Chapter 2.04


2.04.010    Date for taking oath of office.

2.04.020    Meeting times.

2.04.030    Adjournment and extension.

2.04.040    Special meetings.

2.04.050    Compensation for council members.

2.04.060    Procedures.

2.04.010 Date for taking oath of office.

A council member may be sworn in up to ten days before January 1st or at the last council meeting in December.  The oath of office may also take place at the first regular meeting in January succeeding the date of each general municipal election.  (Ord. 537 (part), 2012:  Ord. 531 (part), 2012:  Ord. 528 (part), 2012:  Ord. 316 §2, 1997:  Ord. A-175 §1, 1939)

2.04.020 Meeting times.

Regular meetings of the town council shall be held at Wilbur Town Hall, 14 NW Division at the hour of seven p.m. on the first and third Tuesdays of each month. In the event the regular meeting date falls on an observed holiday, the council will meet the following day at the regular scheduled time of seven p.m. (Ord. 587 §1, 2020: Ord. 585 §1, 2020; Ord. 577 §1, 2018: Ord. 562 §1, 2014: Ord. 537 (part), 2012: Ord. 531 (part), 2012: Ord. 528 (part), 2012: Ord. 327 §1, 1998: Ord. 316 §1, 1997: Ord. 39-B §1, 1973: Ord. A-175 §2, 1939)

2.04.030 Adjournment and extension.

Council meetings shall end at ten p.m., with one fifteen-minute extension, if such matter is presented by council motion and approved.  Any meeting may be adjourned to a future date as the council may set by motion and order.  (Ord. 537 (part), 2012:  Ord. 531 (part), 2012:  Ord. 528 (part), 2012:  Ord. 118-B §1, 1981)

2.04.040 Special meetings.

Special meetings of the council may be called at any time by the mayor, or by three council members, by written notice delivered to each member, at least twenty-four hours before the time specified for the proposed meeting, and it shall be the duty of the town clerk to notify the members of the council and the town attorney of such meeting.  (Ord. 537 (part), 2012:  Ord. 531 (part), 2012:  Ord. 528 (part), 2012:  Ord. A-175 §3, 1939)

2.04.050 Compensation for council members.

Members of the town council who are elected on or after November 6, 2015, shall be compensated for attendance at meetings at the rate of thirty dollars per meeting, to a maximum of two meetings per month.  This section may be amended according to Washington State Constitution, Article XI, Section 8 as amended by Amendment 57.  (Ord. 572 §1, 2016:  Ord. 537 (part), 2012:  Ord. 531 (part), 2012:  Ord. 528 (part), 2012:  Ord. 462 §1, 2007)

2.04.060 Procedures.

A.  Rules of Procedure.  Matters of procedure not otherwise provided for herein shall, insofar as practical, be included by reference from Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised (RONR (11th Edition)).  A summary of the primary parliamentary procedures from the Robert’s Rules of Order utilized by the town council is included in this section.  This section is intended to only be a summary of specified provisions and is not intended to be all-inclusive.

1.  Robert’s Rules of Order.  This subsection summarizes important points from Robert’s Rules of Order.

a.  All town councilpersons have equal rights.  Each speaker must be recognized by the mayor or acting mayor pro tem prior to speaking.  Each speaker should make clear the speaker’s intent by stating, "I wish to speak for/against the motion" prior to stating arguments.

i.  Only one person may speak at any given time.  When a motion is on the floor, the mover of a motion speaks first, so that the town council understands the basic premise of the motion.  The mover is also the last to speak, so that the town council has an opportunity to consider rebuttals to any arguments opposing the motion.

ii.  Only one subject may be before the town council at one time.  Each item to be considered is proposed as a motion which requires a "second" before being put to a vote.  Once a motion is made and seconded, the chair places the question before the town council by restating the motion.

iii.  Each item presented for consideration is entitled to a full and free debate.  Each person speaks once, until everyone else has had an opportunity to speak.

iv.  "Negative" motions are generally not permitted.  To dispose of an agenda item, the motion should be phrased as a positive action to take, and then, if the town council desires not to take this action, the motion should be voted down.

v.  The rights of the minority must be protected, but the will of the majority must prevail.  Persons who do not share the point of view of the majority have a right to have their ideas presented for consideration, but ultimately the majority will determine what the town council will or will not do.

