City of Schenectady, NY
Schenectady County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Schenectady 10-14-1980 by Ord. No. 80-143. Amendments noted where applicable.]

§ 28-1 Robert's Rules of Order adopted.

The rules of parliamentary practice as contained in Robert's Rules of Order shall govern the Council in all cases except as herein provided for.

§ 28-2 Place and time of regular meetings.

[Amended 1-12-1987 by Ord. No. 87-01; 12-28-1998 by Ord. No. 98-27; 8-11-2003 by Ord. No. 2003-15]
Regular meetings of the City Council shall take place in City Hall, in Council Chambers or Room 110, at 7:00 p.m. on the second and fourth Mondays of each month, unless otherwise posted by public notice, and may be adjourned to an alternate time and place. City Council committee meetings shall be held on the first and third Mondays of each month at 5:30 p.m. in Room 110 of City Hall, unless otherwise posted by public notice for a different time or place.[1]
[1]:
Editor's Note: As to the hours of City offices generally, see Ch. 18, City Offices.

§ 28-3 Special meetings.

Special meetings may be called at any time by any member of the Council, on three days' notice, specifying the object of the meeting. The City Clerk[1] shall cause the written notice thereof, specifying the object of the meeting, to be served upon each member personally or to be delivered at his usual place of residence. At such special meeting, no business other than that named in the notice of meeting shall be transacted, except by unanimous consent. At the time fixed in the notice of special meeting, the City Council shall convene, the President shall take the chair, and the following shall be the order of business:
A. 
Roll call.
B. 
Reading of the notice of the meeting and proof of service.
C. 
Transaction of the business specified in notice.
D. 
Adjournment.
[1]:
Editor's Note: See Ch. 23, Clerk.

§ 28-4 Executive meetings.

Whenever the Council shall determine to transact any business in an executive meeting, the presiding officer shall direct all persons except members and officers of the Council to withdraw, and the doors shall be closed. In respect to proceedings at such executive meetings, every member and officer shall observe such secrecy as may be enjoyed by the Council.

§ 28-5 Quorum; compelling attendance.

The majority of the Council members shall constitute a quorum, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day. In a case where a lesser number than a quorum of the Council shall convene at any regular or special meeting or if while the meeting is in progress any lesser number than a quorum shall be present, the majority of the members of such Council present are authorized to send the Sergeant at Arms or other persons so authorized for any or all absent members, as such majority of members shall agree.

§ 28-6 Requisite vote.

The requisite vote for the adoption of laws and ordinances shall be as follows:
A. 
Majority vote of all members:
(1) 
Local laws.
(2) 
General ordinances and resolutions.
B. 
Two-thirds vote of all members:
(1) 
Designation of one official newspaper.
(2) 
Extending fire limits.
(3) 
Ordinance creating a funded debt.
(4) 
Construction ordinance.
(5) 
Bond issue ordinance.
C. 
Three-fourths vote of all members:
(1) 
Sale or lease of City real estate or a franchise belonging to or under control of the City.
(2) 
To regulate powers and duties of City officers or departments.
(3) 
To discontinue a public street.
D. 
Four-fifths vote of all members:
(1) 
Direct labor ordinances.
(2) 
Open market purchases.

§ 28-7 Presiding officer designated.

The President shall preside over all meetings of the Council. In the absence of the President, the President Pro Tem shall preside. The President Pro Tem shall be the Majority Leader of the Council. In the absence of the President Pro Tem, the City Clerk shall call the meeting to order, and the Council shall select one of its members as a presiding officer pro tem.

§ 28-8 Determination of rules of procedure by presiding officer.

The presiding officer shall preserve decorum, enforce the rules of procedure herein prescribed and determine without debate, subject to the final decision of the Council on appeal, all questions of procedure and order. Any member may appeal to the Council from such ruling of the presiding officer, and if the appeal is only seconded, the appellant may speak once solely on the question involved, and the presiding officer may explain his ruling, but no other member shall participate in the discussion. The presiding officer shall then put the question: "Shall the decision of the chair be sustained?" If a majority of the members present vote nay, the ruling of the chair is overruled; otherwise it is sustained.

§ 28-9 Participation in debate by presiding officer.

The presiding officer shall not participate in the debate of any matter under consideration by the Council except as follows: If he desires to participate in the debate, he shall leave the chair and take the place on the floor of the President Pro Tem, and he shall not resume the chair until the matter under consideration has been acted upon by the Council. Nothing herein shall be construed to prevent the presiding officer, while in the chair, from explaining his ruling on any question or explaining his vote on the roll call.

§ 28-10 Participation in general proceedings by Mayor with executive powers.

The elected Mayor with executive powers may answer questions when questioned by a member of the Council and may have the privilege of the floor when questioned by a member of the City Council during the order of business designated "miscellaneous business." The Mayor may address the City Council at the first meeting of each year.

§ 28-11 Regular meetings; order of business.

