[Amended 3-4-1976; 3-8-1977]
The entire administration of all fiscal, prudential and municipal affairs of the City of Lebanon shall, except as otherwise provided, be vested in a City Council of nine Councilors, elected as provided in Section 7. Vacancies occurring in the office of councilor at any time after the election of a candidate thereto, and from a failure to elect thereto, shall be filled by the remaining councilors, who, by majority vote and within thirty days, shall appoint some qualified person to fill the vacant seat until the next municipal election, at which time a councilor shall be elected to fill the unexpired term. The office of any ward council member shall be deemed vacant if he/she takes up residence in any ward other than the one from which he was elected. The city clerk shall act as clerk of council.
Each year the council shall elect one of its members mayor at its first meeting after the terms of office of the newly elected members begin. A majority vote of all members of the council is necessary for election of the mayor. The mayor shall preside at council meetings and he or she may speak and vote at those meetings. The mayor shall be head of the city for all ceremonial purposes. The mayor and council voting as a unit, neither with a veto over the other, shall make appointments of members of the Lebanon Housing Authority and the Zoning Board of Adjustment. All other administrative duties prescribed by the general statutes shall be exercised by the manager. Nothing in this section shall be construed to take away from the manager his or her power to appoint all administrative officers listed in Section 32 of this chapter, or his or her power to appoint a member of the personnel advisory board under Section 53 of this chapter, or his or her power to appoint an administrative official of the city to the Planning Board, or his or her general power to appoint any administrative officers authorized under any ordinance. Each year the council shall elect from its members an assistant mayor who shall act as mayor during the absence or disability of the mayor, and if a vacancy occurs, shall become mayor for the completion of the unexpired term.
Any person may be a candidate for election as councilor provided he or she is a duly qualified voter in the city and has been a resident of the city for at least two years immediately preceding the election. No person in default to the city shall be eligible for election to the council.
No councilor, shall, while in office, receive any pay or compensation of any sort, either as councilor or for any other personal services rendered for the benefit of the city, or be employed by the city, or any department or branch thereof, for any compensation, excepting that this provision shall not apply to compensation of call members of the fire department.
No councilor, or other official of the city, shall sell to or buy from the city any goods or commodities while in office other than by open competitive public bid.
[Amended 3-14-1978 and 3-10-1998]
All meetings of the council shall be public and in compliance with the New Hampshire Right-to-Know Law, RSA Chapter 91:A. Nonpublic sessions may be held only as permitted under RSA Chapter 91:A. Regular meetings shall be held on such day of each month at such time as the council shall, from time to time, by ordinance or resolutions direct, and at such other times as are required by this charter. Special meetings may be had upon notice delivered to each councilor by the city clerk at the request of the mayor, the manager or a majority of the councilors. The council shall establish its own rules. A majority of the council shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
Municipal legislation shall be by ordinance. Each ordinance shall be identified by a number and a short title. The enacting clause shall be "The City of Lebanon ordains" and the effective date of each ordinance shall be specified in it. All ordinances shall be recorded in full uniformly and permanently by the city clerk and each ordinance so recorded shall be authenticated by the signature of the mayor and the city clerk. Each ordinance shall be reviewed by the city council every five years, and revised where determined necessary. Ordinances shall be published and compiled in such manner and at such time as the council shall determine.
The city council created by this act shall, except as here in otherwise provided, have all the powers and do and perform in reference to each other or otherwise, all the duties which mayors, boards of aldermen and common councils of cities and selectmen of towns are by law authorized or required to do and perform, either separately or otherwise, except insofar as such powers or duties are inconsistent with other provisions of this charter or with powers or duties specifically transferred to the manager, and all provisions of statutes pertaining to the duties or powers of aldermen or common councils, separately or otherwise, shall be construed to apply to said city council, except insofar as a contrary intention appears in this act or insofar as they may be inconsistent with other provisions of this charter or with powers or duties specifically transferred to the manager.
