City of Easton, PA
Northampton County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Council of the City of Easton 3-13-2013 by Ord. No. 5402.[1] Amendments noted where applicable.]
GENERAL REFERENCES
City Council — See Home Rule Charter, Art. II.
Officers, departments and agencies — See Home Rule Charter, Art. IV.
[1]
Editor's Note: This ordinance also repealed former Ch. 39, Council Rules and Regulations, adopted as Sec. 107.01 of the 1965 Codified Ordinances, as amended.

§ 39-1 Purpose.

The purpose of these rules and regulations is to establish the internal organization of the Council to provide for an orderly and efficient procedure of operation.
A. 
The Council shall determine its own rules or order of business and shall set its own agenda which shall be made public. Quorum for meetings of Council shall require participation by at least four members.
B. 
Section C-4.04 of the Home Rule Charter provides as follows: "City Council shall adopt and may amend an Administrative Code, which shall set forth the organization and administrative structures and procedures of the City. This Code shall establish departments, offices and agencies, in addition to those created by this Charter and may prescribe the functions of all departments, offices, and agencies. The Administrative Code may:
(1) 
Establish qualifications and prohibitions for department directors;
(2) 
Adopt uniform administrative procedures and regulations; and
(3) 
Adopt other rules, regulations and procedures appropriate for efficient administration."

§ 39-2 Rules of order.

The Charter of the City of Easton, Pennsylvania, provides for open meetings of the City Council at which reasonable opportunity shall be given for citizens to be heard. The Rules of Conduct establish guidelines to be followed by all persons attending a City Council meeting, Council committee meetings or Council public hearing, including members of the City Council, administrative staff, news media and the public. The rules of parliamentary procedure comprised in Robert's Rules of Order, as amended, shall govern in all cases in which they are applicable and not inconsistent with the standing rules of the Council.

§ 39-3 Time and place for holding regular meetings.

[Amended 10-14-2015 by Ord. No. 5520]
Pursuant to the provisions of § C-2.11B of the City Charter of Easton, the City Council shall meet twice a month at 6:00 p.m. in City Hall Council Chambers located at 123 South Third Street, Easton, Pennsylvania, except as required by the City Charter for the annual meetings to be held in each of the three Council Districts. The City Council shall meet on the second and fourth Wednesdays of the month. Council may, by resolution, cancel a meeting in the event it is deemed not necessary due to the lack of business or holiday.
A. 
Special meetings of the Council may be called by the Mayor and also may be called upon written request of a majority of the members of Council. Written notice including the time, place and purpose of any special meeting shall be filed with the City Clerk at least 24 hours prior to the time for which the meeting is called. The City Clerk shall forthwith effect public notice and notify all Council members of the proposed special meeting either personally, by telephone or by electronic means.
B. 
At any time the Mayor determines that a state of emergency exists which affects the health or safety of the people and which requires consideration by the Council, the Mayor may call a special meeting by filing written notice thereof with the City Clerk at any time not less than three hours prior to the time set for such meeting. The notice shall contain the time, place and purpose of the meeting. The City Clerk shall forthwith notify each Council member by telephone, electronically or personally of the time, place and purpose of each special meeting.

§ 39-4 (Reserved)

§ 39-5 Council committee meetings and public hearings.

A. 
The City Council shall establish a schedule of Council committee meetings to be held the Tuesday prior to the second and fourth Wednesday of the month.
B. 
The City Council will schedule public hearings as necessary to solicit public comment. Announcements of these hearings will take place with public notice 72 hours prior to the hearing.

§ 39-6 Quorum.

Four members of the Council constitute a quorum. A quorum of the Council must be present to conduct a City Council meeting, except a quorum is not required to hear proclamations, special recognitions, Council committee meetings or public hearings.

§ 39-7 City Administrator.

The City Administrator shall make recommendations to the City Council and shall have the right to participate in all discussions, but shall have no vote.