[Amended 1-29-1996 by Ord. No. 96-06]
The following shall be the order of business at regular Council meetings:
A. 
Invocation.
B. 
Pledge of allegiance to the flag.
C. 
Roll call.
D. 
Public hearings.
E. 
Approval of the minutes.
F. 
Communications:
(1) 
Official.
(2) 
General.
G. 
Presentation and reference of petitions and remonstrances.
H. 
Reports of committees.
I. 
Privilege of the floor concerning matters upon the agenda.
J. 
Introduction of and action upon local laws, ordinances and resolutions.
K. 
Privilege of the floor concerning any matter.
L. 
Miscellaneous business.
M. 
Adjournment.

§ 28-12 Seconding required.

[Amended 1-29-1996 by Ord. No. 96-06]
No motion or resolution may be put, recorded or debated without the same being seconded.

§ 28-13 Persons permitted within bar.

No person except members and City officers shall be allowed to come within the bar during the session of the Council without the permission of the Council.

§ 28-14 Rules governing debate.

When a member is about to speak, he shall rise from his seat and address the chair, and when two or more members rise at once, the member to speak shall be named by the presiding officer. The speaker shall confine himself to the question under debate and avoid personalities. No member shall speak upon the subject under discussion more than twice nor more than five minutes each time, except by unanimous consent. If any member, in speaking or otherwise, transgresses the rules, the presiding officer shall, or any member may, call him to order, in which case he shall immediately sit down and shall not rise unless to explain or proceed in order. The question shall be decided by the presiding officer without debate.

§ 28-15 Ayes and nays required; ties.

On the passage of every piece of legislation which is not adopted by unanimous vote and on the selection of any officer other than by unanimous vote and on the enactment of any local law, the ayes and nays of the members voting thereon shall be entered in full upon the journal. If a member being present does not vote, the roll call as to his name shall be marked "present." In case of ties on votes on any question, the question shall be deemed to be lost.

§ 28-15.1 Rules governing speaking by members.

[Added 2-6-1989 by Ord. No. 89-06A]
When a member is about to speak, he shall rise from his seat and address the chair, and when two or more members rise at once, the member to speak shall be named by the presiding officer. No member shall speak more than twice nor more than five minutes each time, except by unanimous consent. If any member transgresses these rules, the presiding officer shall, or any member may, call him to order, in which case he shall immediately sit down.

§ 28-16 Precedence of motion.

When a question is before the Council, no motion shall be entertained except as follows: first, to adjourn; second, to fix the hour of adjournment; third, for the previous question; fourth, to lay on the table; fifth, to postpone indefinitely; sixth, to postpone to a day certain; seventh, to refer; and eighth, to amend. These motions shall have precedence in the order indicated. Any such motion, except a motion to amend, shall be put to vote without debate.

§ 28-17 Putting the question.

The previous question shall be put as follows: "Shall the main question be now put?" If this question is decided in the negative, the main question remains before the Council.

§ 28-18 Division of question.

If the question contains two or more divisible propositions, the presiding officer shall, upon the request of any member, divide the same, but a motion to strike out a provision and insert a substitute is not divisible.

§ 28-19 Reconsideration of question.

After the decision on any question, a member who voted in the majority may move its reconsideration at the same or the next succeeding meeting. If a motion for reconsideration is lost, it shall not be renewed without unanimous consent of the members present, and no question shall, a second time, be reconsidered without a similar unanimous consent. After an ordinance has been adopted, it shall not be reconsidered, but such ordinance may be repealed or amended.

§ 28-20 Withdrawal of motion.

Any motion may be withdrawn by the maker before it has been amended or voted upon, but in such case, any other member may renew the motion at that time.

§ 28-21 Introduction of legislation.

A. 
Request for legislation. A request for legislation shall be submitted in writing to the City Clerk whenever the Mayor, an individual Council member or a department director desires the City Council to pass new legislation. The City Clerk and the President of the City Council shall designate the appropriate committee or committees to review the request and provide the Mayor with a copy of all requests for legislation. All such requests shall be submitted to the City Clerk no less than seven business days prior to the City Council meeting at which the legislation is requested to be enacted.
[Amended 1-29-1996 by Ord. No. 96-06]
B. 
Committee approval. After reviewing, revising and approving the request for legislation, the committee(s) may authorize legal counsel to draft the legislation. The draft legislation shall be unnumbered, undated, without committee or sponsor(s) designation and shall be returned by legal counsel to the City Clerk to be included on the agenda of the next Council meeting.
C. 
If a proposed legislative enactment should fail to obtain approval of the Council committee to which it has been referred, it may be placed upon the agenda at the next or any subsequent City Council meeting only if the request has at least one cosponsor in addition to the original proposer. The proposer and the cosponsor need not be members of the Council committee to which the enactment had been referred.
[Amended 1-29-1996 by Ord. No. 96-06]
D. 
After adoption. After the legislation is adopted, the City Clerk shall assign a number to the legislation, sign the legislation and forward it to the Mayor for his consideration.

§ 28-22 Procedure for adoption of legislation.

