 98257;

(b) Town of La Conner website:;

(c) Notification to the town’s official newspaper.

(3) Duties of Town Clerk. The town clerk is directed to publish notices and post agendas as required by subsections (1) and (2) of this section.

RCW 42.30.080 addresses the subject of special meetings. For special meetings, only those items specifically listed on the agenda may be discussed, considered, or decided.

The town clerk is responsible for posting the notice of public meeting at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting at the La Conner Town Hall.

(4) Special Meetings. Special meetings may be called by either the mayor or mayor pro tem, or by the written request of three councilmembers. Request for a special meeting must be submitted in writing to the town clerk 24 hours prior to the meeting. In accordance with RCW 42.30.080, now or as amended, the notice of a special meeting will be made by the town clerk by delivering personally, by mail, email, or by facsimile written notice to each member of the council and to each local newspaper of general circulation, and to each local radio or television station which has on file with the town a written request to be notified of such special meeting or of all special meetings at least 24 hours before the time of such meeting as specified in the notice. The call and notice shall specify the time and place of the special meeting and the business to be transacted.

The notices provided in this section may be dispensed with in the event a special meeting is called to deal with an emergency involving injury or damage to persons or property or the likelihood of such injury or damage, when time requirements of such notice would make notice impractical, and increase the likelihood of such injury or damage.

At all regular and special meetings, public comments are invited during a public hearing before or during consideration of any item on the agenda. Public comment is appropriate on any matter within the jurisdiction of the town council.

(a) Study Sessions. The town council may meet informally in a study session. The study session is the forum used by council to review forthcoming programs of the town, to receive progress reports on current issues, or to receive similar information from the town administrator and others. Further, the purpose of study sessions is to allow councilmembers to do concentrated preliminary work with administration on single subjects of time consuming, complex matters (i.e., budget, complex legislation or reports, etc.). One of the goals of study sessions is to allow a less formal atmosphere within which councilmembers may ask questions of staff and each other, as opposed to taking time at regular meetings, thus shortening the time spent at regular meetings. Study sessions shall be in a less formal setting, but shall not discourage public observation.

All discussions and conclusions held during a study session are of an informal nature. No final action is taken while in a study session.

No audience participation is allowed during the course of any study session, unless permitted by the consent of a majority of the council present. [Ord. 1053 § 1, 2010.]

2.05.020 Council president – Mayor pro tempore.

(1) Every six months, the members of the town council shall elect, from their number, a council president who shall hold office at the pleasure of the council for a term of six months. The council president shall serve until a replacement is elected or he/she leaves office.

(2) In the absence of the mayor, the council president shall become the mayor pro tempore. [Ord. 957, 2005.]

2.05.030 Presiding officer.

(1) All regular and special meetings of the town council shall be presided over by the mayor, or in his or her absence, by the mayor pro tempore. If neither the mayor nor the mayor pro tempore are present at a meeting, the presiding officer for that meeting shall be elected by a majority of the vote of those councilmembers present, provided there is a quorum.

(2) In the absence of the clerk, or other qualified person appointed by the clerk, the mayor, council, or administrator may perform the duties of the clerk at such meeting.

(3) The appointment of a councilmember as mayor pro tempore or clerk pro tempore shall not in any way abridge his or her right to vote on matters coming before the council at such meeting.

(4) The presiding officer shall preserve strict order and decorum at all meetings of the council. The presiding officer shall state all questions coming before the council, provide an opportunity for discussion from the floor, and announce the decision of the council on all subjects. Procedural decisions made by the presiding officer may be overruled by a majority vote of the council. [Ord. 957, 2005.]

2.05.040 Council committees and representatives.

(1) There are established the following six standing committees of the town council that shall consist of two members each. The council president shall appoint the membership of each committee by the second regular meeting in January of each year. The committee and representatives shall schedule meetings and cause notice to be provided at Town Hall in coordination with the clerk. A committee member or representative shall set the agenda for the committee meetings. The standing committees shall consider, and may make policy and legislative recommendations to the town council on, items referred to the committee by: the council president, the council, administrative staff, boards or commissions, or the mayor. The standing committees, their scope of authority and the supporting town departments are as follows:

(a) The facilities committee shall consider matters related to all town-owned buildings including but not limited to: Town Hall, Maple Hall/Center, Garden Club building, the fire hall, the public works building, the sewer plant structure, and restrooms, in coordination with the administrator and appropriate department head.

