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Rules of Procedure for the Cary Town Council

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Policy Statement 143

Rules of Procedure for the Cary Town Council

Prepared By: Sherry Scoggins, Town Clerk

Adopted by Council: 12/10/2015

Supersedes: 10/30/2014

Effective:12/10/2015

Purpose:  The purpose of this policy statement is to develop favored procedures for council to look to and follow.  It is hoped that these procedures will facilitate communications between and among council members and staff, provide efficient and equitable procedures to follow in and out of public meetings, and provide general information and recommendations about how the council conducts Town business.  This policy is based in large part on N.C. law, but the policy is not designed to create any additional rights or obligations and does not provide any procedural rights to any person.  The failure of council or any other person to adhere to the recommended procedures described herein shall not affect the validity of any meeting or action taken by council.  To the extent there is conflict or any discrepancy between these procedures and the N.C. General Statutes, case law, or Town ordinances (collectively “law”), the law shall prevail. 

Rule 1.  Regular Meetings 

The council shall hold regular meetings according to a schedule adopted by the council in December of each year setting forth dates, times, and locations of all regular meetings and regular monthly work sessions for the next calendar year. A copy of the council’s meeting schedule will be filed with the Town Clerk, and the Town Clerk will prepare one public notice each year announcing these meetings. The Town Clerk will also include these meetings on the Town’s Web calendar.

Rule 2.  Special, Emergency and Recessed (or Adjourned) Meetings 

A.         Special Meetings 

1.         The mayor or the mayor pro tem or any two council members may at any time call a special meeting of the council by signing a written notice that is maintained in the Town Clerk’s office. This written notice will include the date, time, and place of the meeting and subject(s) to be considered. This written notice shall be provided to the Town Clerk to allow public notice to be posted at least 48 hours before a special meeting called in this manner. This public notice shall be:

a.         provided to each council member;

b.         posted on the principal bulletin board of the public body or, if the public body has no such bulletin board, at the door of its usual meeting room;

c.         provided to each newspaper, wire service, radio station, television station and person who has filed a written request for notice with the Town Clerk;

d.         posted on the Town’s Web calendar. 

2.         A special meeting may also be called or scheduled by vote of the council in open session during another duly called meeting (as distinguished from a “recessed meeting” – Rule 2, Item C). The motion calling for the special meeting shall specify the date, time, place, and subjects to be considered. At least 48 hours before the meeting that is called in this manner, the Town Clerk shall post a public notice and distribute it as follows:

a.         provided to each council member not present at the meeting when the special meeting was called, and it shall be provided to these council members at least 48 hours before the meeting;

b.         posted on the principal bulletin board of the public body or, if the public body has no such bulletin board, at the door of its usual meeting room;

c.         provided to each newspaper, wire service, radio station, television station and person who has filed a written request for notice with the Town Clerk;

d.         posted on the Town’s Web calendar. 

3.         Only those items of business specified in the notice may be discussed or transacted at a special meeting.

B.         Emergency Meetings 

Emergency meetings may be called only because of generally unexpected circumstances that require immediate consideration by the council. Only business connected with the emergency may be considered at an emergency meeting. There are two methods that may be used for calling an emergency meeting:

1.         The mayor, the mayor pro tem, or any two council members may at any time call an emergency meeting of the council by signing a written notice that is maintained in the Town Clerk’s office. This written notice shall state the date, time, and place of the meeting and the subjects to be considered. The notice shall be delivered to the mayor and each council member or left at his or her usual dwelling place at least six hours before the meeting. 

2.         An emergency meeting may be held at any time when the mayor and all members of the council are present and consent thereto, or when those not present have signed a written waiver of notice.

In either method above, notice shall also be given to each local newspaper, local wire service, local radio station and local television station that has filed a written request with the Town Clerk and has provided a telephone number for emergency notification. Notice to media outlets shall be given either by telephone or by the same method used to notify the members of the public body and shall be given immediately after notice has been given to the public body.

