[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Somers Point 4-14-1983 as Ord. No. 3-1983 (Ch. 29B of 1967 compilation). Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Amended 12-18-2014 by Ord. No. 32-2014]
Except as may be provided in the Charter, questions of order, methods of organization, and the conduct of business of the Council shall be governed by the most current edition of Robert's Rules of Order in effect, as same may from time to time be revised, in all cases to which they are applicable, and in which they are not inconsistent with the rules of procedure hereinafter set forth in this chapter.
Editor's Note: At the time, the then-current edition of Robert's Rules of Order was the 2011 Revision.
The Council shall meet annually for organization at 7:00 p.m. on a weeknight evening during the first week in January, to be determined by resolution of the City Council, in the Council Chambers, at which time it shall select one of its members to serve as President and one President Pro Tempore for the year. Election shall be by majority vote of the whole members of the Council. The President shall preside over all meetings of the Council and perform such other duties as the Council or the general law may prescribe. Newly elected members may take and subscribe the oath of office at or before the annual organization meeting of the Council. Upon so qualifying, a member shall be entitled to take his/her seat and assume the duties of the office.
[Amended 4-14-1988 by Ord. No. 5-1988; 12-18-2014 by Ord. No. 32-2014]
Thereafter, the Council shall by ordinance or resolution designate the time of holding regular meetings, which shall be at least monthly. All meetings of the Council shall be held in the Council Chambers, Municipal Services Building, except that meetings may, upon resolution of the Council, be held at such other times and places as the Council may deem fit.
[Amended 4-14-1988 by Ord. No. 5-1988]
The Council President may, and upon written request of three of the members of the Council shall, call a special meeting of the Council. In this call, he/she shall designate the purpose of the special meeting, and no other business shall be considered at such meeting. The call for a special meeting shall be filed in accordance with the Open Public Meetings Act.
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. 10:4-6 et seq.
All regular and special meetings of the Council shall be open to the public pursuant to the provisions of the Open Public Meetings Act.
There shall be no standing committees of the Council other than the Committee of the Whole. The President shall appoint all special committees for legislative, investigative and administrative purposes.
A majority of the whole number of the Council shall constitute a quorum, but no ordinance shall be adopted by the Council without the affirmative vote of a majority of all the members of the Council. The procedure for adopting ordinances shall be in accordance with the provisions of Acts Saved from Repeal, Chapter 108.
Editor's Note: See N.J.S.A. Acts Saved From Repeal § 40:108-1(1) et seq.
If a quorum is not present 1/2 hour after the appointed time for any meeting, the person presiding or, in his absence, the Clerk of the Council may declare the meeting adjourned.
No action of the Council, except as otherwise provided herein, shall be valid or binding unless adopted with the concurrence of a majority of all the members of the Council.
For the purpose of performing duties, other than enacting legislation, which are properly exercisable by the Council under the provisions of the Charter, the Council may sit in nonlegislative sessions at such times as it may determine.
The resolutions and ordinances that are submitted for consideration to the Council of the City of Somers Point, New Jersey, are often, by their nature and content, difficult to assess or readily digest, and premature actions and/or decisions, devoid of prior knowledge, facts or study by Council members of these same resolutions and/or ordinances may cause detrimental results to the City of Somers Point, New Jersey, and its citizens. Therefore, all resolutions and/or ordinances must be submitted to the Council members of the City of Somers Point, New Jersey, at least 48 hours prior to the next official Council meeting. However, any resolution or ordinance may be introduced to the Council, without prior notice, if the Council votes by majority that the intent and purpose of the resolution or ordinance is necessary to the welfare of the city and that its immediate passage is imperative because of its emergency.
The President and, in his absence, the President Pro Tempore shall take the chair at the hour appointed for the meeting and shall immediately call the Council to order. In the absence of the President and President Pro Tempore, the Clerk shall call the Council to order and shall determine whether a quorum is present. If a quorum is present, the Clerk shall call for the election of a President Pro Tempore.
Unless otherwise ordered by the President or other presiding officer, at each regular meeting of the Council, the order of business shall be taken up for consideration and disposition as follows:
Meeting called to order.
Pledge of Allegiance.
Reading and approval of minutes of the previous meeting.
Reports from committees and the Mayor.
Sale of city-owned property.
Receipt of bids.
Introduction of ordinances.
Consideration of ordinances on second reading.
Reports of departments.
Payment of bills.
Every member shall give his entire attention to the business under consideration during the sessions of the Council and shall not absent himself/herself from the meeting until the hour of adjournment except by permission of the President.
No member shall speak more than three times and not to exceed five minutes each time on any question at any meeting of the Council except by permission of the majority of members present as determined by a vote.
Every member desiring to speak shall address the presiding officer and, upon recognition, shall confine himself/herself to the question under debate, avoiding all personalities and indecorous language. A member, once recognized, shall not be interrupted when speaking unless it is to call him to order or as herein otherwise provided. If a member, while speaking, is called to order he/she shall cease speaking until the question of order is determined by the presiding officer, and, if in order, he/she shall be permitted to proceed. Any member may appeal to the Council the decision of the Chair upon a question of order, when without debate the Chair shall submit to the Council the question: "Shall the decision of the Chair be sustained?," and the Council shall decide by a majority vote.
