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CITY COUNCIL AGENDA ITEM NO. 12

Meeting Date: August 26, 2003

Subject/Title: Approve a Resolution adopting amendments to the Council/Administrative Policy No. 110-1 relating to City Council Meeting Rules and Procedures

Submitted by: Dennis Beougher, City Attorney

RECOMMENDATION
Approve a Resolution adopting the attached amendments to the Council/Administrative Policy No. 110-1, entitled ”City Council Meeting Rules and Procedures.”

PREVIOUS ACTION
The City Council requested that the City Attorney draft rules of order and procedures to apply to all City Council regular, adjourned, and special meetings. In November, 2001 the City Council originally adopted 27 rules relating to how meetings should be conducted. The Mayor requested that the City Attorney prepare amendments to the City Council Meeting Rules and Procedures. Mayor Swisher, City Manager Stevenson, and the City Clerk, Karen Diaz, have reviewed and recommended various changes to the Meeting Rules and Procedures as attached to this staff report.

BACKGROUND
The purpose of the Meeting Rules and Procedures is to establish protocol that will be convenient for the public and also contribute to the orderly conduct of City business. The proposed rules and procedures are in addition to, and not in place of, applicable ordinances and statutes, when the latter shall govern. Minor changes are proposed to the original 27 rules as noted in the cross-out and underlined copy attached to this staff report. Rule 28 through Rule 36, inclusive, are new.

The proposed major activities covered by the new rules are as follows:

Rule 28—This rule deals with protocol for ceremonial events, how correspondence addressed to the City Council should be handled, endorsement of candidates, and non-agenda items.

Rule 29—This policy concerns how councilmembers should interact with other members of the council in both meeting and private encounters.

Rule 30—The Brentwood Municipal Code outlines the City Manager form of government and this rule outlines the cooperative efforts of elected officials and city staff.

Rule 31—This rule provides the guidelines for how city officials should interact with the public.

Rule 32—This rule proposes some guidelines as to how City Council members should interact with other public agencies.

Rule 33—There are several city council created commissions, such as planning, parks and recreation, and arts commission. This rule describes how city councilmembers should interact with commissioners on these commissions.

Rule 34—The media has a role in reporting the actions of the city council to its citizens and this rule provides some guidelines about councilmembers’ interactions with the media.

Rule 35—This rule provides some sanction for councilmembers who intentionally and repeatedly do not follow proper conduct.

Rule 36—As there are no rules and procedures for council travel and expenses, this rule would provide some rules as to actual and necessary expenses incurred by councilmembers while doing city council activities that would be reimbursed or paid directly.

FISCAL IMPACT
There is no fiscal impact as a result of the proposed recommended action.

Attachments:
Resolution
Redline - Council Administrative Policy
Council Administrative Policy

RESOLUTION NO.

A RESOLUTION OF THE CITY COUNCIL OF THE CITY OF BRENTWOOD ADOPTING AMENDMENTS TO THE COUNCIL/ADMINISTRATIVE POLICY NO. 110 1 RELATING TO CITY COUNCIL MEETING RULES AND PROCEDURES

WHEREAS, the City of Brentwood City Council requested the City Attorney to prepare amendments to the City Council Meeting Rules and Procedures; and

WHEREAS, the City of Brentwood has reviewed the proposed amendments to the Meeting Rules and Procedures as requested; and

WHEREAS, the City Council adopted the Meeting Rules and Procedures for city council meetings that shall apply to all regular, adjourned, and special city council meetings and now needs to incorporate amendments to the Council/Administrative Policy Manual.

NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED that the City Council of the City of Brentwood approves the proposed amendments to Council/Administrative Policy No. 110-1 relating to the City of Brentwood City Council Meeting Rules and Procedures, attached to the staff report for this resolution.

PASSED, APPROVED AND ADOPTED by the City Council of the City of Brentwood at a regular meeting held on the 26th day of August, 2003 by the following vote:

PURPOSE

The purpose of the Meeting Rules and Procedures is to establish protocol that will be convenient for the public and contribute to the orderly conduct of City business.

POLICY

RULE NO. 1

APPLICABILITY

The following rules of order and procedures of the city shall apply to all regular, adjourned regular and special meetings of the city council,.

Reference to “Mayor,” “Council,” “Councilmember,” and “City Clerk,” where appearing in this chapter, shall respectively mean “chairperson,” “planning commission,” “commissioner” and “secretary of the planning commission,” when applicable to planning commission meetings, etc. and as appropriate for other boards, commissions and agencies.

RULE NO. 2

MEETINGS

The term “meeting” means the gathering together of three or more members of the city council or a majority of the total members of any board, commission, or agency, each member within normal hearing distance of the other, at the time and place established by ordinance, resolution or motion, for regular or adjourned regular meetings or at such other time and place as authorized by law for special meetings, for the purpose of acting in their official capacity as the legislative body of the city in the case of the city council, and in their official capacity as a board, agency or commission, to make decisions, commitments or promises by a majority of the council, board, commission, or agency, or by actual vote by a majority of the vote of the council or a board, commission or agency when sitting as a body or entity upon a motion, proposal, resolution, order or ordinance.

Unless otherwise authorized by law to be held in closed session, all such meetings shall be open and public; provided, however, the city council may hold closed sessions from which the public may be excluded for the consideration of such matters as are specifically provided by the laws of the state.

Special meetings of the Council may be held at any time upon the call of the Mayor or in his/her absence or unwillingness of or make such a call, upon the call of a majority of the Council. Notice of any such meeting shall be given in accordance with the Ralph M. Brown Act, Government Code Sections 55950, et seq., as amended. The definition of a meeting in addition to that set forth above, shall include all legislative or final appellate court definitions.

RULE NO. 3

ADJOURNMENT

Any meeting may either be terminated or continued to another time, place or date by adjournment, regardless of whether or not all matters on the agenda or under discussion have been completed, acted on or concluded. Notwithstanding the above, no meeting shall be terminated before closing all public hearings which were notified for such meeting, without first continuing such public hearings to another time, place and date. Subject to the above, a motion to adjourn shall always be in order and decided without debate.

No meeting shall be adjourned to a date beyond the next regular meeting. Where a meeting is continued to a future date, if either the time or place, or either of them is not stated in the order of adjournment, it shall be deemed to be at the hour and place specified for meetings of the council.

If less than a quorum of councilmembers appear at a meeting, any member or, if all members are absent, the City Clerk, shall adjourn the meeting to a stated day and hour. The City Clerk shall cause a written notice of the adjournment to be given in the same manner as provided for special meetings, unless such notice is waived by a member of council.

Once adjourned, the meeting may not be reconvened.

RULE NO. 4

QUORUM AND MAJORITY VOTE

A majority of the total members of the council shall constitute a quorum and shall be sufficient to transact regular business. Such a quorum shall be required notwithstanding absences or vacancies. A councilmember present but abstaining shall be counted for purposes of constituting a quorum. A councilmember disqualified from voting by law shall not be counted for purposes of constituting a quorum. The foregoing shall not prevent less than a quorum, otherwise gathered at the time and place and for the purpose of conducting a meeting, from adjourning from time to time in accord with the law until a quorum is present.

RULE NO. 5

OFFICERS AND THEIR DUTIES

Councilmembers are expected to attend all meetings of the city council. If a councilmember fails to attend without permission all regular, adjourned regular or special meetings for sixty days consecutively from the last meeting attended, that office becomes vacant and shall be filled as any other vacancy.

Every December in even number years, Council shall select a Vice-Mayor from the four councilmembers eligible.

RULE NO. 6

DUTIES OF MAYOR AND VICE MAYOR

A. The Mayor shall be the presiding officer of the Council. In the absence of the Mayor of the Council, the Vice-Mayor shall preside over the Council. In the absence of the Vice-Mayor, the City Manager shall preside over the election of a temporary chair, who will preside until the return of one of the officers. The Mayor shall have the power, authority, and discretion, without a vote of the majority of the council to:

1. Open all meetings of the Council at the appointed hour by taking the chair and calling the Council to order.
2. Maintain order and proper decorum.
3. Announce the business before the Council in the order prescribed by these rules.
4. Receive and submit all matters properly brought before the Council, to call for votes upon the same, and to announce the results.
5. Authenticate by signature all acts of the Council as may be required by law.
6. Make known all Rules of Protocol when so requested, and to decide all questions of order, subject to an appeal of the Council.
7. Except as otherwise provided by these Rules, to preside at all closed sessions of the Council.
8. Perform such other duties as may be required by law or as may pertain to such office.
9. Sign all instruments requiring execution or agreement by the Council.
10. Serve as the chief spokesperson and representative for the Council for matters before the public, the State and Federal governments, and the City Administration.
11. delegateDelegate by administrative directive any of the duties assigned to the Mayor to the City Manager.
12. Set time limits on council discussion on any matter.
13. Set time limits on any communications from members of the public to the council; in no event shall any individual public communication exceed five minutes without the consent of the Mayor.
14. Declare the opening of public hearings.
15. Rule any motion on a subject not on the agenda as being out of order, in which case the motion shall thereafter be void.
16. Continue or postpone any matter until the next regular, adjourned regular or special meeting whenever the city attorney advises that there is a question as to the validity or constitutionality of the particular proposed course of action which is the subject matter of such motion.
17. Rule any speaker out of order, terminate any communication with the council from a member of the public and/or declare a recess in order to establish order at any meeting. Mayor may move, second and debate from the chair, subject only to such limitations of debate as are by these rules imposed upon all members. The Mayor shall not be deprived of any of the rights and privileges of a councilmember by reason of being Mayor or acting as the Mayor.

B. It shall be the duty of the Vice-Mayor:

1. In the absence of Mayor, the Vice-Mayor shall exercise the duties and powers of the Mayor .
2. To serve with the Mayor as spokesperson and representative for the Council.
3. To assist the Mayor in anticipating issues and problems deserving or in need of special meetings.