(b) The finance and labor committee shall consider matters related to the general fiscal and financial operations of the town; economic development, budget and financial reports, policy matters related to personnel, including, but not limited to, the salary grade schedule, position classifications and salary changes in coordination with the finance director, the mayor and the administrator.

(c) The park and preservation committee shall consider matters related to parks and park lands, recreation facilities and activities, and docks and floats, in coordination with the administrator, planning and public works departments and the parks commission. One member of this committee shall also serve as a member of the parks commission as per LCMC 2.45.010.

(d) The streets and safety committee shall consider matters related to transportation, transportation plans, traffic, transit, streets, sidewalks, parking, street lighting, signals, and street LIDs, in coordination with the public works department and planning department; and matters related to police and fire protection, emergency services and animal control, in coordination with the Skagit County sheriff’s office, volunteer fire department, administrator and finance director.

(e) The long-range planning committee shall consider matters related to the planning of the physical, economic, aesthetic, cultural and social development of the town shoreline master program, uniform development code, comprehensive plan, and annexation policies, in coordination with the administrator, planning department, planning commission, town attorney and hearing examiner.

(f) The utilities committee shall consider matters related to water, sewer, electric power, natural gas, telephone, cable television, storm drainage, and flood control measures, in coordination with the administrator, public works department and finance director. One member of this committee shall also serve on the wastewater advisory board.

(2) The council may establish or participate in such ad hoc committees (i.e., arts commission, lodging tax advisory committee) as may be appropriate to consider special matters that do not readily fit the standing committee structure or that require special approach or emphasis.

(3) Council committees shall consider all matters referred. The committee shall report to the council the findings of the committee. Committees may refer items to the council with no committee recommendation. Once items are referred to committee, the committee must report to the council within 45 days of the referral.

(4) The committee shall be responsible for preparing and causing to be distributed all agendas and supporting documentation to all committee members. The written recommendations presented at regular council meetings shall serve as the official minutes of committee meetings. [Ord. 1181 § 1, 2019; Ord. 957, 2005.]

2.05.050 Council meeting attendance.

(1) Policy.

(a) RCW 35.27.140 provides that the council of a town may declare a council position vacant if that councilmember is absent from the town for three consecutive council meetings without the permission of the council. In addition, a vacancy in an elective office shall occur and shall be filled as provided in Chapter 42.12 RCW. A council position shall become vacant if the councilmember fails to attend three consecutive regular meetings of the council without being excused by the council. Members of the council may be excused by complying with this section. The member shall contact the presiding officer prior to the meeting and state the reason for his/her inability to attend the meeting. If a councilmember is unable to contact the presiding officer, the member shall contact the administrator or finance director, who shall convey the message to the presiding officer. Following roll call, the presiding officer shall inform the council of the member’s absence, state the reason for such absence, and inquire if there is a motion to excuse the member. This motion shall be nondebatable. Upon passage of such motion by a majority of members present, the absent member shall be considered excused, and the clerk will make an appropriate notation in the minutes. If the motion is not passed, the clerk will note in the minutes that the absence is unexcused. Failure of the council to adopt or reject a motion to excuse shall be deemed an unexcused absence.

(b) The town administrator shall attend all meetings of the council unless excused. The administrator may make recommendations to the council and shall have the right to take part in the discussions of the council, but shall have no vote.

(c) Upon request the town attorney shall attend meetings of the council, and shall be prepared to give or conduct inquiry to give an opinion, either written or oral, on legal questions.

(d) The finance director, or designee, shall attend regular and special meetings of the council, keep the official journal, minutes, and perform such other duties as may be needed for the orderly conduct of the meeting.

(2) Attendance via speakerphone shall be permitted under the following conditions: When necessary to achieve a quorum.

(a) Must be able to hear the discussion taking place in the council chambers; and

(b) Must be able to be heard by all present in council chambers. [Ord. 1029 § 1, 2009; Ord. 957, 2005.]

2.05.055 Vacancy replacement.

The town council will conduct the following procedure in selecting a replacement for councilmember vacancies:

(1) A newspaper announcement shall encourage all interested parties to submit their resumes and a letter stating their qualifications to serve on town council.

