[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Orchard Park as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
Meetings of the Town Council shall be conducted in an orderly manner to ensure that the public has a full opportunity to be heard and that the deliberative process of the Council is retained at all times. The presiding officer of the Council, who shall be the Supervisor or in his/her absence, other member so designated by the Council, shall be responsible for maintaining the order and decorum of meetings.
While any meeting of the Town Council is in session, the following rules of order and decorum shall be observed:
Council Members. The members of the Town Council shall preserve order and decorum, and a member shall not by conversation or other means delay or interrupt the Council proceedings or disturb any other member while speaking.
Town Officials (elected, appointed). Employees of the Town shall observe the same rules of order and decorum as those which apply to the members of Council.
Persons addressing the Council and Council Members being addressed. Public oral communications at the Town Council meetings should not be a substitute for any item that can be handled during the normal working hours of the municipal government. The primary purpose of oral communications is to allow citizens the opportunity to formally communicate with the Town Council as a whole, for matters that cannot be handled during the regular working hours of the Town government. Each person who addresses the Council shall do so in an orderly manner and shall not make personal, impertinent, slanderous or profane remarks to any member of the Council, staff or general public. Any person who makes such remarks, or who utters loud, threatening, personal or abusive language, or engages in any other disorderly conduct which disrupts, disturbs or otherwise impedes the orderly conduct of any Council meeting shall, at the discretion of the presiding officer, be barred from further audience before the Council during that meeting. Council Members and Town employees will adhere to the same code of conduct.
Members of the audience. No person in the audience at a Council meeting shall engage in disorderly or boisterous conduct, including the utterance of loud, threatening or abusive language, whistling, stamping of feet or other acts which disturb, disrupt or otherwise impede the orderly conduct of any Council meeting. Any person who conducts himself in the aforementioned manner shall, at the discretion of the presiding officer, be barred from further audience before the Council during that meeting.
Persons wishing to discuss an agenda or nonagenda item may seek recognition by the presiding officer during the business from the floor portion of the meeting. No person shall address the Council without first being recognized by the presiding officer. The following procedures shall be observed by persons addressing the Council:
Each person shall step to the podium provided for the use of the public and shall state his or her name and address; the organization, if any, which he or she represents; and the subject he or she wishes to discuss.
Each person shall limit his or her remarks to four minutes, unless further time is granted by the presiding officer.
All remarks shall be addressed to the Council as a whole and not to any single member thereof, unless in response to a question from such member.
No question may be asked of a member of the Council or of the staff without permission of the presiding officer.
Council members and staff will not engage in debate or discussion with the speaker without permission of the presiding officer. The Council member's role is to listen.
The rules of decorum set forth above shall be enforced in the following manner:
Warning. The presiding officer shall request that a person who is breaching the rules of decorum be orderly and silent. If, after receiving a warning from the presiding officer, a person persists in disturbing the meeting, the presiding officer shall order him or her to leave the Council meeting. If such person does not remove himself or herself, the presiding officer may order any law enforcement officer who is on duty at the meeting as sergeant-at-arms of the Council to remove that person from the Council chambers.
Removal. Any law enforcement officer who is serving as sergeant-at-arms of the Council shall carry out all orders and instructions given by the presiding officer for the purpose of maintaining order and decorum at the Council meeting. Upon instruction of the presiding officer, it shall be the duty of the sergeant-at-arms to remove from the Council meeting any person who is disturbing the proceedings of the Council.
Motion to enforce. If the presiding officer of the Council fails to enforce the rules set forth above, any member of the Council may move to require him or her to do so, and an affirmative vote of a majority of the Council shall require him or her to do so. If the presiding officer of the Council fails to carry out the will of a majority of the Council, the majority may designate another member of the Council to act as presiding officer for the limited purpose of enforcing any rule of this section which it wishes to enforce.
Adjournment. If a meeting of the Council is disturbed or disrupted in such a manner as to make infeasible or improbable the restoration of order, the meeting may be adjourned or continued by the presiding officer or a majority of the Council, and any remaining Council business may be considered at the next meeting.