City of Seward, NE
Seward County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the City Council of the City of Seward as Ch. 1, Art. 6, of the 1976 Code. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Amended 3-4-2008 by Ord. No. 3-08; 12-2-2008 by Ord. No. 22-08; 8-16-2011 by Ord. No. 16-11; 5-5-2015 by Ord. No. 2015-08]
A. 
All requests for City Council agenda items shall be presented in writing to the Mayor, City Administrator or City Clerk. In addition to requesting agenda items at the designated time during Council meetings, Council members may request items to be placed on the agenda at the next regularly scheduled meeting, if feasible, by written request. Any member of the public may request an item for the Council agenda or administrative action by filling out a request form entitled "Request for Council Agenda Item or Administrative Action." This form is available at City Hall, or can be downloaded from the City's website at cityofsewardne.gov. The deadline for the Council and the public for adding items to the Council agenda shall be 12:00 noon on the Wednesday preceding each regular meeting, unless the item is determined to be of an emergency nature. The item requested will either be placed on the next regularly scheduled Council meeting agenda, if feasible, or handled administratively if a policy is already in place. The Mayor and Council will be provided copies of all requests submitted. The Council shall have the right to modify an agenda only for items of an emergency nature. The deadline for the Mayor to add items to the Council agenda shall be 24 hours before the commencement of the meeting, unless the item is determined to be of an emergency nature.
B. 
Notice of meetings.
(1) 
The method of communicating advance notice of the regular and special meetings of the City Council shall be made by posting notice of such meeting, with the agenda thereon, in the following public places of the City of Seward, Nebraska:
(a) 
The front entrance of City Hall;
(b) 
The front entrance of the City Library;
(c) 
The bulletin board in the Seward County Courthouse; and
(d) 
The front entrance of the City Municipal Building.
(2) 
Such notice shall contain the time and specific place for each meeting and either an enumeration of the agenda subjects known at the time of the notice, or a statement that such an agenda kept continually current shall be readily available for public inspection at the office of the Municipal Clerk. Except for items of an emergency nature, the agenda shall not be altered later than 24 hours before the scheduled commencement of the meeting. The Mayor will present any request for an emergency item at the beginning of the next regularly scheduled meeting, and the item will be subject to the final determination and approval of the City Council.
[Amended 10-4-1983 by Ord. No. 25-83; 2-16-1993 by Ord. No. 3-93]
As used in this article, the following terms shall have the meanings indicated:
MEETINGS
All regular, special, or called meetings, formal or informal, of a public body for the purposes of briefing, discussion of public business, formation of tentative policy, or the taking of any action. [Neb. RS 84-1409(2)]
A. 
Shall mean:
(1) 
The governing body of the municipality;
(2) 
All independent boards, commissions, bureaus, committees, councils, subunits, or any other bodies now or hereafter created by Constitution, statute, ordinance or otherwise pursuant to law; and
(3) 
Advisory committees of the bodies listed above.
B. 
This article shall not apply to subcommittees of such bodies unless a quorum of the public body attends a subcommittee meeting or unless such subcommittees are holding hearings, making policy or taking formal action on behalf of their parent body.
[Neb. RS 84-1409(1)]
[Amended 10-4-1983 by Ord. No. 25-83; 9-15-1987 by Ord. No. 19-87]
A. 
All public meetings as defined by law shall be held in a municipal public building which shall be open to attendance by the public. All meetings shall be held in the public building in which the governing body usually holds such meetings unless the publicized notice hereinafter required shall designate some other public building or other specified place. The advance publicized notice of all public convened meetings shall be simultaneously transmitted to all members of the governing body and to the public by a method designated by the governing body or by the Mayor if the governing body has not designated a method. Such notice shall contain the time and specific place for each meeting and either an enumeration of the agenda subjects known at the time of the notice, or a statement that such an agenda kept continually current shall be readily available for public inspection at the office of the Municipal Clerk. Except for items of an emergency nature, the agenda shall not be altered later than: 1) 24 hours before the scheduled commencement of the meeting or 2) 48 hours before the scheduled commencement of a meeting of the governing body scheduled outside the corporate limits of the municipality. The governing body shall have the right to modify the agenda to include items of an emergency nature only at such public meetings. Agenda items shall be sufficiently descriptive to give the public reasonable notice of the matters to be considered at the meeting.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
B. 
