Council Meeting Procedures
ORDINANCE NO. 0-005-2020
CITY OF SOUTHSIDE
COUNTY OF ETOWAH
STATE OF ALABAMA
ORDINANCE TO ESTABLISH RULES OF PROCEDURE
FOR COUNCIL MEETINGS
BE IT ORDAINED BY THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF SOUTHSIDE, ALABAMA that the order of procedure in all instances for meetings of the council shall be as follows:
Section 1. That Ordinance Number O-013-2016 is hereby repealed.
Section 2. The rules of order of procedure contained in this section shall govern deliberations and meetings of the council.
(a) Regular Meetings. Regular meetings of the council shall be held on the second and fourth Monday of each month for the months of November and December 2020. Thereafter, beginning January 2021, regular meetings will be held on the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of each month. All regular meetings shall convene at 5:30 p.m. in the council chamber at city hall, or at such other place as the council shall designate at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to the meeting.
State Law reference— Time and place and frequency of meetings, Code of Ala. 1975, §§ 11-43-49, 11-43-50.
(b) Special Meetings. Special meetings may be held at the call of the Mayor by serving notice on each member of the council not less than 24 hours before the time set for such special meetings; or special meeting may be held as provided by Code of Ala. 1975, § 11-43-50, whenever two council members making the request shall have the right to call such meeting. Notice of all special meetings shall be posted on a bulletin board accessible to the public and on the city website, at least 24 hours prior to such meeting. A special meeting may also be called or scheduled by vote of the council in open session during another duly called meeting. The motion or resolution calling or scheduling the special meeting shall specify its time, place, and purpose. Only those items of business specified in the notice may be discussed or transacted at a special meeting, unless (1) all members are present and (2) the council determines in good faith at the meeting that it is essential to discuss or act on the item immediately.
State Law reference— Calling special meetings, Code of Ala. 1975, § 11-43-50.
(c) Agenda. All reports, communications, ordinances, resolutions, contract documents or other matters to be submitted to the council by any council member or the mayor shall be delivered to the city clerk no later than 12:00 noon on the Thursday prior to each council meeting. The city clerk shall arrange a list of matters in the order of receipt under the appropriate category according to the order of business in (g). A copy of all proposed resolutions and ordinances shall be attached to the proposed agenda. An agenda package shall be prepared that includes, for each item of business placed on the proposed agenda, as much background information on the subject as is available and feasible to reproduce. Each council member, the mayor and the city attorney shall receive a copy of the proposed agenda and the agenda package and they shall be available for public inspection and/or distribution when they are distributed to the council members, at least one full business day prior to the meeting, but as far in advance of the meeting as time for preparation will permit. None of the foregoing matters shall be presented to the council by any department or other employee of the city except those authorized by the mayor.
(d) Open Meeting Requirements. All meeting notifications shall be in compliance with the Open Meeting Act as described in Code of Ala. 1975, §§ 36-25A-1 through 36-25A-11 and a public notification registry shall be kept as in compliance with section 2-6.
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. All deliberation shall adhere to the requirements of the Alabama Open Meetings Act, Act. No. 2005-40.
(e) Public Address to the Council. Any individual or group who wishes to address the council shall make a written request to be on the agenda to the city clerk. The request must state the nature of the specific comment, question or concern that will be addressed. The request must be made no later than 12:00 noon on the Thursday prior to the council meeting. With the approval of the Mayor, the city clerk shall place each person’s name on the agenda. With unanimous consent of the council, a person whose name does not appear on the agenda may be permitted to address the council.
(1) A person may speak on any subject regarding the city and municipal government but may not address the same issue more than once every two (2) months. However, the council shall determine at the meeting whether it will hear the individual or group.
(2) No person shall address the council without first being recognized by the Mayor.
(3) Each person addressing the council shall step up to the place provided for use by the public and give their name and address for the record, speak in an audible tone of voice, state the subject he wishes to discuss, state whom he is representing if he represents an organization or other persons, and shall limit his remarks to five (5) minutes unless further time is granted by majority vote of the council.
