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Council Rules

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Council Rules

REVISED 8-11-14
COUNCIL RULES 2012-2016

I. The Council President shall preside at Council meetings. The Council shall designate a member as the Presiding Officer Pro-Tem, otherwise known as the Majority Leader. In the absence of the Council President, the Majority Leader shall preside. If both are absent, a Presiding Officer shall be appointed by the Council President from among the Council membership. Should the Council President fail to appoint a Presiding Officer, an acting Presiding Officer shall be selected by the Council from among its own membership. A recitation of the Pledge of Allegiance shall precede the commencement of all Court of Common Council meetings.

Pursuant to Chapter IV, Section 5 of the City Charter, the Council shall meet regularly on the second and fourth Monday of each month at seven o'clock p.m., except that there shall be only (1) regular meeting in each of the months of July and August on the second Monday evening of each of those two months at 7 p.m.

II. A quorum will consist of at least five members of Council.

III. It shall be the responsibility of the Council's Presiding Officer to preserve order and decorum at all meetings and to take such steps as are necessary to maintain order so as to facilitate the procedures of Council business. The Presiding Officer may speak on all questions without thereby losing the right to vote and shall decide questions of order subject to appeal to the Legislative and Legal Advisor or in the absence of the Legislative and Legal Advisor, the designee of the Corporation Counsel.

IV. When any member desires to speak he or she shall raise his or her hand to draw the attention of the Presiding Officer and upon receiving the floor shall confine himself or herself to the question under debate and avoid personalities or imputing improper motives to any member. Speaking time shall be limited to three (3) minutes with one (1) minute for rebuttal.

V. The order of business shall be:

(a) Action on the records of the previous meeting.
(b) Public Hearings.
(c) Motion to place resolutions on the Consent Calendar.
(d) Communications.
(f) Reports of Committees.
(g) Action on agenda items previously presented.
(h) New business/resolutions.

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VI. When a motion is made and seconded, it shall be re-stated by the Presiding Officer; and, if it is made in writing, it may be read before being debated. Every motion shall be reduced to writing if the Presiding Officer or any member so desires.

VII. The mover of a question may withdraw his motion at any time before a decision or amendment. When a question has been decided, it shall be in order for any member in the prevailing vote to move the reconsideration thereof at the same meeting or at the next succeeding regular meeting. It shall not be in order for a member who abstained on a vote to later move reconsideration pursuant to this rule.

VIII. When a question is under debate, no motion shall be received except a motion to adjourn, to table, to call the previous question, to postpone to a day certain, to commit or to amend. Those several motions shall have precedence in the above order. A motion to adjourn or to recess shall always be in order. A motion to table or calling for the previous question shall be decided without debate. A motion to table an ordinance shall be by roll-call vote with the results reported in the Council Journal. A motion to table a resolution will be accepted without roll-call unless there is an objection.

IX. There shall be the following Standing Committees:

1. Education
2. Health and Human Services
3. Operations, Management, Budget and Legislative Affairs
4. Planning, Economic Development and Housing
5. Public Works, Parks and Environment
6. Quality of Life and Public Safety
7. Committee of the Whole
8. Audit and Governmental Accountability, which shall serve as the liaison between Council and the City's external and internal auditors and shall take up all monthly and quarterly reports of the Mayor and track implementation of all requests by the Council to the Mayor for action and of the Council's legislative directions during the budget process. With the exception of items relating to the selection of the external auditor, this committee shall not receive referrals from the Council.

The Council shall appoint all committees or subcommittees, and no committee or subcommittee created by Council shall have authority to create its own subcommittees or sub-subcommittees. The Council may from time to time appoint special committees for the purpose of holding public hearings on any matter and for such other purposes as it may designate. A quorum rule of two (2) Council Members is applied to all standing committee, special committee and subcommittee meetings.

The Mayor, City Treasurer and any member of Council who attends a Committee meeting shall have the right to participate in the Committee's discussion, whether or not such official is a member of the Committee.

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There shall be opportunity for public participation at every Committee meeting, except that such participation shall be at the discretion of the Committee Chairperson.

1. A regular Education Committee meeting will be held on the third Wednesday of each month at 5:30 P.M. in the Council Chambers.

2. A regular Health and Human Services Committee meeting will be held
on the first Monday of each month at 5:30 P.M. in the Council Chambers.

3. A regular Operations, Management, Budget and Legislative Affairs Committee meeting will be held on the third Monday of each month at 5:30 P.M. in the Council Chambers.

4. A regular Planning, Economic Development and Housing Committee meeting will be held on the first Tuesday of each month at 5:30 P.M. in the Council Chambers.