A. 
Except as otherwise provided by local law, no ordinance shall be voted upon earlier than the 12th day after its introduction except by unanimous consent of all the members of the Council present, being not less than 2/3 of all members thereof. The passage of an ordinance requires the affirmative vote of at least a majority of all the members of the Council. The same number of votes shall be required to adopt an amending ordinance as was necessary for adoption of the ordinance it purports to amend.
B. 
All ordinances and local laws shall be presented either in printed or typewritten form, and a copy of all proposed ordinances and local laws shall be delivered under the direction of the Clerk to each member of the Council at least seven days before the same shall be put upon their passage, except when unanimous consent is granted for immediate adoption of an ordinance.
C. 
One copy of every proposed ordinance shall be prepared and delivered to the City Clerk no later than 12:00 noon on the Thursday preceding the Council meeting at which the ordinance is to be introduced. The City Clerk shall provide a copy for each member of City Council and the Mayor. No City officer shall be required to prepare or approve a proposed ordinance within 24 hours of the meeting at which it is to be presented, and no ordinance shall be introduced until approved as to form by the Corporation Counsel or one of his assistants.
[Amended 10-13-1981 by Ord. No. 81-110]

§ 28-23 Approval of ordinances by Corporation Counsel.

No ordinance granting any right, franchise or property shall be introduced until approved by the Corporation Counsel or one of his assistants as to its form and legality. The Corporation Counsel shall report the same within 10 days after reference to him.

§ 28-24 Procedure for resolutions.

[Amended 10-13-1981 by Ord. No. 81-110]
All resolutions shall be delivered to the City Clerk no later than 12:00 noon on the Thursday preceding the Council meeting before which such resolutions shall be acted upon for passage, except when unanimous consent of the Council members present is granted for immediate consideration for adoption of resolutions not timely filed with the City Clerk in accordance with this chapter.

§ 28-25 Consent agenda.

[Added 1-12-1987 by Ord. No. 87-02[1]]
Prior to the commencement of regular meetings of the Council of the City of Schenectady, the Council shall determine which legislation it shall pass by unanimous vote. Such legislation shall be incorporated into a consent agenda for which the Council will vote once, and such vote will have the same force and effect upon all included legislation as if each piece had been acted upon individually. Any council member may remove any piece of legislation from the consent agenda prior to its passage, and such legislation will be acted upon separately.
[1]:
Editor's Note: This ordinance also provided for the renumbering of former §§ 28-25 through 28-30 as §§ 28-26 through 28-31.

§ 28-26 Referral of ordinances to committees.

Every proposed ordinance, the passage of which has not been recommended to the Council by a committee, shall be referred by the presiding officer to an appropriate committee unless otherwise disposed of by a vote of the Council.

§ 28-27 Standing committees.

A. 
There are the following standing committees:
(1) 
City Development and Planning.[1]
[1]:
Editor's Note: See Ch. 90, Planning and Economic Development, Department of.
(2) 
Claims and Litigation.
[Amended 24-1991 by Ord. No. 91-03]
(3) 
Finance.
(4) 
Health and Recreation.
(5) 
Intergovernmental Relations.
(6) 
Public Safety.[2]
[2]:
Editor's Note: On 3-30-1981, the City Council adopted Res. No. 81-74, to provide as follows: RESOLVED that the Public Safety Committee of the Council of the City of Schenectady is hereby designated the City Traffic Safety Committee, under the provision of § 333 of the Executive Law, to coordinate the local highway safety program with the County Safety Board and the state program, and it is further; RESOLVED that the Committee is authorized to appoint other members to the City Traffic Safety Committee, as needed.
(7) 
Public Service and Utilities.
(8) 
Governmental Operations.
(9) 
Administrative Efficiency.
[Added 2-8-2010 by Ord. No. 2010-01]
B. 
Each committee consists of three members.
C. 
Members are assigned to committees by the President of the City Council.
D. 
The President of the City Council designates the Chairman of each committee.
E. 
Committees are appointed at the organization meeting of the Council or as soon thereafter as is feasible.

§ 28-28 Quorum of committee members; reports of committees.

Two committee members shall constitute a quorum. Reports of committees shall be in writing and shall not be received unless signed by at least two members.

§ 28-29 Committee meetings; powers.

Standing committees shall meet at the call of their Chairman or of any two members. No committee shall have the power of employing any person for or on behalf of the City or incur any expenses unless specially authorized by the Council, and every committee shall have the power and authority to send for persons and papers and examine witnesses under oath, pursuant to the laws of the state, in any matter or proceeding referred to or before it, and such examination, together with all papers and proceedings, shall be returned to the Council.

§ 28-30 Suspension; amendment of rules.

No rules of this Council shall be altered, suspended or rescinded unless by a majority vote of all the members elected; and no motion to alter, suspend or rescind any such rule shall be in order without the unanimous consent of all members of the Council present, unless notice thereof shall have been given at the previous regular meeting; and no motion to suspend shall embrace more than one rule or relate to any other subject than the one specified in the motion.

§ 28-31 Smoking in Council Chambers.

Smoking is not permitted in the Council Chambers during meetings of the Council.