[Adopted 11-2-1982, effective 1-1-1983]
Citizens may propose a measure with an initiative petition signed by qualified voters equal in number to ten percent of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election. When said petition is complete, as certified by the city clerk to have met the above requirements, said proposed measure, shall be submitted to the city council requesting the city council to pass proposed measure without alteration; if said proposed measure be not passed without alteration within twenty days after the date of the Clerk's certification, then such proposed measure without alteration shall be submitted by the city council to the vote of qualified voters at the next municipal election. If a majority of the qualified voters voting on any proposed measure, and which falls within the lawful rights and powers of the city, shall vote in favor thereof, same shall thereafter go into effect on the first day of the next succeeding municipal year.
[Amended 3-13-1984, effective 9:1984]
In lieu of proposing a binding initiative, citizens may propose a non-binding measure providing they file a petition signed by qualified voters equal in number to 10 percent of the votes cast in the last gubernatorial election. If a majority of the qualified voters voting on any non-binding measure shall vote in favor thereof, then such vote shall constitute an advisory opinion to the city council. The provision of any ordinance passed by the city council dealing with binding initiative petitions shall also apply to non-binding initiative petitions.
The city council of the City of Lebanon is hereby empowered to fix a scale of salaries to be paid to all officials and agents of the City of Lebanon in accordance with the provisions of Section 52 in this Charter.
No ordinance of said city council relating to a scale of salaries as above set forth shall be valid until it has had three separate presentations in said council, only one presentation at any meeting of said council, and shall have received the votes of at least two-thirds of all members elected to said council upon its final passage.
The city council shall appoint an officer of the City of Lebanon who shall have the title of city manager and who shall have the powers and duties hereinafter provided. He shall be appointed for an indefinite term by the votes of two-thirds of the members of the council.
The manager shall be chosen solely on the basis of his executive and administrative qualifications but he need not be a resident of the city or state at the time of his appointment. During his tenure of office he shall reside within the city. No person who has within three years held elective or appointive office in the City of Lebanon shall be chosen manager.
The manager may be removed by a two-thirds vote of the members of the council as herein provided. At least 90 days before the proposed removal of the manager, the council shall adopt a resolution stating its intention to remove him and the reasons therefor, a copy of which shall be served forthwith on the manager who may, within ten days, demand a public hearing in which event the manager shall not be removed until such public hearing has been held. Upon or after passage of such resolution, the council may suspend him from duty, but his pay shall continue until his removal. In case of such a suspension, the council may appoint an acting manager to serve at the pleasure of the council for not more than 90 days. If the manager chooses to leave the city's employ of his own volition, he shall notify the council at least 90 days before his planned departure. The action of the council in removing the manager shall be final.
[Amended 11-4-1986, effective 1-1-1987]
Neither the council nor any of its members shall direct or request the appointment of any person to office or employment, or his removal therefrom by the manager or any of the administrative officers except that the council shall have the power to appoint and remove the board of adjustment. In addition to appointing a council representative to the planning board, the council shall, by majority vote, appoint members of the planning board upon nomination by the city manager. However, members of the council may state objections to the appointment of any person proposed by the manager as provided in Section 31 of this Charter. Neither the council nor any member thereof shall give orders to any of the administrative officers either publicly or privately. Any violation of the provisions of this section by a councilor shall be a misdemeanor, a conviction of which shall constitute immediate forfeiture of office.
The city manager shall be the chief executive and administrative officer of the city government, and shall carry out the policies laid down by the city council. He shall be responsible to the city council for the proper administration of all affairs of the city, except the school department, but including the preservation of the public health, the public safety of all citizens and their property and management of all municipally owned utilities and be in responsible charge of the maintenance, care, construction or otherwise of all streets, highways, bridges, sewers, parks, playgrounds, buildings and all other municipally owned structures. He shall keep the council informed of the condition and needs of the city and shall make such reports as may be required by law, this charter or ordinance, or may be requested by the council, and such other reports and recommendations as he may deem advisable, and perform such other duties as may be prescribed by this charter, or required of him by ordinance or resolution of the council not inconsistent with this charter. He shall have and perform such other powers and duties not inconsistent with the provisions of this charter as are or here after may be conferred or imposed upon him by municipal ordinance or upon mayors of cities by general law. He shall have the right to take part in the discussion of all matters coming before the council but not the right to vote.