5. A regular Public Works, Parks and Environment Committee meeting will be held on the fourth Thursday of each month at 5:30 P.M. in the Council Chambers.

6. A regular Quality of Life and Public Safety Committee meeting will be held on the third Tuesday of each month at 5:30 P.M. in the Council Chambers.

7. Committee of the Whole meetings will take place in accordance with Rule
XI.

Committee Chairpersons reserve the right to hold Committee meetings throughout the community with proper notice to the Town and City Clerk's Office and the community.

Committee meetings may be cancelled or additional meetings scheduled at the discretion of the Chairperson.

The agenda for each regularly scheduled meeting of a Standing Committee shall be delivered to the Mayor, the Town and City Clerk and all Council Members at least 48 hours prior to the meeting.

The agenda shall include all items referred from the previous Council meeting and any item filed by a Committee Member with the Chairman at least 72 hours prior to the scheduled standing committee meeting.

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Any regularly scheduled Standing Committee meeting falling on a legal holiday, or the evening before a holiday, or on an evening when a Council meeting has been scheduled by operation of law shall be rescheduled for the first evening thereafter.

A special meeting of a Standing Committee can be called upon no less than 48 hours' notice by the Chairperson filing a written notice of the meeting with the Town and City Clerk and mailing a notice to all proper persons. Such Chairperson may not file such a notice until he or she has the approval of at least one other Committee Member, and such Chairperson shall call the meeting on behalf of all those who consented. Should at least three (3) Committee Members request a special meeting, the Chairperson shall file a notice and call a meeting at their request.

All reports of Committees appointed by the Council shall be in writing. Assistance to each Standing Committee for the purpose of preparing reports shall be provided by City staff. Reports shall include general information on the subject matter, a brief summary of discussion, the proposed action, and the Committee vote (including how each member voted).

X. By vote of five (5) Members of Council, or with the consent of the Committee Chairperson, a Committee may be discharged from reporting or acting upon an item. An item so discharged may be voted upon by Council.

XI. There shall be a Committee of the Whole comprised of the entire Court of Common Council. The Committee of the Whole shall meet at 6:00 p.m. and end at 7:00 p.m. at the first regularly held Council Meeting of each month for the purpose of taking public comment on issues of interest to the community. Additional meetings of the Committee of the Whole may be called at the discretion of the Council President, or by any three (3) Council Members but with no less than 48 hours' notice filed with the Town and City Clerk. The Council may invite the Mayor or other city officials at appropriate times to discuss policy matters or other issues needing attention.

In addition, when a nomination has been made by the Mayor for the position of department head, Chief Operating Officer, or Corporation Counsel and a resume or other forwarding information has been presented to the Council for its consideration, the President of the Council shall convene a Committee of the Whole within fifteen days of the nomination, to which the nominee is invited to appear and be heard. The purpose of the Committee of the Whole will be to provide members of the Court of Common Council the opportunity to ask any questions bearing upon the qualification, experience, or any other information of use in making a decision concerning the appropriateness of the nominee for the position. The Committee of the Whole may then vote either recommending or not recommending the nominee. The nominee will then be presented for confirmation or non-confirmation at a subsequent meeting of the Court of Common Council.

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Furthermore, when a nominee has been chosen by the Mayor for a position on any Board or Commission and a resume or other forwarding information has been presented to the Council for its consideration, the nominee's name will be presented to the Court of Common Council, which may refer the nominee to the appropriate Council committee for consideration. In the event a nominee is sent to committee for consideration, the nominee will be interviewed according to the rules of that committee and a vote may be taken by the committee either recommending or not recommending the nominee. The nominee shall then be presented for confirmation or non-confirmation at a subsequent meeting of the Court of Common Council.

XII. The Town and City Clerk shall prepare, maintain and have printed an adequate Journal of the proceedings of the Council. The Town and City Clerk shall not be required to include speeches.

XIII. The latest published edition of Robert's Rules of Order, Revised, shall be parliamentary authority in the Council except as otherwise provided in these rules. Interpretation of Council and other rules shall be the responsibility of the Legislative and Legal Advisor, or in the absence of the Legislative and Legal Advisor, the designee of the Corporation Counsel.

XIV. Any of the rules of the Council may be suspended unless three or more members shall object, however the provisions of Rule XIII and Rule XVI may be suspended only by unanimous consent of all voting members of the Council, provided however that this Rule XIV may be suspended by an affirmative vote of four (4) members of Council for the sole purpose of accepting onto the Council agenda an item submitted by Corporation Counsel concerning pending litigation that requires immediate consideration by Council. The Council rules shall be suspended only for the item submitted and shall remain in effect for all other agenda items.

