Borough of Lewistown, PA
Mifflin County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[Adopted 3-24-1986 by Ord. No. 86-2 (Ch. 1, Part 2, of the 1986 Code)]
[Amended 4-14-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-8]
A. 
When not inconsistent with the context of the Rules of Procedure in this article or unless otherwise expressly stated in this article, words and terms used in the present tense include the future tense; words and terms used in the plural number include the singular number, and the converse; and the masculine gender includes the feminine gender, and the converse.
B. 
When used in this article, the word "shall" is mandatory, and the word "may" is permissive.
C. 
When a day or a date is prescribed in this article as the day or date on which a meeting of Council is scheduled to be held, or the day or date on which an act is to be performed, and if that day or date falls on a Saturday, Sunday or holiday, the day or date for the meeting or for performance of the act shall be the next succeeding business day.
D. 
When used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings given.
CONVENING A MEETING OF COUNCIL
Or words of similar import, mean the substantive beginning of the meeting by the announcement of the presiding officer (made immediately after the attendance or roll call of the Councilmen has been taken) that a quorum is present. The words do not mean, and shall not be deemed to include, any preliminary procedural act or ceremony such as a call to order, an invocation, the pledge of allegiance, the introduction of guests, mere administrative announcements, the taking of attendance or a roll call, or the like.
COUNCILMAN or COUNCILMEN
Shall specifically be deemed to include a "Councilwoman" or "Councilwomen," respectively."
MEETING OF COUNCIL
A biennial organization meeting, regular meeting, adjourned meeting, rescheduled meeting or special meeting of Council for the purpose of transacting business; and, therefore, a meeting which is a public meeting within the scope and meaning of the Pennsylvania Sunshine Act, Act 93 of 1998, as amended and supplemented from time to time (65 Pa.C.S.A. § 701 et seq., as amended and supplemented from time to time). Under the Act, such a public meeting of Council must be open to the public and the meeting may not be convened and conducted unless public notice of the meeting has first been given in accordance with the Act.
PUBLIC NOTICE or NOTICE TO THE PUBLIC
Or words of similar import, as such are defined in the Sunshine Act noted aforesaid, require publication and concomitant posting in accordance with the provisions of the Sunshine Act. The words do not mean, and shall not be deemed to include, those types of notices relating to the availability of a proposed budget for inspection, scheduling of civil services examinations, hearings on street openings or street vacations, invitations for bids, or other like subjects for which the Borough Code[1] makes special provision.
TRANSACTING BUSINESS or TRANSACTION OF BUSINESS
Whether described as business in general or special business, means the deliberation by Council or the taking of official action by Council, as those terms are defined in the Sunshine Act, Act 93 of 1998, as amended and supplemented from time to time (65 Pa.C.S.A. § 701 et seq., as amended and supplemented from time to time).
[1]
Editor's Note: See 8 Pa.C.S.A. § 101 et seq.
Meetings of Council shall be held in the Council Chamber of the Lewistown Municipal Building, East Third and North Main Streets, Lewistown, or at such other place as the Council or the Borough Secretary may fix after taking into consideration the circumstances or purposes of a particular meeting and the reasonable accessibility of the meeting place to Councilmen and to the public.
A. 
Pursuant to the provisions of the Borough Code,[1] the biennial organization meeting of Council shall be held on the first Monday of January of each even-numbered year at such place and time, notice of which shall be duly given according to law. If the first Monday is a legal holiday, the meeting and organization shall take place the first day following.
[Amended 4-14-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-8]
[1]
Editor's Note: See 8 Pa.C.S.A. § 101 et seq.
B. 
After the organization meeting has been called to order but before the meeting is convened, the Borough Secretary shall publicly announce whether each newly elected Councilman, and the Mayor if newly elected, has taken the oath of office and filed that oath with the Borough Secretary.
C. 
At the organization meeting of Council, the Council shall elect one Councilman as President of Council and one Councilman as Vice President of Council. The President and the Vice President of Council shall hold their respective offices: (a) until the expiration of their respective terms as a Councilman; (b) until the next biennial organization meeting of Council; or (c) until removal from their respective offices by a vote of Council, whichever of (a), (b) or (c) first occurs.
D. 
