City of Watertown, NY
Jefferson County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Watertown 3-5-1956. Amendments noted where applicable.]
City Council — See Ch. 14.

§ A321-1 Meetings.

[Amended 3-28-1983; 3-17-1986; 10-30-1989; 2-21-1995]
Stated meetings shall be held in the City Council Chambers on the first and third Mondays of the month at 7:00 p.m., unless such Monday is a legal holiday, and in such event the meetings shall take place on the following day at the same hour.

§ A321-2 Quorum; call to order.

A quorum shall consist of a majority of the City Council.
The Mayor shall call the members to order and shall preside at all meetings of the City Council. In the absence of the Mayor, the member of the Council who has served the longest as a member of the Council at the time of such absence shall call the meeting to order and shall take the chair.
[Amended 2-22-1982]

§ A321-3 Order of business.

[Amended 4-2-1956; 9-8-1980; 1-16-1990]
The order of business shall be as follows:
Salute to the flag
Roll call
Privilege of the floor
Public hearing
Privilege of the floor extended prior to the vote
Unfinished business
New business

§ A321-4 Special meetings.

A special meeting of the City Council may be called by any member on three (3) days' notice, specifying the object of the meeting.
It shall not be in order at any special meeting called for any specified business to proceed to any other business than that for which the meeting was convened.
At the time fixed in the notice of special meeting, the City Council shall convene, the Mayor shall take the chair, and the following shall be the order of business:
Roll call
Reading of notice of the meeting and proof of service
Transaction of business specified in notice

§ A321-5 Roll call.

[Amended 1-10-1966]
In calling the roll at the opening of each session and upon every vote, the names of the members shall be called in alphabetical order, except the name of the Mayor which shall be called last, and each member shall vote or not, as he shall choose, as soon as his name is called.

§ A321-6 Votes.

If a member being present does not vote, the roll call as to his name shall be marked "present — not voting."
In case of ties on votes on any question, the question shall be deemed to be lost.

§ A321-7 Powers and duties of presiding officer; appeals from rulings.

The presiding officer shall preserve decorum, enforce the rules of procedure herein prescribed and determine without debate, subject to the final decision of the Council on appeal, all questions of procedure and order.
Any member may appeal to the Council from such ruling of the presiding officer, and if the appeal is duly seconded, the appellant may speak once solely on the question involved, and the presiding officer may explain his ruling, but no other member shall participate in the discussion. The presiding officer shall then put the question: "Shall the decision of the chair be sustained?" If a majority of the members present vote nay, the ruling of the chair is overruled; otherwise it is sustained.

§ A321-8 Participation of presiding officer in debate.

[Amended 3-5-1984]
The presiding officer may speak upon any matter under consideration by the Council after the other members have had an opportunity to speak. He shall not speak upon the subject under discussion more than twice nor more than five (5) minutes each time, except by unanimous consent. Nothing herein shall be construed to prevent the presiding officer, while in the chair, from explaining his ruling on any question or explaining his vote on the roll call.

§ A321-9 Seconding of motions or resolutions.

No motion or resolution shall be put, recorded or debated until the same shall be duly seconded.

§ A321-10 Debate.

[Amended 3-5-1984]
When a member is about to speak, he shall address the chair, and when two (2) or more members address the chair at once, the presiding officer shall name the member to speak. The speaker shall confine himself to the question under debate and avoid personalities. No member shall speak upon the subject under discussion more than twice nor more than five (5) minutes each time, except by unanimous consent. If any member in speaking, or otherwise, transgresses the rules, the presiding officer shall, or any member may, call him to order, in which case he shall cease speaking and shall not speak again unless to explain or proceed in order. The question shall be decided by the presiding officer without debate.

§ A321-11 Motions during debate.

When any question is under debate, no motion shall be received except the following and in the order named:
To adjourn.
To take recess.
To lay on the table.
The previous question.
To postpone to a certain date.
To refer.
To amend.
To postpone indefinitely.

§ A321-12 Motions to adjourn or lay on table.

A motion to adjourn and a motion to lay on the table shall always be in order, except when a vote is being taken on any question before the Council, and such motions shall be decided without debate.

§ A321-13 Amendments.

No motion or proposition on a subject different from that under consideration shall be admitted under cover of an amendment.

§ A321-14 Division of questions.

On the call of any member, a division of any question shall be made when the question will admit of a division so distinct that one (1) part being taken away the other will stand as an entire question for decision.

§ A321-15 Previous question.

The previous question shall be put as follows: "Shall the main question now be put?" and until it shall be decided, it shall preclude all amendments and debates. If the Council shall decide that the main question shall not now be put, the main question shall be considered as still remaining under debate. The main question shall be on the passage of the motion, resolution or other matter under consideration; but when amendments are pending, the question shall first be taken upon such amendments in the inverse order in which they are proposed.

§ A321-16 Debate or discussion limited during roll.

While the presiding officer is putting any question, or while the roll is being called, no debate or discussion shall be in order, except that a member may have two (2) minutes to explain his vote when his name is called.

§ A321-17 Reconsideration of question.

When a question has been once put and decided, any member who voted with the majority may move for a reconsideration thereof at the meeting at which the question was decided; the Council may, however, recall any resolution or ordinance and may reconsider its action thereon. A motion for reconsideration, if lost, shall not be repeated, nor shall any question be reconsidered more than once.

§ A321-18 Authority for points of parliamentary law.

[Amended 3-21-1983]
In all cases involving points of parliamentary law, not provided for by these rules, the Corporation Counsel shall act as parliamentarian, and Roberts Rules of Order shall be accepted as authority.

§ A321-19 Reading of communications.

[Amended 10-17-1983]
The City Clerk shall briefly state the substance of all communications received by the Council and shall read the same in full if so directed by the City Council.

§ A321-20 Unfinished business.

An ordinance which has laid over under the rules shall be brought up automatically at the next regular meeting.
An ordinance which has been tabled shall not be brought up for action until a motion has been duly passed to take the ordinance from the table for action.
A resolution which has been tabled by a motion duly passed to table it shall not be brought up for action, until a motion has been duly passed to take the resolution from the table for action.
Any matter or business which has been postponed indefinitely shall not be brought up for action, until a motion has been duly passed by the Council to consider such matter or business.
Any matter or business which has been postponed to a day certain shall be brought up automatically at the meeting to which it has been postponed.

§ A321-21 Consideration of ordinances.

No ordinance shall be considered by the Council until same has been certified as to form and legality by the office of the Corporation Counsel and filed in the office of the City Clerk as per resolutions, except such ordinances which, by unanimous consent of Council, Council decides are emergencies.

§ A321-22 Requisite vote.

The requisite vote for the adoption of laws and ordinances shall be as follows:
Majority vote of all members:
General ordinances.
Local laws.
Two-thirds vote of all members.
Bond issue ordinance.
Three-fourths vote of all members.
Sale or lease of city real estate or franchise belonging to or under the control of the city.

§ A321-23 City Clerk.

On the day following a session of the Council, the City Clerk shall present to the several departments and agencies of the city such matters as may have been referred to them.
The Clerk shall record the names of all members absent from any meeting of the Council.
The City Clerk shall, on the Friday following the last regular meeting, present to the Council minutes of the previous meetings and the agenda and resolutions and ordinances of the pending meeting.
[Amended 3-5-1984]

§ A321-24 Timing of resolutions.

No resolution will be considered by the City Council unless filed with the City Clerk on or before Wednesday next preceding a regular meeting, except such resolutions which the majority of the City Council decide are in emergency or routine categories.