XV. Amendments to these rules shall be submitted in writing at any meeting of the Council, and shall be adopted only by an affirmative vote of at least five (5) members of the Council no later than the second succeeding regular meeting.

XVI. No matter requiring action by the Council shall be considered unless the written document initiating the matter has been filed with the Town and City Clerk on or before twelve o'clock noon on the Wednesday preceding the day of the meeting at which the matter is introduced. If Wednesday is a holiday the deadline will be moved to twelve o'clock noon on the next business day. Only items submitted by the Mayor, or a member the Court of Common Council shall be submitted for the Council meeting.

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All members of the Council shall be promptly notified by the Town and City Clerk of the nature of any documents filed with him on or before 4:30 p.m. on the day following the deadline for filing. The Town and City Clerk shall furnish each member of Council, the Mayor, the Corporation Counsel, and the Legislative and Legal Advisor a package containing all agenda backup material.

Furthermore, one additional package shall be provided for the press and the public, and it shall remain available for public use, inspection and copying in the Council Conference Room. Furthermore, for an annual fee of $150.00 paid to the Town and City Clerk, any individual or organization may receive the full set of agenda packages for one year.

This Council Rule shall not be suspended except in the case of an emergency. "Emergency" shall be defined, for the purposes of this Rule, as a matter that must be considered by the Council for the immediate preservation of (1) the public peace, health
and safety; or (2) the fiscal stability of the City, including the position of the city in litigation matters.

XVII. At 7 p.m. on the third Monday of each month, or such other times as the Council may from time to time designate, where required, hearings will be held by Council members on all matters requiring public comment. If the third Monday falls on a holiday, then said hearings shall be held on the next business day.

The hearings on the third Monday of each month shall be conducted by a Committee of five Council members under an alphabetical assignment with the first-named Council member alphabetically to be Chairperson. In alphabetical sequence, the personnel of the Committee will rotate among all Council members for these hearings.

Public Hearings shall be conducted in accordance with the following procedures:

Each person wishing to address the Council or Committee thereof shall, upon recognition by the Presiding Officer, give his or her name, address, and if he or she represents a group shall, in addition, state for the record, the name and address of said group or organization. Every speaker shall limit his or her remarks to five minutes.

All remarks shall be addressed to the Council as a body and not to any member thereof.

All remarks shall be limited to present or proposed City of Hartford policies, budget, ordinances or resolutions that are designated for such public hearing.

During the Public Hearing, no member of the Common Council may address the Council as a member of the public.

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Any person making personal, impertinent or slanderous remarks or who becomes boisterous while addressing the Council, shall be forthwith barred by the Presiding Officer from further audience at said meeting unless permission to remain is granted by a two-thirds vote of the Council Members present and voting.

During the Public Hearing, there shall be no debate by the Council, although questions may be asked by Council of persons making such presentations.

XVIII. Any member of the Council may offer a motion to place resolutions on the general Consent Calendar. Any such motion shall designate those resolutions which the mover believes will not be subject to opposition or debate and which the mover desires to have acted upon on the Consent Calendar. If any Council member shall object to the placing of a resolution or resolutions on the Consent Calendar, then such resolution or resolutions shall not be placed on the Consent Calendar and shall be acted upon in the normal manner.

At any appropriate time, any member of the Council may move for adoption of all resolutions on the Consent Calendar. If such motion has been properly seconded, the Council President shall then direct the Town and City Clerk to take a single roll-call vote in regard to all resolutions on the Consent Calendar. The votes of the members of the Council on the motion for adoption of all resolutions on the Consent Calendar are deemed and shall be construed to be the votes of the members of the Council on each such resolution as if each such resolution had been the subject of a separate roll-call vote, except any member may request the Town and City Clerk to record such member's vote as an abstention on any resolution or resolutions if such member so desires.

Additionally, any resolution or ordinance vetoed by the Mayor shall be automatically placed on the next regularly scheduled Court of Common Council meeting agenda by the Town and City Clerk, introduced by the original sponsor.

Before any proposed ordinance can be placed by a member of Council on any agenda for consideration by the Council, such ordinance should be submitted for review and approval as to form and legality by the Legislative and Legal Advisor, who shall consult the Office of the Corporation Counsel as to its review.

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Town Clerk

John V. Bazzano
Town and City Clerk
Hartford, CT 06103
Vital Records: (860) 757-9690
Land Records: (860) 757-9749
Fax: (860) 722-8041
Office Hours: 8:00am - 5:00pm

HARTFORD CITY HALL ADDRESS: 550 Main Street, Hartford, CT 06103 PHONE: (860)757-9311 HOURS: 8AM - 5PM