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Town of Cumberland, RI
Providence County
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[Amended 11-6-2018]
A. 
The Town Council shall consist of seven (7) members elected from the Town, one each of five (5) districts, and two (2) members of the Council at-large, each to serve for a term of four (4) years or until a new Council has been elected and a majority of its members qualified.
B. 
Term limits. Any person who is elected to the Town Council as a district or at-large candidate shall serve no more than two (2) four (4) year terms consecutively. Thereafter he or she shall be ineligible to serve as district or at-large town council member until the passage of four (4) years.
C. 
The term of four (4) years and maximum of two (2) consecutive terms shall not take effect until the election following the election year in which this amendment is approved by a majority of the qualified voters of the Town of Cumberland so voting on this amendment.
Members of the Council shall be qualified electors of the Town of Cumberland and shall hold no other paid public office or employment in the service of the Town, except that of Auctioneer, or Call or Volunteer Fireman. No member of the Council shall be eligible to accept any other paid appointed Town office during his or her term on the Council or for a period of one (1) year thereafter. Nothing contained in the section shall be construed or interpreted as prohibiting a member of the Town Council from being appointed as Mayor under the provisions of section 304 and/or 305.
[Ref. of 11-7-1995; Ref. of 11-2-2010]
A. 
A vacancy shall exist in the Town Council if a member dies, resigns, ceases to meet the qualifications for membership, ceases to be a resident of the district for which he or she was elected or ceases to be a resident of the Town, or is absent from four (4) consecutive regular meetings of the Council, unless such absences are excused by a majority vote of the whole Council membership, with reasons therefor stated at the time and appearing in the journal of the meeting from which the Council member was excused.
B. 
If a vacancy shall occur in the Town Council twelve (12) months or more prior to the regular election, a special election shall be called by the Town Clerk to take place within seventy-five (75) to ninety (90) days after such vacancy has occurred in the manner prescribed by State Law. Any vacancy in the membership of the Town Council that shall occur less than twelve (12) months prior to the regular election may be filled for the unexpired term by the remaining members of the Town Council; provided that the person chosen by the Town Council to fill such vacancy shall be of the same political party as the member being replaced, such political party allegiance to be verified in writing to the President of the Town Council by the Town party committee of such political party and reside in the same district if the Member being replaced represented a district.
[Ref. of 11-7-1995]
The first meeting of a newly elected Council shall be held on the first Monday following the certification of election of a majority of its members by the Canvassing Authority, at which session the newly elected members of the Council shall assume the duties of their office. Regular meetings shall be held at least once each month for the transaction of business, at such time and place within the Town as the Council shall prescribe by ordinance. A special meeting of the Town Council shall be called by the Town Clerk on written request of the Town Council President, by not less than three (3) members of the Council, or by the Mayor. Notice of a special meeting shall be in writing and delivered personally to each member or to his or her place of residency by the Town Clerk or a person designated by him or her at least forty-eight (48) 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 the 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 permitted by State law, provided that all votes are taken in public. The scheduling of all meetings of the Council and the posting of same shall conform, at a minimum, with the provisions of State Law.
The Council shall elect one (1) of its members as its President and another as President pro tempore at its first meeting as defined in section 404. The Council President shall preside at meetings of the Council and shall have a voice and vote in its proceedings. The President pro tempore shall perform the duties of the President during the absence or disability of the President. In the absence of both the President and the President pro tempore, the Council shall elect one of its members as acting President, who shall perform the duties of the President during the absence of both the President and the President pro tempore.
[Ref. of 11-7-1995]
Members of the Town Council shall receive such annual salaries as shall from time to time be fixed by the Council. The President of the Council shall receive such additional salary as shall from time to time be fixed by the Council. Any increase or decrease in salary shall take effect following the next biennial election of the Council Members.
[Ref. of 11-7-1995]
The Town Council shall be the policy-determining body of the Town, and shall exercise all of the powers of the Town, except as otherwise provided by this Charter, or by the constitution and laws of this State. Among the powers of the Council, to be exercised in accordance with relevant provisions of the Charter and of the constitution and laws of this State shall be the power to:
A. 
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.
B. 
Judge the qualifications of its members.
C. 
Enact, amend, or repeal rules, ordinances and resolutions for the government of the Town which shall 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.
D. 
Provide reasonable penalties in accordance with law for the violation of any ordinances.
E. 
Enact ordinances providing for levying taxes and other revenue and appropriate money for expenditures.
F. 
Review and act upon the Town Budget in the manner prescribed in section 804.
G. 
Create, change, and abolish Town offices, departments, and agencies not established by this Charter or by the constitution and State laws.
H. 