C.         Recessed (or Adjourned or Continued) Meetings 

A properly called regular, special, or emergency meeting may be recessed (or adjourned or continued) to a date, time, and place as specified by motion made in open session at the regular, special, or emergency meeting. No further notice is necessary for a recessed session of a properly called regular, special, or emergency meeting.

Rule 3.  Organizational Meeting 

On the date and at the time of the first regular meeting in December following a general election in which council members are elected, or at an earlier date, if any, set by the incumbent council, the newly elected members shall take and subscribe the oath of office. Any member not present at the organizational meeting may take the oath at any time thereafter. At this meeting, the council shall also elect a mayor pro tempore from its membership. In addition, the mayor shall appoint council members to serve as liaisons to boards and commissions and outside organizations that request a council liaison. This organizational meeting shall not be held before the municipal election results are officially determined, certified, and published in accordance with state law. 

Rule 4.  Agenda 

A.         Agenda Preparation and Dissemination for Regular Meetings

1.         The Town Council agenda is prepared by the Town Clerk based on information from: 

a.         Boards or Commissions who have a role in the development process as outlined in the Land Development Ordinance: Staff will include details of these board recommendations in the staff report that is prepared for the Web and linked to the agenda, including details of the minority opinion. If the recommendation is unanimous from both staff and the boards and requires simple majority vote, the issue will be placed on the consent agenda portion of the council agenda. Otherwise, the issue will be placed on the council agenda for discussion.

b.         Staff: All staff initiated items must be approved by the department director in order to be placed on a council agenda. The Town Manager or designee specifies each item for council consent agenda or discussion.

c.         Council Members: 

(1)        Council members serve as liaisons to various Town of Cary and outside organizations. Any council member who wants to provide a report from an outside group to which he/she serves as liaison or about a program in which he/she has participated (i.e., Chamber’s inter-city visit) should advise the Town Clerk to add this to the appropriate council agenda. It is the requesting council member’s responsibility to prepare a concise report and provide this report to the Town Clerk for placement on the Web by the agenda deadlines. It is the responsibility of all council members to review this report prior to the meeting. At the meeting the presider will ask the council member who prepared the report if there is any new information to add that is not in the report. The council will have an opportunity to ask questions about the report. No action/vote is necessary to accept, receive or approve the report.

(2)        Council Member Initiated Agenda Items (with the exception of reports, which are addressed in Item (1) above): The council values initiatives and ideas from its members and also respects the time and resources required by staff in preparing staff reports. Council member initiated requests will be handled exclusively in the following manner.

(a)        The council member requesting that an item be placed on the agenda shall first obtain the support of another council member.

(b)        The council member making the request will email the Town Clerk showing a copy of the email to the second council member who supports the request. The email should contain details about the requested agenda item.

(c)        Staff will determine the appropriate agenda on which to place this council member initiated request. Staff will send an email to all council members with a copy to all department directors advising everyone of the details of the agenda item, the agenda on which the item will appear, and the names of the two council members who brought forth this request.

(d)        Staff will include the details of the email referenced in Item (c) above on the Web site, and this information will be linked to the agenda item.

(e)        There will not be a staff report/recommendation at the meeting when this item first appears on the agenda. The council member who made the request will verbally explain the request.

(f)         At the meeting when the item first appears on the agenda, the council as a whole may take one of the following actions. 

(i)         Discuss the issue and take action at the meeting if no information is required from staff and if council does not seek public input, or 

(ii)         Refer the request to a future council meeting, at which time a staff report with staff recommendation will be prepared, or

(iii)        Decide not to pursue the council initiated request.

e.         Other entities that are affiliated with the Town (i.e., those which have Cary citizen liaisons who are appointed by the mayor and/or council [such as Triangle Transit Authority], those which the Town pays membership dues [all organizations in the legislative dues/memberships budget account –such as the N.C. League of Municipalities, Triangle J, etc.], or those with which we have a regional partnership [such as the Wake County Public School System, other Wake County municipalities, etc.]):