The minutes of the Municipal Clerk shall include the record of the manner and advance time by which the advance publicized notice was given, a statement of how the availability of an agenda of the then-known subjects was communicated, the time and specific place of the meetings, and the names of each member of the governing body present or absent at each convened meeting. The minutes of the governing body shall be a public record open to inspection by the public upon request at any reasonable time at the office of the Municipal Clerk. Any official action on any question or motion duly moved and seconded shall be taken only by roll call vote of the governing body in open session. The record of the Municipal Clerk shall show how each member voted, or that the member was absent and did not vote.
(Neb. RS 84-1408, 84-1409, 84-1411, 84-1413)
[Amended 10-4-1983 by Ord. No. 25-83; 2-16-1993 by Ord. No. 4-93; 2-7-1995 by Ord. No. 13-95; 10-16-2007 by Ord. No. 37-07]
A. 
Any public body may hold a closed session by the affirmative vote of a majority of its voting members if a closed session is clearly necessary for the protection of the public interest or for the prevention of needless injury to the reputation of an individual and if such individual has not requested a public meeting. The subject matter and the reason necessitating the closed session shall be identified in the motion to close.
(1) 
Closed sessions may be held for, but shall not be limited to, such reasons as:
(a) 
Strategy sessions with respect to collective bargaining, real estate purchases, pending litigation or litigation which is imminent as evidenced by communication of a claim or threat of litigation to or by the public body;
(b) 
Discussion regarding deployment of security personnel or devices;
(c) 
Investigative proceedings regarding allegations of criminal misconduct; or
(d) 
Evaluation of the job performance of a person when necessary to prevent needless injury to the reputation of a person and if such person has not requested a public meeting.
(2) 
Nothing in this section shall permit a closed meeting for discussion of the appointment or election of a new member to any public body.
B. 
The vote to hold a closed session shall be taken in open session. The entire motion, the vote of each member on the question of holding a closed session, and the time when the closed session commenced and concluded shall be recorded in the minutes. If the motion to close passes, then immediately prior to the closed session the presiding officer shall restate on the record the limitation of the subject matter of the closed session. The public body holding such a closed session shall restrict its consideration to matters during the closed portions to only those purposes set forth in the motion to close as the reason for the closed session. The meeting shall be reconvened in open session before any formal action may be taken. For purposes of this section, "formal action" shall mean a collective decision or a collective commitment or promise to make a decision on any question, motion, proposal, resolution, order, or ordinance or formation of a position or policy but shall not include not include negotiating guidance given by members of the public body to legal counsel or other negotiators in closed sessions authorized under Subsection A(1)(a) of this section.
C. 
Any member of the public body shall have the right to challenge the continuation of a closed session if the member determines that the session has exceeded the reason stated in the original motion to hold a closed session or if the member contends that the closed session is neither clearly necessary for 1) the protection of the public interest or 2) the prevention of needless injury to the reputation of an individual. Such challenge shall be overruled only by a majority vote of the members of the public body. Such challenge and its disposition shall be recorded in the minutes.
D. 
Nothing in this section shall be construed to require that any meeting be closed to the public. No person or public body shall fail to invite a portion of its members to a meeting and no public body shall designate itself a subcommittee of the whole body for the purpose of circumventing the Open Meetings Act (Neb. RS 84-1407 through 84-1414). No closed session, informal meeting, chance meeting, social gathering, e-mail, fax, or other electronic communication shall be used for the purpose of circumventing the provisions of the Act.
E. 
The Act does not apply to chance meetings, or to attendance at or travel to conventions or workshops of members of a public body at which there is no meeting of the body then intentionally convened, if there is no vote or other action taken regarding any matter over which the public body has supervision, control, jurisdiction, or advisory power.
(Neb. RS 84-1410)
[Added 2-15-2005 by Ord. No. 11-05[1]]
No person or public body shall fail to invite a portion of its members to a meeting, and no public body shall designate itself a subcommittee of the whole body for the purpose of circumventing this articles or the Open Meetings Act. No closed session, informal meeting, chance meeting, social gathering, e-mail, fax, or electronic communication shall be used for the purpose of circumventing the requirements of this article or the Act.
