[HISTORY: Adopted by the Common Council of the City of Watertown as Ch. 1 and § 2.01(1), (2), (4) and (5) of the former City Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Amended by Ord. No. 89-54]
Pursuant to a charter ordinance adopted by the electors April 5, 1960, and effective April 18, 1961, the City is reorganized under Ch. 62 and § 66.0101, Wis. Stats., providing for the City Mayor and Aldermanic Plan, with a Common Council composed of one Alderperson from each Aldermanic District, said Alderpersons to be elected for a term of two years and said Mayor to be elected for a term of three years.
All legislative and general ordinance powers shall be vested in the Mayor and the Common Council as prescribed by law.
[Amended by Ord. No. 88-78; 11-1-1988 by Charter Ord. No. 7; Ord. No. 89-60; Ord. No. 02-47]
There shall be a full-time Mayor elected at the regular City election for a term of three years commencing on the third Tuesday in April next succeeding his/her election. City business shall be the Mayor's primary occupation. The Mayor shall have the direct responsibility for the following functions:
Budgeting with the assistance of the Finance Committee.
Property management and inventory.
Supporting services to the Common Council.
Administration of the job descriptions and compensation plan of the City with the assistance of the Finance Committee.
Negotiate the sale and/or purchase of public property subject to Plan Commission and Common Council approval.
[Amended by Ord. No. 02-47]
There shall be one Alderperson from each of the even-numbered Aldermanic Districts elected in even-numbered years for two-year terms. There shall be one Alderperson from each of the odd-numbered Aldermanic Districts elected in the odd-numbered years for two-year terms. Terms shall begin on the third Tuesday in April next succeeding election.
[Added 11-8-1994; amended by Ord. No. 02-47]
Notwithstanding any other provision of law to the contrary, no person shall be eligible to be nominated, elected or to serve in the office of Mayor if that person shall previously have held such office for two or more full consecutive terms, unless one full term or more has elapsed since that person last held such office. No person shall be eligible to be nominated, elected or to serve in the office of Alderperson if that person shall previously have held such office for three or more full consecutive terms, unless one full term or more has elapsed since that person last held such office. For the purposes of this section, terms shall be deemed consecutive unless more than two years apart, and a term shall be deemed full if a person has served at least half of the time allotted for the term. Service prior to the passage of this section shall not count in determining length of service.
Editor's Note: This section was adopted at the election as a referendum question.
[Added by Ord. No. 05-53]
When an Alderperson is term-limited pursuant to § 114-5, the Alderperson shall be permitted to circulate nomination papers if no other candidate has filed nomination papers by closing hours at the City Clerk/Treasurer's office the last Monday in December.
If one or more persons file nomination papers after the last Monday in December and before the statutory deadline, then the sitting Alderperson shall not be permitted to file his/her nomination papers in violation of § 114-5 of this chapter.
In the event one or more persons have not filed nomination papers for Alderperson prior to 10 minutes before the statutory filing deadline, then at that point in time the sitting Alderperson may file nomination papers and, if elected, serve one additional term, subject to the continuing requirements of § 114-5.
The following rules of order and procedure shall govern the deliberations and the meetings of the Common Council and of committees thereof:
Rule 1. Following a regular City election, for the purpose of orientation, the Common Council shall meet on the third Tuesday of April. Regular meetings of the Common Council shall be held on the first and third Tuesdays of each calendar month, at the hour of 7:00 p.m., except that if a regular meeting of the Common Council falls on a scheduled election day, legal holiday or during a major community event, such meeting may be held on the preceding or following day, at the same hour and place. All meetings of the Common Council shall be held at the Municipal Building, including special and adjourned meetings.
[Amended by Ord. No. 91-32; 11-19-2019 by Ord. No. 19-24]
Rule 2. Special meetings may be called by the Mayor upon written notice of the time and purpose thereof to each member of the Common Council; provided, however, that there is compliance with the Wisconsin Open Meeting Law. Any special meeting attended by a quorum of the Alderpersons shall be a regular meeting for the transaction of business noticed for that meeting.
[Amended by Ord. No. 89-55]
Editor's Note: See §§ 19.81 to 19.98, Wis. Stats.
The Common Council may, by a majority vote of those present but not fewer than six affirmative votes, adjourn from time to time to a specific date and hour.
No action shall be taken unless a quorum is present.
Two-thirds of the Alderpersons of the Common Council shall constitute a quorum. A lesser number may compel the attendance of absent members or may adjourn. The Mayor shall not be counted in determining whether a quorum is present at a meeting.
Rule 4. The business of the Common Council shall be conducted in the following order:
[Amended by Ord. No. 95-30; Ord. No. 13-08]
Call to order by presiding officer.
Pledge of allegiance.
Consideration of the minutes of the preceding meeting and approving the same if correct and rectifying mistakes if any exist.
