Town of Wethersfield, CT
Hartford County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Council of the Town of Wethersfield 4-6-2009.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance superseded former Ch. A180, Town Council Rules of Procedure, adopted 1-7-1980, as last amended 2-19-2008.
Each newly elected Council shall meet for organization in the Town Hall at a time to be announced on the first Monday following the November Election in each odd-numbered year. The meeting shall be called to order by the Town Clerk, who shall administer the oath of office to all members, provided that in the absence of the Town Clerk, the meeting may be called to order and the oath administered by any citizen of Wethersfield authorized by law to administer oaths. The Council shall then proceed to the election of a Chairperson and Vice Chairperson to serve for the ensuing two years, who may also be known respectively as the "Mayor" and the "Deputy Mayor" (Charter, Sec. 304).
[Amended 7-16-2018]
There will be two types of regular meetings: a Regular Business Meeting and a Regular Workshop Meeting. The Regular Business Meeting will be held on the third Monday of each Month at 7:00 p.m. in the Town Council Chambers unless otherwise determined by the Council. The Regular Workshop Meeting will be held the first Monday of each Month at 7:00 p.m. in the Town Council Chambers unless otherwise determined by the Council. If a meeting is adjourned to a date, time, and place certain, a notice of the same shall be conspicuously posted near the door of the meeting place, stating the date, time and place of the adjourned meeting. The schedule of regular meetings for the ensuring year shall be filed in the Town Clerk's office as soon as possible after the organizational meeting.
Special meetings of the Council may be called by the Chairperson or by not fewer than three members of the Council. If called by three members, each shall advise the Town Clerk, in writing, by telephone or in person, to that effect.
A. 
Notice of a special meeting shall be prepared by the Town Clerk, and a copy shall be served personally upon each member of the Council and the Town Manager or Acting Town Manager or left at their usual places of abode not less than 24 hours before the time of the meeting. The notice shall state the time and place of the meeting and the purpose for which the meeting is called. A copy of said notice shall also be posted on the Town Clerk's board at least 24 hours prior to the meeting.
B. 
At a special meeting, no matter not included in the notice shall be considered.
C. 
The Town Clerk shall certify, upon the original copy of the notice filed with the records of the Council, by whom the meeting was called and the manner in which the notice was given to the members of the Council, the Town Manager or Acting Town Manager and the posting on the Town signpost.
A. 
No ordinance or resolution shall be adopted or appointment or removal made except in a meeting of the Council open to the public (Charter, Sec. 305).
B. 
At least one public hearing, not less than five days' notice of which shall be given by publication in a newspaper having general circulation in the Town and by posting on the Town Clerk's board, shall be held by the Council before any ordinance or resolution shall be acted upon (Charter, Sec. 308).
C. 
Budget hearing. There shall be a public hearing at 7:00 p.m. on the third Monday in April at a place to be determined by the Council, at least five days' notice of which shall be given by publication in at least one newspaper which has a general circulation in the Town and by posting on the Town Clerk's board. At such hearing, any citizen or property owner who desires it shall be entitled to be heard by the Council on the Town and school budgets, and the hearing shall be recessed from day to day until all such persons have been heard (Charter, Sec. 705), provided that a notice of recess shall be conspicuously posted on the door of the meeting place, stating the date, time and place of the recessed meeting; provided, further, that any person who desires to speak at the subject budget hearings shall initially be heard for no longer than 10 minutes. After all persons who desire to speak have spoken at any one budget hearing, those persons wishing to speak for a second time shall be allowed to do so but shall not exceed 10 minutes. After all persons have had a second opportunity to speak, any person may thereafter speak.
D. 
Public comment.
[Amended 7-16-2018]
(1) 
Public comment sections at Regular Business Meetings are allowed during each meeting for individual citizens' comments. During the public comment, citizens may speak pertaining to any item on the agenda or of concern to the Town.
(2) 
Public comment sections at Regular Workshop Meetings are allowed during each meeting for individual citizens' comments.
(3) 
Each speaker shall limit his/her remarks to five minutes and shall be heard only once. This time restriction may be enforced by a timing device. If a speaker exceeds the time limitation, the Chair shall so notify the speaker and allow the speaker 30 seconds for summation. The Chair, at his/her discretion, may grant the speaker additional time. If a large number of citizens wish to speak, in the discretion of the Chair, the time limit may be reduced to three minutes to accommodate the crowd, and still allow the Council to conduct its business.
E. 
If the Council needs to make a decision or needs additional information, the Council should direct the Manager to get the facts, information and/or recommendations it needs to make an informed decision in the interest of all Town citizens. Citizens are encouraged to submit questions/concerns in writing.
F. 
Adjournment time: The Council establishes an adjournment time of regular meetings of 11:00 p.m. If the adjournment time requires an extension, it can be done via motion and a majority vote.
G. 