The manager shall have the power to appoint and remove, subject to the provisions of this charter, all officers and employees in the administrative service of the city; but the manager may authorize the head of a certain department or office responsible to him to appoint and remove subordinates in such department or office. It shall be the duty of the manager to furnish the council in writing with the identity of any person whom he proposes to appoint as the head of any department or office at least ten days prior to the date on which the appointment is to be made. If the council has any objection to the person proposed by the manager for appointment, it shall certify its objections to the manager in writing within said ten day period. All appointments shall be without definite term unless for provisional, temporary or emergency service not to exceed the maximum periods which may be prescribed by the rules and regulations of the merit plan.
[Amended 3-8-1977 and 11-14-1986, effective 1-1-1987]
The manager shall appoint a city clerk, fiscal account clerk for the department of finance assessor or assessors, treasurer, tax collector, fire chief, police chief, health officer, civil defense director, and such other officers as he deems necessary to administer all departments which the council shall establish, which departments shall replace all existing departments, boards and commissions, except as herein specifically accepted. The duties of any two or more such officers may be combined in one officer except that the office of fiscal account clerk for the department of finance shall not be combined with the office of the treasurer. The powers and duties of these officers and heads of departments so appointed shall include those prescribed by state law, by this charter or by ordinance.
The first manager under this charter shall draft and submit to the council within six months after assuming office an ordinance dividing the administrative service of the city into departments, divisions and bureaus and defining the functions and duties of each. After the adoption of the ordinance, upon recommendation of the manager, the council by ordinance may create, consolidate, or abolish departments, divisions and bureaus of the city and define or alter their functions and duties. Such ordinance shall be known as the "Administrative Code." Each officer shall have supervision and control of his department and the employees therein and shall have power to prescribe rules and regulations, not inconsistent with general law, this charter, the administrative code and the rules and regulations of the merit plan.
All commissions as constituted and existing at the time of the adoption of this charter shall continue to exist hereunder until such time as they may be consolidated or abolished pursuant to Section 33 above, but their authority as previously prescribed by law or ordinance is hereby repealed and hereafter they shall serve only in an advisory capacity to the council in matters of policy affecting their respective jurisdiction and to the manager in matters of administration relating thereto.
The administrative code shall establish purchasing and contract procedure including the assignment of all responsibility for purchases to a single person, the combination of purchasing of similar articles for different departments and purchasing by competitive bids whenever practical.
The fiscal and budget year of the city shall begin on the first day of January unless another date shall be fixed by ordinance.
The department of finances shall maintain accounting control over the finances of the city, make financial reports and perform such other duties as may be required by the administrative code. No bill against the city shall be approved by the city manager until the department of finance has audited and approved the same and certified that said bill was lawfully contracted, that the prices charged for all goods and materials are reasonable, that the goods or materials were actually received by the city and that it is in favor of a person legally entitled to receive payment for the same.
If the Department of Finance or any member thereof provided for under Section 37 above, shall knowingly make a false certification in any case provided for in Section 37 or approve any bill when the appropriation, as provided for in Sections 42 and 43 of this chapter, for which the same should be paid is exhausted, such false certification shall constitute a misdemeanor, and he shall be fined not exceeding two hundred dollars or imprisoned not exceeding six months or both.
If the disbursing officer of the city shall pay out any money from the city treasury except on order of the city manager after approval by the department of finance, such unauthorized payment shall constitute a misdemeanor and he shall be fined not exceeding two hundred dollars or imprisoned not exceeding six months, or both, and shall be personally bound to refund to the city any sum so paid.
