The Council shall consist of the Mayor and eight members who shall be elected from the Town at large at each regular Town election for terms of two years as provided herein.
The Council shall be the governing and legislative body of the Town and shall have, exercise and perform all the rights, powers, duties and obligations which are conferred by law or may hereafter be conferred by the Connecticut General Statutes. The Council shall adopt the budget and fix the tax rate except as otherwise provided in this Charter. It shall further have the power to make, alter and repeal ordinances or resolutions not inconsistent with this Charter and the general laws of the State for the execution of the powers vested in the Town, for the government of the Town and the management of its business, and for the preservation of good order, peace, health and safety of the Town and its inhabitants.
Each newly elected Council shall meet in the Town Hall at 8:00 p.m. on the Tuesday following its election. The meeting shall be called to order by the Town Clerk who shall administer the oath of office to all members. In the absence of the Town Clerk the meeting may be called to order and the oath administered by any elector of Newington authorized by law to administer oaths. The newly elected Mayor shall then assume the chair as presiding official of the Council and shall designate a Deputy Mayor from among the members of the Council to preside in the absence of the Mayor. In the event that both the Mayor and the Deputy Mayor are absent or unable to perform their duties, such duties shall be performed during the period of their absence or disability by a member chosen by the Council. The presiding official, whether the Mayor, Deputy Mayor, or member chosen by the Council, shall have one vote, but only one vote, on each matter voted by the Council. The rules adopted by the preceding Council shall be the rules of the newly elected Council until the adoption of permanent rules.
The Council shall fix the time and place of its regular meetings and provide a method for calling special meetings. Only business, notice of which has been included in the call for such special meeting, shall be acted upon at any special meeting. The Council shall adopt its own rules of procedure except as specifically provided in this Charter. The presence of five members shall constitute a quorum, and no ordinance, resolution or vote, except a vote to adjourn or to fix the time and place of the next meeting, shall be adopted by less than five affirmative votes. The Council shall keep for public inspection a journal, which shall be the official record of its meetings, a copy of which shall be filed in the office of the Town Clerk in accordance with the provisions of the Connecticut General Statutes. The journal shall also contain the rules of procedure of the Council. No ordinances or resolutions shall be adopted except at a regular or special meeting of the Council open to the public.
The Council may call at its discretion "work session" meetings to discuss and review pending legislation and may consider other items of concern to the Town or its citizenry. The Council's rules of procedure will determine the conduct of these meetings. No votes may be taken at a work session meeting except to adjourn or to go into executive session.
All ordinances, together with a written statement of purpose, shall be introduced at a regular or special meeting of the Council in written form by a member of the Council. It shall be the duty of the Clerk of the Council immediately upon each introduction to file a copy of such proposed ordinance with the Town Clerk. It shall be the duty of the Town Clerk or his/her designee immediately upon receipt of such proposed ordinance to prepare sufficient copies of such ordinance, one copy of which shall be retained in the Town Clerk's office for public inspection, one copy posted on the Town bulletin board and website, and one copy distributed to each member of the Council and to the Manager. No discussion shall be had upon a proposed ordinance at the meeting at which it is introduced, except for an explanation by the Councilor moving such ordinance.
Before an ordinance, except an emergency ordinance, shall be voted upon, the Council shall hold at least one public hearing, five days notice of which shall be given by publishing the notice and the proposed ordinance in full at least once in a newspaper having circulation in the Town and by posting the notice and the proposed ordinance in full on the Town bulletin board and website with the full proposed ordinance also available in the Town Clerk's office. After such public hearing, the Council may make such changes as it considers advisable before voting upon said ordinance. Notice of the passage of an ordinance, described by title or subject matter and statement of purpose, together with such changes in the proposed ordinance, shall be published at least once in a newspaper having a circulation in the Town, and an ordinance, except an emergency ordinance, shall become effective 15 days after such notice is published, provided that, if a petition for a referendum is filed with the Town Clerk within the time specified in § C-410, the ordinance shall not become effective except in accordance with the provisions of § C-410. All adopted ordinances shall be filed with the Town Clerk and kept as a public record in the form of a suitably indexed volume or volumes of ordinances.
The Town shall have the power to incur indebtedness by issuing its bonds and notes as provided by Connecticut General Statutes and the provisions of this Charter. The issuance of bonds and notes shall be authorized by resolution adopted in the same manner as provided by § C-406 of this Charter, insofar as § C-406 relates to public hearings.
No resolution authorizing the issuance of bonds or notes, other than notes in the amount of $375,000 or less, and no resolution making a special appropriation in excess of $975,000, shall become effective until the same has been approved by a majority of the qualified electors voting thereon at a regular election or referendum called by the Council for that purpose. Any special appropriation of $975,000 or less but in excess of $375,000 shall be passed by ordinance. A referendum shall not be mandatory when such bond or note authorization, or such special appropriation, shall be for an emergency purpose to protect the public peace, health and safety, or shall be to finance a street, sewer or other improvement to be paid for by a special assessment and not by general taxation; provided however, that such bond or note authorization or special appropriation for emergency purposes shall require not less than six affirmative votes of the Council.