Non-Council members attending regularly scheduled meetings shall not be permitted to speak more than one time, not to exceed three minutes on any one subject germane to an issue then before the Council unless given special permission for extra time by a majority vote of the Council members, and they shall be heard only during that portion of the meeting as established by § A266-8P, except as to public meetings.
[Amended 12-27-2007 by Ord. No. 30-2007]
On an annual basis the Mayor and all members of the City Council shall attend at least one instructional course of their individual choosing covering the responsibilities and obligations of elected officials in such subjects as ethics, municipal finance, labor relations, risk management, shared services, purchasing, technology, and so forth.
[Added 12-18-2014 by Ord. No. 32-2014]
The Council may make investigations into the affairs of the City of Somers Point and the conduct of any city department, office or agency as may be authorized by the applicable code and, for this purpose, may subpoena witnesses, administer oaths and take testimony. Any person who fails or refuses to obey a lawful order issued in the exercise of these powers by the Council shall be guilty of being a disorderly person and punishable in accordance with a schedule of fines and imprisonment established by the Council. In no event shall a fine exceed $500, and imprisonment shall not exceed 90 days.
The President shall preserve order and decorum and decide questions of order, subject to an appeal to the Council which shall require a majority vote to overrule.
No standing rule of order of the Council shall be altered or amended unless such alteration or amendment shall have been proposed, in writing, at the regular meeting next preceding and adopted by a majority of the members of the Council, but any of them may be suspended temporarily with the concurrence of 2/3 of the members present at any meeting, unless such a suspension would be in violation of a statute of the State of New Jersey.
A police officer shall be Sergeant at Arms at the regularly scheduled Council meetings. The Sergeant at Arms shall carry out all orders and instructions given by the presiding officer for the purpose of maintaining order and decorum at the normal quota. Any person making personal, impertinent or slanderous remarks or who shall become boisterous while addressing the Council shall be barred by the President or other presiding officer from further attendance at that meeting of the Council. Upon instructions of the President, it shall be the duty of the police officer to place such person under arrest and cause him to be prosecuted pursuant to law.
The Clerk of the Council shall, at least once each year within seven days following the annual organization meeting of the Council, post for the purpose of public inspection a schedule of the regular meetings of the Council to be held during the year, in at least one public place reserved for such or similar announcements. He/she shall, in addition, mail or deliver a copy thereof to the two newspapers designated by the Council to receive notices of the meetings of the Council. The schedule shall contain the location of each meeting and the time and date thereof. In the event that such schedule is thereafter revised, he/she shall, within seven days following each revision, post, mail and submit such revision in the manner hereinabove set forth.
Ordinances shall be prepared by the Department of Law or the City Clerk upon request of any Councilperson. Every proposed ordinance shall be prepared, in writing, in the form required for final adoption. No ordinance except those relating to the budget or appropriation of funds and those relating to the adoption or revision of the Administrative Code shall contain more than one subject, which shall be clearly expressed in its title. The enacting clause shall be "Be it ordained by the City Council of the City of Somers Point."
Except as otherwise provided by general law, the procedure for the passage of ordinances shall be as follows:
Every ordinance, after being introduced and having passed a first reading, which first reading may be by title, shall be published at least once in the manner provided, together with a notice of introduction thereof and the time and place when and where it will be further considered for final passage. If there is only one such publication, the first shall be at least one week prior to the time fixed for further consideration for final passage.
At the time and place so stated in such publication or at any time and place to which the meeting for the further consideration of the ordinance shall from time to time be adjourned, all persons interested shall be given an opportunity to be heard concerning the ordinance.
Upon the opening of the hearing, the ordinance shall be given a second reading, which reading may be in title, and thereafter it may be passed by a majority of the whole number of the Council, with or without amendments, or be rejected. Prior to said second reading, a copy of the ordinance shall be posted on the bulletin board or other place in the building in which the Council regularly meets, and copies of the ordinance shall be made available to members of the general public who shall request such copies.
Upon passage, every ordinance or the title, together with a notice of the date of passage or approval, or both, shall be published at least once in the manner provided.
Every ordinance adopted by the City Council shall, within five days after its passage, Sundays excepted, be presented to the Mayor by the City Clerk. The Mayor shall, within 10 days after receiving the ordinance, Sundays excepted, either approve the ordinance by affixing his signature thereto or return it to the Council by delivering it to the Clerk together with a statement setting forth his objections thereto or any item or part thereof.
[Amended 12-18-2014 by Ord. No. 32-2014]
Passage of ordinances over veto. The Council shall reconsider any vetoed ordinance pursuant to the Charter. Such reconsideration of the ordinance shall be at the next meeting of the Council which occurs not less than three nor more than 30 days following the return of the ordinance by the Mayor. If, upon such reconsideration, 2/3 of the members of the Council vote to override the veto, the ordinance shall take effect 10 days thereafter. Whenever an ordinance has been reconsidered by the Council following a veto by the Mayor, the Clerk shall append to such ordinance a certification of the action of the Council upon such reconsideration in substantially the following form:
Ordinances not returned by Mayor. Whenever an ordinance shall take effect without the Mayor's signature by reason of his/her failure to return it to the Council by filing it with the Clerk within five days of its passage, the Clerk shall append to such ordinance a certificate in substantially the following form:
Resolutions shall be prepared by the Department of Law or the City Clerk upon request of any Council member. Every proposed resolution shall be prepared in writing and may be introduced at any regularly scheduled meeting of the Council upon a motion and seconding, subject to § A266-6.