[Adopted by Ord. No. 96-05]
The Council shall meet for organization on the first day of January, or during the first seven days in January in any year at the call of the incoming Mayor. Notice of said meeting shall meet all the requirements of law.
At each organization meeting, such other officers and employees shall be appointed by the Mayor and confirmed by resolution of the Council, as it shall be deemed advisable or necessary as provided by law, to meet the objectives of the Mayor and Council.
At each organization meeting the official depositories for borough funds, official newspapers of the borough, the rate of interest to be paid for nonpayment of taxes, persons authorized to enter the borough safe deposit box, the time, date and location of the regular meetings of the Mayor and Council and the adoption of the local temporary budget of the Borough of Chester shall be adopted by resolution.
Immediately after the oath or affirmation of new Council members, the Council persons shall arrange themselves in the seats assigned to them by the Mayor.
The Council shall meet regularly within the borough at such times and places as provided by the determination of the Mayor and Council. Notice of said meeting shall meet all the requirements of law.
The Mayor shall, when necessary call special meetings of the Council. In case of his neglect or refusal, any four members of the Council may call such meetings at such time and place in the borough as they may designate. In all cases of special meetings, 24 hours written notice (or actual voice contact) shall be given to all members of the Council. Written notice may be by leaving such notice at their places of residence.
The Council may hold an emergency meeting without adequate advance written notice if two-thirds of its members vote in favor of holding the meeting and, as soon as possible following the decision to hold the meeting, notice is posted and given by telephone or telegram or hand delivered to two newspapers, one of which is designated official newspaper.
An emergency meeting is defined as one required to be held in order to deal with matters of such urgency and importance that a delay for the purpose of providing adequate notice would be likely to result in substantial harm to the public interest. However, even if the Council could have foreseen the need of the meeting and notice could have been given, failure to do so will not void the meeting. The importance of the issue and the necessity for the immediate action shall have consideration in this determination.
Every Council member shall attend in his place precisely at the hour at which a given meeting is noticed. Every Council member shall make a good faith effort to attend every special or emergency meeting which is advertised for. No Council member shall absent himself from a Council meeting for any period, unless excused by the Mayor. Such requests shall not be unreasonably denied. In case a Council member neglects his duty to attend all noticed meetings he shall be subject to an admonition from the chair.
A majority of the Council and the Mayor, or in the alternative four members of the Council shall constitute a quorum to do business.
Where it is convenient that the business of the Council be suspended for a short time during any meeting a recess may be taken, upon motion.
Any officer or employee required or requested to attend a meeting of the Mayor and Council shall be present unless excused by the Mayor. Any officer or employee who is absent without being excused by the Mayor shall be subject to an admonition from the chair, or other appropriate action.
Minutes shall be kept of all meetings which at the minimum must include the announcement of the presiding person at the commencement of the meeting, the time and place of the meeting, the names of the members present, the subjects considered, the action taken and the vote of each member on any items voted upon. Minutes must be taken in open and closed meeting. The minutes of a closed meeting may be withheld from disclosure until reasons of confidentiality for going into closed session no longer exist. Minutes must be prepared by the next regularly scheduled meeting. Minutes must be made available to the public, upon request, as soon as they are formally approved by the Council.
All meetings shall be open to the public at all times except for those meetings at which certain exempt matters are discussed. The governing body retains the right to permit, regulate, or prohibit active participation of the public at any meeting.
It is within the discretion of the Council to vote to go into closed session about those matters specifically found to be exceptions to the law. Prior to going into closed session, a resolution shall be adopted stating the general nature of the subject to be discussed and whether or not action will be taken at that meeting. The public will be informed that any action taken will be done in public session immediately following the closed session. The resolution will also state as precisely as possible the time and circumstances when the discussion can be disclosed to the public.
Once a matter is discussed at a closed meeting, there is no set rule to determine when the disclosure shall take place. The nature of the matter is critical to this determination. A general guide would be that disclosure to the public may be made when the reasons of confidentiality for going into closed session no longer exist.
No person shall be allowed the floor of the general meeting except for members of the Mayor and Council, professional appointees of the Mayor and Council such as the Administrator/Clerk and Borough Attorney, and such other persons to whom the privileges of the floor are extended by the Mayor or by motion of the Council.
No person other than a Council person shall be permitted to address the Mayor and Council except by invitation of the Mayor or by motion of the Council but no such person addressing the Mayor and Council shall engage in discussion of personalities or use any indecent language or any expression of disrespect to the Mayor and Council or any committee of the same. No member of the public shall be allowed to physically threaten or use abusive language to the Mayor and Council.