RULE NO. 7

CITY CLERK

The City Clerk shall be appointed by the City Manager. The City Clerk shall have power and be required to:

A. Be responsible for the recording and maintaining of a full and true record of all the proceedings of the Council in books that shall bear appropriate titles and be devoted to such purpose, and attend all meetings of the Council either in person or by deputy;
B. Maintain separate books, in which shall be recorded respectively all ordinances and resolutions, with the certificate of the Clerk annexed to each thereof stating the same to be the original or a correct copy, and as to an ordinance requiring publication, stating that the same has been published in accordance with state law; keep all books properly indexed and open to public inspection when not in actual use.
C. Maintain separate files, with appropriate indexes thereto, of all contracts the execution of which was specifically authorized by Council action, and of all official bonds of the City.
D. Be the custodian of the Seal of the City.
E. Administer oaths or affirmations, take affidavits and depositions pertaining to the affairs and business of the City and certify copies of official records.
F. Maintain in appropriate books and files such other records, documents, instruments, and papers as the Council shall provide by ordinance.
G. Except as may be otherwise provided by ordinance or resolution of the Council the destruction or other disposition of City records, documents, instruments, books, and papers in the custody of the City Clerk shall be governed by the laws of the State regulating the destruction or disposition of the records of general law cities and procedures adopted by the City Council.

RULE NO. 8

CITY ATTORNEY

The City Attorney shall be appointed and serve at the pleasure of the Council.

1. The City Attorney shall have power and may be required to:

(a) Represent and advise the Council and all City officers in all matters of law pertaining to their offices:;

(b) Represent and appear for the City in any or all actions or proceedings in which the City is concerned or is a party, including the prosecution of violations of this Charter and ordinances enacted by the Council, and represent and appear for any City Officer or employee, or former City Officer or employee, in any or all actions and proceedings in which any such officer or employee is concerned or is a party for any act arising out of his/her employment or by reason of his/her official capacity provided the interest of the City in such action or proceeding is not adversely affected;

(c) Attend all regular meetings of the Council and give his/her advice or opinion in writing whenever requested to do so by the Council or by any of the boards or officers of the City;

(d) Approve the form of all contracts made by and all bonds given to the City, endorsing his/her approval thereon in writing;

(e) Review any and all proposed ordinances or resolutions for the City and amendments thereto;

(f) Join in amicus briefs if there is no cost to the City.;

(g) Surrender to his/her successor all books, papers, files and documents pertaining to the City’s affairs.;

(h) The Council shall have control of all legal business and proceedings and City Attorney may employ other attorneys to take charge of any litigation or matter to assist the City Attorney therein.;

RULE NO. 9

COUNCIL ADVISORY COMMITTEES

Advisory committees may be created as needed with the concurrence of a majority of the Council.

Advisory committees shall assist in the resolution or study of issues arising from specific areas of concern resulting from the main subject matter assigned it by the Council.

All communications and advice from an advisory committee shall be made to the Council.

. Advisory committees shall serve until discharged by a majority of the Council.

RULE NO. 10

VOTING

Every vote taken by the Council shall be by open ballot.

There shall be four methods of ascertaining the decision of the Council upon any matter:

First, by a voice vote;

Second, by a call of the roll of the members in alphabetical order, except the Mayor who shall be last and a record made by the City Clerk of the vote of each member;

Second, by a voice vote;

Third, electronic vote; or

Fourth, by unanimous consent.

Upon the request of any member of the Council on any motion, the City Clerk shall call the roll. A member’s silence shall be recorded as an affirmative vote.

If a member does not vote in the affirmative or negative or does not respond in a manner permitted under this paragraph, the member shall be deemed to have voted in the affirmative.

. The City Clerk shall record each vote and each abstention in the Minute Book. Whenever the ayes and noes are called, a Councilmember shall not be permitted to explain a vote or an abstention without the unanimous consent of the Council. After the announcement of the result, a Councilmember shall not be permitted to vote or to change a vote or an abstention, except in the case of a motion to reconsider as set forth in Rule No. 25.

RULE NO. 11

DISCLOSURE OF INTEREST

As to conflict of interest issues, it is insufficient for a Councilmember who has a conflict to abstain from a vote. The Political Reform Act prohibits a Councilmember or Redevelopment Agency Board member from participating or influencing the rest of the Council in any way. When a Councilmember or Redevelopment Agency Board member does have a conflict of interest, he/she shall announce his/her conflict when the item comes up on the agenda and then he/she shall leave the dais and the City Council Chambers until the item has been voted upon.

RULE NO. 12

EFFECT OF NONOBSERVANCE

Failure to observe the rules set forth in this chapter shall not invalidate any action taken which is otherwise lawful but defective only for failure to follow the procedure outlined in this chapter.

RULE NO. 13

TIME AND PLACE OF MEETINGS

The City Council shall hold regular meetings in the council chambers of the City Hall, or at such other place as may be determined by the council. The times and dates of regular City council meetings shall be determined by the city council resolutions.

When the day for any meeting falls on a holiday as provided in this chapter, no meeting shall be held on such holiday, but a meeting may be held at the same hour on the following business day that is not a holiday.

Special meetings may be called at any time by the Mayor or by a majority of the members of the city council by delivering personally or by mail written notice to each councilmember and to each local newspaper of general circulation, radio or television station requesting notice at least twenty-four hours before the time of such meeting as specified in the notice and by posting, at least twenty-four hours prior to the special meeting in a location that is freely accessible to members of the public.

A. The call and notice shall specify the time and place of the special meeting and the business to be transacted.
B. No other business shall be considered at such meetings.
C. Written notice may be waived by any councilmember who, at or prior to the time the meeting convenes, files with the city clerk a written waiver of notice.
D. Such waiver may be given by email or other written documentation.
E. Such written notice may also be dispensed with as to any councilmember who is actually present at the meeting at the time it convenes.

RULE NO. 14

AGENDA--ORDER OF BUSINESS

All reports, communications, ordinances, contract documents or other matters, including basic fact and matters pertinent thereto, to be submitted to the council, shall be delivered to the City Clerk not later than 9 a.m. on the Tuesday preceding the meeting. The City Clerk shall thereafter arrange a list of such matters according to the order of business, and furnish each member of the council with a copy of the list not later than five p.m. on the Thursday preceding the regular or adjourned regular meeting. Whenever feasible, each item on the agenda shall contain a staff recommendation and the specific action requested to be taken by the council. All material pertaining to and accompanying the agenda shall be made available to the public when made available to the city council.

No matters other than those listed on the agenda shall be finally acted upon by the council provided, however, that matters not on the agenda may be submitted for council consideration and action pursuant to state law or under any of the following conditions:

A. Upon a determination by a majority vote of council that an emergency situation exists, as defined in Government Code Section 54956.5;

B. Upon a determination by a two-thirds vote of council, or if less than two-thirds of the members are present, a unanimous vote of those members present, that the need to take action arose subsequent to the agenda being posted; and

C. The item was posted for a prior meeting of the council occurring not more than five calendar days prior to the date action is taken on the item, and at the prior meeting the item was continued to the meeting at which action is being taken.

The business of the council shall, except upon an affirmative vote of the city council or a determination by the Mayor, be taken up for consideration and disposition at its meeting.

The regular order of business may be changed or suspended for any purpose at any particular meeting by the Mayor with the consent of a majority of the councilmembers present.

RULE NO. 15

MINUTES

Summary minutes for all minutes, including city boards, commissions, and agencies shall consist of a clear and concise statement of each and every council, board, commission, or agency action, including the motions made and the vote thereon. The city council shall determine the scope and format for all minutes including city boards, commissions and agencies. The City Clerk shall have exclusive responsibility for preparation of the City Council minutes. If a majority of the City Councilmembers approves a verbatim transcript, the City Clerk or his/her designate shall prepare the transcript.

Minutes may be approved without reading if the City Clerk has previously furnished each councilmember with a copy.

RULE NO. 16

VOTING

When any motion is in order for the question, a vote thereon shall be taken by voice, roll call, or voting device and entered in full upon the record.

A member’s vote may be changed only upon a timely request to do so immediately following the announcement of the vote by the city clerk and prior to the time that the next item in the order of business is taken up.

Ordinances, resolutions and other matters submitted to the council must be adopted by a majority vote of the total membership of the council unless a greater number of votes may be required by law. The word “majority” means three votes for the city council and all city boards, commissions and agencies with a total of five members. In instances where a majority vote cannot be obtained and no additional action is taken and one or more members of the council is absent, such matter shall automatically be added to a future agenda of the council to be considered at least once by the council with all members present.

RULE NO. 17

PUBLIC HEARINGS

The term “public hearing” includes all public hearings having specific notice requirements by state law or city ordinance, including employee disciplinary proceedings and proceedings for the revocation, suspension, or reinstatement of permits, licenses, and franchises.

Public hearings shall be conducted in the following order:

1. Staff Reports;

2. Hearing opened by Mayor;

3. Public testimony;

4. Close hearing by majority vote;

5. Discussion among city council; and

6. Action by majority vote.

On the date and at the time and place designated in the notice, the council shall afford any interested person or his or her authorized representative, or both, the opportunity to present witnesses, to present documentary evidence, to present statements, arguments or contentions orally and/or in writing, subject to the rules on addressing the council and rules stated in this chapter.

All oral statements, documents, exhibits, communications, petitions, maps, or displays submitted at the hearing may be considered by the council as evidence and in such event retained as part of the record. Whenever practicable, a written staff report shall be prepared and presented as part of the staff presentation. Evidence shall not be taken outside the council chambers and shall not be considered by the council, except when, during the hearing, the meeting is adjourned to a particular date, place and time for the purpose of taking visual or demonstrative evidence.

