[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Board of the Town of Chester as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.
[Adopted 10-9-2013 by L.L. No. 4-2013]
The purpose of this article is to provide standards of minimum attendance by members of the Town of Chester Planning Board, Town of Chester Zoning Board of Appeals, the Parks and Recreation Commission, and the Library Commission at meetings and hearings of said boards and commissions, and to establish minimum training and continuing education requirements for said members.
This article is enacted under the authority of Town Law §§ 267(2) and (9) and 271(1) and (9), and the Municipal Home Rule Law § 10.
Members of the boards or commissions are required to attend all regularly scheduled meetings of said boards or commissions. In the event that a member of any of said boards or commissions is absent from three consecutive regular meetings, or in the event that a member of any board or commission is absent from four meetings within one calendar year, then such member may be removed from the board or commission as provided herein. In the event an individual is appointed subsequent to January 1 of any calendar year, the allowable absences shall be prorated. In the event the board or commission moves to two regular meetings every month, a member cannot miss six consecutive meetings or eight meetings within one calendar year.
Members of the Town of Chester Planning Board and Town of Chester Zoning Board are required to attend at least one seminar, workshop or continuing education course during each calendar year in which a person is a member of either board. Members of either board shall request and receive approval from the board chair with respect to the seminar, workshop or continuing education course the member desires to attend. The seminar, workshop or continuing education course shall be reasonably related to assisting the member in carrying out his/her board duties as determined by the chair of said board. Said seminar(s), workshop(s), or continuing education course(s) shall be cumulatively a minimum of four hours in length. The reasonable costs of such seminars, workshops, or continuing education courses shall be paid for by the Town Board. Board members shall also be reimbursed for travel within a one-hundred-mile radius of Chester and meal expenses in accordance with policies established by the Town Board. In the event that a member of either board does not attend at least one seminar, workshop or continuing education course during each calendar year, then such member may be removed from the board as provided herein.
In the event any member of a board or commission shall fail to meet the minimum attendance, or continuing education requirements for board members, as provided for in this article, the board or commission chair or, in the absence of the chair, the Town Board shall serve notice of same to the member. Said notice shall state that in the event the member misses one more meeting within 60 days or in the event that the member fails to fulfill the prior year's continuing education requirements within 60 days, the matter shall be referred to the Town Board for action pursuant to § 5-5 below.
The board or commission chair shall provide the Town Board 30 days before the commencement of the Town Board's annual organizational meeting with a report stating the attendance and continuing education record of each member of said board or commission.
In the event that a member of the Town of Chester Planning Board, Town of Chester Zoning Board of Appeals, the Parks and Recreation Commission, or the Library Commission has failed to meet the minimum attendance requirements for meetings, or any board member has failed to meet the minimum requirements for continuing education, as provided for in this article, and has received adequate and fair warning from the chair of said board or commission, the Town Board may remove such member from the board or commission he/she is serving on in the following manner:
Notice. Such member shall receive, by certified mail, written notice specifying the nature of his/her alleged failure to meet the minimum attendance requirements.
Public hearing. Said written notice shall specify a date, not less than 10 nor more than 30 days from the date of mailing of said notice, indicating when the Town Board shall meet and hold a public hearing regarding whether the member should be removed from the board or commission on which he/she is serving. The written notice shall also state the time and location of the public hearing.
Public notice. Public notice of said public hearing shall be given by posting a notice indicating the nature of the hearing on the bulletin board located at the Chester Town offices and by publishing the same notice in the Town's official newspaper. The posting and publication of said notice shall be completed at least 10 days prior to the date of the public hearing.
Conduct of hearing. The public hearing shall be conducted before the Town Board. The member may be represented by counsel and shall be given an opportunity to present evidence and to call witnesses on his/her behalf and to cross-examine witnesses and to attempt to refute the allegations that he/she has not complied with the minimum requirements.
Action by the Town Board. Following the public hearing and upon the finding that a member has not met the minimum requirements as established by this article, the Town Board may:
Remove such member from the board or commission; or
The Board may elect to take such other action that it deems just and proper under the circumstances. If the Town Board shall find that the reasons for failing to meet the minimum attendance requirements are excusable because of illness, injury or other good and sufficient cause, the Town Board may elect to take no action.
The decision of the Town Board shall be reduced to writing, together with specific findings of the Town Board with respect to the allegations that the member has not complied with the minimum attendance requirements. A copy of said decision and findings shall be sent to the member by certified mail within 20 days from the date of the public hearing.
The minimum attendance requirements established by this article shall not apply to a member of the board or commission who has applied for and been granted a leave of absence by the Town Board from his/her duties as a board or commission member. A request by a member for a leave of absence shall be made, in writing, to the Town Board, and the Town Board shall notify the member of its approval or denial of the request in writing. The Town Board may grant such a leave of absence on such terms and for such time period as it may deem appropriate; however, no such leave of absence shall be for a period in excess of six consecutive months, and only one leave of absence can be granted during the duration of the board or commission member's term.
This article shall apply to all members of the Town of Chester Planning Board, Town of Chester Zoning Board of Appeals, the Parks and Recreation Commission, and the Library Commission, regardless of the year of their appointments to any of said boards or commissions. Prospective members of any of said boards or commissions shall be notified of the requirements of this article prior to their appointments.