[HISTORY: Adopted by the Board of County Commissioners of Doña Ana County as indicated in article histories. Amendments noted where applicable.]
[Adopted 2-11-2003 by Res. No. 2003-22]
Editor’s Note: This resolution superseded former Art. I, Rules of Order, adopted 1-14-2003 by Res. No. 2003-12, as amended.
Unless otherwise required by law or contract, the business of the Board shall be accomplished by the vote of a simple majority of the commissioners then present, including votes regarding procedural disputes arising from the members' respective interpretations of the rules set forth in this resolution.
Rules of order and decorum govern. All commissioners, staff and members of the public shall conduct themselves and their business before the Board in accordance with this resolution. Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, 10th Edition, in the most current publication available, are incorporated herein as a supplement to this resolution.
Roberts Rules of Order govern when rules of order and decorum are silent. Any conflicts in Robert's Rules of Order and these rules are to be resolved first by reference to this resolution. Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, 10th Edition, are adopted as a supplement to this resolution, and shall govern where this resolution is silent.
Distribution of rules of order and decorum. Each member of the Board shall be provided with a copy of this resolution and Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, 10th Edition, as soon as possible upon taking office.
Notice. All meetings, work sessions, special sessions and emergency meetings of the Board shall be held in accordance with the notice provisions set forth in the annual resolution providing for reasonable notice.
Annual meeting. In accordance with NMSA 1978 § 4-38-10(B), the Board shall, at the first meeting of the year, choose one of their number to be Chair and one of their number to be Vice Chair. The Chair shall preside at the meeting and all other meetings if present; but in case of his absence from any meeting, the Vice Chair shall preside. A parliamentarian may be chosen, if desired, by a simple majority of the Board.
Preparation of meeting agendas. The County Manager shall make all agenda items submitted by the departments available for review by the Chair and the other county-elected officials 11 days prior to the Board's regular meeting. No matter shall be placed on the agenda for approval, vote or decision-making unless the County Manager has first determined that it has been reviewed by the appropriate departments, personnel or entities, and is appropriately prepared for Board consideration. The County Manager and County Chair shall not refuse a commissioner's request to place an item on the agenda provided that the foregoing requirements have been satisfied.
Order of business.
The normal order of business at meetings shall be as follows, subject to changes to the agenda as approved by the Board:
Pledge of Allegiance and invocation.
Roll call, determination of quorum and convene as Board.
Changes to the agenda.
Approval of minutes.
Non-action items (employee recognition, presentations).
Discussion and announcements.
Closed session, if any.
Attendance by telephone. Attendance by conference telephone or other similar communications equipment is permitted for those rare occasions when it is otherwise difficult or impossible for the commissioner to attend in person, provided that each member so participating is identified when speaking, all participants are able to hear each other at the same time and members of the public attending the meeting are also able to hear.
Rules of decorum.
All business of the Board is to be directed to the Chair by motion.
All business shall be presented by the County Manager or his designee, who shall introduce each matter on the agenda to the Chair in accordance with the Chair's instructions.
During debate, each commissioner who wishes to speak shall seek the floor in an orderly manner, directing his comments to the Chair by stating "Mr. Chairman, . . .". The Chairman shall endeavor to recognize members requesting the floor in the order requested, subject to Subsection F(5). Interruption is allowed for points of order or points of privilege.
During debate, if a commissioner wishes to address a question to the speaking commissioner, provided the speaker consents, the question must be asked through the Chair (e.g., "Mr. Chairman, will the member yield for a question?"), and must be in the form of a question. The time used for the question is taken out of the speaker's allotted time for debate, if time restrictions are in place.
All commissioners shall be permitted to speak twice on the same question, provided every other commissioner who wishes to speak has had the opportunity to speak once, and once on a question of order.
An item presented for consideration is entitled to full debate, unless limited by appropriate motion.
All commissioners' comments or discussion during debate shall be confined to the merits of the question then before the Board. However, a commissioner shall not speak against one's own motion. He may vote against his motion, but if he speaks, he must speak in the positive.
A commissioner shall not speak adversely on any prior act of the Board that is not then pending unless a motion to reconsider, rescind or amend is pending on that prior action.
All commissioners' and members of the public's comments and/or discussions shall avoid personalities; i.e., personal attacks or comments regarding another commissioner or member of the public.
Commissioners shall refer to one another by formal title, i.e., "Commissioner __________."
