Resolution No. 19-04
A Resolution of the Town Council of the Town of White Springs Florida, adopting rules governing Town Council Procedures and Policies for Quasi-Judicial Proceedings; providing supplemental standards applicable to Quasi-Judicial Proceedings; providing for Severability, conflicts and an effective date.
WHEREAS, the Town Council recognizes that established law provides that 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 preventing unreasonable interruptions and disruptions; and
WHEREAS, The Town Council recognizes that certain decisions of the Town Council are quasi-judicial in nature, and in such matters, it may be a fundamental requirement that parties and interested persons in relation to such quasi-judicial proceedings be given an opportunity to be heard and otherwise be afforded procedural due process; and
WHEREAS, The Town Council desires to maintain a professional and respectful decorum and provide for non-disruptive quasi-judicial proceedings in the interests of all parties involved, for the Town to effectuate fair and orderly completion of Town Business and to secure the just, speedy, and inexpensive determination of every quasi-judicial proceeding;
WHEREAS, The Town Council desires to balance the freedom of speech and freedom of expression protections afforded by federal and Florida law with the significant governmental interests of the Town relating to decorum, efficiency, and other matters affecting the Town’s ability to conduct business and address quasi-judicial matters, and
WHEREAS, The Town Council shall provide ample alternative channels to speakers who have had their speech curtailed or have been removed from quasi-judicial proceedings, which may include, but are not limited to, an opportunity to present the Town Council with written or other documentary evidence that shall be made part of the record for that quasi-judicial proceeding upon the request of the speaker at the time the speaker is asked to be seated or is removed; and
WHEREAS, The Town Council desires that the rules and procedures for certain quasi-judicial proceedings of the Town be 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 Order of Business
The Town Council shall implement the following quasi-judicial process as a procedural guideline in the conduct of meetings, wherein quasi-judicial decisions are required to be made by the Town Council.
Order of Business:
(1) Statement to the public outlining the quasi-judicial process and relevant rules of conduct and decorum of proceedings;
(2) Swear in witnesses;
(3) Disclosure of ex parte communications by Town Council’
(4) Presentation of proposal by Town staff (10 minutes allotted);
(5) Applicant’s case (15 minutes allotted; all or any portion of the 15 minutes may be reserved for rebuttal);
(6) Supporters/ objectors/ public participation comments (individuals are allowed 3 minutes each; groups are allowed 6 minutes per group} The Town strongly recommends that a spokesperson is selected for all groups;
(7) Applicant’s rebuttal (10 minutes allotted for rebuttal PLUS any time reserved from Applicant’s case as referenced in subparagraph (5) above);
(8) Deliberations and questions among the Town Council (questions and comments to the Town Staff, applicant, supporters, objectors, and public, as necessary and in the discretion of the Town Council)‘ and
(9) Action by the Town Council.
SECTION 3 Rules of Conduct and Decorum of Proceedings
(1) Town quasi-judicial proceedings shall conform to the Public Input Standards set forth in Resolution No. 19-03, including the Standards and Decorum provisions contained therein, except as modified herein. All speakers are encouraged to review and conform to the standards set forth in this Resolution and Resolution No. 19-03. Copies of this Resolution and Resolution No. 19-03 shall be made available to all quasi-judicial proceedings upon request.
(2) All speakers are encouraged to offer unique testimony, evidence, and perspectives on the quasi-judicial matter at issue and are otherwise discouraged from providing duplicative, irrelevant, or redundant testimony, evidence, or perspectives.
Notwithstanding the time limits outlined herein or otherwise previously announced or applied at any quasi-judicial proceeding, the Chair and Town Council have the right to curtail a presentation if such presentation is determined to be duplicative, irrelevant, redundant, or is otherwise inappropriate or disruptive or not in the best interests of the orderly and efficient performance of Town Business. By way of example, but not limitation, inappropriate and disruptive conduct may include, but is not limited to, the use of profanities or vulgarities, the display of abusive behavior, engaging in personal attacks or otherwise causing substantial disruption of the quasi-judicial proceedings in any manner or which may violate the rules of Resolution No. 19-03. The Chair’s decision may be appealed by members of the Council to the Council.
(4) Depending upon the complexity of the matter, the time available for hearing, the number of persons wishing to speak, or any other factor found by the Chair to be in the best interests of the Town, the Chair may extend, contract or combine the time allotted to any or all of the participants at a quasi-judicial proceeding so a to ensure a full and fair hearing. Such extension or contraction may be made notwithstanding the time limits outlined herein or otherwise previously announced or applied at any quasi=judicial proceeding. Moreover, the Chair and Town Council have the right to extend a presentation or grant additional time if additional information or clarification is desired. The Chair’s decision may be appealed by members of the Council to the Council.
(5) In the event a speaker’s presentation or comments are curtailed due to a violation or violations of subparagraph (2), in accordance with section (4) subparagraph (2), the Chair and Town Council shall accept and encourages submission of written statements and/or other documentation or evidence in the speaker’s possession at the time the speaker’s presentation or comments are curtailed, or the speaker is otherwise asked to be seated or is removed. Such documentation, written statements or other evidence shall be made a part of the record of the quasi-judicial proceeding.
SECTION 4 Additional Procedures for Quasi-Judicial Proceedings.
(1) At the beginning of the quasi-judicial proceeding, persons intending to present testimony during the quasi-judicial proceeding will be sworn so that their testimony will be under oath. Speakers are asked to complete, in its entirety, the Speaker card prior to the commencement of the particular quasi-judicial proceeding. Speakers also are asked to initially state their names and addresses prior to giving any testimony or comments.
(2) The submission of written statements and other documentation in lieu of or in addition to oral testimony is permitted and encouraged.
(3) Persons speaking at the quasi-judicial proceedings and holding themselves out to be expert witnesses or substantially affected parties shall be sworn and will be subject to cross-examination as permitted by the Town Council.
SECTION 5 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 this Resolution shall remain in full force and effect.
SECTION 6 Conflicts
This Resolution shall be supplemental to Resolution No. 19-03 relating to general rules and procedures for Town Council public meetings and workshops and this Resolution shall control to the extent of any conflict with Resolution No. 19-03 in relation to quasi-judicial proceedings.
SECTION 7 Effective Date
This resolution shall take effect immediately – Passed and adopted this 12th day of February 2019 in regular session, by Town Council of the Town of White Springs, Florida.