[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Augusta as Ch. 2, Art. II, of the 1990 Code; amended in its entirety 7-17-1989 by Ord. No. 139(2). Subsequent amendments noted where applicable.]
[Amended 4-7-1997 by Ord. No. 78]
Councilmembers may contact department and bureau heads for the purpose of inspecting and obtaining information concerning departmental operations. Department and bureau heads are expected to fully cooperate with the Councilors in requests for information where the same is readily available.
Requests for special studies, investigations or reports involving considerable staff time for preparation should be forwarded to the City Manager.
No member of the City Council shall give orders or directives, either directly or indirectly, to any staff member or employee of City government or interfere in the conduct of any department or bureau of the City.
No staff member or employee of the City shall be summoned for the purpose of inquiry relating to his/her conduct or the operation of a department or bureau except at the direction of the City Manager.
[Added 3-19-1990 by Ord. No. 345]
The following words, terms and phrases, when used in this article, shall have the meanings ascribed to them in this section, except where the context clearly indicates a different meaning:
- BUSINESS MEETINGS
- Regular scheduled meetings and special meetings of the City Council for the purpose of establishing City policy by ordinance, order or resolve. Meeting dates for regular scheduled meetings shall be established by order prior to the beginning of each calendar year.
- INFORMATIONAL MEETINGS
- Regular scheduled meetings and special meetings of the City Council established for the purpose of informal discussions of City issues between the City Council, City staff and the general public. Meeting dates for regular scheduled informational meetings shall be established by order prior to the beginning of each calendar year.
The presiding officer shall do the following:
Take any question by yeas and nays.
Preserve order and decorum and may speak on points of order in preference to members on the floor.
Decide all questions of order, subject to an appeal on motion of any member regularly seconded.
Address the Council, state facts, put questions and read to the Council.
Propound all questions in the order in which they are moved. Amendments must be dealt with separately; amendments to amendments are not allowed. Additional amendments are allowed after the previous amendment has been voted upon.
Nominate all committees, unless otherwise provided for or especially directed by Council.
Declare all votes, but if a vote be doubted he may call for a revote.
Call any member to the chair, who may preside for one meeting.
May express his opinion on any subject under debate.
The rules and order of business set out in this article shall be observed in all cases, unless suspended by a vote of 2/3 of the members present. Items not on the agenda may be taken up at a Council meeting by a two-thirds vote and identification of the subject matter.
[Amended 5-21-1990 by Ord. No. 375; 5-18-1992 by Ord. No. 465]
Any matter to be taken before the Council for discussion or Council action shall be presented to the City Manager's office prior to 12:00 noon two business days preceding the meeting. No agenda item shall be accepted after 12:00 noon two business days preceding the meeting. The agenda for the regular City Council meeting shall be delivered to the Council two business days preceding the meeting. A copy of the agenda shall be mailed to the Kennebec Journal, local radio stations and State Cable TV (Channel 3). The City Manager shall publicize a summary of all Council business meeting agendas which will identify and briefly describe each order, resolve or ordinance to be addressed by the Council at the respective Council business meeting.
Councilmembers, the Mayor and the City Manager have the exclusive authority to place matters on the Council's agenda.
An agenda item may be withdrawn by the person who placed the item on the agenda any time prior to a motion on the agenda item.
[Amended 3-19-1990 by Ord. No. 345; 11-13-1995 by Ord. No. 269]
Regular meetings. The order of business for regular business meetings shall be as follows:
Public hearings on items requiring public hearings.
Public comment on items listed on the agenda, except for items which were taken up at a public hearing earlier in the meeting.
Consent agenda (optional).
Approval of previous minutes and warrants (may be consolidated into the consent agenda).
Old business and tabled matters.
New business (orders and resolves).
New business (items needing two readings, such as ordinances).
Reports of committees.
Informational meetings. The order of business for informational meetings shall be as follows:
The motions enumerated in this section shall have precedence in the order in which they are arranged. The first five motions shall not be debatable and the motion for the previous question shall require a two-thirds vote of the Councilmembers present and voting. The Council may conduct any, all or any part of its business by a consent agenda.
Every motion shall be reduced to writing, if the presiding officer or any member demands it.
After a motion is stated or read by the Chair, it shall be deemed to be in the possession of the Council and shall be disposed of by vote; but the mover may withdraw it at any time before a division or amendment with the consent of the seconder.
When a motion has once been made and carried in the affirmative or negative, any member voting with the majority may move a reconsideration thereof at the same meeting. If seconded, it shall be open to debate and disposed of by the Council. If the motion is made at such meeting, a majority of the members present may pass a vote of reconsideration; but only one motion for the reconsideration of any vote shall be permitted.
When any member is about to speak in debate, or present any matter to the Council, the member shall respectfully address the Chair, confining himself to the subject under debate and avoiding personalities.
No member shall speak more than once until the other members who have not spoken shall speak, if they desire it.
No member shall call another member by a disrespectful designation or name.
The presiding officer shall give the Council priority prior to the public being recognized.
[Amended 12-18-1989 by Ord. No. 268; 3-19-1990 by Ord. No. 345]
Any person wishing to address the Council on business meeting agenda items shall do so during the time set forth for public comment as indicated in § 23-6.
Each person addressing the Council on any business meeting agenda item shall give his/her name and address in an audible tone of voice for the record and shall limit his/her statement to five minutes per agenda item, unless extended by the presiding officer. All remarks shall be addressed to the Council as a body, and not to any member thereof. No person, other than members of the Council and the person having the floor, shall be permitted to enter into any discussion either directly or through members of the Council. No questions shall be asked of Councilmembers, except through the presiding officer.
Any person wishing to address the Council on any topic of his/her choice may do so at an informational meeting as set forth in § 23-6. Persons wishing to be listed on an informational meeting agenda must register with the City Manager's office before 12:00 noon two business days immediately preceding the next informational meeting. The notice shall include the subject matter which the person wishes to discuss. This information shall be placed on the agenda by the City Manager's office and, at an appropriate time, the person shall be recognized by the presiding officer for the purpose indicated on the agenda.
Each person addressing the Council during an informational meeting shall give his/her name and address in an audible tone of voice for the record and shall limit his/her statement to a reasonable period of time, the extent of which shall be determined by the presiding officer. All remarks shall be addressed to the Council as a body, and not to any members thereof. No person, other than members of the Council and the person having the floor, shall be permitted to enter into any discussion, either directly or through the members of the Council. No questions shall be asked of Councilmembers except through the presiding officer.
Any person making personal, impertinent or slanderous remarks, or who shall become boisterous while addressing the Council, may be requested to leave the meeting and may be forthwith barred by the presiding officer from further audience before the Council at that meeting.
No member speaking shall be interrupted by another, but by a call to order or to correct a mistake. If any member in speaking, or otherwise, transgresses the rules of the Council, the presiding officer shall, or any member may, call him to order; in which case the member so called to order shall explain, if permitted to do so; and the Council, if appealed to, shall decide on the case without debate. If the decision is in favor of the member so called to order, the member shall be at liberty to proceed; if otherwise, the member shall not proceed without leave of the Council.
No motion or proposition on a subject different from that under consideration shall be admitted under color of an amendment.
Every member who shall be present when a question is put shall give his vote, unless the Council for special reasons shall excuse him. Application for such excuse must be made before the Council is divided, or before the calling of the yeas and nays, and such application shall be decided without debate. A Councilmember may abstain by leaving the Council chambers.
Upon being introduced at first reading, each proposed ordinance shall be read by title only, unless any member of the Council requests a full reading of the ordinance, and no vote shall be required.