When a Council member is about to speak in debate or communicate any other matter to the Mayor and Council, he shall respectfully address himself to the Mayor, confining himself to the question under debate and avoiding discussion of personality.
If any Council member in debate shall transgress the rules of the Council, the Mayor shall, or any Council member may request the Mayor to, call him to order, in which case the member so called to order shall immediately cease, unless permitted to explain. The Council shall, if appealed to, decide on the case, but without debate, and the votes of the majority of those present and voting shall prevail; if there be no appeal, the decision of the chair shall be submitted to. If the decision be in favor of the Council member called to order, he shall be permitted to proceed; if otherwise, he shall not be permitted to proceed without leave of the Council.
The Mayor and Council may admonish its members, including the Mayor, for disorderly conduct, or any other conduct which it deems contrary to the integrity and general welfare of the Council. The Council shall afford any Council member who is to be admonished an opportunity to be heard.
No Council member or the Mayor shall speak on any motion, resolution, or matter longer than 15 minutes the first time and second time or longer than five minutes the third time and thereafter without leave of the Council.
While the Mayor is putting any motion, or resolution or addressing the Council, no Council member shall walk out of or cross the Council chamber; nor in such case, or when a Council member is speaking shall anyone entertain private discourse.
No Council member shall vote on any motion or resolution in any case where he is not within the Council chambers when the vote is taken.
After the Mayor has assumed the chair, the order of business shall be as follows:
Salute to the flag of the United States.
Open Public Meetings Act Statement.
Open the meeting to the public.
Open the meeting to the public.
Miscellaneous comments of the governing body.
At the discretion of the Mayor and as circumstances dictate, the order of business may be changed.
Items of business, excluding ordinances and as otherwise provided by law, which the Borough Administrator has determined to be routine and which do not require discussions, shall be included under a single section of the agenda, known as the "consent agenda." Such items may be adopted or approved, as the case may be, upon motion and approval thereof by vote of a simple majority of the governing body. Prior to approval of the consent agenda, the Mayor will open the meeting to the public for the specific purpose of listening to requests from any member of the governing body or general public if certain items listed on the consent agenda need to be removed. Upon request, any item listed on the consent agenda prior to approval shall be removed from the consent agenda and considered separately.
Those items so approved under the heading "consent agenda" will appear in the Council minutes in their proper form.
The results of every voice vote shall be recorded upon roll call by the Borough Administrator/Clerk when so ordered by the Mayor or requested by any Council member.
After taking of the yeas, nays, or abstentions, on any motion or resolution, no motion shall be received until a decision shall have been recorded and announced by the chair.
After the calling of the roll has been commenced upon any motion or resolution, no member shall be permitted to explain his vote. All explanations shall take place during the discussion phase of the motion, or at the end of the meeting under the segment devoted to "miscellaneous comments."
On any motion or resolution requiring roll call vote, the yeas, nays and abstentions shall be entered into the minutes.
Every motion, or resolution shall be reduced to writing if the Mayor or any Council member desire it.
When a motion, or resolution is made and seconded, it shall be stated by the Mayor or being in writing, it shall be delivered to, and read aloud by the Administrator/Clerk. It then shall be deemed in the possession of the Council and open for debate, but it shall be withdrawn at any time by the moving party of the seconder, before a decision or amendment. An other member may second to continue the motion.
When a motion or resolution is under debate, no other motion shall be received but to adjourn; to lay on the table; to postpone indefinitely; to postpone to a day certain; to commit to standing committees; or to amend; and no motion to postpone to a day certain, to commit or postpone indefinitely, being decided, shall be again allowed on the same day. At the request of any Council member, the vote on any such motion shall be by roll call.
When a motion or resolution shall be made and seconded the same shall be entered in the minutes of the Council.
A motion to adjourn shall always be in order, except when the Council is voting, or while the Mayor or Council member is addressing the Council, or immediately after a question to adjourn has been lot; that, and the motion to lay on the table, shall be decided without debate.
Any member may call for a division of a motion or resolution if there is more than one distinct decision being requested by the motion, resolution or question.
A majority of those members present on all motions or resolutions, unless otherwise specified by law, shall be sufficient to adopt or reject such motions, resolutions or questions.
When a motion or resolution has been once made and carried in the affirmative or negative, it shall be in order for any member who voted in the majority to move for reconsideration thereof. A motion to reconsider must obtain the affirmative votes of a majority of those members who voted in the majority on the motion, or resolution. A motion to reconsider shall be determined by roll call vote.
Roberts Rules of Order shall in all cases, when not in conflict with the rules adopted by the Council, be considered and held as standard authority.