§ 39-8 City Solicitor.

The City Solicitor, or designated Assistant City Solicitor, shall attend all meetings and upon request give an opinion, either written or oral, on questions of law. The City Solicitor shall act as the City Council's Parliamentarian.

§ 39-9 City Clerk.

The City Clerk or designee shall attend all meetings of the City Council, attendance at Council committee meetings and at public hearings shall be required at the direction of the Chair, and shall keep accurate records of all actions taken by the City Council and as provided by law. The City Clerk shall provide each Council member with a copy of the minutes.

§ 39-10 Executive sessions.

The City Council may meet in executive session under rules allowed by the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania when it is scheduled by the Mayor upon request by the City Solicitor, City Administrator or any member of the City Council when it is in compliance with Pennsylvania Open Meetings Law.[1] No vote shall be taken in an executive session on any matter under consideration, nor shall any Council member enter into a commitment with another respecting a vote to be taken subsequently in a public meeting of the City Council. Closed executive sessions shall be kept to a minimum.
[1]
Editor's Note: See 65 Pa.C.S.A. § 701 et seq.

§ 39-11 Punctuality and breaks.

City Council members shall arrive at City Council, committee meetings and public hearings at or before the scheduled time for the meetings or hearings are to begin. If a quorum for a City Council meeting has not arrived within 15 minutes after the scheduled starting time of the meeting, the Chair will cancel the meeting. For committee meetings or public hearings, the Chair may decide if the meeting is to be held.

§ 39-12 Code of conduct.

A. 
City Council members.
(1) 
City Council may appoint the City Solicitor to implement and enforce the order of the meeting. During City Council meetings, City Council members shall assist in preserving order and decorum.
(2) 
A City Council member desiring to speak shall request to be recognized by the Chair and, upon recognition by the Chair, shall confine discussion to the question under debate.
(3) 
A City Council member, once recognized, shall not be interrupted while speaking unless called to order by the Chair.
(4) 
City Council members shall confine their questions to the particular matters before the Council and in debate shall confine their remarks to the issues before the City Council.
B. 
Administrative staff. City of Easton department directors will be available to answer City Council questions or perform projects as directed by the Council as a whole under the facilitation of the City Administrator.
C. 
Citizens and other visitors.
(1) 
Citizens and others are welcome and encouraged to attend all public meetings of the City Council. While attending the meeting, everyone is to refrain from private conversations while City Council is in session.
(2) 
The public will be offered the opportunity to speak to all matters on the agenda during the "Citizens Right to be Heard" prior to all committee reports and public action by the Council. At the end of the meeting, the public will again be invited to speak to the Council on any matter during the "Citizens Right to be Heard" before any meeting of the City Council is adjourned.
(3) 
Citizens and visitors attending City Council meetings shall observe the same rules of propriety, decorum and good conduct applicable to all members of the City Council. Any person making personal, impertinent, profane or slanderous remarks or who becomes boisterous while addressing the City Council or while in attendance shall be removed from the meeting.

§ 39-13 (Reserved)

§ 39-14 Duties and privileges.

A. 
Attendance.
(1) 
City Council members are expected to attend all meetings. No member shall be excused from attendance at a City Council meeting except for good and valid reasons.
(2) 
City Council members may participate in meetings and vote by telephone with the permission of the City Council.
B. 
Absence. If a City Council member is absent from an entire City meeting, or an entire meeting of a City Council committee, to which the person is assigned, because the person is on official City business, the member shall request that the City Clerk record in the minutes, for that meeting, that the member was absent because of official City business.

§ 39-15 Chair and duties.