(4) All remarks shall be addressed to the council as a whole and not to any member. No person other than the council members and the person addressing the council shall be permitted to enter into any discussion without the permission of the Mayor. No question may be directed to any council member, the mayor or a city employee without the permission of the Mayor.
(5) Whenever any group or persons wishing to address the council on the same subject, the Mayor may request that a spokesperson be chosen by the group or may limit the numbers of persons address the council.
(6) Without the necessity of making a prior request, any interested person may address the council in regard to a public hearing on a particular matter, subject to the discretion of the Mayor, and so long as the comments are relevant to the subject under consideration.
(7) After a motion has been made or a public hearing has been closed, no member of the public shall address the council on the matter under consideration without the approval of a majority of the council.
(8) All interested parties, or their authorized representatives, may address the council by written communication regarding matters under consideration.
(9) No speaker shall come forward and be heard more than once per meeting per topic.
(10) The City clerk shall provide a copy of these rules to each person on the agenda and shall keep a copy posted in the council chambers at the place where the public addresses the council.
(f) Decorum. Any person making personal, impertinent, slanderous or profane remarks or who willfully utters loud, threatening or abusive language, or engages in any disorderly conduct which would impede, disrupt or disturb the orderly conduct of any meeting shall be called to order by the Mayor. If such conduct continues, the Mayor, at her discretion, may order the person barred from further addressing the council for that meeting.
All persons shall be silent at the request of the Mayor. If a person persists in disturbing the meeting after a warning, the Mayor may order him to remove himself from the meeting. If the person does not remove himself, the Mayor may order the sergeant-at-arms to remove him.
At least one (1) uniformed officer shall be designated by the police chief to attend each council meeting. Such officer shall act as the sergeant-at-arms and shall carry out all orders and instructions given by the Mayor to maintain order and decorum.
Any council member may move to require the Mayor to enforce the rules of decorum. The affirmative vote of a majority shall require him to do so.
If a meeting is willfully disturbed by a person or group of persons so as to render the orderly conduct of such meeting unfeasible and when order cannot be restored by the removal of individuals who are creating the disturbance, the meeting may be adjourned by the Mayor and the remaining business conducted at the next regular meeting.
(g) Order of Business. Items shall be placed on the agenda according to the order of business. The order of business for each regular meeting shall be as follows:
(1) A call to order.
(4) Roll call.
(5) Reading and approval of the minutes of the previous meeting.
(7) Public comments (agenda items only)
(8) Unfinished business
(9) Bid Openings and Awards
(10) Public Hearings and consideration of resolutions and ordinances relating to the hearing (any public comments regarding a hearing will be heard prior to the hearing being conducted)
(11) Resolution, ordinances, orders, and other business.
(12) Board Appointments
(13) New business
(14) Reports of committees, officers, boards, departments
(15) Public comments (non-agenda items)
(16) Statements of the mayor and council
(h) Mayor. The Mayor shall chair all council meetings if she is present. The Mayor may vote in all cases. In order to address the council, a member must be recognized by the Mayor. In the absence of the Mayor, the mayor pro tempore shall preside.
(i) Action by the Council. The council shall proceed by motion, except as otherwise provided for in these rules. Motions shall be reduced to writing when required by the Mayor or any member of the council. All resolutions and ordinances and amendments thereto shall be in writing at the time of introduction.
(j) Questions of Order. All questions of order shall be decided by the Mayor with the right of appeal to the council by any member.
(k) Recording the Vote. Whenever it shall be required by one or more members, the "yeas" and "nays" shall be recorded and any member may call for a division on any question.
(l) Debate. If a question coming before the council initiates a debate among council members, the Mayor shall state the question coming before the council and any council member desiring to speak must address the Mayor for the purpose of speaking. The Mayor and council members have a right to be recognized to speak at any time during the meeting.