Fix the amount of official bonds of all nonelective officers of the Town who, in its opinion, should be bonded, the premium on such bonds to be paid by the Town.
I. 
Inquire into the conduct of any office or officer, department or agency of the Town under its control; and upon the certification by majority vote of any Town board or commission that a member thereof has been absent from four (4) consecutive meetings of said board or commission without having been excused by majority vote thereof, may declare such member's position vacant, such vacancy to be filled by the appointing authority for the position.
J. 
Compel the attendance of officers of the Town, Department Heads, and member of boards and commissions at Council meetings when such persons are instructed in writing to appear, and institute dismissal proceedings against any such person who refuses to attend.
K. 
Act upon all appointments of the Mayor for which Town Council confirmation is required.
L. 
Establish by ordinance 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 otherwise in this Charter.
M. 
Provide by ordinance for a personnel classification system in conformity with provisions of this Charter and applicable general and special laws.
N. 
Provide rules and regulations with respect to vacations of Town officials and employees.
O. 
Review any special assessment upon request of a property owner and order correction or confirmation of the same.
P. 
Enact and amend, after notice as prescribed by State law and public hearing, such zoning ordinances as it deems appropriate, providing such ordinances are in accordance with State law.
Q. 
Elect such number of Constables to serve civil process as it shall from time to time determine, and charge and collect for licenses issued to such Constables such fees as the Council shall fix by ordinance.
[Amended 11-6-2018]
R. 
Grant, suspend, or revoke licenses in accordance with State law.
S. 
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.
T. 
Issue subpoenas to compel witnesses to testify and produce records as prescribed by State law.
U. 
Exercise all additional powers, consistent and in accordance with the Charter and the laws and constitution of the State, which have been or may hereafter be granted to the Council by the Charter or to the Town by the laws and constitution of the State.
Four (4) members of the Town Council shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, but a smaller number may adjourn from time to time. At least twenty-four (24) hours' notice shall be given to all members prior to the holding of an adjourned meeting.
[Ref. of 11-7-1995]
A. 
The Town Council may act by rule, ordinance, or resolution. In addition to the case in which an ordinance is required by a specific provision of this Charter or any applicable State law, any action taken under provisions of Section 407 C, D, E, L, M and P shall be by ordinance only.
B. 
Every proposed ordinance shall be filed with the Town Clerk by a member of the Town Council not later than three (3) business days previous to the day of the meeting at which it is to be introduced. The Town Clerk shall provide each member of the Council forthwith with a copy thereof and shall post a copy of each ordinance in some place accessible to the public in the Town Hall.
C. 
Every ordinance shall be identified by a number and a short title. All ordinances shall begin with the words "The Town of Cumberland Ordains." Every ordinance, other than an emergency ordinance, shall be read the first time by title, be explained by its introducer, and then referred to a subsequent regular meeting for action. If in the meantime a petition signed by at least twenty (20) qualified voters be filed with the Town Clerk within five (5) days following first reading 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, adopting or amending the Town's master plan, granting a franchise, creating or amending a wage and classification plan or creating or amending a personnel classification system, and no such ordinance shall be passed as an emergency ordinance. Public hearings shall be advertised in a newspaper of general circulation in the Town not less than three (3) nor more than seven (7) days prior to the hearing, and must be in conformity with the provisions of the laws of the State.
D. 
The affirmative vote of four (4) members shall be required for all actions taken by the council to enact or amend ordinances or proposed ordinances. The vote upon any ordinance shall be by roll call and entered on the record of the proceedings. A vote by roll call shall be taken on any other matter at the request of any three (3) members.
E. 
After passage, the Town Clerk shall publish forthwith a notice describing the ordinance in brief and general terms and stating that it is available for public inspection in the office of the Town Clerk. All ordinances shall be recorded by the Clerk in a book called, "The Ordinance Book," and it shall be the duty of the President of the Council and the Clerk to authenticate such record by their official signatures.
F. 
Every ordinance, unless it shall specify another date, shall become effective at the expiration of twenty (20) days after publication following passage.
G. 
In an emergency affecting the public peace, health, safety, comfort and welfare of the inhabitants of the Town and for protection of persons and property, the Council by an affirmative vote of four (4) members may adopt on the day of its introduction, without previous filing with the Town Clerk, an ordinance containing a declaration of emergency which shall take effect upon its passage. The nature of the emergency shall be specifically stated in the ordinance and such declaration shall be conclusive as to the existence of such emergency. Such emergency ordinance(s) shall be temporary and for the period of the emergency only and may authorize departments, offices and agencies of the Town government to act outside and beyond the usual requirement of ordinances, resolutions, rules and regulations.