Town of Johnston, RI
Providence County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
The town council shall have five members, one to be elected from and by the electors of each of the five districts of the town, for a term of two years or until a majority of the newly elected town council have qualified and have taken office.
If a vacancy shall occur in the membership of the town council ninety days or more prior to the next regular or special election to be held, in the district from which such former councilman had been elected, a special election to fill the vacant position on the town council shall be called by the town clerk in the district involved, in the manner prescribed by law, to fill such vacancy.
Members of the town council shall be electors of the Town of Johnston and shall hold no other public office or employment in the service of the Town of Johnston or of the state or federal government except that of notary public, justice of the peace, member of the national guard or armed forces reserve, or a volunteer or call fireman. If a member of the town council shall cease to possess any of these qualifications his office shall immediately become vacant.
The town council shall elect one of its members as president of the town council to preside at meetings of the town council for such term as the town council shall determine. The town council shall also elect one of its members as assistant council president who shall act as council president during the absence or disability of the president of the council, and if a vacancy should occur shall become president of the town council for the completion of the unexpired term. The presiding officer shall have the right to speak and vote as any other member of the town council.
The annual salary of members of the town council shall be five hundred dollars except that of the president of the town council who shall receive annually seven hundred and fifty dollars. This may be changed by ordinance; providing, that no increase in salary shall take effect until after the next biennial election and installation of town councilmen; and providing further, that no increase in annual salary for any biennium shall be more than one hundred dollars for each councilman.
A majority of the whole number of members of the town council shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, but a smaller number may adjorn[1] from time to time. At least twenty-four hours notice of the holding of an adjourned meeting shall be given to all members who were not present at the meeting from which the adjournment was taken.
[1]
Editor's Note: So in original. Probably should read "adjourn."
The first meeting of each newly elected town council shall be held following the swearing into office of its members pursuant to section 2-4 of this Charter. Thereafter the town council shall meet regularly at such time and at such place as may be prescribed by its rules but not less frequently than once each month. A special meeting of the town council shall be called by the town clerk at the request of the town council president or a majority of the members of the town council. Notice of a special meeting shall be given to each member at least forty-eight hours previous to the time of such meeting. The town council may meet upon shorter notice by unanimous consent of all its members which shall be entered in the record of proceedings. The purpose of a special meeting shall be stated in the notice of the meeting and no business shall be transacted at any special meeting other than that which has been stated in the notice. All meetings of the town council shall be open to the public and citizens shall have a reasonable opportunity to be heard; except, that this provision shall not be deemed to prevent the holding of executive sessions; provided, that all votes are taken in public. (Res. #72, 9-13-1982; G.E. 11-2-1982)
The town council shall be the policy determining body of the town. Except as otherwise provided by the constitution and laws of the state, or by this Charter, the town council shall have all the powers of the town. Without limitation of the foregoing grant or of other powers given it by this Charter, the town council shall have the power:
(1) 
To determine its own rules and order of business and keep a journal of its proceedings which shall be open to public inspection in the office of the town clerk.
(2) 
To judge the eligibility of its own members subject to review by the courts on questions of fact and law.
(3) 
To enact ordinances providing for levying taxes and other revenue and appropriate money for other expenditures.
(4) 
To inquire into the conduct of any office or officer, department or agency of the town.
(5) 
To establish by ordinance by the compensation that may be paid to all elective or appointive officers and employees, including board and commission members of the town and stipulate the amount in each instance except where specifically provided in this Charter.
(6) 
To provide by ordinance for a personnel classification system in conformity with provisions of this Charter and applicable general and special laws.
(7) 
To act as a board of personnel review in receiving, consideration and disposing of appeals from dismissals, suspensions, demotions, transfers and layoffs of appointive officers and employees of the town.
(8) 
To fix the amount of the official bonds of all officers of the town, who in the opinion of the town council should be bonded, the premium on such bonds to be paid by the town.
(9) 
To provide rules and regulations with respect to vacations of town officials and employees.
(10) 
To enact, amend or repeal rules, ordinances and resolutions for the government of the town which have to do with the preservation of the public peace, health, safety, welfare and comfort of the inhabitants and the protection of persons and property, and other municipal functions. The town council may provide reasonable penalties in accordance with the law for the violation of any ordinance.