The Mayor shall convene the organization meeting of Council and preside over the election of the President and the election of the Vice President. If the Mayor is absent from the organization meeting, a Councilman chosen as Chairman pro tempore by the Councilmen present at the organization meeting shall convene the organization meeting and preside over the election of the President and the election of the Vice President.
E. 
After the President of Council and the Vice President of Council have been elected, the President, or the Vice President in the absence of the President, shall preside over the remainder of the meeting. During the remainder of the meeting, Council may elect such other officers as may be provided for by the Borough Code[2] or as may be deemed necessary or appropriate by Council and may transact such other business as may be brought before the meeting. (See, for example, § 15-17.)
[2]
Editor's Note: See 8 Pa.C.S.A. § 101 et seq.
A. 
The Borough Secretary, at the direction of Borough Council, shall schedule the regular meetings of Council for the transaction of business as determined by Council from time to time and shall give such public notice of the dates, places and times of such regular meetings as required in accordance with law, and may schedule such additional regular meetings of Council as the President of Council or the Borough Manager may determine are necessary and appropriate and shall give such public notice of the dates, places and times of such additional regular meetings as required in accordance with law.
[Amended 4-14-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-8]
B. 
By public announcement at any regular meeting of Council, the Council may adjourn that regular meeting to a stated date, time and place for an adjourned meeting for the transaction of business in general or the transaction of special business.
C. 
If an adjourned meeting of Council is scheduled for the transaction of special business, no business shall be transacted at the adjourned meeting except that special business for which the adjourned meeting was scheduled.
A. 
A special meeting of Council may be called by the President of Council at any time, and a special meeting of Council shall be called upon a written request for the call of a special meeting which is signed by three or more Councilmen and delivered to the Borough Secretary.
B. 
A special meeting of Council may be called either for the transaction of business in general or for the transaction of special business. However, when a special meeting of Council is called under this § 15-5, it shall be the responsibility of the President or the Councilmen who called for the meeting to so notify the Borough Secretary; to specify whether the special meeting is for the transaction of business in general or for the transaction of special business; and if the special meeting is for the transaction of special business, to furnish the Borough Secretary with a general statement of the nature of the special business.
C. 
If a special meeting of Council is called for the transaction of special business, no business shall be transacted at the special meeting except that special business for which the meeting was called.
[Amended 4-14-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-8]
A. 
The Borough Secretary shall give written notice of the date, time and place of the biennial organization meeting of Council to each newly elected Councilman, each Councilman whose term does not expire on the first Monday in January, and the Mayor.
B. 
No notice of the regular meetings of Council scheduled under § 15-4A need be given to Councilmen or the Mayor. However, the Borough Secretary shall give written notice of the date, time and place of any adjourned or rescheduled meeting of Council to each Councilman and the Mayor; shall include in that notice a statement as to whether the adjourned or rescheduled meeting is for the transaction of business in general or for the transaction of special business; and if the adjourned or rescheduled meeting is for the transaction of special business, shall include a general statement of the nature of the special business.
C. 
When a special meeting of Council is called by the President or by three or more Councilmen, it shall be the duty of the Borough Secretary to fix a date, time and place for the special meeting; to give written notice of the date, time and place of the special meeting to each Councilman and the Mayor; to include in that notice a statement as to whether the special meeting is for the transaction of business in general or for the transaction of special business; and if the special meeting is for the transaction of special business, to include a general statement of the nature of the special business.
D. 
The written notice of a meeting of Council to be given by the Borough Secretary under this § 15-6 shall be mailed by ordinary mail or delivered by hand or by electronic mail to each Councilman and the Mayor at least three days in advance of the date of a regular meeting where such notice of an organizational or regular meeting is required and 24 hours in advance of the time of the convening of a special meeting or a rescheduled regular or special meeting.
E. 
The presence of a Councilman or the Mayor at a meeting of the Council shall constitute a waiver of notice of that meeting and shall be deemed to cure any objection that the meeting was not properly scheduled or called.
[Amended 4-14-2014 by Ord. No. 2014-8]
A. 