Commissioners shall not attack or question the motives of a fellow commissioner during debate or discussion periods. Remarks must be courteous in language and deportment.
If a commissioner disagrees with another's statement, he shall not say the other's statement is "false," a "fraud," or a "lie." Upon hearing such words, the Chair shall take immediate and decisive action to correct the matter and avoid its repetition.
Any commissioner may condemn the nature or consequences of a measure in the strongest terms, remembering that it is not a person, but the measure, that is the subject of debate.
All commissioners have equal rights. The rights of the minority must be preserved, but the will of the majority shall be carried out.
A commissioner shall not disturb the business of the Board by whispering to another person, walking across the floor, or any other activity so as to interrupt, intrude upon, or disrupt the meeting.
All commissioners shall cease their comments and/or discussion if the Chair speaks to state a point of order, or speaks within his privilege.
A commissioner shall not proceed with comments and/or discussion during debate if the Chair, upon a point of order, decides that the commissioner's remarks are improper.
If the Chair renders a ruling that a point of order has been violated, the commissioner affected by the ruling may appeal. If a simple majority of the commissioners then present vote to overturn the Chair's decision, the appealing party may continue with his comments or discussion. There shall be no debate on the merits of the appeal or after ruling on the appeal.
Failure to comply with these rules, displays of disorderly conduct and/or use of disorderly words during the course of a meeting shall be called to the attention of the Chair by point of order. If the Chair finds the member to be out of order, the Chair shall so state, and request that the commissioner or member of the public comply with the rules of the Board. The offending party may be requested to cease and desist, or to be seated. If the offending party had the floor at the time of the point of order, the Chair shall state the breach of order involved and put the question to the Board of whether the member shall be allowed to continue to speak. The question is not debatable.
If the offending party obeys the Chair's instructions, the matter may be dropped and no further action on the offense is required. However, if the offending party refuses to be orderly, the Chair may then choose to call a recess or entertain a motion for censure. After second, a vote on a motion for censure shall take place immediately and without debate. A motion for censure shall take precedence over all motions except for motions raising a question of privilege. An affirmative vote of censure shall be followed by a motion for recess. The length of the recess shall be stated in the motion. If the length of the recess is not stated in the motion, then the Chair shall set the length of the recess. If a recess is taken following a vote of censure, a press release announcing the action of censure shall be made by the County's Public Information Officer and shall describe the postponement of county business as a result of the censure of the offending member.
The Board shall appoint a Public Assistant/Sergeant-at-Arms for the purpose of assisting the public with ADA accessibility accommodations, enforcing the rules of order and decorum during its meetings, and generally serving the Board consistent with the rules as supplemented by Robert's Rules of Order. The Sergeant-at-Arms shall be responsible for assisting and accommodating the public in regard to accessibility issues, such as assisting those individuals using wheelchairs to be located comfortably within the Board's Chambers, and making any other accommodations needed by members of the public. The Board may authorize the County Manager to obtain the services of a Sergeant-at-Arms, whether contractually or voluntarily.
Members of the general public who are engaging in disorderly conduct during the course of a meeting may be ousted at the request of the Chair, subject to appeal by a member. The Sergeant-at-Arms shall escort the offending party from the meeting. If the offending party refuses to leave, the Sheriff or his representative, as the law enforcement entity authorized to keep the peace and preserve order, will ensure that order is kept and remove the offending party, consistent with the laws of the State of New Mexico and the United States Constitution.
The foregoing provisions are adopted as reasonable time, place and manner restrictions only, and not as restrictions designed to curtail the free expression of opinion or point of view.
Order of vote. A roll call of the votes of the commissioners shall be taken in the order determined by the Chair, except that the Chair shall vote last. The Chair shall announce the result of the vote.
Participation by members of the public.
Members of the public are invited to participate during the public input portion of the meeting on any matter that is not listed as a separate item on the Board's agenda. Such input is limited to three minutes unless exception is made by the Board.
Members of the public may also comment on the individual agenda items in the order provided for by § 5-3D of these rules. Unless the agenda item is quasi-judicial in nature, public comment is limited to three minutes unless exception is made by the Board.
In order to address the Board and for the minutes to reflect same, members of the public are asked to speak into the microphone provided by the Clerk's Office.
