The Council shall consist of five members elected from the Town at large, each to serve for a term of two years, such term to begin on the first day of January next following their election. They shall serve until their successors are elected and qualified.
Members of the Council shall not hold any other Town office or any paid public employment in any position of the Town, except as otherwise provided by the Charter, with the exception of the School Department. Nor shall any Council person be employed by the Town in any position, other than as an elected office holder or in the School Department, for a period of one year after the completion of his/her term. If a member of the Council shall cease to possess any of these qualifications or shall be convicted of a felony or a crime involving moral turpitude, the office shall immediately become vacant.
[Amended 7-1997; 11/4/2008]
Vacancies. A vacancy shall exist in the Council if a member dies, submits in the Office of Town Clerk a resignation in writing, ceases to meet the qualifications for membership, is convicted of a felony or a crime of moral turpitude, forfeits the office as Town Council member, or is absent from four consecutive months of Town Council meetings, unless such absences are excused by a majority vote of the whole Town Council, with reasons stated at the time and appearing in the journal of the meetings from which the Town Council member was excused.
Forfeiture. A Town Council member shall forfeit that office if that member violates any express prohibition of this Charter, state or federal law.
Filling of vacancies. Any vacancy in the membership of the Council shall be filled by the qualified candidate for Council with the next highest vote total from the last General or Special Election. If the next highest qualified candidate is unavailable, the next available candidate shall be chosen until the list is exhausted. In the event of a tie the Council shall select. If no qualified candidate is available from the list, the Council shall appoint a qualified elector to fill the vacancy. The new member shall be sworn into office at a regular Town Council meeting no later than 30 days following certification by the Board of Canvassers as to the eligibility of the member designated to fill the vacancy.
At its organization meeting the Council shall elect one of its members as Council president and another as vice-president. The president shall preside at meetings of the Council. Such office shall not deprive the Council president of a vote on any question.
The president of the Council and the members shall receive such annual compensation as included in the budget approved by the electors at the Financial Town Referendum provided that no change in compensation shall take effect until after the next biennial election and installation of Council members.
Three members of the Council shall constitute a quorum, unless otherwise provided by law, for the transaction of business, but a smaller number may adjourn from time to time. At least 48 hours' notice of the holding of an adjourned meeting shall be given all members who were not present at the meeting from which the adjournment was taken.
The Council shall be the judge of the qualifications of its members and of the grounds for forfeiture of their office and for that purpose shall have power to subpoena witnesses, administer oaths and require the production of evidence. A member charged with conduct constituting grounds for forfeiture of the office shall be entitled to a public hearing on demand, and notice of such hearing shall be published by the Council at least one week in advance of the hearing. Decision's made by the Council under this section shall be subject to review by the courts.
The first meeting of the newly elected Council for induction into office and organization shall be held on the first day of January following its election or the first business day thereafter. The Council shall meet regularly at such time and at such place as may be prescribed by its rules but not less frequently than once each month. A special meeting of the Council shall be called by the Town Clerk at the request of the Council president or a majority of the members of the Council. Notice of a special meeting shall be delivered to each member at the member's place of residence by the Town Clerk or by the Clerk's designee at least 48 hours previous to the time of such meeting. The Council may meet upon shorter notice by an affirmative vote of a majority of the members of the Council which shall be entered in the record of proceedings. The purpose of a special meeting shall be stated in the notice of the meeting and no business shall be transacted at any special meeting other than that which has been stated in the notice. All meetings of the Council shall be open to the public, and citizens shall have a reasonable opportunity to be heard, except that this provision shall not be deemed to prevent the holding of executive sessions in accordance with the Open Meetings Act. Nothing contained herein shall prevent the Council from holding an emergency meeting, upon an affirmative vote of the majority of its members when said meeting is deemed necessary where the public welfare so requires. Nothing contained herein shall be used to circumvent the spirit and requirements of this Charter.
The Council shall be the policy-determining body and administrative body of the Town. All powers of the Town, excepting such as may belong to the Financial Town Referendum or to other agencies as provided in the Charter and by law, shall be vested in the Council. Without limitation of the foregoing grant or of other powers given to it by this Charter, the Council shall have the power:
To determine its own rules and order of business and keep a journal of its proceedings which shall be open to public inspection in the office of the Town Clerk.
To judge the eligibility of its own members subject to review by the courts on questions of fact and law.
To enact, amend or repeal Rules, Ordinances and Resolutions for the government of the Town which have to do with the preservation of the public peace, health, safety, welfare and comfort of the inhabitants and the protection of persons and property, and other municipal functions. The Council may provide reasonable penalties in accordance with the law for the violation of any Ordinances.
To create, change and abolish Departments, Offices and Agencies other than those established by this Charter and distribute the work among them, and assign additional functions or duties to Departments, Offices and Agencies established by or under this Charter, but may not discontinue or assign to any other Department, Office or Agency, any function or duty assigned by this Charter to a particular Department, Office or Agency.
To inquire into the conduct of any Office or Officer, Department or Agency of the Town under its control.
To fill all vacancies in all Elective or Council Appointive Offices, Boards and Commissions for the remainder of the respective terms thereof, except as specifically provided otherwise in this Charter.
To establish the compensation that may be paid appointive officers and employees, including Board and Commission members of the Town, and stipulate the amount in each instance, except where specifically provided otherwise in this Charter.
To provide by Ordinance for a personnel classification system and personnel classification board in conformity with provisions of this Charter and applicable general and special laws.
To act as a Board of Personnel Review in receiving, considering and disposing of appeals from dismissals, suspensions, demotions, transfers and layoffs of appointive offices and employees of the Town.