During the month of January in each calendar year, the Borough Secretary shall give public notice of the dates, times and places of the regular meetings of Council scheduled under § 15-4A for that calendar year. If the notice of that schedule of regular meetings is for an odd-numbered calendar year, the Borough Secretary may include in that notice the date, time and place of the biennial organization meeting of Council to be held on the first Monday in January of the following even-numbered year. The public notice to be given by the Borough Secretary under this Subsection A shall be published and concomitantly posted not less than three days in advance of the date of the first regular meeting of Council scheduled under § 15-4A.
B. 
Except in the case where public notice of the biennial organization meeting of Council has been given under Subsection A, the Borough Secretary shall give public notice of the date, time and place of the biennial organization meeting to be held under § 15-3, Biennial organization meeting of Council. The public notice to be given by the Borough Secretary under this Subsection B shall be published and concomitantly posted no less than three days in advance of the date of the organization meeting.
C. 
The Borough Secretary shall give public notice of the date, time and place of any adjourned, rescheduled or special meeting of Council. The public notice to be given by the Borough Secretary under this Subsection C shall be published and concomitantly posted at least 24 hours in advance of the time of the convening of the meeting specified in the notice.
D. 
The Borough Secretary shall require that the newspaper in which the public notice is published pursuant to this § 15-7 furnish the Borough Secretary with a notarized proof of publication.
E. 
In determining the date on which a public notice is to be published in the newspaper, the Borough Secretary shall take into account the deadline fixed by the newspaper for the receipt of legal notices or public notices. As a general rule of practice, the Borough Secretary should attempt to deliver the public notices to the newspaper at least three business days before the date on which the public notice is to be published in the newspaper.
A. 
A meeting of Council shall not be convened or conducted unless a quorum is present. Except in the case of a biennial organization meeting of Council, where the presence of the Mayor is counted toward a quorum if his presence is necessary to constitute a quorum, the presence of a majority of the Councilmen then in office shall constitute a quorum for convening and conducting a meeting of Council.
B. 
If a meeting of Council cannot be convened or conducted because a quorum is not present, a majority of the Councilmen who are present may adjourn the meeting to another date for transacting the business which was scheduled for the failed meeting. In the absence of any other facts known to the Councilmen who are present, it shall be presumed that if a quorum is not assembled or present within 20 minutes after the time fixed for a meeting of Council, no quorum will be present.
C. 
Once a meeting of Council has been convened because a quorum is present, then the Councilmen who are present at the meeting may continue to conduct the meeting only so long as a quorum is present. Upon the withdrawal of enough Councilmen from the meeting to leave less than a quorum, the meeting shall be terminated.
A. 
Unless a greater number of votes is otherwise required by law, the affirmative votes of a majority of the Councilmen present at a meeting of Council shall be the act of the Council on any question or matter put to a vote.
B. 
Voting by Councilmen shall be by voice vote, and a voice vote by a Councilman shall be stated simply as a "yes" or a "no." Except for minor or routine matters of an administrative or procedural nature which are put to a vote, the voice vote on a question or matter put to a vote shall be by roll-call vote taken by the Borough Secretary in alphabetical order of the surnames of the Councilman; with the exception, however, that the surnames of the Vice President of Council and the President of Council shall be called last.
C. 
Once a question or matter is put to a vote, all debate or discussion on that question or matter shall be closed. Accordingly, when a Councilman voices his simple yes or no vote, he shall not be permitted to make any further comment on the question or matter, explain the reasons for his vote, express any reservations, or otherwise embellish his voice vote.
D. 
The Borough Secretary shall record the vote as it is taken. If the vote is taken by roll-call vote, the Borough Secretary shall record the surnames of those Councilmen who vote yes and the surnames of those Councilmen who vote no. If the vote is not taken by a roll-call vote, the Borough Secretary shall record only the number of yes votes without adding the surnames of those Councilmen who voted yes and shall record the number of no votes but add thereto the surnames of those Councilmen who voted no.
(1) 
At the conclusion of the voting, the Borough Secretary shall read the vote as the vote was recorded by the Borough Secretary, and the President of Council shall then announce the result of the vote. If a Councilman changes his vote at the conclusion of the voting but before the President of Council announces the result of the vote, the Borough Secretary shall reread the vote with the change, and the President of Council shall then announce the result of the vote.
(2) 
The Borough Secretary shall enter the vote and the result of the vote in the minutes of the meeting. The vote shall be entered in the minutes in the same manner in which the Borough Secretary recorded the vote as it was taken, but as changed to reflect any change by a Councilman in his vote before the President of Council announced the result of the vote.