A. 
The Mayor shall be the Presiding Officer at all meetings of the City Council. In the absence of the Mayor, the Vice Mayor shall preside. In the absence of the Mayor and Vice Mayor, the presiding person shall be appointed pursuant to the Robert's Rules of Order, as amended.
B. 
The Presiding Officer may move, second, debate, and vote.
C. 
Preservation of order.
(1) 
The Chair shall preserve order and decorum. The Chair shall confine members in debate to the question under discussion.
(2) 
The Chair shall state all questions submitted for a vote. A roll call vote shall be taken by the City Clerk with results announced by the Chair.
(3) 
The Chair shall limit public comment to five minutes per person. The Council may set aside those requirements by a majority vote of the Council at each meeting.

§ 39-16 Categories and order of business.

The business of the City Council shall be conducted in the following order of business:
A. 
Call to order.
B. 
Invocation.
C. 
Pledge of Allegiance.
D. 
Roll call.
E. 
Approval of agenda.
F. 
Action on minutes.
G. 
Public comment on agenda items only.
H. 
Consent agenda.
I. 
Reports received by Council.
J. 
Reports of committees.
(1) 
Finance.
(2) 
Economic Development.
(3) 
Planning.
(4) 
Public Safety.
(5) 
Public Works.
(6) 
Administration.
(7) 
Report of City Solicitor.
(8) 
Report of Mayor.
K. 
Correspondence.
L. 
Unfinished business.
M. 
New business.
N. 
Public comment.
O. 
Adjournment.

§ 39-17 Preparation of minutes.

The City Clerk, or his/her designee, shall have exclusive responsibility for the preparation of the minutes of the City Council and their approval must be made by a majority vote of the City Council.

§ 39-18 Ordinances and resolutions.

A. 
All ordinances and resolutions shall be presented to the City Council in written form.
B. 
All ordinances and resolutions shall be approved as to form by the City Solicitor. The City Clerk shall prepare copies of all proposed ordinances. The City Clerk shall circulate proposed ordinances by posting a summary of the ordinance in the newspaper, and in their entirety on the City website and at the City Clerk's office. In addition to other acts required by law or by specific provisions of the Home Rule Charter of the City of Easton, the following actions of the City Council shall be by ordinance:
(1) 
Adopting or amending the Administrative Code or establish, alter, or abolish any City department, office or agency;
(2) 
Provide for a fine or other penalty, or establish a rule or regulation for violation of which a fine or other penalty is imposed;
(3) 
Levy taxes;
(4) 
Grant, renew or extend a franchise;
(5) 
Regulate the rate charged for its services by a public utility;
(6) 
Authorize the borrowing or lending of money;
(7) 
Convey or lease or authorize the conveyance or lease of any lands of the City, except in renting or leasing of floors within the Alpha Building which may be approved by resolution for up to one year only with a minimum rent equal to or higher than existing rent for the same or similar leased area.
(8) 
Regulate land use and development;
(9) 
Amend or repeal any ordinance previously adopted;
(10) 
Acts other than those referred to above may be done either by ordinance or resolution.

§ 39-19 (Reserved)

§ 39-20 City Council committees.

Committees established.
A. 
The following standing committees of the City Council are established:
(1) 
Administration.
(2) 
Economic Development.
(3) 
Finance Committee.
(4) 
Planning.
(5) 
Public Safety.
(6) 
Public Works.
B. 
Each standing committee shall review matters in its area of responsibility that are referred to it by the City Council, the Mayor, or an individual Council member.
C. 
Appointment.
(1) 
A standing committee shall consist of not less than three members of the City Council appointed by the Mayor. The Mayor shall also appoint a Chair and Vice Chair of each committee. The City Administrator shall appoint staff members to assist the committees in their work. City staff may participate in discussions but City staff shall have no vote.
(2) 
Committees shall meet once a month in accordance with the schedule adopted by the City Council. The Chair may also schedule additional meetings, but additional meetings shall not exceed twice a month.
D. 
Ad hoc committees. The City Council or Mayor may appoint ad hoc committees from time to time to study and review specific issues. The Mayor shall determine the number of members and appoint a Chair of Ad Hoc Committees. The ad hoc committee shall be established for a designated period of time.