Comments and suggestions from citizens present.
Reports of committees.
Unfinished business from previous meetings.
Communications and recommendations of the Mayor.
Communications and miscellaneous business.
Comments and suggestions from citizens present.
Rule 5. The Mayor at the stated hour shall call the meeting to order; however, immediately prior to such call to order, any invocation or prayer pursuant to Resolution 7474 (April 6, 2009) may be offered. The Mayor shall preserve order and decorum, decide all questions of order and conduct the proceedings of the meeting in accordance with the parliamentary rules contained in Robert's Rules of Order Revised, unless otherwise provided by statute or by these rules. Any member shall have the right of appeal from a decision of the presiding officer. The appeal may be sustained by a majority of the members present, exclusive of the presiding officer.
[Amended by Ord. No. 13-08]
Rule 6. If the Mayor is absent at the designated time of any meeting, the President of the Common Council shall preside over the meeting. He/she shall, when so officiating, be styled "Acting Mayor." The President, while serving as Acting Mayor, shall retain the voting rights of an Alderperson and vote on each matter before the Common Council. The President shall be selected by a majority vote of all members of the Common Council at the annual meeting on the third Tuesday in April. In the absence of both the Mayor and the President of the Common Council, the Clerk/Treasurer shall call the meeting to order and preside until the Common Council shall, by motion, select an Acting Mayor for that meeting. In the event the Mayor is unable to perform the duties of office, the Common Council, by two-thirds vote, may designate the President as Acting Mayor, to exercise the powers and duties of Mayor until he/she is able to resume those duties.
[Amended by Ord. No. 95-60]
Rule 7. Whenever the presiding officer shall desire to speak upon any question, or to make any motion, he shall vacate the chair and designate the President of the Common Council, if present, and if not, any Alderperson, to preside temporarily.
Each committee shall consist of at least three members. The Mayor shall be Chairperson of the Committee on Finance, except that during budget deliberations the Mayor shall be a nonvoting ex officio member of the Committee on Finance and shall designate a Chairperson of the Committee during budget deliberations. The chairpersons of the other committees shall be designated by the Mayor. Each member shall serve as appointed unless excused by a majority of the members of the Common Council. All Alderpersons shall serve on at least one standing committee.
[Amended by Ord. No. 91-16A]
In the event regular members will be absent from a meeting, and also that the absence will cause a lack of a quorum, then the absent member may ask the Mayor to appoint a replacement. This replacement shall only serve for the affected meeting and will have all the rights and responsibilities as the regular member. This procedure will only apply to the committees listed in Subsection H(1). If the absent member is an Alderperson, the temporary replacement must also be an Alderperson. This temporary appointment shall not require Common Council approval.
[Added by Ord. No. 04-11].
The Mayor may, from time to time, appoint such special committee or committees as provided for by motion or resolution, stating the number of members and object thereof, to perform such duties as may be assigned to them.
All ordinances and resolutions shall be read by title, author and committee from which it comes, if said matter was discussed in a committee. All other communications and other matters submitted to the Common Council shall be referred to the appropriate committee by the presiding officer. The Clerk/Treasurer shall record each such reference by title. Any Alderperson may require the reading in full of any matter at any time it is before the Common Council.
All bills and other financial claims against the City shall be itemized and, upon receipt thereof, shall be examined by the Clerk/Treasurer and the Mayor and then referred to the Common Council for action, provided that payment of regular wages and salaries of officials and employees according to schedules adopted by the Common Council, utility bills that could receive a late penalty, bills from other governmental agencies that shall by law be paid, investment of City funds, employee insurance as provided by union contract and/or personnel code, and bond and interest payments as required by prior Council action shall be made by the Clerk/Treasurer without submission to the Common Council after verification by the department head submitting the same and approval by the Clerk/Treasurer and Mayor. Said bills or claims paid without Common Council approval shall be itemized and reported to the Common Council.
Each committee shall, at the next regular Common Council meeting, submit a written report on all matters referred to it, unless a longer time is granted, by acceptance of the report by the Common Council, and such report shall be entered in the proceeding. Such report shall recommend a definite action by the Common Council on each item; shall be signed by the Chairperson, Secretary or Temporary Chairperson, as appropriate; and shall be filed with the Clerk/Treasurer prior to each Council meeting. All recommendations in the Committee report are to be accepted, rejected or referred back to Committee. Minority reports may be submitted.
[Amended by Ord. No. 89-58; Ord. No. 95-69]
Prior notice of each committee meeting shall be filed with the Clerk/Treasurer by the Chairperson, and each meeting shall be open to the public unless said meetings shall properly adjourn into closed session for such items as shall be allowed under Wisconsin Statutes.
Any committee may require any City officer to confer with it and supply information needed in connection with any matter pending before the committee.