In the event a councilmember is absent at a meeting where a hearing is held which has been continued to a subsequent meeting, such member may participate in the matter at such subsequent meeting if otherwise qualified upon stating for the minutes that such councilmember has reviewed the written minutes of the prior portions of the hearing and is prepared to participate.

Any hearing being held or noticed or ordered to be held by the council may, by minute action, be continued to any subsequent regular or adjourned regular meeting of the council in compliance with the laws of the state.


RULE NO. 18

SPEAKING RIGHTS OF COUNCILMEMBERS

Every councilmember desiring to speak shall address the chair, and upon recognition by the Mayor shall confine comments to the question under debate, avoiding personalities and indecorous language.

A member, once recognized, shall not be interrupted when speaking unless it is to call such member to order, or as herein otherwise provided. If called to order while speaking, a member shall cease speaking until the question of order to be determined, and, if in order, shall be permitted to proceed.

The councilmember moving the adoption of an ordinance, resolution or council action shall have the privilege of closing the debate.


RULE NO. 19

MOTIONS

No motion may be debated nor voted upon unless it has received a second. Only one motion may be before the council at any time.

A motion to table takes precedence over all other motions and shall be subject to debate. When a motion to table is passed, the matter shall not again be considered by the council unless such matter is taken from the table by a majority vote of the council.

A matter once tabled shall not be placed on the agenda nor discussed unless a member who had voted to table such matter requests the council to have such matter taken from the table, or requests the clerk to place such matter on the agenda for the purposes of determining whether or not such matter shall be taken from the table.

RULE NO. 20

RULES OF ORDER

Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, proceedings of the council shall be governed by common sense and good taste. In the event of a dispute concerning procedural matters not specifically covered in this chapter, the majority vote of the council shall prevail.

Rules adopted to expedite the transaction of business of the council in an orderly fashion are deemed to be procedural only, and the failure to strictly observe such rules shall not affect the jurisdiction of the council or invalidate any action taken at a meeting that is otherwise held in conformity with the law.

RULE NO. 21

ADDRESSING THE COUNCIL
.

Any person desiring to address the council shall first secure the permission of the Mayor to do so. In addition, but unless the Mayor rules otherwise, any person shall have the right to address the council upon obtaining recognition by the Mayor to speak subject to the following:

A. Public Hearings. Interested persons or their authorized representatives may address the council orally or in writing relating to the matters which are then subject to a public hearing.

B. Non-“Hearing” Matters. Interested parties or their authorized representatives may address the council with regard to matters with which they are concerned and are then the subject of council discussion. When copies of such communications are furnished each councilmember present, such written communications shall not be read aloud at the meeting unless so ordered by a majority vote of the council. Written communications from the administrative staff shall not be read aloud unless requested by any councilmember.

C. Oral Communications. Any person may address the council under oral communications with regard to any matter with which they are concerned. The council shall not discuss any matter not on the agenda pursuant to state law and this chapter nor take any action except to refer such matter to a future agenda.

D. Addressing the Council. Each person addressing the council shall speak into the microphone at the speaker’s podium, and should state his or her name and address in an audible tone of voice for the record, and unless further time is granted by the Mayor shall limit the remarks to five minutes. All remarks shall be addressed to the council as a body, and not to any member thereof. No person other than the council and the person having the floor shall be permitted to enter into any discussion, either directly or through a member of the council, without the permission of the Mayor

E. Limitation to Agenda Item. Except under oral communications, the Mayor shall not permit any communication, written or oral, to be made or submitted unless such communication addresses the agenda item then under discussion.

F. Consent Required. No person shall address or question a councilmember, the staff or any other person without the prior consent of the Mayor.

G. Permission to Speak. After a motion is made by a councilmember, no person shall address the council without first securing the permission of the council to do so.

H. Anonymous Communications. Anonymous communications shall not be considered nor placed on the agenda.

I. Group Communications. When any identifiable group of persons, as opposed to the general public at large, wishes to address the council on the same agenda item, the Mayor shall have the discretion to request that a spokesperson be chosen by said group to address the council. If additional issues are to be presented at the hearing by any other member of such group, the Mayor may limit the number of persons and the time periods to address the council, so as to avoid unnecessary repetition of issues before the council.

J. Additional Opportunity to Address the Council. Subject to the needs of the council to expeditiously perform its business and to avoid repetitive testimony, any person may be permitted by the Mayor to address the council more than once on any particular item. No person shall be allowed to address the council more than once on an item until all persons present and wishing to address the council have been provided the opportunity to do so. The Mayor may limit the time period allowed any person to address the council on an item more than one time, and shall not permit repetitive testimony from any person.


RULE NO. 22

RULES OF DECORUM -- ENFORCEMENT

While the council is in session, all persons shall preserve the order and decorum of the session; and a member shall neither by conversation or otherwise delay or interrupt the proceedings or the peace of the council nor disturb any member while speaking, or refuse to obey the orders of the council or its Mayor, except as otherwise herein provided.

Any person making personal, impertinent or slanderous remarks, or who becomes boisterous while addressing the council, which conduct delays or interrupts the due course of the meeting, shall be forthwith barred from further audience before that session of the council by the Mayor, unless permission to continue is granted by majority vote of the council.

While the council is in session, any person or councilmember who acts in a disorderly, contemptuous or insolent manner towards the council or any councilmember thereof, or who becomes boisterous while addressing the council or any councilmember thereof, which conduct delays or interrupts the due course of the meeting, or any member of the public in attendance who fails, on demand of the Mayor, to comply with any order of the Mayor made in accord with the authority of this chapter, is subject to the criminal penalties of the Brentwood Municipal Code.

No person, except city officials and their representatives, shall be permitted within the area beyond the rostrum which is reserved for staff and council without the express consent of the council.

The city manager may designate such appropriate person or persons to act as sergeant at arms to carry out all orders and instructions given by the Mayor for the purposes of maintaining order and decorum at the council meeting. Upon instructions of the Mayor, it shall be the duty of the sergeant at arms, or any of them present, to place any person who violates the order and decorum of the meeting under arrest, and cause such person to be prosecuted under provisions of this code, the complaint to be signed by the Mayor or other appropriate person present.

RULE NO. 23

CONSIDERATION OF MAYORIAL APPOINTMENTS

Action by the Council on requests by the Mayor for confirmation or approval of an appointee or nominee to a public office or position shall be taken by minute action confirming or not confirming the appointee or nominee.

RULE NO. 24

PETITIONS

Any person may petition the Council. Petitions and other matters shall be in writing, signed by the petitioners or persons presenting them. All petitions shall be made part of the official records kept by the City Clerk and referred to committee, as appropriate.


RULE NO. 25

RECONSIDERATION

A motion to reconsider any action approved by the Council shall be made by a member of the majority no later than the end of the next public meeting of the Council. It may be either immediately during the same session, or at a recessed or adjourned session thereof. Such motion mustmay be made at any time and have precedence over all other motions or while a member has the floor; it shall be debatable.
RULE NO. 26

PRIORITY OF BUSINESS

The majority of the entire membership of the Council may, by motion, designate any matter to be a special order of business, which shall take precedence over all other business. A special order of business action is limited to matters properly noticed and placed on the agenda under the Ralph M. Brown Act, Government Code Sections 54950 et. seq.

The Mayor or a majority of the Council shall decide all questions relating to the priority of business to be acted upon by the Council without debate.

The order of business will be as follows:

Roll Call
Pledge of Allegiance
Awards, commendations, proclamations, and honorary resolutions.
(Council quorum not necessary.)
Approval of Agenda
Adopt Uncontested Consent Calendar Items & Minutes
Contested Consent Items
Proceed with Order of Agenda.
Closed Session (Can be conducted before the meeting or after all items of the
Agenda have been completed)

Consent calendar items will be enacted by one motion. There will be no separate discussion of such items unless requested by a Councilmember. Items pulled for discussion will be considered immediately after the uncontested consent items have been approved. A Councilmember may also pull a consent item simply to move an item or oppose an item without discussion. An item pulled to move or to oppose with no discussion may be voted upon during the Uncontested Consent Calendar section of the agenda.

RULE NO. 27

NEW RULES AND AMENDMENTS

A rule of the Council may be altered or rescinded and a new rule may be adopted by a resolution approved by an affirmative vote of a majority of the entire membership of the Council at an open meeting. Any amendments would have to be placed on the agenda before Council may take action to amend them.

RULE NO. 28

POLICIES AND PROTOCOL RELATED TO CONDUCT

A. Ceremonial Events.
Requests for a City representative at ceremonial events will be handled by City staff. The Mayor will serve as the designated City representative. If the Mayor is unavailable, then City staff will determine if event organizers would like another representative from the Council. If yes, then the Mayor will recommend which Councilmember should be asked to serve as a substitute. Invitations received at City Hall are presumed to be for official City representation. Invitations addressed to Councilmembers at their homes are presumed to be for unofficial, personal consideration.

B. Correspondence Signatures.
Councilmembers do not need to acknowledge the receipt of correspondence, or copies of correspondence, during Council meetings. City staff will prepare official letters in response to public inquiries and concerns. These letters will carry the signature of the Mayor unless the Mayor requests that they be signed by another Councilmember or City staff. If correspondence is addressed only to one Councilmember, that Councilmember should check with staff on the best way to respond to the sender.

C. Endorsement of Candidates.
Councilmembers have the right to endorse candidates for all Council seats or other elected offices. It is inappropriate to mention endorsements during Council meetings or other official City meetings.

D. Non-agenda Items.
During a designated time period on the agenda, citizens, Councilmembers and staff may bring forth issues or questions that are not on the meeting’s agenda. Topics should be legislative items requiring action by the Mayor or the Council, study issues for future consideration, and requests for information. Each speaker, citizen, or elected official will be limited to five minutes.