2.  Motions.  Action items are brought before the town council by motions, a formal procedure for taking actions.  To make a motion, a councilmember must first be recognized by the mayor, or mayor pro tem, as designated. After the councilmember has made a motion and after the motion is seconded, the mayor, or mayor pro tem, must then restate it or rule it out of order, then call for discussion.

Robert’s Rules of Order provide for four general types of motions:

a.  Main Motions.  The most important are main motions, which bring before the town council, for its action, an agenda item.  Main motions cannot be made when any other motions are before the town council.

b.  Subsidiary Motions.  Subsidiary motions are motions which direct or change how a main motion is handled.  These motions include:

i.  Tabling.  Used to temporarily postpone discussion until the town council decides by majority vote to resume discussion.  By adopting the motion to "table," a majority has the power to halt consideration of the question immediately without debate.  A motion to table requires a second, is nondebatable, and is not subject to amendments.

ii.  Previous Question or Close Debate.  Used to bring the town council to an immediate vote.  It closes debate and stops further amendments.  The majority of the town council decides when enough discussion has occurred, not the mayor or mayor pro tem.  The formal motion is to "call for the question," or "call for the previous question," or simply "I move to close debate."  The motion requires a second, is not debatable, and requires a two-thirds majority, i.e., three votes.

iii.  Limit/Extend Debate.  May be desired if the group has adopted a rule limiting the amount of time that will be spent on a topic, or if the group desires to impose a time limitation.

iv.  Postpone to a Definite Time.  Similar to tabling, except that the motion directs that the matter will be taken up again at some specific date and time.

v.  Refer to Committee.  Directs that a committee will study the matter and report back.

vi.  Amendment.  Used to "fine tune" a motion to make it more acceptable to the town council.  The amendment must be related to the main motion’s intent and cannot be phrased in a way that would defeat the main motion.  Two amendments may be on the floor at one time:  the first amendment modifies the main motion, and the second amendment must relate to the first amendment.  When an amendment is on the floor, only the amendment may be debated.  The amendments are voted on in the reverse order in which they were made, as each amendment changes to some degree the intent of the main motion.  As each amendment is voted on, an additional primary or secondary amendment may be introduced.  A motion to amend requires a second, is debatable, and requires a majority vote.

vii.  Postpone Indefinitely.  This motion effectively kills a motion, because, if adopted, a four-vote majority is subsequently required to take the matter up again.

c.  Incidental Motions.  Incidental motions are housekeeping motions which are in order at any time, taking precedence over main motions and subsidiary motions.  These motions include:

i.  Point of Order.  To bring to the town council’s attention that the rules are being violated.  A town councilperson does not need to be recognized prior to making a point of order.  This is not really a motion but requires the mayor, or mayor pro tem, as designated, to make a ruling as to whether or not immediate consideration is proper.

ii.  Appeal from the Decision of the Chair.  The town council can overrule the mayor, or mayor pro tem, as designated, on any procedural decision.  While the motion must be seconded, it cannot be amended.  When this motion is moved and seconded, the mayor, or mayor pro tem, as designated, immediately states the question, "Shall the decision of the chair stand as the judgment of the council?"  If there is a tie vote, the chair’s decision is upheld.  The motion is not debatable when it applies to a matter of improper use of authority or when it is made while there is a pending motion to close debate.  However, the motion can be debated at other times.  Each person may speak once, and the moderator may also state the basis for the decision.

iii.  Request to Withdraw a Motion.  A request to withdraw a motion requires majority approval and cannot be withdrawn by its mover.

iv.  Suspension of the Rules.  When matters are to be taken out of order, or a particular task can be better handled without formal rules in place, this motion can be approved by a vote of four members of the town council.

v.  Reconsider.  A motion for reconsideration is available when the town council needs to discuss further a motion that has already been defeated at the same meeting.  A majority of the council must approve taking additional time to debate the motion again.  The motion can be made only by a person who voted on the prevailing side earlier on the question.

d.  Other Motions.

i.  Point of Privilege.  A councilperson may assert a point of privilege when there is a matter that concerns the welfare of the town council.  A point of privilege can be raised even when another person is speaking.  A point of privilege does not require a second, is not debatable, and no vote is required.

B.  Best Efforts.  These rules of procedure are designed to assist in the orderly conduct of town council business.  Failure of the town council to adhere to these rules shall not result in any liability to the town, its officers, agents, or employees, nor shall the same result in any invalidation of town council meetings or any action taken by the town council.  (Ord. 582 §§1 (Att. 1), 2, 2019)