E. 
A Councilman shall have the right to change his vote at the conclusion of the voting but before the President of Council announces the result of the vote.
(1) 
After the President has announced the result of the vote, a Councilman may change his vote only with the permission of Council upon motion made, seconded and carried by a majority vote. The motion to permit a Councilman to change his vote shall not be debated.
(2) 
A Councilman shall not be permitted to change his vote after the meeting has been terminated.
F. 
Except as provided in Subsection G or H, it shall be the duty of each Councilman who is present at a meeting of Council, including the President of Council, to vote on each question or matter put to a vote at the meeting.
G. 
Abstention because of personal or monetary interest:
(1) 
A Councilman shall abstain from voting on any question or matter in which he has a personal interest or a monetary interest and, when thus required to abstain, shall announce his abstention at the roll-call vote and state the reason for his abstention for the minutes.
(2) 
In a case under this Subsection G, the abstention of the Councilman shall be deemed the equivalent of his withdrawal from the meeting before and during the vote. Thus, his presence shall not count and must be subtracted in determining whether a quorum is present to conduct the vote, and his presence shall not count and must be disregarded in determining the majority vote needed to pass or carry the question or matter being voted on.
H. 
Council recognizes that an occasion may arise when a Councilman truly believes he should abstain from voting on a question or matter because he lacks sufficient information or knowledge to make an informed and intelligent decision — despite the fact that debate or discussion before the vote is taken is the time when information should be furnished and knowledge imparted or the time when the Councilman should express his reservations and move that the question or matter be tabled, postponed or referred to a committee for further study. On such an occasion and under the circumstances, the Councilman may abstain from voting on the question or matter, provided he announces his abstention at the roll-call vote and states the reason for his abstention for the minutes.
(1) 
In a case under this Subsection H, the abstention of the Councilman shall be counted and recorded as a no or negative vote on the question or matter being voted on. The abstention shall have no effect on the quorum.
(2) 
Exception. If a case under this Subsection H involves the choice between two or more nominees for election or appointment to a position and the negative vote and effect of the abstention cannot be ruled as a vote for or against one or another of the nominees, the abstention and its effect shall be governed by Subsection G(2).
A. 
Except as provided in § 15-3D, all meetings of Council shall be convened and presided over by the President of Council or, in the absence of the President, by the Vice President of Council or, in the absence of both the President and the Vice President, by a Councilman chosen as Chairman pro tempore by the Councilmen present at the meeting.
B. 
The President of Council or other presiding officer at a meeting of Council shall:
(1) 
Preserve order and ensure that the meeting is conducted with dignity, decorum and efficiency;
(2) 
Prohibit the use of derogatory remarks;
(3) 
Prohibit any reference by a person to the personal motive of another person in speaking or voting in a certain manner;
(4) 
Decide all points of order and all questions arising under this article or refer a point of order or a question to the Solicitor or other parliamentarian present at the meeting for a decision;
(5) 
Before a question or matter is put to a vote of Council, phrase or state the question or matter to be voted on; and
(6) 
After the voting has been concluded and the Borough Secretary has read the vote, announce the result of the vote.
C. 
A decision made by the President of Council or the parliamentarian with respect to a point of order or a question referred to in § 15-10B(4) shall be final unless a motion is made, seconded and carried by a majority vote plus one to override the decision. The motion to override the decision shall not be debated.
D. 
The President of Council or other presiding officer at a meeting of Council may participate, and is encouraged to participate, in discussion or debate and may do so without leaving the Chair. However, he should refrain from stating his opinion on the merits of the question or matter under discussion or debate until after he is reasonably satisfied that every other Councilman and the Mayor have either expressed their opinions or had sufficient opportunity to express their opinions.
A. 
Before any question or matter of Council business is put to a vote under § 15-9, it shall be opened to debate or discussion among the Councilmen present; and before the question or matter is opened to debate or discussion, it shall be introduced for consideration by a motion made and seconded which proposes some form of affirmative, favorable or positive action. The fact that a Councilman makes a motion or seconds a motion shall not be an inference that the Councilman favors or supports the action proposed by the motion, but rather shall be deemed to be but a request that Council consider the question or matter and make a decision by taking action one way or another. If a motion is not seconded, the motion is lost; no debate or discussion shall be conducted, and no action on the motion or the question or matter embraced by the motion shall be taken at the meeting of Council at which the motion was made.