Chair. It is the duty of the Chair to open all meetings of the Board at the time the Board is to meet, call the members to order, announce all business and put same to a vote where required, enforce order and decorum among the members of the Board; to sign documents on behalf of and as authorized by the Board; to administer oaths to any person concerning any matter submitted to the Board or connected with their powers and duties; and to sign all orders on the County Treasury, as authorized by the Board.
Vice Chair. The Vice Chair shall exercise the duties and assume the responsibilities of the Chair in his absence.
Members. All Board members shall participate in all boards or committees as assigned and verbally update the full Board regarding the activities of those boards or committees at the request of the Chairman or other Board member.
All open and closed meetings of the Board shall be held in accordance with the New Mexico Open Meeting Act, NMSA 1978, § 10-15-1 et seq.
[Adopted annually by resolution]
Unless otherwise posted, all meetings shall be held at the Doña Ana County Government Center in the Board of County Commission Chambers, 845 North Motel Boulevard, Las Cruces, New Mexico.
Unless otherwise posted, regular meetings shall be held on the second and fourth Tuesdays of each month at 9:00 a.m. Notice of the regular meeting's agenda shall be available seven calendar days in advance of the meeting date but may be amended, so long as any amended agenda is available at least 72 hours in advance of the meeting time. The agenda shall be posted pursuant to the provisions of § 5-10 and shall be made available to the public in the office of the County Manager.
In addition to the Board's regular meetings, work sessions and special meetings may be called at the discretion of the Chair or upon the request of two Commissioners upon 72 hours' notice, in accordance with § 5-10. The final agenda for work sessions and special meetings shall be available at least 72 hours in advance of the work session or special meeting time.
Emergency meetings will be called only under unforeseen circumstances which demand immediate action to protect the health, safety, and property of citizens or to protect the public body from substantial financial loss. Notice of emergency meetings shall be posted pursuant to the provisions of § 5-10 and made available to the public in the office of the County Manager. Within 10 days of taking action on an emergency matter, the public body shall report to the Attorney General's Office the action taken and the circumstances creating the emergency.
Notice requirements are met if notice of the date, time, place, and agenda are posted on Doña Ana County's website and at the Doña Ana County Government Center as well as notice provided to broadcast stations licensed by the Federal Communications Commission and newspapers of general circulation which have provided a written request for such notice. If notice of the meeting is published, a proof of publication shall be obtained from the newspaper by the County Clerk to be attached to the minutes. Unless impracticable due to computer or manpower difficulties, the agenda shall also be posted on the County's website and also sent by e-mail to the persons requesting e-mail notice.
Consistent with the Americans with Disabilities Act, all notices are to be made available in alternative formats and shall include the following language:
A Commissioner may attend and/or participate in a meeting by means of a conference telephone or other similar communications equipment in accordance with NMSA § 10-15-1C when it is otherwise difficult or impossible for the member to attend the meeting in person, provided that each member so participating is identified when speaking, all participants are able to hear each other at the same time, and members of the public attending the meeting are also able to hear any Commissioner who speaks during the meeting.
The Board of County Commissioners may close a meeting to the public if the subject matter of such discussion or action is exempt from the open meeting requirement under NMSA § 10-15-1H of the Open Meetings Act, which may involve discussions relating to: licensing; limited personnel matters; administrative adjudicatory deliberations; collective bargaining strategies; certain purchases; litigation and attorney-client privileged communications; real property and water rights; and strategic and long-range business plans or trade secrets by a public hospital board.
If a meeting is closed to the public during a duly noticed open meeting, such closure shall be approved by a majority vote of a quorum of the Board of County Commissioners taken during the open meeting. The authority for the closure and the subjects to be discussed shall be stated with reasonable specificity in the motion for closure. The motion may cross-reference a printed agenda item, provided the item to be discussed in closed session is listed with reasonable specificity. The vote of each individual member regarding closure of the meeting shall be recorded in the minutes. Only those subjects specified in the motion may be discussed in a closed meeting.
If the decision to hold a closed meeting is made when the Board of County Commissioners is not in a duly noticed open meeting, the closed meeting shall not be held until public notice, appropriate under the circumstances, is given to the members and to the general public. The notice shall state the specific provision of law authorizing the closed meeting and the subjects to be discussed with reasonable specificity.
Following completion of any closed meeting, the minutes of the open meeting that was closed, or the minutes of the next open meeting if the closed meeting was separately scheduled, shall state whether the matters discussed in the closed meeting were limited only to those specified in the motion or notice for closure.