Resolution No. 19-03 Adopting Decorum at meetings and limiting Robert’s Rules of Order instead of a Public Vote

Resolution No. 19-03

A Resolution of the Town of White Springs, Florida Adopting new rules governing the manner in which Council meetings are conducted, adopting  rules of conduct and procedure for Town Council Meetings and providing for Public Participation at Council Workshops, providing for severability, conflicts and an effective date.

 

WHEREAS, The Town Council shall determine its own rules and order of business for Town Council proceedings; and

WHEREAS, The Town Council recognizes that established Council proceedings constitute a limited public forum, which is subject to reasonable limitations and regulations recognizing significant governmental interests including, but not limited to, proper decorum, the conducting of orderly and efficient meetings, controlling the Town agenda and remaining on topic to the matters at issue, managing time and interruptions and disruptions; and

WHEREAS, The Town Council desires to maintain a professional and respectful decorum and provide for non-disruptive public meetings and workshops in the interests of all persons in attendance, for the Town to effectuate fair and orderly completion of Town business, and to secure the just, speedy and inexpensive determination of matters and issues relating to the Town; and

WHEREAS, The Town Council desires to balance the freedom of speech and freedom of expressions afforded by federal and Florida law with the significant governmental interests of the Town relating to decorum, efficiency, and other matters effecting the Town’s ability to conduct business and address Town related matters; and

WHEREAS,The Town Council shall provide a warning and ample alternative channels to speakers who have had their speech, comments, or presentations curtailed or who must be removed from public meetings or workshops.  Such alternative channels may include, but are not limited to an opportunity to present the Town Council with written or other documentary evidence; and

WHEREAS,The Town Council desires that the rules and procedures for public meetings and workshops be clarified and stated as provided herein.

Now Therefore, be it resolved by the Town Council of the Town of White Springs Florida, that

 

SECTION 1. Recitals

The above recitals are true and accurate and are fully restated and incorporated herein.

SECTION  2.  Adoption for Rules of Order.

The Town Council shall follow Robert’s Rules of Order Newly Revised (11th Edition) (“Robert’s Rules of Order) as a general guideline in the conduct of regular and special Town Council meetings.  The Town Council recognizes that Robert’s Rules of Order are not applicable to every procedural matter  governing a public official in the State of Florida and such parliamentary rules shall not govern to the extent inconsistent with Florida law, The Charter of the Town, the Town Code of Ordinances, and any other procedural rules the Town Council may adopt from time to time.  Failure to follow or adhere to the procedural rules set forth herein shall not affect the validity of the action taken by the Town Council.

SECTION 3. Voting

All Town Council members in attendance shall vote on all Town Council action, except when, with respect to any such member, there is, or appears to be, a possible conflict of interest as defined in Chapter 112, Florida Statutes, and as otherwise provided by general law.  The Mayor, without relinquishing the Chair, and all other Town Council members may make a motion, second a motion, participate in discussion and vote on a motion.  The Mayor or other Town Council members presiding as the Chair shall not be deprived of any rights and privileges as a member of the Town Council by reason of his/her serving as the Chair.  Roll call voting shall be required upon the specific request of a Town Council member, and the Town Clerk shall record such vote in the minutes.  Otherwise, all voting shall be by ayes and nays.

SECTION 4 Points of Order.

Members of the Town Council have the exclusive right to raise questions of procedure or a point of order to the Chair and have the Chair rule on the procedure or point of order to the entire Town Council.

 

SECTION 5 Agenda

The Town Clerk is directed to prepare agendas for all Town Council meetings.  Requests to be placed on the agenda for regular Council meetings shall be made to the Town Manager by 8:00 a.m. Tuesday, a week prior to the Council meetingThe agenda for such meeting shall be delivered to each Town Council member at least forty-eight (48) hours prior to the time set for the meeting.

The Town Council, by majority vote of its members present, may modify the agenda to add additional items to the agenda, provided that the Town Council may hear such additional items without violating any notice provision required by Florida Law, the Town Charter, The Town Code of Ordinances, or the Land Development Regulations.   Items placed on the Consent Agenda should be those of a routine and non-controversial nature.  The Consent may be accepted by the Town Council by a single vote without discussion, unless a member should request an item be removed for further discussion.  Any item pulled for a discussion will be considered by the Town Council at the conclusion of the Consent Agenda.  The time limit for any presentation shall be no longer than fifteen (15) minutes.  However, at the Town Council’s discretion, the time limit may be extended by a majority vote.

SECTION 6 Public Input Standards

The following standards and procedures shall apply to public input at Town public hearings, meetings and workshops upon request, and the Town Council may require these standards and procedures to be posted or otherwise displayed during public hearings, meetings and workshops:

(1)  Citizens from the Floor for Items not on the Agenda:

Individuals may address the Town Council on issues not on the Council’s agenda during the time allotted on the agenda for Citizens from the Floor.  Such public participation and/or comment shall be limited to local Town of White Springs issues and matters or of concern to its citizens.