E. Public Announcements in Council Meetings.
Councilmembers are encouraged to report on their activities and other items of public interest. Councilmembers speak during the Council Comments portion of the Council meeting. Councilmembers who wish to recognize achievements or promote an event should place the matter on the agenda under “Proclamations, Presentation, Recognitions, Announcements and Appointments.”

F. Public Meeting Hearing Protocol.
After presentation of the matter by staff, if appropriate, the applicant or appellant shall have the right to speak first. The Chair will determine the length of time allowed for this presentation. Speakers representing either pro or con points of view will be allowed to follow. The Chair will determine how much time will be allowed for each speaker, with three to five minutes the standard time granted. The applicant or appellant will be allowed to make closing comments. The Chair has the responsibility to run an efficient public meeting and has the discretion to modify the public hearing process in order to make the meeting run smoothly. Councilmembers will not express opinions during the public hearing portion of the meeting except to ask pertinent questions of the speaker or staff. “I think” and “I feel” statements by Councilmembers are not appropriate until after the close of the public hearing. Councilmembers should refrain from arguing or debating with the public during a public hearing and shall always show respect for different points of view.

G. Travel Expenses.
The policies and procedures related to the reimbursement of travel expenses for official City business by Councilmembers are outlined in the City’s Travel Policy and Procedures. All Council travel in excess of the allowed budget, in which the Councilmember expects to officially represent the City and/or be reimbursed by the City for travel costs, must be approved in advance by the Council. The travel policy and budget for Council should be reviewed at each two-year budget cycle.

RULE NO. 29

COUNCIL CONDUCT WITH ONE ANOTHER

Councils are composed of individuals with a wide variety of backgrounds, personalities, values, opinions, and goals. Despite this diversity, all have chosen to serve in public office in order to preserve and protect the present and future of the community. In all cases, this common goal should be acknowledged even as Council may “agree to disagree” on contentious issues.

A. In Public Meetings.

(i) Use formal titles. The Council should refer to one another formally during public meetings as Mayor, Vice Mayor or Councilmember followed by the individual’s last name.

(ii) Practice civility and decorum in discussions and debate. Difficult questions, tough challenges to a particular point of view, and criticism of ideas and information are legitimate elements of a free democracy in action. This does not allow, however, Councilmembers to make belligerent, personal, impertinent, slanderous, threatening, abusive, or disparaging comments. No shouting or physical actions that could be construed as threatening will be tolerated.

(iii) Honor the role of the Chair in maintaining order. It is the responsibility of the Chair to keep the comments of Councilmembers on track during public meetings. Councilmembers should honor efforts by the Chair to focus discussion on current agenda items. If there is disagreement about the agenda or the Chair’s action, those objections should be voiced politely and with reason, following procedures outlined in parliamentary procedure.

(iv) Avoid personal comments that could offend other Councilmembers. If a Councilmember is personally offended by the remarks of another Councilmember, the offended Councilmember should make notes of the actual words used and call for a “point of personal privilege” that challenges the other Councilmember to justify or apologize for the language used. The Chair will maintain control of this discussion.

(v) Demonstrate effective problem-solving approaches. Councilmembers have a public stage to show how individuals with disparate points of view can find common ground and seek a compromise that benefits the community as a whole.

B. In Private Encounters.

(i) Continue respectful behavior in private. The same level of respect and consideration of differing points of view that is deemed appropriate for public discussions should be maintained in private conversations.

(ii) Be aware of the insecurity of written notes, voicemail messages, and e-mail. Technology allows words written or said without much forethought to be distributed wide and far. Would you feel comfortable to have this note faxed to others? How would you feel if this voicemail message was played on a speakerphone in a full office? What would happen if this e-mail message were forwarded to others? Written notes, voicemail messages and e-mail should be treated as potentially “public” communication.

(iii) Even private conversations can have a public presence. Elected officials are always on display – people around them they may not know will monitor their actions, mannerisms, and language. Casual comments between individuals before and after public meetings are noted and can be read in the newspaper.

RULE NO. 30

COUNCIL CONDUCT WITH CITY STAFF

Governance of a City relies upon the cooperative efforts of elected officials who set policy and City staff who implement and administer the Council’s policies. Therefore, every effort should be made to be cooperative and show mutual respect for the contributions made by each individual for the good of the community.

(i) Treat all staff as professionals. Clear, honest communication that respects the abilities, experience, and dignity of each individual is expected. Poor behavior towards staff is not acceptable.

(ii) Limit contact to specific City staff. Questions of City staff and/or requests for additional background information should be directed only to the City Manager, City Attorney and Assistant City Manager. The Office of the City Manager should be copied on any request, except those to the City Attorney. Requests for follow-up or directions to staff should be made only through the City Manager or the City Attorney when appropriate. When in doubt about what staff contact is appropriate, Councilmembers should ask the City Manager for direction. Materials supplied to a Councilmember in response to a request will be made available to all members of the Council so that all have equal access to information.

(iii) Disrupting City staff work. City Councilmembers should not disrupt staff while staff is attending meetings, on the phone, or engrossed in performing their job functions, in order to meet a Councilmember’s individual needs.

(iv) Never publicly criticize an individual employee. Council should never express concerns about the performance of a City employee in public, to the employee directly, or to the employee’s manager. Comments about staff performance should only be made to the City Manager through private correspondence or conversation.

(v) Do not get involved in administrative functions. Councilmembers must not attempt to influence City staff on the making of appointments, awarding of contracts, selecting of consultants, processing of development applications, or granting of City licenses and permits unless required.

(vi) Check with City staff on correspondence before taking action. Before sending correspondence, Councilmembers should check with City staff to see if an official City response has already been sent or is in progress.

(vii) Limit requests for staff support. Routine secretarial support will be provided to all Councilmembers. All mail for Councilmembers is opened by the City Clerk’s office unless a Councilmember requests other arrangements. Mail addressed to the Mayor is reviewed first by the City Manager who notes suggested action and/or follow-up items. Requests for additional staff support – even in high priority or emergency situations – should be made to the City Manager who is responsible for allocating City resources in order to maintain a professional, well-run City government.

(viii) Do not solicit political support from staff. Councilmembers should not solicit any type of political support (financial contributions, display of posters or lawn signs, name on support list, etc.) from City staff. City staff may, as private citizens with constitutional rights, support political candidates but all such activities must be done away from the workplace.



RULE NO. 31

GUIDELINES FOR
COUNCIL CONDUCT WITH THE PUBLIC

A. In Public Meetings.

Making the public feel welcome is an important part of the democratic process. No signs of partiality, prejudice or disrespect should be evident on the part of individual Councilmembers toward an individual participating in a public forum. Every effort should be made to be fair and impartial in listening to public testimony.

(i) Be welcoming to speakers and treat them with respect.

(ii) Be fair and equitable in allocating public hearing time to individual speakers. “The first thing the Mayor said to me was to be brief because the meeting was running late and the Council was eager to go home. That shouldn’t be my problem. I’m sorry my item was at the end of the agenda and that there were a lot of speakers, but it is critically important to me and I should be allowed to say what I have to say and believe that the Council is listening to me.”

The Chair will determine and announce limits on speakers at the start of the public hearing process. Generally, each speaker will be allocated five minutes, with applicants and appellants or their designated representatives allowed more time. If many speakers are anticipated, the Chair may shorten the time limit and/or ask speakers to limit themselves to new information and points of view not already covered by previous speakers.

No speaker will be turned away unless he or she exhibits inappropriate behavior. Each speaker may only speak once during the public hearing unless the Council requests additional clarification later in the process. After the close of the public hearing, no more public testimony will be accepted unless the Chair reopens the public hearing for a limited and specific purpose.

(iii) Give the appearance of active listening. It is disconcerting to speakers to have Councilmembers not look at them when they are speaking. It is fine to look down at documents or to make notes, but reading for a long period of time, gazing around the room, gives the appearance of disinterest. Be aware of facial expressions, especially those that could be interpreted as smirking, disbelief, anger, or boredom.

(iv) Ask for clarification, but avoid debate and argument with the public. Only the Chair – not individual Councilmembers – can interrupt a speaker during a presentation. However, a Councilmember can ask the Chair for a point of order if the speaker is off the topic or exhibiting behavior or language the Councilmember finds disturbing. If speakers become flustered or defensive by Council questions, it is the responsibility of the Chair to calm and focus the speaker and to maintain the order and decorum of the meeting. Questions by Councilmembers to members of the public testifying should seek to clarify or expand information. It is never appropriate to belligerently challenge or belittle the speaker. Councilmembers’ personal opinions or inclinations about upcoming votes should not be revealed until after the public hearing is closed.

(v) No personal attacks of any kind, under any circumstances. Councilmembers should be aware that their body language and tone of voice, as well as the words they use, could appear to be intimidating or aggressive.

(vi) Follow parliamentary procedure in conducting public meetings. The City Attorney is available to answer questions or interpret situations according to parliamentary procedures. The Chair, subject to the appeal of the full Council, makes final rulings on parliamentary procedure.

B. In Unofficial Settings.

(i) Make no promises on behalf of the Council. Councilmembers will frequently be asked to explain a Council action or to give their opinion about an issue as they meet and talk with constituents in the community. It is appropriate to give a brief overview of City policy and to refer to City staff for further information. It is inappropriate to overtly or implicitly promise Council action, or to promise City staff will do something specific (fix a pothole, remove a library book, plant new flowers in the median, etc.)

(ii) Make no personal comments about other Councilmembers. It is acceptable to publicly disagree about an issue, but it is unacceptable to make derogatory comments about other Councilmembers, their opinions or actions.