At such time as may be requested by the manager or specified by the administrative code, each officer or director of a department shall submit an itemized estimate of expenditures for the next fiscal year for the departments or activities under his control. The manager shall submit the proposed budget to the council no later than October 31, annually.
A public hearing on the budget shall be held before its final adoption by the council, at such time and place as the council shall direct, and notice of such public hearing together with a summary of the budget as submitted shall be printed in a newspaper published or circulated locally, once a week in two successive calendar weeks, the last publication being at least seven days, including the day of publication, before the public hearing.
The budget shall be finally adopted no later than December 31, annually. Should the council take no final action on or prior to such day, the budget as submitted by the city manager shall be deemed to have been finally adopted by the council.
No appropriations shall be made for any purpose not included in the annual budget as adopted unless voted by two-thirds majority of the council after a public hearing held to discuss said appropriation, and notice of such public hearing shall be printed in a newspaper published or circulated locally, once a week in two successive calendar weeks, the last publication being at least seven days including the day of publication before the public hearing. The council shall by resolution designate the source of any money so appropriated.
At the beginning of each quarterly period during the fiscal year and more often if required by the council, the manager shall submit to the council data showing the relation between the estimated and actual income and expenses to date, together with outstanding indebtedness and estimated future expenses and if it shall appear that the income is less than anticipated, the council or manager may reduce the appropriation, for any item or items, except amounts required for debt and interest charges, to such a degree as may be necessary to keep expenditures within the cash income. The manager may provide for monthly or quarterly allotments of appropriations to departments, funds or agencies under such rules as he shall prescribe.
After the budget has been adopted, no money shall be drawn from the treasury of the city, nor shall any obligation for the expenditure of money be incurred, except pursuant to a budget appropriation unless there shall be a specific additional appropriation therefor. The head of any department with the written approval of the manager, may transfer any unencumbered balance or any portion thereof from one fund or agency within his department to another fund or agency within his department. The manager, with the approval of the council, may transfer any unencumbered appropriation balance or any portion thereof from one department to another.
The council shall designate the depository or depositories for the city funds. The council may provide for such security for the city deposits as it may deem necessary except that personal surety bonds shall not be deemed proper security.
An independent audit shall be made of all accounts of the city government at least annually and more frequently if deemed necessary by the council. Such audit shall be made by certified public accountants experienced in municipal accounting or a public accountant licensed by the state of New Hampshire under RSA 309:A:8 to conduct its annual audit. An abstract of the results of such an audit shall be made public. An independent audit shall also be made by an independent auditing firm as required above to make an annual audit of all trust funds established within the city. An annual report of the city's business shall be made available.
Editor's Note: Repealed. See now RSA 309:B.
Any city officer elected or appointed by authority of this charter may be required by the council to give a bond to be approved by the city solicitor for the faithful performance of the duties of his office but the manager and all officers receiving or disbursing city funds shall be so bonded. All official bonds shall be corporate surety bonds and the premiums thereon shall be paid by the city. Such bonds shall be filed with the city clerk.
Subject to the applicable provisions of state law and the rules and regulations provided by ordinance in the administrative code, the council, by resolution, may authorize the borrowing of money for any purpose within the scope of the powers vested in the city and the issuance of bonds of the city or other evidence of indebtedness therefor, and may pledge the full faith, credit and resources of the city for the payment of the obligations created thereby. Except in the case of borrowing in anticipation of taxes, borrowing for a term exceeding one year or in an amount of twenty thousand dollars or more shall be authorized by the council only after a public hearing held to discuss such borrowing, and notice of such public hearing shall be printed in a newspaper published or circulated locally, once a week in two successive calendar weeks, the last publication being at least seven days including the day of publication before the public hearing. In no event shall the term of such bonds exceed the limitations imposed by state law.