(11) 
To review any special assessment upon request of a property owner and order correction or confirmation of same.
(12) 
To enact and amend, as prescribed by statute, the zoning ordinance.
(13) 
To elect such number of constables as required for the town, to be licensed and to perform duties as specified under law. (Res. #72, 9-13-1982; G.E. 11-2-1982)
(14) 
To grant, suspend or revoke licenses in accordance with law.
(15) 
To provide for the audit at any time of the accounts of the town or any of its departments and to provide for an annual audit as hereinafter prescribed.
(16) 
To enact and amend ordinances relating to the town's property, affairs and government not inconsistent with the state constitution and laws.
(17) 
To issue subpoenas to compel witnesses to testify and produce records as prescribed by law.
(18) 
To appoint committees of the council which may investigate and report on any matter referred to it and make a recommendation thereon but no committee shall have any executive or legislative powers and all matters shall be determined by the council as a whole.
(a)
Ordinances. The town council may act by rule, ordinance or resolution. In addition to the case in which an ordinance is required by any specific provision of this Charter or any applicable law, any action taken under the provisions of article III, Sec. 3-8 (3), (6), (10), (12), shall be by ordinance only.
(b)
Passage of ordinances.
(a1)
Introduction. Every proposed ordinance shall be filed with the town clerk by a member of the town council not later than four business days previous to the day of the meeting at which it is to be introduced. The town clerk shall forthwith provide each member of the council with a copy thereof and shall post one copy of such ordinance in some place accessible to the public in the town hall.
(b1)
Reading and public hearing. Every ordinance, other than an emergency ordinance, shall be read the first time by title and explained by its proponent at the meeting at which it is introduced and then referred to a subsequent regular meeting for action. If, in the meantime, a petition signed by at least twenty qualified voters be filed with the town clerk requesting a public hearing, a public hearing shall be held at the meeting next following introduction of the ordinance, and no action shall be taken on the ordinance until the conclusion of the hearing. A public hearing shall be mandatory on any ordinance amending the zoning ordinance, granting a franchise or creating or amending a personnel classification system and no such ordinance shall be passed as an emergency ordinance.
(c1)
Vote required for passage. The affirmative vote of a majority of the councilmen present shall be necessary for the passage of any ordinance or the transaction of any business provided a quorum is present. The vote upon any ordinance shall be by roll call and entered on the record of proceedings. A vote by roll call shall be taken on any other matter at the request of any two members.
(3)
Publication of ordinance. After passage, there shall be prepared by the town clerk a notice describing each ordinance in brief and general terms, which shall be submitted to a newspaper of general circulation in the town no later than the end of business on the third day following such passage (Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays excepted), for publication therein on the earliest possible date following submission thereof. Within the same three day period, the full text of any such ordinance shall be made available for public inspection in the office of the town clerk. (Res. #72, 9-13-1982; G.E. 11-2-1982)
(4)
Effective date of ordinance. Every ordinance, unless it shall specify another date, shall become effective at the expiration of twenty days after such publication following passage.
(5)
Emergency measures. The power to declare an emergency affecting the public peace, health, safety, comfort and welfare of the inhabitants of the town and for the protection of persons and property is placed in the mayor by this Charter but the town council may by ordinance ratify the action of the mayor and/or direct him to take additional or different action in dealing with the emergency and may by resolution declare the emergency closed. Enactments by the town council dealing with an emergency or emergencies may be adopted on the day of introduction, without a previous filing with the town clerk, shall contain a declaration of the existence of the emergency which declaration shall be conclusive as to the existence of such emergency and shall take effect upon their passage.
(6)
Ordinance enacting clause. The enacting clause of all ordinances shall be; "The Town Council of the Town of Johnston hereby ordains--"
The town council shall provide for an annual detailed audit of the financial records of the town for the preceding fiscal year, such audit to be made within four months after the close of such fiscal year. Such audit shall be conducted by a certified public accountant holding a certificate from this state. Audits shall be made without competitive bids and shall conform with generally accepted auditing standards, including all procedures necessary for the auditors to express an informed opinion of the financial condition of the town. A copy of the audit report each year shall be filed with the town clerk and shall be a public record.