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
[Amended 10-4-1983 by Ord. No. 25-83]
When it is necessary to hold an emergency meeting without reasonable advance public notice, the nature of the emergency shall be stated in the minutes, and any formal action taken in such meeting shall pertain only to the emergency. Such emergency meetings may be held by means of electronic or telecommunications equipment. The provisions of § 78-1.9 of this article shall be complied with in conducting emergency meetings. Complete minutes of such emergency meetings specifying the nature of the emergency and any formal action taken at the meeting shall be made available to the public by no later than the end of the next regular business day. (Neb. RS 84-1411)
[Amended 8-7-2007 by Ord. No. 20-07; 10-16-2007 by Ord. No. 35-07]
A. 
Each public body shall keep minutes of all meetings, showing the time, place, members present and absent, and the substance of all matters discussed.
B. 
The minutes of all meetings and evidence and documentation received or disclosed in open session shall be public records and open to public inspection during normal business hours.
C. 
The minutes of all meetings shall be written and available for public inspection within 10 working days or prior to the next convened meeting, whichever occurs earlier. An additional 10 days shall be allowed the City Clerk in writing and making available for inspection such minutes in the event of the Clerk's serious illness or an emergency which prevents him/her from writing such minutes and making them available to the general public within 10 working days as set forth herein.
(Neb. RS 84-1413)
[Amended 9-19-1978 by Ord. No. 1138]
A. 
Any action taken on any question or motion duly moved and seconded shall be by roll call vote of the public body in open session, and the record shall state how each member voted, or if the member was absent or not voting. The requirements of a roll call or viva voce vote shall be satisfied by the municipality utilizing an electronic voting device which allows the "yeas" and "nays" of each member of the governing body to be readily seen by the public.
B. 
The vote to elect leadership within a public body may be taken by secret ballot, but the total number of votes for each candidate shall be recorded in the minutes.
(Neb. RS 16-503, 17-616, 84-1413)
The Municipal Clerk, Secretary, or other designee of each public body shall maintain a list of the news media requesting notification of meetings and shall make reasonable efforts to provide advance notification to them of the time and place of each meeting, and the subjects to be discussed at that meeting. (Neb. RS 84-1411)
[Amended 10-4-1983 by Ord. No. 25-83; 10-1-1985 by Ord. No. 12-85; 10-16-2007 by Ord. No. 36-07]
A. 
Subject to the Open Meetings Act, the public has the right to attend and the right to speak at meetings of public bodies, and all or any part of a meeting of a public body, except for closed sessions called pursuant to § 78-1.4, may be videotaped, televised, photographed, broadcast, or recorded by any person in attendance by means of a tape recorder, camera, video equipment, or any other means of pictorial or sonic reproduction or in writing.
B. 
It shall not be a violation of this section for any public body to make and enforce reasonable rules and regulations regarding the conduct of persons attending, speaking at, videotaping, televising, photographing, broadcasting, or recording its meetings. A body may not be required to allow citizens to speak at each meeting, but it may not forbid public participation at all meetings.
C. 
No public body shall require members of the public to identify themselves as a condition for admission to the meeting, nor shall such body require that the name of any member of the public be placed on the agenda prior to such meeting in order to speak about items on the agenda. The body may require any member of the public desiring to address the body to identify himself or herself.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
D. 
No public body shall, for the purpose of circumventing the provisions of the Open Meetings Act, hold a meeting in a place known by the body to be too small to accommodate the anticipated audience.
E. 
No public body shall be deemed in violation of this section if it holds its meeting in its traditional meeting place which is located in this state.
F. 