(2) The application period will be open for a minimum of two weeks.

(3) Following the application period, the council will establish a council meeting date to interview all applicants qualified per RCW 35.27.080, Eligibility to hold elective office.

(4) All candidates will be interviewed by the full remaining council prior to selection.

(5) The full remaining council must vote on the replacement council position. If a remaining councilmember is unavailable, the decision must be postponed until all remaining councilmembers can participate in person or by phone in the selection. [Ord. 1042, 2010.]

2.05.060 Agenda for regular council meetings.

All items to be included on the agenda for council consideration must be submitted to the mayor or his designee, in full, by 10:00 a.m. on the Tuesday preceding each council meeting. The finance director, under the direction of the mayor, shall then prepare a proposed agenda, with attachments, according to the order of business. The proposed agenda shall be distributed to the mayor, councilmembers, administrator, town attorney, and department heads no later than 12:00 noon on the Friday preceding the council meeting. A copy of the proposed agenda and subsequent documents shall be available at the front counter at Town Hall. Minutes of previous council meetings shall be available with the agenda package.

(1) Town Council. A councilmember may request an item be considered on a future agenda either by making an oral request at a town council meeting or submitting the request in writing to the mayor or his designee, for the mayor’s consideration, at least eight working days prior to the meeting for which the item is requested to be placed on the agenda.

The town council will review the proposed agenda document at all regular meetings and agree to change the proposed agenda if a majority chooses to do so. Any councilmember may move to amend the agenda at any regular council meeting.

(2) Advisory Bodies and Civic Organizations. Advisory bodies of the town council and other civic agencies (i.e., Chamber of Commerce, Greater La Conner Association) may submit items for the council’s proposed agenda by submitting a request in writing to the mayor or his designee at least eight working days prior to the meeting for which the item is requested to be placed on the agenda.

(3) Members of the Public. A member of the public may request an item be placed on a future agenda while addressing the town council during a regular meeting and/or by submitting the request in writing to the town council, through the town clerk’s office. In order to allow sufficient time for council to review and staff to research the matter, the request should be submitted at least eight working days prior to the meeting for which the item is requested to be placed on the agenda. Once the issue has been placed on the proposed agenda, the town clerk will notify the requester so that he or she may plan to attend the meeting.

(4) Emergency Items. Emergency items may be added to an agenda in accordance with state law. Emergency items are only those matters immediately affecting the public health, safety and welfare of the community, such as widespread civil disorder, disasters, and other severe emergencies. The reason(s) for adding an emergency item to the agenda shall be announced publicly at the meeting, and the issue shall be included in the minutes of the meeting. [Ord. 1053 § 2, 2010; Ord. 957, 2005.]

2.05.070 Agenda – Format.

The format of the town council agenda shall generally be as follows:

(1) Call to Order.

(2) Pledge of Allegiance.

(3) Special Orders of the Day (Presented). Any presentation requests for the agenda.

(4) Public Comments. To give the audience an opportunity to comment on items not on the agenda.

(a) Limited to three minutes per person;

(b) Speaker shall come forward to the microphone and state name and address for the record;

(c) All remarks shall be made to the council as a body and not to any individual member.

(5) Consent Agenda.

(a) Consent Agenda (Approved without Objection 5/0). For approval of minutes, accounts payable, payroll and agreements/contracts.

(b) Items Removed from the Consent Agenda. Items not approved on the consent agenda.

(6) Reports.

(a) Chamber of commerce report (first meeting of the month only);

(b) Revenue/expenditure report (first meeting of the month);

(c) Department head reports (first meeting of the month only);

(d) Administrator’s report (second meeting of the month only);

(e) Mayor’s report;

(f) Council committee reports.

(7) Unfinished Business. This section of the agenda shall include items of a general nature, including resolutions and ordinances previously discussed at a council meeting. The following procedure shall apply during this section of the agenda:

(a) The sponsor or designated spokesperson of each item will give a brief presentation.

(b) The council may then question the sponsor or spokesperson of the presented item.

(c) A motion at this time may be in order to dispense with each item in this section.

(8) New Business. This section of the agenda shall include all items of a general nature, including resolutions and ordinances previously discussed at a committee meeting and put forward to the regular meeting. The procedures that apply during this section shall be the same as those under old business.