(iii) Remember that despite population figures, Brentwood is a small town at heart. The community is constantly observing Councilmembers every day that they serve in office. Their behaviors and comments serve as models for proper deportment in the City of Brentwood. Honesty and respect for the dignity of each individual should be reflected in every word and action taken by Councilmembers, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is a serious and continuous responsibility.

RULE NO. 32

COUNCIL CONDUCT WITH OTHER PUBLIC AGENCIES

Be clear about representing the City or personal interests. If a Councilmember appears before another governmental agency or organization to give a statement on an issue, the Councilmember must clearly state: 1) if his or her statement reflects personal opinion or is the official stance of the City; and 2) whether this is the majority or minority opinion of the Council.

If the Councilmember is representing the City, the Councilmember must support and advocate the official City position on an issue, not a personal viewpoint. If the Council-member is representing another organization whose position is different from the City, the Councilmember should withdraw from voting on the issue if it significantly impacts or is detrimental to the City’s interest. Councilmembers should be clear about which organizations they represent and inform the Mayor and Council of their involvement.

Correspondence also should be equally clear about representation. City letterhead may be used when the Councilmember is representing the City and the City’s official position. A copy of official correspondence should be filed in the Council Office as part of the permanent public record.

City letterhead is not to be used for correspondence of Councilmembers representing a personal point of view, or a dissenting point of view from an official Council position. However, if a Councilmember uses City letterhead to express a personal opinion, the official City position must be stated clearly so the reader understands the difference between the official City position and the minor viewpoint of the Councilmember.

RULE NO. 33

COUNCIL CONDUCT WITH COMMISSIONS

The City has established several Commissions as a means of gathering more community input. Citizens who serve on Commissions become more involved in government and serve as advisors to the City Council. They are a valuable resource to the City’s leadership and should be treated with appreciation and respect.

(i) If attending a Commission meeting, be careful to only express personal opinions. Councilmembers may attend any Commission meeting, which are always open to any member of the public; however, they should be sensitive that their participation – especially if it is on behalf of an individual, business or developer – could be viewed as unfairly affecting the process. Any public comments by a Councilmember at a Commission meeting should be clearly made as individual opinion and not a representation of the feelings of the entire City Council.

(ii) Limit contact with Commission members to questions of clarification. It is inappropriate for a Councilmember to contact a Commission member to lobby on behalf of an individual, business, or developer. It is acceptable for Councilmembers to contact Commission members in order to clarify a position taken by the Commission.

(iii) Remember that Commissions serve the community, not individual Councilmembers. The Mayor appoints, with City Council approval, individuals to serve on Commissions and it is the responsibility of Commissions to follow policy established by the Council. Commission members do not report to individual Councilmembers, nor should Councilmembers feel they have the power or right to threaten Commission members with removal if they disagree about an issue. Appointment and re-appointment to a Commission should be based on such criteria as expertise, ability to work with staff and the public, and commitment to fulfilling official duties. A Commission appointment should not be used as a political “reward.”

(iv) Be respectful of diverse opinions. A primary role of Commissions is to represent many points of view in the community and to provide the Council with advice based on a full spectrum of concerns and perspectives. Councilmembers may have a closer working relationship with some individuals serving on Commissions, but must be fair and respectful of all citizens serving on Commissions.

(v) Keep political support away from public forums. Commission members may offer political support to a Councilmember, but not in a public forum while conducting official duties. Conversely, Councilmembers may support Commission members who are running for office, but not in an official forum in their capacity as a Councilmember.

(vi) Inappropriate behavior can lead to removal. Inappropriate behavior by a Commission member should be noted to the Mayor, and the Mayor should counsel the offending member. If inappropriate behavior continues, the Mayor should bring the situation to the attention of the Council and the individual is subject to removal from the Commission.

RULE NO. 34

COUNCIL CONDUCT WITH THE MEDIA

Councilmembers are frequently contacted by the media for background and quotes.

(i) The best advice for dealing with the media is to never go “off the record.” Most members of the media represent the highest levels of journalistic integrity and ethics, and can be trusted to keep their word. But one bad experience can be catastrophic. Words that are not said cannot be quoted.

(ii) The Mayor is the official spokesperson for the Council on City policy. The Mayor is the designated representative of the Council to present and speak on the official City position. If the media contacts an individual Councilmember, the Councilmember should be clear about whether their comments represent the official City position or a personal viewpoint.

(iii) Choose words carefully and cautiously. Comments taken out of context can cause problems. Be especially cautious about humor, sardonic asides, sarcasm, or word play. It is never appropriate to use personal slurs or swear words when talking with the media.

RULE NO. 35

SANCTIONS

Public Disruption
Members of the public who do not follow proper conduct after a warning in a public hearing may be barred from further testimony at that meeting or removed from the Council Chambers.


Inappropriate Staff Behavior
Councilmembers should refer to the City Manager any City staff who do not follow proper conduct in their dealings with Councilmembers, other City staff, or the public. These employees may be disciplined in accordance with standard City procedures for such actions.

Councilmembers’ Behavior and Conduct
City Councilmembers who intentionally and repeatedly do not follow proper conduct may be reprimanded or formally censured by the Council, lose committee assignments (both within the City of Brentwood or with inter-governmental agencies) or have official travel restricted. Serious infractions of the Code of Ethics or Code of Conduct could lead to other sanctions as deemed appropriate by Council.

Councilmembers should point out to the offending Councilmember infractions of the Code of Ethics or Code of Conduct. If the offenses continue, then the matter should be referred to the Mayor in private. If the Mayor is the individual whose actions are being challenged, then the matter should be referred to the Vice Mayor.

It is the responsibility of the Mayor to initiate action if a Councilmember’s behavior may warrant sanction. If the Mayor takes no action, the alleged violation(s) can be brought up with the full Council in a public meeting.

If violation of the Code of Ethics or Code of Conduct is outside of the observed behaviors by the Mayor or Councilmembers, the alleged violation should be referred to the Mayor. The Mayor should ask the City Manager and/or the City Attorney to investigate the allegation and report the findings to the Mayor. It is the Mayor’s responsibility to take the next appropriate action. These actions can include, but are not limited to: discussion and counseling with the individual, recommending sanction to the full Council to consider in a public meeting, and forming a Council ad hoc subcommittee to review the allegation, the investigation and findings, as well as to recommend sanction options for Council consideration.

RULE NO. 36

COUNCIL TRAVEL AND EXPENSE

The City will pay actual and necessary expenses incurred by Councilmembers when on official duty on order of the City Council pursuant to the following guidelines:

A. Councilmembers’ attendance at conferences and meetings.

Attendance at conferences and meetings can be both beneficial and cost effective to the City. For those Councilmembers who choose to participate, attendance would be viewed as an extension of official City responsibilities. Councilmembers may choose to attend a conference for one or more of the following reasons:

1. Voting Delegate.

The City is usually requested to designate an official delegate from among the Council who will cast the City’s vote and represent the City’s position on business presented before the conference delegation.

2. Committee Membership.

Councilmembers may choose to serve on local, state and national committees which provide the opportunity to represent state or City interests in key policy and legislative areas. Meetings are often held in conjunction with annual conferences, as a means of saving cost and encouraging wider attendance.

3. Education.

Most conferences are workshops and seminars which are used to brief Councilmembers on key legislation, policies or programs impacting local government.

4. Advocacy.

A conference environment offers Councilmembers the opportunity to articulate the City’s position on key legislation and funding policies with key elected/appointed officials on both the state and federal levels.

5. Sharing of City’s Expertise.

Brentwood Councilmembers may, on occasion, be invited to present papers or presentations to a conference or workshop with the goal of improving the efficiency and performance of local government in general.

B. Affiliations.

Each year the Council will assess the benefit of City membership in the following organizations which have traditionally been identified as providing support and service to local governments:

 The National League of Cities (NLC)
 U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM)
 League of California Cities (LCC)

C. Conferences.

The following conferences and meetings are approved for inclusion by Councilmembers in the annual Council Travel Budget:

 Annual Meeting (National League of Cities)
 Local Government Commission
 Annual Conference (LCC)
 New Councilmembers Conference (LCC)
 Bi-Annual Legislative Conference (LCC)
 Contra Costa Mayors’ Conference
 Planners Institute (LCC)
 General Conference (GVC)
 National Association of Cities
 Brentwood Agricultural Trust

Attendance at one-day workshops not requiring air travel and which meet any of the purposes cited in Section A above may be included in the travel budget.

Councilmembers traveling at City expense to conferences and committee meetings of National League of Cities. U. S. Conference of Mayor, the League of California Cities, shall submit a written activity report to the entire Council. The written activity report shall be submitted at the same time the expense statement is submitted.

D. Budget.

The cost of the proposed travel must not exceed the fiscal year adopted budget. Beginning in fiscal year 2003-04, the annual appropriation for general travel shall be divided equally among the five members of the City Council. It is not always possible to anticipate all future plans of every organization or group. As such, the adopted travel budget can be amended during the fiscal year by approval of the City Council at a public meeting. The budget for Council travel should be reviewed at each two-year budget cycle.

E. Approval and Monitoring.

Specific Council authorization is not required for Councilmembers to attend conferences and meetings which fall under Section C of this policy, subject to the Councilmember’s budget limitations. In addition, Councilmembers may attend conferences and meetings that meet one or more of the following purposes, subject to individual budget limitations and prior Council approval to attend:

 Committee/board meetings of NLC and LCC
 Conferences that are of obvious benefit to the City
 Councilmember has been invited to present a City/State position
 Councilmember is lobbying on behalf of a City/State program
 Conferences that provide professional development for Councilmembers in carrying out official City responsibilities

Staff will work with each Councilmember to prepare an individual annual budget, based upon the Councilmember’s travel plans relating to appointments to organizations and individual interests. This will be amended as necessary. The purpose of this budget is to provide a monitoring tool for each Councilmember’s travel budget. This budget does not need Council approval, as it is subject to the overall guidelines of this policy. In the event that a Councilmember’s travel budget, as amended, will result in the individual allocation being exceeded, the budget must go to Council for approval. As Councilmembers request authorization to attend any conference requiring Council approval above, the effect of that travel on the individual Councilmember’s budget will be provided to Council at that time.