An emergency ordinance shall be only for the immediate preservation of the public peace, health and safety; shall contain an explicit statement of the nature of the emergency; shall be adopted by not less than six affirmative votes in the Council; and shall take effect immediately. Every such emergency ordinance including any amendment thereto shall automatically stand repealed at the termination of the 61st day following the passage of said ordinance unless sooner repealed. In no event shall the annual budget constitute an emergency appropriation.
Electors shall have the right to petition for a referendum in accordance with the Connecticut General Statutes on any ordinance passed by the Council, except an emergency ordinance, or a special appropriation in the amount of $375,000 or more. A referendum must be held when there shall be filed with the Town Clerk, within 15 days of the published notice of the passage of the ordinance, a petition signed by qualified electors in number equal to 5% or more of the total number of electors whose names appear upon the last completed Registry List, which petition shall be filed with the Town Clerk who shall within 10 days determine whether or not the petition contains a sufficient number of valid signatures, and if it does, shall so certify to the Council. The ordinance shall not then take effect until the Council has submitted it to a referendum, which shall be held not less than 20 nor more than 30 days after the filing of such petition, except this referendum may be held at a Town election or general election if the same occurs not less than 10 days nor more than 30 days after the filing of the petition. The ordinance shall be null and void in the event that a majority of the electors voting thereon, such majority consisting of at least 10% of the qualified electors of the Town, shall vote in opposition to the ordinance. Otherwise it shall take effect immediately following the referendum.
The electors shall have the power to propose to the Council any ordinance, except an ordinance appointing or removing officials, specifying the compensation or hours of work officials and employees, adopting the annual budget, authorizing the levy of taxes, or fixing the tax rate. The ordinance shall be proposed by a petition to the Council, in accordance with and subject to the provisions of the Connecticut General Statutes, setting forth the proposed ordinance and requesting its adoption, which petition shall be signed by qualified electors of the Town, in number equal to 5% or more of the total number of qualified electors whose names appear upon the last completed Registry List. The petition shall be filed with the Town Clerk who shall within 10 days determine whether or not the petition contains the required number of valid signatures, and if it does, the Town Clerk shall so certify to the Council at its next regular meeting. The Council shall within 60 days after certification either adopt the proposed ordinance after a public hearing or submit the same to the electors at a special election to be held within 90 days from the date of the Town Clerk's certification, provided that if a general election or a Town election is to occur within four months of such certification, the ordinance may be submitted at such election. The ordinance shall be adopted if a majority of those voting vote in the affirmative and such majority consists of 10% or more of the total number of qualified electors whose names appear upon the last completed Registry List. Such adopted ordinance shall take effect immediately following the referendum. No ordinance which shall have been adopted in accordance with the provisions of this section shall be repealed or amended by the Council except by vote of the electors.
The Council shall have the power with not less than six affirmative votes by resolution, in its sole discretion with or without cause, to remove or suspend the Manager and shall have the power, for cause, to remove or suspend any person appointed to any other office or position by the Council.
The Council shall act first by suspending such person and promptly serving such person with a copy of the resolution of suspension together with the reasons that constitute cause where required in Subsection A. If within 10 days after service of said resolution such person shall file a request in writing with the Town Clerk for a public or private hearing before the Council, the hearing requested shall be held at a time and place set by the Council, not less than five days nor more than 15 days after the filing of the request. At such hearing the person may be represented by counsel. If no hearing is requested, or at the conclusion of the hearing, the Council shall promptly, by resolution, terminate the suspension and either restore the person to or remove him/her from the office or employment. During the period of suspension any such person shall be ineligible to perform the duties of the office or employment. Compensation, if any, shall be continued during the period of suspension or for 30 days from the date of suspension, whichever is longer. There shall be no appeal from the decision of the Council.
The Council shall have the power to investigate any and all Town officials, commissions, boards, departments and offices. The Council shall have the power, for the purposes of such investigation, to issue subpoenas.
The members of the Council shall serve without compensation, but shall be entitled to reimbursement for their legitimate expenses incurred in the performance of their official duties, with the approval of the Council.
Neither the Mayor nor any member of the Council or Board of Education shall hold any elective office, appointive office, or serve on any board or commission pursuant to Article VI as a voting member thereof, unless specifically authorized to hold such office or serve under this Charter or unless specifically authorized to do so by resolution of the Council for a board or commission created pursuant to Article VI, § C-610. This section shall not be construed to prevent the Mayor or members of the Council or Board of Education from representing the Town as members of intertown or regional bodies or agencies or from serving in a position pursuant to the Connecticut General Statutes that contemplates such service.