(2)  Presentations and Comments on Town Council Agenda Items; 

Individuals who wish to address the Town Council on agenda items where public presentations are permitted shall address the Town Council after Town staff and applicant input, if any, and prior to the Town Council deliberation of the Town Council Agenda item.  Individuals shall not address the Town Council after commencement of Town Council deliberation on an agenda item after public input has concluded however, the Mayor and members of the Town Council have the discretion to recall individuals to provide additional information or to answer questions.

(3)  Time Limitations:

Members of the public shall be allowed five (5) minutes for comment during citizens from the floor for any issue not on the Town Council agenda.   Members of the public shall be allowed five (5) minutes for any comment on any item that is listed on the Town Council meeting and workshop agendas.

(4)  Submission of Written Statements and Other Documentation: 

The Town Council encourages the submission of written statements and other documentation in lieu of or in addition to oral testimony or comment.

(5)  Standards and Decorum for Public Hearings and Workshops:

 

(a) Town Council to be addressed as a Whole. 

All remarks, comments, presentations, and the like shall be addressed to the Town Council as a whole unless the individual is answering a question of a specific member of the Town Council or Town staff.   All communication from the audience must be made at the podium, after being recognized by the Chair.

(b) Personal Attacks and Insults.

The Town Council and Town staff encourages constructive criticism.  Notwithstanding, the preceding, all personal attacks shall be prohibited.  this prohibition applies to the members of the Town Council, Town Staff, Citizens of the Town and members of the audience.  The Chair shall determine whether the purported constructive criticism actually constitutes inappropriate personal attacks based upon whether or not the comment(s) in question reasonably relate to the performance and qualifications of the target of such  criticism or are comments that have no bearing on performance and qualifications and serve no purpose other than to insult, belittle, or denigrate the target of such criticism.  The Chair’s decision may be appealed by members of the Council to the Council.

(c) Disruptions and Decorum:   

All speakers, Town Council members, members of the public, and anyone in attendance at Town Council meetings are requested to afford the utmost courtesy to members of the Town Council, Town Staff, other members of the public appearing before the Council and members of the audience, and shall refrain at all times from rude or derogatory remarks, disruptions, reflections as to integrity, slander, abusive comments, profanity, vulgarities, and statements as to personalities.  There shall be no vulgar language, threats, fighting words, statements or other statements or actions that encourage or incite people to break the law or disrupt the public meeting such as that the orderly and proper business of the public is unduly delayed or otherwise compromised during Town Council meetings..  Audience Members do not speak out and cause disruptions.  Members of the Public may make comments at the podium as provided for in this resolution.   The Chair and Town Council have the right to find a violation of this subsection in the event a person’s conduct or speech is, by way of example, and not limitation, duplicative, irrelevant, redundant, constitutes a display of abusive behavior, or is otherwise causing a substantial disruption.

(d)  Warnings and Removal

In the discretion of the Chair and Town Council, any violation of the provisions of this Resolution may result in the issuance of verbal warnings relating to any disruptions, curtailing of the speaker’s comments or presentation, or removal from the public meeting.  The Chair shall issue a verbal warning to any person determined to be in violation of the provisions of this Resolution.  Following the issuance of an initial verbal warning, the Chair may, in the Chair’s discretion, issue further verbal warnings, curtail or otherwise conclude a speaker’s comments or presentation, or remove such person or persons in the event additional violations of the provisions of this Resolution occur.  In the event a presentation, testimony or comment period is curtailed in accordance with this subsection, the Chair may accept and encourages submission of written statements or other documentation to afford ample, alternative channels for the speaker to have an opportunity to convey his or her message, testimony, or viewpoint to the Town Council. The Chair’s decision may be appealed by members of the Council to the Council.

SECTION 7. Verbatim Transcripts

Any person who decides to appeal any decision made by the Town Council with respect to any matter considered at any meeting or hearing will need a record of the proceedings and may need to ensure that a verbatim record of the proceedings is made, which record includes the testimony and evidence upon which the appeal is to be heard, in accordance with Section 286.0105, Florida Statutes.

 

SECTION 8. Suspension of Rules

Any procedure set forth in this Resolution not mandated by Florida law, the Town Charter or the Town Code of Ordinances may be suspended by a vote of the majority of the Town Council.

 

SECTION 9. Conflicts

This Resolution shall supersede any previous resolutions, rules, and order of business for Town Council proceedings adopted by the Town Council.  Notwithstanding, the preceding, Resolution No. 19-04 shall be supplemental to this Resolution and Resolution No. 19-04 , which applies to quasi-judicial proceedings, shall control to the extent of any conflict with this Resolution.

SECTION 10. Severability

If any portion, word, phrase, clause, or sentence of this Resolution is determined by a court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, unconstitutional, unenforceable or void, then the balance of the Resolution shall continue in full force and effect.

This resolution shall take effect immediately and Passed on the 12th day of February 2019 in regular session by Town Council of the Town of White Springs Florida.

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