Each Councilmember will be provided with an update of his/her travel expenses compared to budget as expenses are paid. In addition, the City Manager (who authorizes payment of expenses) will receive current information on each Councilmember’s expenditures in a timely manner.

F. Expense Reimbursed.

Expenses will be paid by the City for conferences, conventions, meetings, workshops, seminars, activities and the like in accordance with the City’s Travel Policy and Procedures.

G. Reporting of Expenses.

1. Statements of expense shall be submitted to the City Manager on forms provided for such purpose. The statement shall show all expenses incurred which are chargeable to the City.

2. Documentation. Written receipts shall be required to show expenses incurred for air travel, lodging and rental vehicles. Written receipts shall not otherwise be required.

3. Statements of expenses for conferences, which include all expenses incurred, shall be submitted no later than 21 days after return from a conference or meeting, so that they can be forwarded to the City Manager no later than 30 days after return. Statements of expenses incurred for local meetings or activities should be submitted within 30 days of the time such expense was incurred; provided, however, that statements of expense for local mileage should be submitted monthly. Statements submitted after the dates specified shall be received and claims based thereon be paid if in order.

4. The City Manager shall review and approve statements of expense for all Councilmembers.

5. Any Councilmember who believes that the City Manager has denied approval of an expense may appeal the decision to the entire City Council.



PURPOSE

The purpose of the Meeting Rules and Procedures is to establish protocol that will be convenient for the public and contribute to the orderly conduct of City business.


POLICY

RULE NO. 1

APPLICABILITY

The following rules of order and procedures of the city shall apply to all regular, adjourned regular and special meetings of the city council.

Reference to “Mayor,” “Council,” “Councilmember,” and “City Clerk,” where appearing in this chapter, shall respectively mean “chairperson,” “planning commission,” “commissioner” and “secretary of the planning commission,” when applicable to planning commission meetings, etc. and as appropriate for other boards, commissions and agencies.

RULE NO. 2

MEETINGS

The term “meeting” means the gathering together of three or more members of the city council or a majority of the total members of any board, commission, or agency, each member within normal hearing distance of the other, at the time and place established by ordinance, resolution or motion, for regular or adjourned regular meetings or at such other time and place as authorized by law for special meetings, for the purpose of acting in their official capacity as the legislative body of the city in the case of the city council, and in their official capacity as a board, agency or commission, to make decisions, commitments or promises by a majority of the council, board, commission, or agency, or by actual vote by a majority of the vote of the council or a board, commission or agency when sitting as a body or entity upon a motion, proposal, resolution, order or ordinance.

Unless otherwise authorized by law to be held in closed session, all such meetings shall be open and public; provided, however, the city council may hold closed sessions from which the public may be excluded for the consideration of such matters as are specifically provided by the laws of the state.

Special meetings of the Council may be held at any time upon the call of the Mayor or in his/her absence or unwillingness or make such a call, upon the call of a majority of the Council. Notice of any such meeting shall be given in accordance with the Ralph M. Brown Act, Government Code Sections 55950, et seq., as amended. The definition of a meeting in addition to that set forth above, shall include all legislative or final appellate court definitions.


RULE NO. 3

ADJOURNMENT

Any meeting may either be terminated or continued to another time, place or date by adjournment, regardless of whether or not all matters on the agenda or under discussion have been completed, acted on or concluded. Notwithstanding the above, no meeting shall be terminated before closing all public hearings which were notified for such meeting, without first continuing such public hearings to another time, place and date. Subject to the above, a motion to adjourn shall always be in order and decided without debate.

No meeting shall be adjourned to a date beyond the next regular meeting. Where a meeting is continued to a future date, if either the time or place, or either of them is not stated in the order of adjournment, it shall be deemed to be at the hour and place specified for meetings of the council.

If less than a quorum of councilmembers appear at a meeting, any member or, if all members are absent, the City Clerk, shall adjourn the meeting to a stated day and hour. The City Clerk shall cause a written notice of the adjournment to be given in the same manner as provided for special meetings, unless such notice is waived by a member of council.

Once adjourned, the meeting may not be reconvened.

RULE NO. 4

QUORUM AND MAJORITY VOTE

A majority of the total members of the council shall constitute a quorum and shall be sufficient to transact regular business. Such a quorum shall be required notwithstanding absences or vacancies. A councilmember present but abstaining shall be counted for purposes of constituting a quorum. A councilmember disqualified from voting by law shall not be counted for purposes of constituting a quorum. The foregoing shall not prevent less than a quorum, otherwise gathered at the time and place and for the purpose of conducting a meeting, from adjourning from time to time in accord with the law until a quorum is present.

RULE NO. 5

OFFICERS AND THEIR DUTIES

Councilmembers are expected to attend all meetings of the city council. If a councilmember fails to attend without permission all regular, adjourned regular or special meetings for sixty days consecutively from the last meeting attended, that office becomes vacant and shall be filled as any other vacancy.

Every December in even number years, Council shall select a Vice-Mayor from the four councilmembers eligible.

RULE NO. 6

DUTIES OF MAYOR AND VICE MAYOR

A. The Mayor shall be the presiding officer of the Council. In the absence of the Mayor of the Council, the Vice-Mayor shall preside over the Council. In the absence of the Vice-Mayor, the City Manager shall preside over the election of a temporary chair, who will preside until the return of one of the officers. The Mayor shall have the power, authority, and discretion, without a vote of the majority of the council to:

1. Open all meetings of the Council at the appointed hour by taking the chair and calling the Council to order.
2. Maintain order and proper decorum.
3. Announce the business before the Council in the order prescribed by these rules.
4. Receive and submit all matters properly brought before the Council, to call for votes upon the same, and to announce the results.
5. Authenticate by signature all acts of the Council as may be required by law.
6. Make known all Rules of Protocol when so requested, and to decide all questions of order, subject to an appeal of the Council.
7. Except as otherwise provided by these Rules, to preside at all closed sessions of the Council.
8. Perform such other duties as may be required by law or as may pertain to such office.
9. Sign all instruments requiring execution or agreement by the Council.
10. Serve as the chief spokesperson and representative for the Council for matters before the public, the State and Federal governments, and the City Administration.
11. Delegate by administrative directive any of the duties assigned to the Mayor to the City Manager.
12. Set time limits on council discussion on any matter.
13. Set time limits on any communications from members of the public to the council; in no event shall any individual public communication exceed five minutes without the consent of the Mayor.
14. Declare the opening of public hearings.
15. Rule any motion on a subject not on the agenda as being out of order, in which case the motion shall thereafter be void.
16. Continue or postpone any matter until the next regular, adjourned regular or special meeting whenever the city attorney advises that there is a question as to the validity or constitutionality of the particular proposed course of action which is the subject matter of such motion.
17. Rule any speaker out of order, terminate any communication with the council from a member of the public and/or declare a recess in order to establish order at any meeting. Mayor may move, second and debate from the chair, subject only to such limitations of debate as are by these rules imposed upon all members. The Mayor shall not be deprived of any of the rights and privileges of a councilmember by reason of being Mayor or acting as the Mayor.

B. It shall be the duty of the Vice-Mayor:

1. In the absence of Mayor, the Vice-Mayor shall exercise the duties and powers of the Mayor.
2. To serve with the Mayor as spokesperson and representative for the Council.
3. To assist the Mayor in anticipating issues and problems deserving or in need of special meetings.

RULE NO. 7

CITY CLERK

The City Clerk shall be appointed by the City Manager. The City Clerk shall have power and be required to:

A. Be responsible for the recording and maintaining of a full and true record of all the proceedings of the Council in books that shall bear appropriate titles and be devoted to such purpose, and attend all meetings of the Council either in person or by deputy;
B. Maintain separate books, in which shall be recorded respectively all ordinances and resolutions, with the certificate of the Clerk annexed to each thereof stating the same to be the original or a correct copy, and as to an ordinance requiring publication, stating that the same has been published in accordance with state law; keep all books properly indexed and open to public inspection when not in actual use.
C. Maintain separate files, with appropriate indexes thereto, of all contracts the execution of which was specifically authorized by Council action, and of all official bonds of the City.
D. Be the custodian of the Seal of the City.
E. Administer oaths or affirmations, take affidavits and depositions pertaining to the affairs and business of the City and certify copies of official records.
F. Maintain in appropriate books and files such other records, documents, instruments, and papers as the Council shall provide by ordinance.
G. Except as may be otherwise provided by ordinance or resolution of the Council the destruction or other disposition of City records, documents, instruments, books, and papers in the custody of the City Clerk shall be governed by the laws of the State regulating the destruction or disposition of the records of general law cities and procedures adopted by the City Council.

RULE NO. 8

CITY ATTORNEY

The City Attorney shall be appointed and serve at the pleasure of the Council.