(1)        The council agrees that the purpose of these outside agency reports being on a council agenda is to advise the council of their activities. If these organizations request to make reports to the council, they will work with the Town Clerk, who will identify the appropriate council meeting. The organization will provide an electronic report in a format specified by staff, including an executive summary in time to meet the agenda deadlines. The Town Clerk will place the report on the Web, and it will be linked to the Web agenda. It is the responsibility of all council members to review this report prior to the meeting. At the meeting the presider will ask the organization’s representative if there is any new information to add that is not in the report. The council will have an opportunity to ask questions about the report. No action/vote is necessary to accept, receive or approve the report.

(2)        If the agency affiliated with the Town requests council action (instead of a request to only make a report to provide information – such as a request for the council to adopt a resolution to support their initiative), then they will work with the Town Clerk, who will determine the appropriate agenda on which to include the request. A report will be prepared by the appropriate Town staff member and placed on the Web and linked to the agenda and will meet all agenda deadlines. 

2.         The Town Clerk will prepare the draft agenda according to an established schedule and will make it available electronically to all staff and council members. 

3.         Staff, council members, and other entities who are eligible according to this policy to request agenda items must inform the Town Clerk of any additional agenda items to add to the draft agenda no later than 5:00 p.m. on the staff report due date set forth in the established schedule. 

4.         Documents associated with a particular council meeting (staff reports, minutes, maps, etc.) must be submitted electronically in a format determined by the Town staff to ensure ADA compliance to the Town Manager’s Office by 5:00 p.m. on the staff report due date as set forth in the established schedule.  

5.         All staff reports must be approved by the Department Director and Town Manager or designee before being electronically submitted to the Town Clerk.

6.         The clerk will email the final draft agenda to the council members prior to placing it on the Web.

7.         The Town Clerk will post the final agenda including all associated reports, with the exception of draft minutes to be approved, on the Web by 5 p.m. on Wednesday, the week before the meeting.  No further changes will be made to the agenda once it has been posted on the Web. 

8.         Draft minutes to be approved on a council agenda will be emailed to council members and staff the Friday prior to the council meeting at which they are scheduled to be approved. Council members and staff will provide the town clerk any suggested changes to these minutes by the following Monday at 5 p.m. The clerk will post these draft minutes to the Web by 5 p.m. on the Tuesday prior to the council meeting and will link them to the council meeting agenda. 

9.         Recognizing that sometimes emergency items may come up after the agenda is posted to the Web, that sometimes an applicant may want to remove an item from a particular agenda and add it to a future agenda, and that sometimes an agenda item is no longer necessary because it is settled before the meeting, the council acknowledges the importance of having a systematic approach to deal with these issues. Any item that falls into these categories will be communicated to the town clerk, who will show it at the end of the Web agenda as possible “addendum” to the council meeting agenda; the associated staff report and information will be linked to the item if time permits prior to the meeting. If time does not permit, then a written or verbal report will be provided to the council member at the meeting. The full council will consider modifying the agenda to include these “addendum” items at the beginning of the meeting when they adopt the agenda (refer to Rule 4, Item C). Simple majority vote is required to make these amendments to the agenda.

B.         Agenda Preparation and Dissemination for Work Sessions, Special, Recessed and Emergency Meetings 

1.         Work Sessions

These meetings are recognized to be more informal than regular meetings, and they allow the Town Council to spend time on one or more issues in an informal setting to discuss them in more detal. The Town Manager or designee prepares work session agendas. It is not necessary for the council to officially adopt the agenda. The public notice for a special meeting may serve as the agenda. The council may add items to a work session agenda by majority vote. 

2.         Special Meetings

These meetings are recognized to be more informal than regular meetings. They are typically scheduled when items arise that would normally go to a regular council meeting, but due to timing issues, a meeting needs to be scheduled to conduct this business before the next scheduled regular meeting. The public notice for a special meeting may serve as the agenda. The council may not add items to the agenda of a special meeting. It is not necessary for the council to officially adopt the agenda.