No public body shall be deemed in violation of this section if it holds a meeting outside of this state if, but only if:
(1) 
A member entity of the public body is located outside of this state and the meeting is in that member's jurisdiction;
(2) 
All out-of-state locations identified in the notice are located within public buildings used by members of the entity or at a place which will accommodate the anticipated audience;
(3) 
Reasonable arrangements are made to accommodate the public's right to attend, hear, and speak at the meeting, including making a telephone conference call available at an in-state location to members, the public, or the press, if requested 24 hours in advance;
(4) 
No more than 25% of the public body's meetings in a calendar year are held out-of-state;
(5) 
Out-of-state meetings are not used to circumvent any of the public government purposes established in the Open Meetings Act;
(6) 
Reasonable arrangements are made to provide viewing at other in-state locations for a videoconference meeting if requested 14 days in advance and if economically and reasonably available in the area; and
(7) 
The public body publishes notice of the out-of-state meeting at least 21 days before the date of the meeting in a legal newspaper of statewide circulation.
G. 
The public body shall, upon request, make a reasonable effort to accommodate the public's right to hear the discussion and testimony presented at the meeting.
H. 
Public bodies shall make available at the meeting or the in-state location for a telephone conference call or videoconference, for examination and copying by members of the public, at least one copy of all reproducible written material to be discussed at an open meeting. Public bodies shall make available at least one current copy of the Open Meetings Act posted in the meeting room at a location accessible to members of the public. At the beginning of the meeting, the public shall be informed about the location of the posted information.[2]
(Neb. RS 84-1412)
[2]
Editor's Note: Original § 1-610 of the 1976 Code, Meetings; governing body, which immediately followed this subsection, was repealed 10-1-1985 by Ord. No. 13-85.
[Amended 8-20-2002 by Ord. No. 29-03; 12-18-2012 by Ord. No. 40-12]
When the regular meeting date of the City Council shall fall on a legal holiday, the Mayor and Council shall meet on the evening of the day following such legal holiday.
The change in office shall be made as follows: The Mayor and Council shall meet on the first regular meeting date in December of each year in which a municipal election is held and the outgoing officers and the outgoing members of the Council shall present their reports, and upon the old Council having completed its business up to said time, the outgoing members of the Council shall surrender their offices to the incoming members, and the outgoing officers shall thereupon each surrender to his successor in office all property, records, papers and moneys belonging to the same. (Neb. RS 16-302.01)
The newly elected Council shall convene at the regular place of meeting in the City on the first regular meeting in December of each year in which a municipal election is held immediately after the prior Council adjourns and proceed to organize itself for the ensuing year. The Mayor elected for the new municipal year shall call the meeting to order. The Council shall then proceed to examine the credentials of its members and other elective officers of the City to see that each has been duly and properly elected, and to see that such oaths and bonds have been given as are required. After ascertaining that all members are duly qualified, the Council shall then elect one of its own body who shall be styled as "President of the Council." The Mayor shall then nominate his candidates for appointive offices. He shall then proceed with the regular order of business. It is hereby made the duty of each and every member of the Council, or his successor in office, and to each officer elected to any office, to qualify prior to the first regular meeting in December following his election. All appointive officers shall qualify within two weeks following their appointments. Qualification for each officer who is not required to give bond shall consist in his subscribing and taking an oath to support the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State of Nebraska, the laws of the municipality and to perform faithfully and impartially the duties of his office, said oath to be filed in the office of the Municipal Clerk. Each officer who is required to give a bond shall file the required bond in the office of the Municipal Clerk with sufficient sureties, conditioned on the faithful discharge of the duties of his office, with the oath endorsed thereon. (Neb. RS 16-302.01)
[Amended 10-1-1985 by Ord. No. 13-85; 8-20-2002 by Ord. No. 30-02; 12-21-2010 by Ord. No. 30-10]
A. 
The meeting of the governing body shall be held in the meeting place of the municipality. Regular meetings shall be held on the first and third Tuesdays of each month at the hour of 7:00 p.m.
B. 
At all meetings of the Council, a majority of the Councilmembers elected or appointed to the Council shall constitute a quorum to do business.[1]
(Neb. RS 16-401)
[1]
Editor's Note: Amended at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I).
[Amended 10-1-1985 by Ord. No. 13-85]
A. 
Special meetings may be called by the Mayor, or by four members of the City Council, the object of which shall be submitted to the Council in writing. The call and object, as well as the disposition thereof, shall be entered upon the journal by the Municipal Clerk. On filing the call for a special meeting, the Municipal Clerk shall notify the Councilmembers of the special meeting, stating the time and its purpose. Notice of a special meeting need not be given to a Councilmember known to be out of the state or physically unable to be present. A majority of the members of the City Council shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day and compel the attendance of the absent members. Whether a quorum is present or not, all absent members shall be sent for and compelled to attend.