1. The City Attorney shall have power and may be required to:

(a) Represent and advise the Council and all City officers in all matters of law pertaining to their offices;

(b) Represent and appear for the City in any or all actions or proceedings in which the City is concerned or is a party, including the prosecution of violations of this Charter and ordinances enacted by the Council, and represent and appear for any City Officer or employee, or former City Officer or employee, in any or all actions and proceedings in which any such officer or employee is concerned or is a party for any act arising out of his/her employment or by reason of his/her official capacity provided the interest of the City in such action or proceeding is not adversely affected;

(c) Attend all regular meetings of the Council and give his/her advice or opinion in writing whenever requested to do so by the Council or by any of the boards or officers of the City;

(d) Approve the form of all contracts made by and all bonds given to the City, endorsing his/her approval thereon in writing;

(e) Review any and all proposed ordinances or resolutions for the City and amendments thereto;

(f) Join in amicus briefs if there is no cost to the City;

(g) Surrender to his/her successor all books, papers, files and documents pertaining to the City’s affairs;

(h) The Council shall have control of all legal business and proceedings and City Attorney may employ other attorneys to take charge of any litigation or matter to assist the City Attorney therein;

RULE NO. 9

COUNCIL ADVISORY COMMITTEES

Advisory committees may be created as needed with the concurrence of a majority of the Council.

Advisory committees shall assist in the resolution or study of issues arising from specific areas of concern resulting from the main subject matter assigned it by the Council.

All communications and advice from an advisory committee shall be made to the Council.

Advisory committees shall serve until discharged by a majority of the Council.

RULE NO. 10

VOTING

Every vote taken by the Council shall be by open ballot.

There shall be four methods of ascertaining the decision of the Council upon any matter:

First, by a voice vote;

Second, by a call of the roll of the members in alphabetical order, except the Mayor who shall be last and a record made by the City Clerk of the vote of each member;

Third, electronic vote; or

Fourth, by unanimous consent.

Upon the request of any member of the Council on any motion, the City Clerk shall call the roll. A member’s silence shall be recorded as an affirmative vote.

If a member does not vote in the affirmative or negative or does not respond in a manner permitted under this paragraph, the member shall be deemed to have voted in the affirmative.

The City Clerk shall record each vote and each abstention in the Minute Book. Whenever the ayes and noes are called, a Councilmember shall not be permitted to explain a vote or an abstention without the unanimous consent of the Council. After the announcement of the result, a Councilmember shall not be permitted to vote or to change a vote or an abstention, except in the case of a motion to reconsider as set forth in Rule No. 25.

RULE NO. 11

DISCLOSURE OF INTEREST

As to conflict of interest issues, it is insufficient for a Councilmember who has a conflict to abstain from a vote. The Political Reform Act prohibits a Councilmember or Redevelopment Agency Board member from participating or influencing the rest of the Council in any way. When a Councilmember or Redevelopment Agency Board member does have a conflict of interest, he/she shall announce his/her conflict when the item comes up on the agenda and then he/she shall leave the dais and the City Council Chambers until the item has been voted upon.

RULE NO. 12

EFFECT OF NONOBSERVANCE

Failure to observe the rules set forth in this chapter shall not invalidate any action taken which is otherwise lawful but defective only for failure to follow the procedure outlined in this chapter.

RULE NO. 13

TIME AND PLACE OF MEETINGS

The City Council shall hold regular meetings in the council chambers of the City Hall, or at such other place as may be determined by the council. The times and dates of regular City council meetings shall be determined by the city council resolutions.

When the day for any meeting falls on a holiday as provided in this chapter, no meeting shall be held on such holiday, but a meeting may be held at the same hour on the following business day that is not a holiday.

Special meetings may be called at any time by the Mayor or by a majority of the members of the city council by delivering personally or by mail written notice to each councilmember and to each local newspaper of general circulation, radio or television station requesting notice at least twenty-four hours before the time of such meeting as specified in the notice and by posting, at least twenty-four hours prior to the special meeting in a location that is freely accessible to members of the public.

A. The call and notice shall specify the time and place of the special meeting and the business to be transacted.
B. No other business shall be considered at such meetings.
C. Written notice may be waived by any councilmember who, at or prior to the time the meeting convenes, files with the city clerk a written waiver of notice.
D. Such waiver may be given by email or other written documentation.
E. Such written notice may also be dispensed with as to any councilmember who is actually present at the meeting at the time it convenes.

RULE NO. 14

AGENDA--ORDER OF BUSINESS

All reports, communications, ordinances, contract documents or other matters, including basic fact and matters pertinent thereto, to be submitted to the council, shall be delivered to the City Clerk not later than 9 a.m. on the Tuesday preceding the meeting. The City Clerk shall thereafter arrange a list of such matters according to the order of business, and furnish each member of the council with a copy of the list not later than five p.m. on the Thursday preceding the regular or adjourned regular meeting. Whenever feasible, each item on the agenda shall contain a staff recommendation and the specific action requested to be taken by the council. All material pertaining to and accompanying the agenda shall be made available to the public when made available to the city council.

No matters other than those listed on the agenda shall be finally acted upon by the council provided, however, that matters not on the agenda may be submitted for council consideration and action pursuant to state law or under any of the following conditions:

A. Upon a determination by a majority vote of council that an emergency situation exists, as defined in Government Code Section 54956.5;

B. Upon a determination by a two-thirds vote of council, or if less than two-thirds of the members are present, a unanimous vote of those members present, that the need to take action arose subsequent to the agenda being posted; and

C. The item was posted for a prior meeting of the council occurring not more than five calendar days prior to the date action is taken on the item, and at the prior meeting the item was continued to the meeting at which action is being taken.

The business of the council shall, except upon an affirmative vote of the city council or a determination by the Mayor, be taken up for consideration and disposition at its meeting.

The regular order of business may be changed or suspended for any purpose at any particular meeting by the Mayor with the consent of a majority of the councilmembers present.

RULE NO. 15

MINUTES

Summary minutes for all minutes, including city boards, commissions, and agencies shall consist of a clear and concise statement of each and every council, board, commission, or agency action, including the motions made and the vote thereon. The city council shall determine the scope and format for all minutes including city boards, commissions and agencies. The City Clerk shall have exclusive responsibility for preparation of the City Council minutes. If a majority of the City Councilmembers approves a verbatim transcript, the City Clerk or his/her designate shall prepare the transcript.

Minutes may be approved without reading if the City Clerk has previously furnished each councilmember with a copy.

RULE NO. 16

VOTING

When any motion is in order for the question, a vote thereon shall be taken by voice, roll call, or voting device and entered in full upon the record.

A member’s vote may be changed only upon a timely request to do so immediately following the announcement of the vote by the city clerk and prior to the time that the next item in the order of business is taken up.

Ordinances, resolutions and other matters submitted to the council must be adopted by a majority vote of the total membership of the council unless a greater number of votes may be required by law. The word “majority” means three votes for the city council and all city boards, commissions and agencies with a total of five members. In instances where a majority vote cannot be obtained and no additional action is taken and one or more members of the council is absent, such matter shall automatically be added to a future agenda of the council to be considered at least once by the council with all members present.

RULE NO. 17

PUBLIC HEARINGS

The term “public hearing” includes all public hearings having specific notice requirements by state law or city ordinance, including employee disciplinary proceedings and proceedings for the revocation, suspension, or reinstatement of permits, licenses, and franchises.

Public hearings shall be conducted in the following order:

1. Staff Reports;

2. Hearing opened by Mayor;

3. Public testimony;

4. Close hearing by majority vote;

5. Discussion among city council; and

6. Action by majority vote.

On the date and at the time and place designated in the notice, the council shall afford any interested person or his or her authorized representative, or both, the opportunity to present witnesses, to present documentary evidence, to present statements, arguments or contentions orally and/or in writing, subject to the rules on addressing the council and rules stated in this chapter.

All oral statements, documents, exhibits, communications, petitions, maps, or displays submitted at the hearing may be considered by the council as evidence and in such event retained as part of the record. Whenever practicable, a written staff report shall be prepared and presented as part of the staff presentation. Evidence shall not be taken outside the council chambers and shall not be considered by the council, except when, during the hearing, the meeting is adjourned to a particular date, place and time for the purpose of taking visual or demonstrative evidence.

In the event a councilmember is absent at a meeting where a hearing is held which has been continued to a subsequent meeting, such member may participate in the matter at such subsequent meeting if otherwise qualified upon stating for the minutes that such councilmember has reviewed the written minutes of the prior portions of the hearing and is prepared to participate.

Any hearing being held or noticed or ordered to be held by the council may, by minute action, be continued to any subsequent regular or adjourned regular meeting of the council in compliance with the laws of the state.

RULE NO. 18

SPEAKING RIGHTS OF COUNCILMEMBERS

Every councilmember desiring to speak shall address the chair, and upon recognition by the Mayor shall confine comments to the question under debate, avoiding personalities and indecorous language.

A member, once recognized, shall not be interrupted when speaking unless it is to call such member to order, or as herein otherwise provided. If called to order while speaking, a member shall cease speaking until the question of order to be determined, and, if in order, shall be permitted to proceed.

The councilmember moving the adoption of an ordinance, resolution or council action shall have the privilege of closing the debate.

RULE NO. 19

MOTIONS

No motion may be debated nor voted upon unless it has received a second. Only one motion may be before the council at any time.

A motion to table takes precedence over all other motions and shall be subject to debate. When a motion to table is passed, the matter shall not again be considered by the council unless such matter is taken from the table by a majority vote of the council.

A matter once tabled shall not be placed on the agenda nor discussed unless a member who had voted to table such matter requests the council to have such matter taken from the table, or requests the clerk to place such matter on the agenda for the purposes of determining whether or not such matter shall be taken from the table.

RULE NO. 20

RULES OF ORDER

Except as otherwise provided in this chapter, proceedings of the council shall be governed by common sense and good taste. In the event of a dispute concerning procedural matters not specifically covered in this chapter, the majority vote of the council shall prevail.

Rules adopted to expedite the transaction of business of the council in an orderly fashion are deemed to be procedural only, and the failure to strictly observe such rules shall not affect the jurisdiction of the council or invalidate any action taken at a meeting that is otherwise held in conformity with the law.