            2.         Recessed and Emergency Meetings

An agenda will not be prepared for recessed or emergency meetings.

C.         Adoption of Agenda at Regular Meetings 

As its first order of business at each regular meeting, the council shall discuss any proposed revisions to the agenda and adopt an agenda for the meeting. The council may by majority vote add staff generated emergency items that have come up since the agenda was posted to the Web site, delete items from the agenda for which action is no longer required, or postpone items to a future meeting.

D.         Consent Agenda at Regular Meetings 

The council may designate a part of the regular meeting agenda as the “Consent Agenda.” Items shall be placed on the consent agenda by those preparing the proposed agenda if they are believed to be non-controversial and routine. Any council member may remove an item from the consent agenda and place it on the regular agenda for discussion. The consent agenda will be handled separately from the adoption of the regular agenda. All items on the consent agenda shall be voted on and adopted by a single motion, with the minutes reflecting the motion, second, and vote on each item.

E.         Open Meetings Requirement 

The council shall not deliberate, vote, or otherwise take action on any matter by reference to a letter, number, or other designation, or other secret device or method, with the intention of making it impossible for persons attending a meeting of the council to understand what is being deliberated, voted, or acted on. The council may, however, deliberate, vote or otherwise take action by reference to an agenda, if copies of the agenda – sufficiently worded to enable the public to understand what is being deliberated, voted, or acted on – are available for public inspection at the meeting.

In addition, the council shall not use email, instant message, or chat rooms during the meetings and shall not participate in private conversations with other members of the council, all of which could be perceived as deliberating in a secret method.

If circumstances prevent a council member from attending a council meeting or work session, then that council member may request of the town clerk at least two business days in advance of the meeting to electronically participate in the meeting. The council member may electronically participate in the discussion during the meeting but shall not vote. The meeting minutes will show the council member as absent and acknowledge that the council member electronically participated in the discussion. The council member may not participate electronically in any quasi-judicial hearing or closed session. To ensure full disclosure and to meet the spirit and intent of wire tap laws, the mayor shall announce at the beginning of the meeting that the council member is participating in the meeting by phone. 

Rule 5.  Order of Business and Rules for Each Agenda Section 

Items shall be placed on the agenda according to the order of business. The order of business and rules for each agenda topic for each regular meeting follow. By unanimous consensus or majority vote of the council, agenda items may be considered out of order. 

1.         COMMENCEMENT

1.1        Call to Order

The presider will always begin the meeting at the appointed time with a quorum present.

1.2.       Ceremonial Opening

A rotation system among council members who wish to participate will be used. The council member may take approximately 1.5 minutes to provide an invocation, allow for a moment of silence, lead the Pledge of Allegiance, or any combination thereof. Council members should not invite outside persons to handle this portion of the agenda.

1.3.       Adoption of Agenda

Staff will provide the council with a list of items that are staff emergency-type items that staff suggests to be added to the agenda; items that no longer need council action; and items that should be postponed to a future meeting. The presider will also ask the council if any such matter has come to their attention that is not on the list provided by staff. The council may adopt the agenda as written or modify the agenda as proposed by majority vote.

2          RECOGNITIONS, REPORTS AND PRESENTATIONS

Recognitions shall include recognition of staff or the public for special accomplishments or achievements and presentation of proclamations that are requested to be presented at a council meeting. Staff recognitions shall be recommended by the department director and approved by the Town Manager or designee. The town clerk shall schedule proclamation presentations at council meetings as requested. 

Reports include, but are not limited to, those from council liaisons and outside entities who qualify according to Rule 4. All reports shall be provided electronically to meet the staff established deadlines and in a format designated by staff. The town clerk shall link this information to the web agenda. At the meeting, the representative will be recognized, afforded the opportunity to bring forth new information not in the report, and answer any questions from the council. A PowerPoint Presentation will not be given at the council meeting, other than the staff prepared presentation.

