[HISTORY: Adopted by the Borough Council of the Borough of Norristown 4-6-1982 as Ch. 31 of the 1981 Code; amended in its entirety 2-5-1991 by Ord. No. 91-5. Section 37-10 amended at time of adoption of Code; see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I. Other amendments noted where applicable.]
There is hereby established an organization which shall be known as the "Human Relations Commission" for the Borough of Norristown, and whenever the word "Commission" appears in this chapter, it shall be construed to mean the Human Relations Commission of Norristown.
The Commission shall consist of nine (9) members. All members shall be residents of the Borough of Norristown, broadly representing racial, religious or ethnic groups in the community. Applications for membership shall be reviewed by the search committee, with qualified names to be submitted to the Mayor with recommendations for appointment. All appointments to the Commission shall be made by the Mayor with the advice and consent of four (4) members of the Council.
Of the nine (9) members first appointed, two (2) shall be appointed for one (1) year, two (2) shall be appointed for two (2) years, two (2) shall be appointed for three (3) years, two (2) shall be appointed for four (4) years, and one (1) shall be appointed for five (5) years. Thereafter, all appointments shall be for five (5) years.
The Commission shall promptly notify the Mayor and Council of any vacancies which occur. Appointments to fill vacancies shall be only for the unexpired portion of the term.
All members of the Commission shall serve without compensation.
The officers of the Commission shall consist of a Chair, a Vice Chair and a Recording Secretary. Organization of the Commission shall take place at the beginning of every calendar year but no later than February 1. At the organization meeting of the Commission, the first order of business shall be to nominate and elect the officers to a term of office for a period of no more than one (1) year. Any officer shall be eligible to succeed himself/herself, but no person shall be elected to the same office for more than two (2) successive terms.
The Commission shall meet at least six (6) times a year and not less than once every three (3) months.
The Chairman shall have the power to call special meetings of the Commission at any time upon such reasonable notice as he/she may determine. The time and place of holding meetings, regular or special, shall be designated by the Chair. Meetings may also be called by petition signed by at least five (5) members of the Commission if the Chairman refuses to call a meeting.
It shall be the responsibility of the Commission to cause an annual written report of it's activities, opinions and recommendations to the Mayor, Borough Council and other interested, concerned parties.
It shall be the duty of the Commission to focus upon problems of group relationships within the Borough of Norristown and render appropriate recommendations to correct discovered problems. The Commission, whenever possible, shall cooperate with the Mayor and Borough Council and all other borough boards, departments, commissions and appropriate representatives of public, private and parochial schools in their efforts to resolve problems of intergroup relationships within the community.
The Commission is further authorized and empowered:
To ascertain all practices and policies calculated to create conflicts and tensions and recommend ways and means for their elimination.
To recommend to the Mayor and Council ways and means of discouraging and combating prejudice, intolerance and bigotry in all groups and in their relations with one another and to recommend ways and means of eliminating any unfair and unjust discrimination against any person or group which would be deemed detrimental to the best interest of the community.
To enlist the cooperation of all racial, religious, educational, community, civic, labor, fraternal and benevolent associations and all other groups, associations and societies and all constructive community forces and talents that would be helpful in discharging the duties of the Commission.
To cooperate with federal, state and citizens' organizations and public, private and parochial schools in formulating and developing courses of education to stimulate the interest of the entire population in accomplishing the objectives of the Commission.
To endeavor, by education and proper communication, to induce public and private employers, labor and professional organizations and employment agencies to institute nondiscriminatory practices in employment, union membership, promotion, wages, working conditions, layoffs and job opportunities and to endeavor, by education, to reduce de facto segregation and discrimination in housing.
To adopt rules for the transaction of business and to keep a record of its activities and minutes of all meetings.
The Commission shall name such subcommittees as, in its judgment, will aid effectively in the purpose of this chapter and shall empower them to focus upon the problems of prejudice, intolerance, bigotry and discrimination in all or any fields of human relationships within the purview of this chapter.
This chapter shall be deemed an exercise of the power of the borough pursuant to P.L. 1523, January 24, 1966, which authorizes any political subdivision to create such a Local Human Relations Commission; and further, this chapter complies with Section 512E of the Home Rule Charter of the Borough of Norristown.
If a member is absent from three (3) consecutive regular meetings without good cause, his/her term may be declared vacant upon the affirmative vote of a majority of the remaining members of the Commission. A vote to remove a member or declare a vacancy may be taken after the member has received ten (10) days' prior written notice of the intent to take such vote. A hearing shall be held by the Commission in connection with the vote if the member shall request it, in writing, at least two (2) days prior to the vote.