Every speaker shall confine his remarks to the subject under consideration. No speaker shall use indecorous language, impugn the motive of another person or attack the personality of another person.
Once recognized by the Mayor for the purpose of speaking to the council, a speaker shall not be interrupted unless he is called to order or as otherwise provided in these rules of procedure. If a speaker is called to order, he shall cease speaking until the question of order is determined. A speaker may not recognize a person in the audience to address the council without the unanimous consent of the council. When recognized to speak, a speaker may not yield his time to a person in the audience.
The councilmember moving the adoption of an ordinance or resolution shall have the privilege of closing debate.
A motion to reconsider must be by a member who voted with a majority and at the same or next succeeding meeting of the council.
Except as otherwise provided by statute, the affirmative vote of the majority of the council present shall be sufficient for the passage of any resolution or ordinance or for the transaction of business by the council. When a vote is called, the city clerk shall call the roll by name, responding with “yes”, “no” or “abstain”.
(m) Consideration of Ordinances and Resolutions. Each ordinance and resolution of a permanent nature shall be introduced only at a regularly scheduled meeting and may not be considered until the next regularly scheduled meeting, unless unanimous consent is given by all council members present that it may be considered at the meeting at which it is introduced. Such consent shall be shown by a roll call vote entered in the minutes.
All ordinances and resolutions shall be reviewed as to form and legality by the city attorney. No ordinance or resolution shall be prepared for presentation to the council unless it is requested in writing by a council member or the mayor or is prepared by the city attorney on his own initiative.
Before being presented to the council, all ordinances and resolutions shall be reviewed for administration by the mayor or his authorized representative. Every ordinance and resolution shall be in writing. Items not appearing on the agenda in a timely manner may be considered with unanimous consent of the council as an item under new business.
All ordinances, resolutions or propositions submitted to the council which require the expenditure of money shall lie over until the next meeting, provided that such ordinances, resolutions, or propositions may be considered earlier by unanimous consent of the council; and provided, further, that this rule shall not apply to the current expenses of, or contracts previously made with, or regular salaries of officers, or wages of employees of the city.
Cross reference— Legislative powers, § 2-4.
State Law reference— Enactment of ordinances, Code of Ala. 1975, § 11-45-2 et seq.
(n) Distribution of information. Any information regarding city business, either requested by or provided to one member of the council shall be provided to all members of the council concurrently.
(o) Committees. Each council member shall serve as a member of a committee, subject to the approval of the council, the Mayor shall appoint members to the committees and shall name the chair and vice chair of each of the following standing committees:
Planning Commission (Keith Clay-Council Place 1)
Water Board; Street & Sanitation (John Hatley-Council Place 2)
Public Safety, Finance & Mayor Pro Tempore:
Police & Fire (Don Steward-Council Place 4)
Education and Recreation:
Parks & Recreation (Genny Ball-Council Place 5)
Athletic Foundation & Youth Sports (Joseph Hutchins-Council Place 3)
The chairperson of each respective committee, or the councilmember acting for him, shall submit or make all reports to the council when so requested by the Mayor or any member of the council.
(p) Attendance at Council Meetings. The city clerk, city attorney, chief of police, and other such officers or employees of the city shall, when requested, attend all meetings of the council and shall remain in the council room for such length of time as the council may direct.
(q) Executive Session. All meetings of the council shall be open to the public, except when the council meets in executive session as authorized by state law. The council may hold an executive session as provided by the Alabama Open Meetings Act referred to in Code of Ala. 1975, §§ 32-25A-1 through 32-25A-11.
. The council shall commence an executive session only after a motion to go into executive session has been made and adopted during an open meeting. The motion shall state the purpose of the executive session. The motion to go into executive session must be approved by the vote of a majority of those present and voting. The vote of each member shall be recorded in the minutes. No action may be taken in an executive session. No minutes shall be taken of the executive session. No recording shall be made of the executive session. Nothing may be considered in an executive session other than the matter(s) disclosed in the open meeting. Prior to calling the executive session to order, the Mayor shall state whether the council will reconvene after the executive session and, if so, the approximate time the council expects to reconvene.