3          PUBLIC SPEAKS OUT

Any individual or group who wishes to address the council at a regular meeting shall abide by the following rules. Public address to the council is not allowed at special or emergency meetings or any recessed special or emergency meeting.

1.         Speakers will provide contact information to the clerk prior to speaking;

2.         Speakers must come to the podium closest to the town clerk to make their remarks; special accommodations will be made for persons with disability with appropriate advanced notice to the town clerk;

3.         Speakers will clearly state their names;

4.         Speakers may speak on any topic unless it is a topic for which a public hearing is being held on the same regular meeting agenda;

5.         Speakers will direct comments to the full council, not to an individual council member;

6.         Speakers will be concise;

7.         Speakers will avoid repetition;

8.         Groups will designate a spokesperson when possible;

9.         Speakers shall limit comments to three minutes or less;

10.        An individual may only speak one time during the “Public Speaks Out” portion of each regular meeting agenda;

11.        Speakers may provide 11 copies of any handout materials to the town clerk for distribution to the council and for the public record;

12.        The “Public Speaks Out” portion of the agenda is limited to one hour unless waived by the council by majority vote. 

The council does not take action on public comment unless all members present unanimously agree to do so, but they may refer the matter to staff for follow up.

4.         CONSENT AGENDA

Refer to Rule 4, Item D. When possible, any council member wishing to remove an item from the consent agenda should advise the staff in advance.

5.         PUBLIC HEARINGS 

The council shall follow all N.C. laws and local ordinances with regard to legally required public hearings. The council may also call for public hearings on issues that do not require a legal public hearing. The council agrees that the purpose of public hearings is to receive public input. The council shall not engage in debate with speakers during public hearings. The council will hold all questions and comments until after the public hearing is closed.

Items may be referred following the public hearing to the next stage in the process (i.e., Planning and Zoning Board) by unanimous consensus. If there is not unanimous consensus, then the council will refer by motion, second and vote. The council concurs that if an outside party (applicant) has paid all applicable fees to use an established Town process (i.e., rezoning, etc.), then that person is entitled to the full process.  

The council establishes the following rules for public hearing:

1.         Speakers will provide contact information to the clerk prior to speaking;

2.         Speakers must come to the podium closest to the town clerk to make their remarks; special accommodations will be made for persons with disability with appropriate advanced notice to the town clerk;

3.         Speakers will clearly state their names;

4.         Speakers will be concise;

5.         Speakers will avoid repetition;

6.         Speakers shall adhere to the five minute time limit;

7.         Speakers may only speak once per public hearing;

8.         Unused minutes are not transferable to other speakers;

9.         Individuals will designate a spokesperson for large groups;

10.        Speakers may provide the Town Clerk with 11 copies of any document or material to be presented to the council;

11.        Speakers will direct comments to the entire council and not to individual council members.

6.         DISCUSSION ITEMS

Any issue that does not qualify for consent will be placed on the discussion items portion of the agenda. At the meeting, the staff will present the agenda item. For issues that include a planning and zoning board recommendation, a representative from that board shall follow the staff presentation and present the board recommendation and minority opinion.

Any item pulled from the consent agenda will be discussed during this part of the meeting unless the Town Council directs to discuss it at another time during the meeting. Council-initiated requests (refer to Rule 4, Item A) shall be on the agenda as discussion items. 

7.         CLOSED SESSION

The council may hold closed sessions as provided by law. The council shall only commence a closed session after a motion to go into closed session has been made and adopted during an open meeting. The motion shall state the purpose of the closed session as provided by N.C. law. Only those actions authorized by statute may be taken in closed session. No general policy matter may be discussed in closed session unless permitted by law. A motion to adjourn or recess shall not be in order during a closed session. The council expects that closed session discussions and topics will be treated with confidentiality to protect and not frustrate the purpose of the closed session. Specifically, closed session discussions shall not be discussed outside of the closed session. Closed session minutes, with a general account, once subject to public inspection, shall serve to inform the public of the content of the closed session. 