B. 
When a motion is made and seconded under § 15-11A, it shall become the main motion, and no other main motion shall be introduced or considered until the pending main motion has been disposed of by Council. However, the following incidental motions and subsidiary motions may be made after the main motion has been made and seconded. If an incidental motion or a subsidiary motion is made, it shall be seconded, debated or discussed, and disposed of as next set forth.
(1) 
Incidental motions. An incidental motion has no direct relation to the main motion but relates to a matter of procedure. An incidental motion takes precedence over a subsidiary motion and the main motion and shall be disposed of before action is taken on a subsidiary motion or the main motion. There is no order of preference or rank among incidental motions, and an incidental motion shall be disposed of as it is made.
(a) 
Request for division of the main motion into two or more separate main motions for separate consideration and separate vote. (A second is required. The request is not debatable. A majority vote is required to approve the request.)
(b) 
Request to withdraw a motion. The request may only be made by the Councilman who made the original motion. (No second is required, and no consent is required of the Councilman who seconded the original motion. The request is not debatable. The presiding officer may grant the request unless another Councilman objects. If another Councilman objects to the request, a majority vote is required to grant the request.)
(c) 
Point of order raising an objection that some action or procedure is taking place contrary to this article or other parliamentary rule or contrary to law. (No second is required. Point is not debatable. The presiding officer or the parliamentarian decides whether the objection is to be sustained or overruled.)
(d) 
Motion to appeal and override a decision made by the presiding officer or the parliamentarian with respect to a point of order or other question of procedure. (See § 15-10C.)
(2) 
Subsidiary motions. A subsidiary motion has a direct relation to the main motion. A subsidiary motion takes precedence over the main motion and shall be disposed of before action is taken on the main motion. However, a subsidiary motion is junior to an incidental motion. There is an order of preference among subsidiary motions, and subsidiary motions are ranked here in the order in which they are to be disposed of. When a subsidiary motion is pending, a subsidiary motion with a lower number is in order and shall be disposed of before the subsidiary motion which is pending, and a subsidiary motion with a higher number is out of order — although it may be made later if the subsidiary motion which is pending fails.
(a) 
Motion to table the main motion or the principal question or matter. This motion is a request to suspend debate or discussion and to delay action on the question or matter at hand. Once tabled, the question or matter remains tabled until such later time in the same meeting or until such time at a subsequent meeting as a motion is made, seconded and carried to take from the table the question or matter which was tabled. (As to both a motion to table and a motion to take from the table, the procedure is the same. A second is required. The motion is not debatable. A majority vote is required to carry the motion.)
(b) 
Motion to consider the previous question. This motion is a request to end debate or discussion and to vote on any amendments to the main motion and then the main motion, in that order. (A second is required. The motion is not debatable. A majority vote plus one is required to carry the motion.)
(c) 
Motion to postpone the question or matter to a definite time. This motion is a request to postpone debate or discussion and to postpone a vote to a certain subsequent meeting of Council. (A second is required. The motion is debatable. The motion may be amended only as to the date or time to be fixed. A majority vote is required to carry the motion.)
(d) 
Motion to refer the question or matter to committee for study. (A second is required. The motion is debatable. The motion may be amended only as to the committee which is to study the question or matter and only as to the date or time when the committee is to make a report. A majority vote is required to carry the motion.)
(e) 
Motion to amend an amendment to the main motion. An amendment to an amendment must be germane to the amendment. (A second is required. The motion is debatable. A majority vote is required to carry the motion.) An amendment in the third degree (that is, an amendment to an amendment to an amendment) shall not be permitted. However, the substance of an amendment in the third degree may later be introduced as an amendment to the main motion.
(f) 
Motion to amend the main motion. An amendment to the main motion must be germane to the main motion. (A second is required. The motion is debatable. A majority vote is required to carry the motion.) Except for an amendment to the amendment, no other amendment to the main motion shall be introduced or considered until the pending amendment to the main motion has been disposed of by Council.
A. 