Town Council members shall be able to listen to Council meetings by telephone; however, every effort should be made by members to be at all meetings in person, and the use of telephones should only be used on rare occasions. A meeting quorum can only be determined by the members that are physically present in the meeting room. No votes shall be allowed to be taken and no comments shall be made via a telephone. The meeting will be held in a room open and accessible to members of the public, using teleconferencing equipment that enables everyone in the room to hear. Any printed materials, reports, graphs, etc., utilized by the person phoning in must be available in the meeting room.
The presence of five members shall constitute a quorum, but no ordinance, resolution or vote, except a vote to adjourn or to fix the time and place of the next meeting of the Council, shall be adopted by fewer than five affirmative votes (Charter, Sec. 305).
"Executive sessions" means a meeting of a public agency at which the public is excluded for one or more of the following purposes:
A. 
Discussion concerning the appointment, employment, performance, evaluation, health or dismissal of a public officer or employee, provided that such individual may require that discussion be held at an open meeting;
B. 
Strategy and negotiations with respect to pending claims or pending litigation to which the public agency or a member thereof, because of the member's conduct as a member of such agency, is a party until such litigation or claim has been finally adjudicated or otherwise settled;
C. 
Matters concerning security strategy or the deployment of security personnel, or devices affecting public security;
D. 
Discussion of the selection of a site or the lease, sale or purchase of real estate by a political subdivision of the state when publicity regarding such site, lease, sale, purchase or construction would cause a likelihood of increased price until such time as all of the property has been acquired or all proceedings or transactions concerning same have been terminated or abandoned; and
E. 
Discussion of any matter which would result in the disclosure of public records or the information contained therein described in subsection (b) of section 1-210.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: Refers to the FOIL statute: see C.G.S. § 1-210(b).
A. 
The Chairperson or, absent a Chairperson, the Vice Chairperson shall preside at all meetings. The Chairperson shall preserve order and decorum and shall decide all questions of order without debate, except at said Chairperson's request, but subject to appeal to the Council. The Chairperson may speak and shall vote on all questions as is provided in § A180-14 of these rules. The Chairperson shall be an ex officio member of all committees without the right to vote, except that the Chairperson shall have the right to vote in those committees to which the Chairperson is appointed a member.
B. 
In the absence of both the Chairperson and the Vice Chairperson, the Town Clerk may call the meeting to order, and the Council may choose from its members a Chairperson Pro Tem who shall preside until the Chairperson or Vice Chairperson appears.
C. 
The Chairperson or, absent a Chairperson, the Vice Chairperson shall represent the Town as titular head of the government at meetings of such officials representing other municipalities, ceremonies and public gatherings and upon such other occasions as said presence in such capacity may be required.
The Town Clerk shall be the Clerk of the Council, keep a journal of its proceedings which shall be a public record and perform such other duties as may be assigned by the Charter or by action of the Council or state statute (Charter, Sec. 501).
The Town Manager shall attend all meetings of the Council with the right to speak but not to vote and shall perform such other duties as may be assigned by law or by the ordinances or resolutions of the Council (Charter, Sec. 403).
The Council may, from time to time, appoint such standing and special committees in the manner and for such purposes as the Council may designate.
[Amended 7-16-2018]
A. 
Regular Business Meetings.
(1) 
Pledge of Allegiance.
(2) 
Recording of attendance by the Town Clerk.
(3) 
Public comments.
(a) 
Public.
(b) 
Council reports.
(c) 
Council comments.
(d) 
Town Manager's report.
(e) 
Town Clerk communications.
(4) 
Council action.
(a) 
Acceptance of resignations from boards and commissions.
(b) 
Appointments to boards and commissions.
(c) 
Approval of ordinances and resolutions as recommended at the Regular Workshop Meeting.
(5) 
Unfinished business.
(6) 
Other business.
(7) 
Bids.
(8) 
Ordinances, resolutions and appointments for introduction.
(9) 
Minutes.
(10) 
Public comments.
(11) 
Executive Session (if required).
(12) 
Adjourn.
B. 
Regular workshop meetings.
(1) 
Pledge of Allegiance.
(2) 
Recording of attendance by the Town Clerk.
(3) 
Public comment.
(4) 
Public hearings on ordinances and resolutions.
(5) 
Presentations.
(6) 
Reports from boards and commissions.
(7) 
Discussion items.
(8) 
Action to refer workshop items to the Regular Business Agenda for final action by the Town Council.
(9) 
Introduction of ordinances and resolutions.
(10) 
Public comment.
(11) 
Executive Session (if required).
(12) 
Adjourn.
C. 
Regular Workshop Meeting rules.
(1) 
Unless otherwise determined by Council, the only vote for a final action on an item on the Regular Workshop Agenda will be to end review of an item. The Council may also vote to create an ad hoc committee or to refer a matter to an existing committee.
(2) 
The only other vote on an agenda item by the Town Council will be a referral for final action to a Regular Business Meeting.
A. 