An aye and nay vote shall be taken on each standing committee report immediately following its submission and discussion, provided that any Alderperson may require a separate vote on any item in any report.
Rule 11. No ordinance or resolution shall be considered by the Common Council unless presented, in writing, by the Mayor or by an Alderperson. Resolutions shall be adopted by a favorable majority vote of all the members of the Common Council present at the meeting, unless a larger number is required by state statute or this Code. All ordinances shall be adopted by two favorable majority votes of all the members of the Common Council present at consecutive meetings, unless a larger number is required by state statute or this Code. In special or emergency situations, the Common Council rules may be suspended and two readings of an ordinance may occur at the same meeting for an accelerated adoption.
[Amended by Ord. No. 97-28]
Rule 12. The deliberations of the Common Council shall be conducted in the following manner:
No Alderperson shall address the Common Council until he has been recognized by the presiding officer. He shall thereupon address himself to the Chairperson and confine his remarks to the question under discussion and avoid all personalities.
When two or more members simultaneously seek recognition, the presiding officer shall name the member who is to speak first.
No person other than a member shall address the Common Council except under order of business, Rule 4, Subsection D(5) and (14). The presiding officer shall decide if comments are relevant, shall have authority to set a time limit on the comments, and shall have such other authority as may be necessary to efficiently conduct this area of the Common Council agenda and order of business.
[Amended by Ord. No. 95-29]
No motion shall be discussed or acted upon unless and until it has been seconded, unless the rules permit one Alderperson to initiate action. No motion shall be withdrawn or amended without the consent of the person making the same and the person seconding it.
When a question is under discussion, no action shall be in order except to adjourn; to recess; to lay on the table; to move the previous question; to postpone to a certain day; to refer; to amend; or to postpone indefinitely. These motions shall have precedence in the order listed.
Any member wishing to terminate the debate may move the previous question, in which event the presiding officer shall announce the question as "Shall the main question now be put?" If 2/3 of the members present vote in the affirmative, the main question shall be taken without further debate, its effect being to put an end to all debate and to bring the Common Council to a direct vote, first upon any pending amendments and then upon the main question.
Any Alderperson may demand an aye and nay vote on any matter, and all aye and nay votes shall be recorded in the journal. On the confirmation of appointments and on the adoption of any measure assessing or levying taxes, appropriating or disbursing money, or creating any liability or charge against the City or any fund thereof, the vote shall be by aye or nay. Every Alderperson shall vote when a question is put unless the Common Council by a majority vote of those present shall excuse him for special cause, if the circumstances exist as defined in § 946.13, Wis. Stats. However, Council approval is not required for an Alderperson to abstain from voting. If an Alderperson has participated in the debate of an issue, however, he may not thereafter abstain from voting on the issue. An Alderperson may not change his vote on any questions after the result has been announced. The Mayor shall not vote, except that in the case of a tie his vote shall be counted in determining whether a sufficient number of the Common Council has voted favorably or unfavorably on any measure. A majority vote of all the members of the Common Council present at the meeting in favor of any matter before the Common Council shall be necessary for passage or approval, unless a larger number is required by state statute or the City's Code.
[Amended by Ord. No. 89-7]
A motion to adjourn shall always be in order, and a motion to adjourn, to recess, to lay on the table, and a call for the previous question shall be decided without debate.
Rule 13. It shall be in order for any member voting in the majority to move for a reconsideration of the vote of any question, except confirmation of the appointment of City officials, of accounts payable, of mayoral appointments, or approval of bartender's licenses, at that meeting or at the next succeeding regular meeting. Any member of the prevailing side, who voted in the majority, may schedule the original question on the agenda of the next succeeding meeting of the Common Council or one of its committees for a motion for reconsideration, pursuant to Rule 14 below, and provided that the member of the prevailing side files a written request for reconsideration with the City Clerk/Treasurer by not later than 12:00 noon on the Monday that follows the vote in question.
[Amended by Ord. No. 08-21; Ord. No. 09-34]
Rule 14. Not later than the Friday preceding the next regular meeting of the Common Council, the Clerk/Treasurer shall deliver to each Alderperson a copy of the prior meeting's minutes, together with the agenda, committee reports, ordinances and resolutions and any other pertinent matters that may come before the Common Council. The minutes of the prior meeting shall not be read at the Common Council meeting unless specifically requested by an Alderperson.
[Amended by Ord. No. 08-21]
Rule 15. These rules or any part thereof may be temporarily suspended in connection with any matter under consideration by a recorded vote of 2/3 of the members present.
Rule 16. The assent of 2/3 of all the members of the Common Council shall be required to amend these rules or any part thereof.
Rule 17. The Mayor may veto any ordinance or resolution adopted by the Common Council pursuant to § 62.09(8)(c), Wis. Stats. The Council may thereafter override the Mayoral veto with the affirmative vote of 2/3 of the members of the Common Council.