[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Watertown 3-5-1956. Amendments noted where applicable.]
City Council — See Ch. 14.
[Amended 3-28-1983; 3-17-1986; 10-30-1989; 2-21-1995]
Stated meetings shall be held in the City Council Chambers on the first and third Mondays of the month at 7:00 p.m., unless such Monday is a legal holiday, and in such event the meetings shall take place on the following day at the same hour.
A quorum shall consist of a majority of the City Council.
The Mayor shall call the members to order and shall preside at all meetings of the City Council. In the absence of the Mayor, the member of the Council who has served the longest as a member of the Council at the time of such absence shall call the meeting to order and shall take the chair.
[Amended 4-2-1956; 9-8-1980; 1-16-1990]
The order of business shall be as follows:
A special meeting of the City Council may be called by any member on three (3) days' notice, specifying the object of the meeting.
It shall not be in order at any special meeting called for any specified business to proceed to any other business than that for which the meeting was convened.
At the time fixed in the notice of special meeting, the City Council shall convene, the Mayor shall take the chair, and the following shall be the order of business:
In calling the roll at the opening of each session and upon every vote, the names of the members shall be called in alphabetical order, except the name of the Mayor which shall be called last, and each member shall vote or not, as he shall choose, as soon as his name is called.
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 duly 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.
The presiding officer may speak upon any matter under consideration by the Council after the other members have had an opportunity to speak. He shall not speak upon the subject under discussion more than twice nor more than five (5) minutes each time, except by unanimous consent. 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.
No motion or resolution shall be put, recorded or debated until the same shall be duly seconded.
When a member is about to speak, he shall address the chair, and when two (2) or more members address the chair at once, the presiding officer shall name the member to speak. 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 (5) 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 cease speaking and shall not speak again unless to explain or proceed in order. The question shall be decided by the presiding officer without debate.
When any question is under debate, no motion shall be received except the following and in the order named:
A motion to adjourn and a motion to lay on the table shall always be in order, except when a vote is being taken on any question before the Council, and such motions shall be decided without debate.
No motion or proposition on a subject different from that under consideration shall be admitted under cover of an amendment.
On the call of any member, a division of any question shall be made when the question will admit of a division so distinct that one (1) part being taken away the other will stand as an entire question for decision.
The previous question shall be put as follows: "Shall the main question now be put?" and until it shall be decided, it shall preclude all amendments and debates. If the Council shall decide that the main question shall not now be put, the main question shall be considered as still remaining under debate. The main question shall be on the passage of the motion, resolution or other matter under consideration; but when amendments are pending, the question shall first be taken upon such amendments in the inverse order in which they are proposed.
While the presiding officer is putting any question, or while the roll is being called, no debate or discussion shall be in order, except that a member may have two (2) minutes to explain his vote when his name is called.
When a question has been once put and decided, any member who voted with the majority may move for a reconsideration thereof at the meeting at which the question was decided; the Council may, however, recall any resolution or ordinance and may reconsider its action thereon. A motion for reconsideration, if lost, shall not be repeated, nor shall any question be reconsidered more than once.
In all cases involving points of parliamentary law, not provided for by these rules, the Corporation Counsel shall act as parliamentarian, and Roberts Rules of Order shall be accepted as authority.
The City Clerk shall briefly state the substance of all communications received by the Council and shall read the same in full if so directed by the City Council.
An ordinance which has laid over under the rules shall be brought up automatically at the next regular meeting.
An ordinance which has been tabled shall not be brought up for action until a motion has been duly passed to take the ordinance from the table for action.
A resolution which has been tabled by a motion duly passed to table it shall not be brought up for action, until a motion has been duly passed to take the resolution from the table for action.
Any matter or business which has been postponed indefinitely shall not be brought up for action, until a motion has been duly passed by the Council to consider such matter or business.
Any matter or business which has been postponed to a day certain shall be brought up automatically at the meeting to which it has been postponed.
No ordinance shall be considered by the Council until same has been certified as to form and legality by the office of the Corporation Counsel and filed in the office of the City Clerk as per resolutions, except such ordinances which, by unanimous consent of Council, Council decides are emergencies.
The requisite vote for the adoption of laws and ordinances shall be as follows:
On the day following a session of the Council, the City Clerk shall present to the several departments and agencies of the city such matters as may have been referred to them.
The Clerk shall record the names of all members absent from any meeting of the Council.
The City Clerk shall, on the Friday following the last regular meeting, present to the Council minutes of the previous meetings and the agenda and resolutions and ordinances of the pending meeting.
No resolution will be considered by the City Council unless filed with the City Clerk on or before Wednesday next preceding a regular meeting, except such resolutions which the majority of the City Council decide are in emergency or routine categories.