Except when a member of the Council has or desires the floor, the Town Manager shall have the privilege of the floor for the purpose of giving information to the Council on business and affairs of the Town, and the Town Attorney shall likewise have the privilege of the floor on the introduction or interpretation of any existing or proposed ordinance or resolution or on any question of legal procedure.
B. 
Except at a public hearing or as otherwise provided in these rules, no person other than a member of the Council shall address the Council except by the majority consent of not fewer than five of the members of Council present.
A. 
When a motion is made and seconded, it shall be stated by the Chairperson and then be in possession of the Council and subject to amendment or withdrawal, except that withdrawal cannot be made subsequent to a voted amendment without the consent of the Council.
B. 
When a motion is under debate, no further motion shall be received except to adjourn, to recess, to table, for the previous question, to limit or extend debate, to postpone to time certain, to refer to committee, to amend or to postpone indefinitely, which motions shall have precedence in the order indicated.
C. 
Motions to table, to postpone to time certain or to postpone indefinitely, once having been decided, shall not be reconsidered at the same meeting, whereas a motion to refer a matter to a committee can be reconsidered only at the meeting of the vote. Any other motion can be reconsidered only at the same or the next succeeding meeting of the Council.
D. 
Any motion to reconsider shall be in order only upon motion by a member participating in the prevailing vote of the original motion, and there shall be no reconsideration of the vote upon motion to adjourn, for the previous question, or to reconsider.
The ayes and nays on each vote shall be recorded in the journal (Charter, Sec. 305), thereby recording the vote of each Council member or abstention.
A. 
All ordinances and resolutions shall be introduced in written form (Charter, Section 307).
B. 
For purposes of this section, introduction shall mean the presentation in written form at any regular or special meeting of Council, either by a member of Council or by the Town Clerk, who shall present those ordinances and resolutions filed with the Town Clerk's office by a member of Council at any time prior to the meeting. Upon introduction, all ordinances and resolutions shall automatically be set for public hearing at the next regular or special meeting of Council, subject to the notice requirements being met (Charter, Sec. 307). The terms of this section shall not apply to emergency ordinances.
C. 
It shall be the duty of the Town Clerk immediately upon the introduction of any ordinance or resolution to prepare at least 15 copies of such proposed ordinance or resolution. One copy shall be retained in the Town Clerk's office for public inspection and one copy posted on the Town signpost (Charter, Sec. 307). The Town Clerk shall also promptly furnish each member of the Council, the Town Manager and the Town Attorney with a copy of such ordinance or resolution.
D. 
The copy of the proposed ordinance or resolution retained in the office of the Town Clerk shall have endorsed thereon the name or names of the member or committee introducing such document or filing the same with the Town Clerk or have attached thereto the electors' petition, as required under the Charter, Section 312, and at the end thereof, under the caption "Statement of Purpose," shall contain a brief statement of its purpose, which statement shall not be a part of the ordinance or resolution. Where such document is introduced by electors' petition, such copy shall be further endorsed by the Town Clerk, certifying that the requirements of the Charter, Section 312, have been satisfied. The statement of purpose and such endorsements shall be included on all copies of the document to be prepared by the Town Clerk prior to the final action taken on such document.
E. 
Before any ordinance shall be acted upon, it shall be reviewed by and such corrections as may be necessary made therein by the Town Attorney to ensure accuracy, clearness, conciseness and consistency of text and phraseology as well as its constitutionality and consistency with existing ordinances or statutes, and the copy of the ordinance upon which final action is based shall bear the Town Attorney's endorsement that such review has been made.
A. 
Notice of the passage of an ordinance or resolution shall be published once in a newspaper having general circulation in the Town, and an ordinance or resolution shall not become effective until 10 days after such notice is published. An ordinance or resolution need not be published in full but may be described by title or subject matter. The foregoing provisions of this section shall not apply to emergency ordinances (Charter, Sec. 308).
B. 
All ordinances and resolutions, when passed, shall be endorsed by the Town Clerk indicating the date and method of its adoption, then recorded in a book kept for that purpose and the original copy filed as a permanent record (Charter, Sec. 308, modified).
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 and shall be adopted by not fewer than six affirmative votes in the Council, and in no event shall the annual budget or any appropriation, except as hereinafter provided, constitute an emergency ordinance. For the purpose of meeting an emergency, as herein defined, or to prevent the breakdown of any essential service rendered by a department, board, commission or agency of the Town, the Council, by an affirmative vote of not less than six of its members, may appropriate, notwithstanding any other provision of the Charter, a sum not to exceed $100,000. (Charter, Sec. 310).
The Council will conduct its meeting according to Robert's Rules of Order. These rules may be revised as necessary, except that should any of these rules be inconsistent with the provisions of the Charter, then the Charter shall prevail.
A. 
Any of these rules may be suspended by the affirmative vote of not fewer than five members of the Council, provided that such action is not inconsistent with any provisions of the Charter.
B. 
Any amendment to these rules shall be submitted, in writing, at any meeting of the Council and may be adopted by the affirmative vote of not fewer than five members at a subsequent meeting of the Council.