Councilmen shall govern their conduct during a meeting of Council in accordance with the principles set forth in § 15-10B(1), (2) and (3).
B. 
When a question or matter is opened to debate or discussion.
(1) 
No Councilman shall speak more than twice, nor longer than five minutes at a time, on the question or matter;
(2) 
No Councilman shall speak the second time on the question or matter until all other Councilmen wishing to speak for the first time have had an opportunity to do so; and
(3) 
No Councilman shall interrupt another Councilman who is speaking, except to raise a point of order or to appeal a decision of the presiding officer or the parliamentarian or except to request information or furnish information relevant to understanding the question or matter.
A. 
The order of events and business at a regular meeting of Council shall be substantially as follows:
(1) 
Call to order and Pledge of Allegiance.
(2) 
Announcements of a ceremonial nature or purely administrative nature.
(3) 
Attendance roll call of Councilmen present.
(4) 
Convening the meeting by the President's announcement that a quorum is present.
(5) 
Approval of minutes of previous meetings of Council.
(6) 
Hearing of persons present, which shall be that opportunity for members of the public in attendance at the meeting to make requests, state grievances, or otherwise address Council.
(7) 
Report of the Mayor.
(8) 
Report of the Tax Collector.
(9) 
Report of the Borough Treasurer or Finance Report.
(10) 
Report of the Borough Secretary and reading of communications and correspondence.
(11) 
Report of the Borough Manager.
(12) 
Reports of boards, commissions, bureaus and agencies of the Borough.
(13) 
Reports of standing committees of Council.
(14) 
Reports of special committees and ad hoc committees.
(15) 
Schedule of bills for payment.
(16) 
Unfinished business.
(17) 
New business.
(18) 
Requests for exonerations from the payment of fines, taxes or the like.
(19) 
Announcements of interest to Council or the public.
(20) 
Adjournment.
B. 
The order of events and business at an adjourned meeting of Council for the transaction of business in general or at a special meeting of Council for the transaction of business in general shall be substantially the same as that for a regular meeting of Council, except that such events and items of business as are not pertinent to the meeting may be omitted.
C. 
The order of events and business at an adjourned meeting of Council for the transaction of special business or at a special meeting of Council for the transaction of special business shall be confined to those events necessary to convene the meeting and confined to that special business for which the meeting was scheduled or called.
Robert's Rules of Order (Newly Revised), 1970 Edition, shall govern all matters of parliamentary procedure or councilmanic procedure not governed by this article or by the Borough Code[1] or other applicable law.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 8 Pa.C.S.A. § 101 et seq.
A. 
Except in the case where the effect of a suspension or waiver would be contrary to the provisions of the Borough Code[1] or other applicable law, any provision or rule of this article or Robert's Rules of Order may be suspended or waived on any occasion arising during a meeting of Council, by motion made, seconded and carried by a majority vote plus one. The motion to suspend or waive a provision or rule shall not be debated.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 8 Pa.C.S.A. § 101 et seq.
B. 
The suspension or waiver of a provision or rule on one occasion shall not operate as a continuous or running waiver of the provision or rule on a subsequent occasion.
This article and Robert's Rules of Order are intended to be administrative and procedural in nature, and a failure to comply with a provision or rule thereof shall not be deemed to constitute a violation of any right or interest of any elected or appointed official of the Borough or any right or interest of a member of the public, if the failure or the effect of the failure is not contrary to the provisions of the Borough Code[1] or other applicable law.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 8 Pa.C.S.A. § 101 et seq.
The biennial organization meeting of Council is the beginning of a new session of Council which lasts for two years until the next biennial organization meeting. Because the Rules of Procedure in this article are a governmental administrative and procedural matter, as distinguished from being a proprietary or business matter, any succeeding session of Council might not necessarily be bound to these rules of procedure — a result which could lead to unnecessary confusion and uncertainty. Accordingly, to avoid that result and because this article is a matter of public record and, therefore, a matter as to which a new session of Council has both constructive and actual knowledge, unless a new session of Council specifically amends or repeals this article, in whole or in part, at the biennial organization meeting of Council, this article shall continue in effect without change and shall be binding on that session of Council with the same force and effect as if that session of Council had specifically ratified or readopted this article at the biennial organization meeting of Council.