8.         ADJOURNMENT

The council shall adjourn meetings in open session.

Rule 6.  Office of the Mayor

 The mayor shall have the following authority:

1.         To preside over public meetings of the council;

2.         To vote upon all measures before the council;

3.         To be counted for quorum purposes;

4.*        To rule motions in or out of order;

5.*        To determine when a speaker has gone beyond reasonable standards of courtesy in his or her remarks and to entertain and rule on objections from other members on this ground;

6.*        To answer questions of procedure;

7.         To preserve order and decorum;

8.         To call a brief recess at any time;

9.         To adjourn in an emergency;

10.        To appoint all special committees, except where the council shall otherwise order;

11.        To execute documents as approved by council on behalf of the Town. 

*The mayor or the council members may request guidance from the Town Attorney on the above issues. If an issue arises not addressed in these rules of procedures, the Town Attorney may utilize Robert’s Rules of Order or Suggested Rules of Procedure for a City Council (by Fleming Bell) to provide guidance to the council. 

The mayor as the meeting presider shall follow the principles below, which were taken from “Roberts Rules in Plain English”: 

  • “Be on time and start on time.”
  • “Be organized. The presiding officer should have a detailed, well prepared agenda and stick to it.”
  • “Be prepared. The presiding officer should be familiar with the procedural rules…”
  • “Be a teacher. The presiding officer should keep the group working together by explaining procedure clearly and communicating the next order of business. If a motion is confusing, it is his [her] duty to clarify it. This may mean helping a member rephrase a motion.”
  • “Be in control of the floor. The presiding officer should ‘assign’ the floor by recognizing those members who wish to speak by calling them by name. No other member may interrupt or call out remarks without being out of order. The presiding officer should remind such a member that the floor has been assigned and request that his [her] remarks be held until the floor has been assigned to him [her]. In addition, private discussion between members while another has the floor is out of order and disruptive members should be reminded of this rule.”
  • “Be impartial. The presiding officer should impartially call on members wishing to speak. He [she] should give members on both sides of an issue an opportunity to speak...”
  • “Be composed. The presiding officer should remain calm and objective, keeping the meeting moving.”
  • “Be precise. The presiding officer should always restate the motion before taking a vote. After taking the vote, he [she] announces the result of the vote by interpreting the action taken. The presiding officer should always be certain about the results of a voice vote. He [she] may retake the vote by requesting a show of hands on his [her] own accord.”
  • “Be focused. The presiding officer should not allow irrelevant discussion. Restate the question and, if necessary, directly request the member to ‘confine remarks to the pending question’.”
  • “Be temperate. The presiding officer should use the gavel sparingly, tapping it once to open and close the meeting.”

 Rule 7.  Office of the Mayor Pro Tempore 

At the organizational meeting the council shall elect from its membership a mayor pro tempore to serve at the council’s pleasure. The mayor pro tempore shall be entitled to vote on all matters and shall be considered a council member for all purposes, including the determination of whether a quorum is present. The mayor pro tempore shall perform the duties of the mayor in the event of the absence of the mayor, or in case of sickness of the mayor or other causes which would prevent the mayor from attending to the duties of the office. 

If both the mayor and mayor pro tempore are absent from a meeting, the council may elect from among its members a temporary chairperson to preside at the meeting. 

Rule 8.  Action by the Council  

The council shall proceed by motion, unless the council agrees to proceed by unanimous consensus (such as referring items to the Planning and Zoning Board). Seconds are required to all motions. Only one motion at a time shall be allowed. Any motion shall be reduced to writing by the member making it upon the request of the presiding officer or any council member. Motions may be withdrawn at any time. Motions shall be adopted by a majority of the votes cast unless otherwise required by these rules or by the laws of North Carolina. A majority is defined as more than half. 