To provide rules and regulations with respect to vacations of Town officials and employees, except those of the School Department and employment contracts.
To call for a Special Financial Town Referendum.
To propose a budget to be acted upon at the Annual Financial Town Referendum.
To take any action necessary to give effect to the vote of the Financial Town Referendum approving a municipal budget for the ensuing fiscal year. Such to include, but not be limited to the administration of the expenditure of the budget through its employees or by contract with private parties.
To take any action necessary to give effect to any vote of a Financial Town Referendum authorizing the issuance of bonds for any purpose and to complete all the details of the bond transaction, and to give effect to any vote of a Financial Town Referendum in accordance with the general and special laws of the state.
Set quarterly installment dates, for the payment of taxes, with approval by Town Council Resolution.
Assess the penalty for unpaid taxes in accordance with R.I. General Law.
To transfer the unexpended balance from the funds of any appropriation to another, should the need arise and a surplus be available and specifically identified.
To review any special assessment upon request of a property owner and order correction or confirmation of same.
To grant, suspend or revoke licenses in accordance with law.
To provide for the audit at any time of the accounts of the Town or any of its departments and to provide for an annual audit as hereinafter prescribed.
To enact and amend Ordinances relating to the Town's property, affairs and government not inconsistent with the State Constitution and laws.
To issue subpoenas to compel witnesses to testify and produce records as prescribed by law.
To appoint sub-committees of the Council which may investigate and report on any matters referred to them and make a recommendation thereon, but no sub-committee shall have any executive or legislative powers and all matters shall be determined by the Council.
To require a bond in such amount and with such surety as the Council may specify from all persons entrusted with the collection, custody or disbursements of any of the Town monies and may require such bond from such other officials and employees as it may deem advisable and all as required by law. The premium on such bonds shall be paid by the Town unless provided otherwise.
Ordinances — The Council may act by Rule, Ordinance or Resolution, but in addition to the cases in which an Ordinance is required by any specific provision of this Charter or any applicable law, any action creating or abolishing any department, office or agency of the Town government or any action taken under the provisions shall be by Ordinance only.
Passage of Ordinance.
Introduction — Every proposed Ordinance shall be filed with the Town Clerk by a member of the Council not later than four business days previous to the day of the meeting at which it is to be introduced. The Town Clerk shall forthwith provide each member of the Council with a copy thereof and shall post one copy of such Ordinance in some place accessible to the public in the Town Hall. Every Ordinance, other than an emergency Ordinance, shall be read the first time by title and explained by its proponent at the meeting at which it is introduced and then referred to a subsequent regular or special meeting for action. A Public Hearing shall be mandatory on all ordinances, enactments and amendments, and no action shall be taken on the Ordinance until the conclusion of the hearing.
The affirmative vote of three Council members present shall be necessary for the passage of any Ordinance or amendment of any Ordinance. The vote upon any Ordinance shall be by roll call and entered on the record of proceedings. A vote by roll call shall be taken on any other matter at the request of any two members.
Publication of Ordinance — After passage there shall be published within 10 days in a newspaper with general circulation in the Town, a notice describing the Ordinance in brief and general terms and within the same period the entire Ordinance shall be made available for public inspection in the office of the Town Clerk.
Effective Date of Ordinance — Every Ordinance, unless it shall specify another date, shall become effective at the expiration of 20 days after such publication following passage.
Emergency Ordinances — In an emergency affecting the public peace, health, safety, comfort and welfare of the inhabitants of the Town and for protection of persons and property, the Council, by an affirmative vote of three members, may adopt on the day of its introduction, without previous filing with the Town Clerk, an Ordinance containing a declaration of emergency which shall take effect upon its passage. The nature of the emergency shall be specifically stated in the Ordinance and such declaration shall be conclusive as to the existence of such emergency. Such emergency Ordinances(s) shall be temporary and for the period of the emergency only and may authorize Departments, Offices and Agencies of the Town Government to act outside and beyond the usual requirement of Ordinances, Resolutions, Rules and Regulations.
Ordinance Enacting Clause — The enacting clause of all Ordinances shall be: "The Council of the Town of Glocester, County of Providence, State of Rhode Island hereby ordains:"
Authentication and Publication of Ordinances and Resolutions — Upon its final passage each Ordinance or Resolution shall be authenticated by the signature of the Town Clerk and shall be recorded in a book kept for that purpose. Within 10 days after final passage, each Ordinance shall be published at least once in such a manner as the Council may prescribe by Ordinance.
Inspection of Proposed Ordinances and Resolutions by the Public — After the introduction of any Ordinance or Resolution in the Council, the Town Clerk shall keep available a copy of such proposed Ordinance or Resolution, together with all amendments thereto, which copy shall be a public record.
Codification — The Council, within one year of the effective date of this Charter, and at least every 10 years thereafter, shall cause to be prepared and published a codification of the Ordinances of the Town.
Appointment. There shall be a Probate Court for the Town, powers and duties of which shall be exercised and performed by a Judge of Probate, who shall be appointed by the Council by Resolution to serve for a term of office concurrent with that of the Council or until a successor is appointed and qualified. The Judge of Probate shall be a member in good standing of the Rhode Island Bar with five years' experience as a practicing attorney.
Vacancies. In the event the Judge of Probate is a party to or interested in any proceeding before the Probate Court, or is absent or unable to perform the Judge's duties, or there is a vacancy in such office, the duties shall temporarily be performed by the Town Solicitor, and the fact of such interest, absence or vacancy shall be recorded in the records of said Court.
Compensation. The Probate Judge shall receive such compensation as shall be set by the Council.