B. 
At the hour appointed for the meeting, the Municipal Clerk shall proceed to call the roll of members and announce whether a quorum is present. If a quorum is present, the Council shall be called to order by the Mayor, if present, or, if absent, by the President of the Council. In the absence of both the Mayor and the President of the Council, the City Councilmembers shall elect a President Pro Tempore. All ordinances passed at any special meeting shall comply with procedures set forth in Chapter 72, Article I, of the Seward Municipal Code.
(Neb. RS 16-401)
[Amended 6-1997 by Ord. No. 17-97; 11-21-2000 by Ord. No. 53-00; 3-15-2005 by Ord. No. 11-05]
A. 
A meeting of an organization created under the Interlocal Cooperation Act (Neb. RS 13-801), the Joint Public Agency Act (Neb. RS 13-2501), or the Municipal Cooperative Financing Act (Neb. RS 18-2401 et seq.) or of the governing body of a risk management pool or its advisory committees organized in accordance with the Intergovernmental Risk Management Act (Neb. RS 44-4301 et seq.) may be held by means of videoconferencing if:
(1) 
Reasonable advance publicized notice is given;
(2) 
Reasonable arrangements are made to accommodate the public's right to attend, hear, and speak at the meeting, including seating, recordation by audio or visual recording devices, and a reasonable opportunity for input such as public comment or questions to at least the same extent as would be provided if videoconferencing was not used;
(3) 
At least one copy of all documents being considered is available to the public at each site of the videoconference;
(4) 
At least one member of the governing body or advisory committee is present at each site of the videoconference; and
(5) 
No more than 1/2 of the governing body's or advisory committee's meetings in a calendar year are held by videoconference.
B. 
Videoconferencing or conferencing by other electronic communication shall not be used to circumvent any of the public government purposes established in the Open Meetings Act.
C. 
For the purpose of this section, the following definition applies:
VIDEOCONFERENCING
Conducting a meeting involving participants at two or more locations through the use of audio-video equipment which allows participants at each location to hear and see each meeting participant at each other location, including public input. Interaction between meeting participants shall be possible at all meeting locations. (Neb. RS 84-1409)
(Neb. RS 84-1411)
A. 
A meeting of the governing body of an entity formed under the Interlocal Cooperation Act or the Joint Public Agency Act or of the governing body of a risk management pool or its advisory committees organized in accordance with the Intergovernmental Risk Management Act may be held by telephone conference call if:
(1) 
The territory represented by the member public agencies of the entity or pool covers more than one county;
(2) 
Reasonable advance publicized notice is given which identifies each telephone conference location at which a member of the entity's or pool's governing body will be present;
(3) 
All telephone conference meeting sites identified in the notice are located within public buildings used by members of the entity or pool at a place which will accommodate the anticipated audience;
(4) 
Reasonable arrangements are made to accommodate the public's right to attend, hear, and speak at the meeting, including seating, recordation by audio recording devices, and a reasonable opportunity for input such as public comment or questions to at least the same extent as would be provided if a telephone conference call was not used;
(5) 
At least one copy of all documents being considered is available to the public at each site of the telephone conference call;
(6) 
At least one member of the governing body of the entity or pool is present at each site of the telephone conference call identified in the public notice;
(7) 
The telephone conference call lasts no more than one hour; and
(8) 
No more than 1/2 of the entity's or pool's meetings in a calendar year are held by telephone conference call.
B. 
Nothing in this section shall prevent the participation of consultants, members of the press, and other nonmembers of the governing body at sites not identified in the public notice. Telephone conference calls, e-mails, faxes, or other electronic communication shall not be used to circumvent any of the public government purposes established in the Open Meetings Act.[1]
(Neb. RS 84-1411)
[1]
Editor's Note: The original section of the 1976 Code entitled "Closed sessions," which immediately followed this section, as amended, was repealed at time of adoption of Code (see Ch. 1, General Provisions, Art. I). For current provisions see § 78-1.4 above.