(9) Miscellaneous.

(10) Executive Session. This section shall be included with a brief statement as follows: “There may be an executive session immediately preceding or following the meeting as allowed by RCW 42.30.110 and as announced by the presiding officer.”

(11) Adjournment. Council meetings shall adjourn no later than 10:00 p.m. If council desires to extend the meeting, a motion shall be required, with a majority plus one vote of the councilmembers present. Items not acted upon by the 10:00 p.m. deadline shall be deferred to the next respective council meeting as old business unless council, by majority vote of members present, determines otherwise. [Ord. 1150, 2017; Ord. 957, 2005.]

2.05.080 Speaking procedures for agenda items.

Speaking procedure for agenda items under consideration is as follows:

(1) Any person with the permission of the presiding officer may address the council, but the presiding officer shall be required to give recognition in the following order:

(a) To a person designated by the presiding officer to introduce the subject under discussion;

(b) To those whose request to be heard is contained in the written agenda;

(c) To those who ask recognition from the floor.

(2) In addressing the council, a recognized person from the floor shall come forward to the microphone, give name and address (staff shall state name and position only). All remarks shall be made to the council as a body and not to any individual member.

(3) No person shall be permitted to enter into any discussion from the floor without first being recognized by the presiding officer.

(4) Any person making personal, impertinent or slanderous remarks while addressing the council shall be barred from further audience participation during that meeting by the presiding officer, unless permission to continue is granted by a majority vote of the council.

(5) A decorum of mutual respect within the council and between the council and public shall be encouraged by the presiding officer. [Ord. 957, 2005.]

2.05.090 Questions of parliamentary procedure.

Questions of parliamentary procedure not covered by this chapter shall be governed by Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised (latest edition). [Ord. 957, 2005.]

2.05.100 Voting.

(1) Silence of a councilmember during a voice vote shall be recorded as an affirmative vote except where such a councilmember abstains because of a stated conflict of interest.

(2) The presiding officer or any member of the council may request a roll call vote.

(3) Town policies shall only be made as a result of a vote of the council in which a majority voted for the proposed policy. The town council shall not make policy by consensus decision making. [Ord. 957, 2005.]

2.05.110 Council relations with town staff.

(1) There will be mutual respect from both the town staff and councilmembers of their respective roles and responsibilities when, and if, expressing criticism.

(2) Staff will acknowledge the council as policy makers, and the councilmembers will acknowledge staff as administering the council’s policies.

(3) Exchange of ideas and communication between councilmembers and town staff to discuss any issues related to town policies is encouraged. [Ord. 957, 2005.]

2.05.120 Separation of powers.

In general, it is the council’s role to adopt policies for the town and it is the mayor’s role to administer or carry out those policies. The council, being legislative, has the power to enact laws and policies, consistent with state law, usually through the enactment of ordinances and resolutions.

Consistent with the doctrine of separation of powers, the council is not authorized to interfere with the mayor’s administration of government. Councilmembers may not give orders to department heads or to other employees. The mayor must provide timely, useful information to all councilmembers – either directly or through subordinate municipal officers, elected officials, department heads and employees.

On the issue of communication between the council and town officers and employees, the mayor may not prevent councilmembers from gaining information although he or she could reasonably regulate the inquiry process. If councilmember inquiries unreasonably take staff away from their duties, the mayor may require those inquiries to be channeled through the mayor, administrator or a department head, if it can be done without unduly encumbering council access to information. [Ord. 957, 2005.]

2.05.130 Code of ethics.

In 1995, the State Legislature added a specific code of ethics section for county and city officials to the state statutes, codified at RCW 42.23.070. The town of La Conner hereby adopts those provisions.

The code of ethics has four provisions, as follows:

(1) No municipal officer may use his or her position to secure special privileges or exemptions for himself, herself or others;

(2) No municipal officer may, directly or indirectly, give or receive any compensation, gift, gratuity, or reward from any source, except the employing municipality, for a matter connected with or related to the officer’s services unless otherwise provided by law;

(3) No municipal officer may accept employment or engage in business that the officer might reasonably expect would require him or her to disclose confidential information acquired by reason of his or her official position;

(4) No municipal officer may disclose confidential information gained by reason of the officer’s position, nor may the officer use such information for his or her personal gain. [Ord. 957, 2005.]