Any vote may be made by written ballot if requested by any two council members present. All votes shall be yeas and nays and shall be entered in the record on request of one member. All ballot votes require a quorum present and voting. 

Except as provided under G.S. 160A-385 (zoning ordinances) every member of the council must vote unless excused by the remaining members according to state law. A member who wishes to be excused from voting shall so inform the presiding officer, who shall take a vote of the remaining members. No member shall be excused from voting except upon matters in which the member has a conflict of interest (as outlined in the N.C. General Statutes and case law). In all other cases, except votes taken under G.S. 160A-385, a failure to vote by a member who is physically present in the council chamber, or who has withdrawn without being excused by a majority vote of the remaining members present, shall be recorded as an affirmative vote. A member who plans to not vote on a zoning ordinance as authorized by G.S. 160A-385 should so inform the presiding officer.  State law requires that motions made regarding zoning ordinances shall be adopted by a majority vote of the council members present at the meeting for quorum purposes and not excused from voting. 

Rule 9.  Council Direction to Staff

 If during a meeting an individual member of the council gives direction to staff, the presider will immediately ascertain if that direction is approved by the council (either by unanimous consensus or by motion, second and vote). This will ensure that council as a group is clearly articulating direction to staff. 

Rule 10.  Debate/Discussion by Council 

The council recognizes and appreciates the importance of council discussion at every stage in each process. Debate/discussion shall be allowed prior to requiring a motion and second. During the debate/discussion, the presider shall call on a member who has not spoken on the issue before recognizing someone who has already spoken. 

Council members shall avoid personal remarks directed towards individual council members. The presiding officer shall politely rule all such remarks as out of order. 

The council shall follow the following debate/discussion principles, which were taken from “The Complete Idiot’s Guide to Robert’s Rules”: 

  • “It is a good idea to begin your debate by telling the members which side you are speaking on…”
  • “Organize your thoughts. Pay close attention to your delivery. Speak clearly and slowly, project your voice, and say it like you mean it. Organize your thoughts into two or three main points and communicate them during your debate time…Keep focused on the major reasons why you have taken your stand. Consider this as part of your meeting preparation.” It’s a good idea to bring your concise notes to the meeting with you and actually take notes during the meeting to help you frame your debate/discussion comments.
  • “Only speak when called on” [by the presiding officer].
  • “Direct all comments to the chair. Avoid directing comments to another member.”
  • “Don’t be disruptive. Side conversations are not allowed. Neither is walking around the room in a manner that is disruptive to the meeting.”
  • “You can make corrections. If you hear information that you know is inaccurate, you have the right to call attention to the inaccuracy and to have the accurate information shared with the group. … this must be done politely.”

Rule 11.  Quorum 

A majority of the council, including the mayor but excluding vacant seats, shall constitute a quorum. A majority is more than half. A member who has withdrawn from a meeting without being excused by majority vote of the remaining members present shall be counted as present for purposes of determining a quorum. 

Rule 12.  Minutes 

A.         Regular, special, work session, recessed and emergency meeting minutes 

The Town Clerk or designee will attend the meetings and prepare full and accurate minutes. The minutes will be a detailed summary account of the meeting, with statements attributed to individual council members and speakers at the meeting.  A draft of the minutes will be provided on the Web to meet the agenda deadlines for the following meeting. Staff and council members shall review these minutes while they are in draft form, and advise the Town Clerk of any changes that should be made. The Town Clerk will make the appropriate changes to the draft minutes. The draft minutes will be on the consent agenda at a subsequent meeting for council approval. The Town Clerk may correct typographical errors to the minutes after the council has approved them, but no substantive changes may be made to the minutes without council approval.

In addition to minutes, the Town Clerk shall prepare an “Action Agenda” and post it to the Web the day after the regular meeting to show the council’s action on each agenda item. The purpose of this document is to provide the public with a record of the council action even prior to the minutes being prepared.

B.         Closed Session Minutes 

Closed session minutes shall be prepared in accordance with all applicable state laws.