(r) Quorum. A quorum shall be constituted of a majority of the whole number of council members, including the mayor, to which the city is entitled. This whole number being six, four council members must be present to constitute a quorum and conduct formal city business at a regular or special meeting (section 11-43-48, Code of Alabama). Council members who are present at a council meeting that have a conflict of interest on a particular issue can be counted for purposes of making a quorum even though they cannot vote on a particular issue.
State Law reference— Quorum, Code of Ala. 1975, § 11-43-48.
(s) Public Hearings. Public Hearings required by law or deemed advisable by the council may be organized by a special order that sets forth the subject, date, place, and time of the hearing as well as any rules regarding the length of time allotted for each speaker, and other pertinent matters. A special order is adopted by majority vote. Its specifications may include, but are not limited to, rules fixing the maximum time allotted to each speaker; providing for the designation of spokespersons for groups of person supporting or opposing the same positions; providing for the selection of delegates from groups of persons supporting or opposing the same positions when the number of person wishing to attend the hearing exceeds the capacity of the hall (so long as arrangements are made, in the case of hearings subject to the open meetings law, for those excluded from the hall to listen to the hearing); and providing for the maintenance of order and decorum in the conduct of the hearing. At the time appointed for the hearing, the Mayor or his designee shall call the hearing to order and then preside over it. When the allotted time expires, or earlier, if no one wishes to speak who has not done so, the Mayor shall declare the hearing ended.
(t) Minutes. Full and accurate minutes of the council proceedings, not including executive sessions, shall be kept, so that a person not in attendance would have a reasonable understanding of what transpired. These minutes shall be open to inspection of the public. The exact wording of each motion and the results of each vote shall be recorded in the minutes, and on the request of any member of the council, the entire council shall be polled by name on any vote. Members’ and other persons’ comments may be included in the minutes if the council approves.
(u) Amendment of the Rules. The rules of the council may be amended in the same manner as any other ordinance of general and permanent operation.
(v) Reference to Robert’s Rules of Order. Robert's Rules of Order is hereby adopted as the rules of procedure for this council in those situations which cannot be resolved by the rules set out in this chapter, so long as it does not conflict with Alabama law or with the spirit of these rules.
State Law reference— Authority to determine rules of procedure, Code of Ala. 1975, § 11-43-
NOW THEREFORE ORDINANCE #0-005-2020 IS HEREBY APPROVED BY THE SOUTHSIDE CITY COUNCIL AND IS HEREBY ADOPTED EFFECTIVE IMMEDIATENLY UPON POSTING AS REQUIRED.
SIGNED THIS THE 2ND DAY OF NOVEMBER, 2020.
Mayor Dana Snyder Council Member: Joseph Hutchins
Council Member: Keith Clay Council Member: Don Steward
Council Member: John Hatley Council Member: Genny Ball
Cynthia B. Osborne,
CERTIFICATION OF ADOPTION
I, Cynthia B. Osborne City Clerk hereby certify that the attached ordinance was duly adopted by the Southside City Council in regular session assembled on the 2nd day of November, 2020 and is recorded in the official minutes of the Southside City Council.
Cynthia B. Osborne, City Clerk
CERTIFICATION OF PUBLICATION
I, Cynthia B. Osborne, City Clerk for the City of Southside, Alabama, do hereby certify that this Ordinance was posted in three public places in Southside; Woody’s Grocery, Southside Community Center and Southside Family Pharmacy. The ordinance was also posted at the Southside City Hall, beginning on the 3rd day of November, 2020 in accordance with the provisions of Code of Alabama, 1975, Section 11-45-8.
Date: November 3rd, 2020 ___________________________________
Cynthia B. Osborne, City Clerk