RULE NO. 21

ADDRESSING THE COUNCIL

Any person desiring to address the council shall first secure the permission of the Mayor to do so. In addition, but unless the Mayor rules otherwise, any person shall have the right to address the council upon obtaining recognition by the Mayor to speak subject to the following:

A. Public Hearings. Interested persons or their authorized representatives may address the council orally or in writing relating to the matters which are then subject to a public hearing.

B. Non-“Hearing” Matters. Interested parties or their authorized representatives may address the council with regard to matters with which they are concerned and are then the subject of council discussion. When copies of such communications are furnished each councilmember present, such written communications shall not be read aloud at the meeting unless so ordered by a majority vote of the council. Written communications from the administrative staff shall not be read aloud unless requested by any councilmember.

C. Oral Communications. Any person may address the council under oral communications with regard to any matter with which they are concerned. The council shall not discuss any matter not on the agenda pursuant to state law and this chapter nor take any action except to refer such matter to a future agenda.

D. Addressing the Council. Each person addressing the council shall speak into the microphone at the speaker’s podium, and should state his or her name and address in an audible tone of voice for the record, and unless further time is granted by the Mayor shall limit the remarks to five minutes. All remarks shall be addressed to the council as a body, and not to any member thereof. No person other than the council and the person having the floor shall be permitted to enter into any discussion, either directly or through a member of the council, without the permission of the Mayor

E. Limitation to Agenda Item. Except under oral communications, the Mayor shall not permit any communication, written or oral, to be made or submitted unless such communication addresses the agenda item then under discussion.

F. Consent Required. No person shall address or question a councilmember, the staff or any other person without the prior consent of the Mayor.

G. Permission to Speak. After a motion is made by a councilmember, no person shall address the council without first securing the permission of the council to do so.

H. Anonymous Communications. Anonymous communications shall not be considered nor placed on the agenda.

I. Group Communications. When any identifiable group of persons, as opposed to the general public at large, wishes to address the council on the same agenda item, the Mayor shall have the discretion to request that a spokesperson be chosen by said group to address the council. If additional issues are to be presented at the hearing by any other member of such group, the Mayor may limit the number of persons and the time periods to address the council, so as to avoid unnecessary repetition of issues before the council.

J. Additional Opportunity to Address the Council. Subject to the needs of the council to expeditiously perform its business and to avoid repetitive testimony, any person may be permitted by the Mayor to address the council more than once on any particular item. No person shall be allowed to address the council more than once on an item until all persons present and wishing to address the council have been provided the opportunity to do so. The Mayor may limit the time period allowed any person to address the council on an item more than one time, and shall not permit repetitive testimony from any person.


RULE NO. 22

RULES OF DECORUM -- ENFORCEMENT

While the council is in session, all persons shall preserve the order and decorum of the session; and a member shall neither by conversation or otherwise delay or interrupt the proceedings or the peace of the council nor disturb any member while speaking, or refuse to obey the orders of the council or its Mayor, except as otherwise herein provided.

Any person making personal, impertinent or slanderous remarks, or who becomes boisterous while addressing the council, which conduct delays or interrupts the due course of the meeting, shall be forthwith barred from further audience before that session of the council by the Mayor, unless permission to continue is granted by majority vote of the council.

While the council is in session, any person or councilmember who acts in a disorderly, contemptuous or insolent manner towards the council or any councilmember thereof, or who becomes boisterous while addressing the council or any councilmember thereof, which conduct delays or interrupts the due course of the meeting, or any member of the public in attendance who fails, on demand of the Mayor, to comply with any order of the Mayor made in accord with the authority of this chapter, is subject to the criminal penalties of the Brentwood Municipal Code.

No person, except city officials and their representatives, shall be permitted within the area beyond the rostrum which is reserved for staff and council without the express consent of the council.

The city manager may designate such appropriate person or persons to act as sergeant at arms to carry out all orders and instructions given by the Mayor for the purposes of maintaining order and decorum at the council meeting. Upon instructions of the Mayor, it shall be the duty of the sergeant at arms, or any of them present, to place any person who violates the order and decorum of the meeting under arrest, and cause such person to be prosecuted under provisions of this code, the complaint to be signed by the Mayor or other appropriate person present.

RULE NO. 23

CONSIDERATION OF MAYORIAL APPOINTMENTS

Action by the Council on requests by the Mayor for confirmation or approval of an appointee or nominee to a public office or position shall be taken by minute action confirming or not confirming the appointee or nominee.

RULE NO. 24

PETITIONS

Any person may petition the Council. Petitions and other matters shall be in writing, signed by the petitioners or persons presenting them. All petitions shall be made part of the official records kept by the City Clerk and referred to committee, as appropriate.


RULE NO. 25

RECONSIDERATION

A motion to reconsider any action approved by the Council shall be made by a member of the majority no later than the end of the next public meeting of the Council. It may be either immediately during the same session, or at a recessed or adjourned session thereof. Such motion may be made at any time and have precedence over all other motions or while a member has the floor; it shall be debatable.
RULE NO. 26

PRIORITY OF BUSINESS

The majority of the entire membership of the Council may, by motion, designate any matter to be a special order of business, which shall take precedence over all other business. A special order of business action is limited to matters properly noticed and placed on the agenda under the Ralph M. Brown Act, Government Code Sections 54950 et. seq.

The Mayor or a majority of the Council shall decide all questions relating to the priority of business to be acted upon by the Council without debate.

The order of business will be as follows:

Roll Call
Pledge of Allegiance
Awards, commendations, proclamations, and honorary resolutions.
(Council quorum not necessary.)
Approval of Agenda
Adopt Uncontested Consent Calendar Items & Minutes
Contested Consent Items
Proceed with Order of Agenda.
Closed Session (Can be conducted before the meeting or after all items of the
Agenda have been completed)

Consent calendar items will be enacted by one motion. There will be no separate discussion of such items unless requested by a Councilmember. Items pulled for discussion will be considered immediately after the uncontested consent items have been approved. A Councilmember may also pull a consent item simply to move an item or oppose an item without discussion. An item pulled to move or to oppose with no discussion may be voted upon during the Uncontested Consent Calendar section of the agenda.

RULE NO. 27

NEW RULES AND AMENDMENTS

A rule of the Council may be altered or rescinded and a new rule may be adopted by a resolution approved by an affirmative vote of a majority of the entire membership of the Council at an open meeting. Any amendments would have to be placed on the agenda before Council may take action to amend them.

RULE NO. 28

POLICIES AND PROTOCOL RELATED TO CONDUCT

A. Ceremonial Events.
Requests for a City representative at ceremonial events will be handled by City staff. The Mayor will serve as the designated City representative. If the Mayor is unavailable, then City staff will determine if event organizers would like another representative from the Council. If yes, then the Mayor will recommend which Councilmember should be asked to serve as a substitute. Invitations received at City Hall are presumed to be for official City representation. Invitations addressed to Councilmembers at their homes are presumed to be for unofficial, personal consideration.

B. Correspondence Signatures.
Councilmembers do not need to acknowledge the receipt of correspondence, or copies of correspondence, during Council meetings. City staff will prepare official letters in response to public inquiries and concerns. These letters will carry the signature of the Mayor unless the Mayor requests that they be signed by another Councilmember or City staff. If correspondence is addressed only to one Councilmember, that Councilmember should check with staff on the best way to respond to the sender.

C. Endorsement of Candidates.
Councilmembers have the right to endorse candidates for all Council seats or other elected offices. It is inappropriate to mention endorsements during Council meetings or other official City meetings.

D. Non-agenda Items.
During a designated time period on the agenda, citizens, Councilmembers and staff may bring forth issues or questions that are not on the meeting’s agenda. Topics should be legislative items requiring action by the Mayor or the Council, study issues for future consideration, and requests for information. Each speaker, citizen, or elected official will be limited to five minutes.

E. Public Announcements in Council Meetings.
Councilmembers are encouraged to report on their activities and other items of public interest. Councilmembers speak during the Council Comments portion of the Council meeting. Councilmembers who wish to recognize achievements or promote an event should place the matter on the agenda under “Proclamations, Presentation, Recognitions, Announcements and Appointments.”

F. Public Meeting Hearing Protocol.
After presentation of the matter by staff, if appropriate, the applicant or appellant shall have the right to speak first. The Chair will determine the length of time allowed for this presentation. Speakers representing either pro or con points of view will be allowed to follow. The Chair will determine how much time will be allowed for each speaker, with three to five minutes the standard time granted. The applicant or appellant will be allowed to make closing comments. The Chair has the responsibility to run an efficient public meeting and has the discretion to modify the public hearing process in order to make the meeting run smoothly. Councilmembers will not express opinions during the public hearing portion of the meeting except to ask pertinent questions of the speaker or staff. “I think” and “I feel” statements by Councilmembers are not appropriate until after the close of the public hearing. Councilmembers should refrain from arguing or debating with the public during a public hearing and shall always show respect for different points of view.

G. Travel Expenses.
The policies and procedures related to the reimbursement of travel expenses for official City business by Councilmembers are outlined in the City’s Travel Policy and Procedures. All Council travel in excess of the allowed budget, in which the Councilmember expects to officially represent the City and/or be reimbursed by the City for travel costs, must be approved in advance by the Council. The travel policy and budget for Council should be reviewed at each two-year budget cycle.

RULE NO. 29

COUNCIL CONDUCT WITH ONE ANOTHER

Councils are composed of individuals with a wide variety of backgrounds, personalities, values, opinions, and goals. Despite this diversity, all have chosen to serve in public office in order to preserve and protect the present and future of the community. In all cases, this common goal should be acknowledged even as Council may “agree to disagree” on contentious issues.

A. In Public Meetings.

(vi) Use formal titles. The Council should refer to one another formally during public meetings as Mayor, Vice Mayor or Councilmember followed by the individual’s last name.

(vii) Practice civility and decorum in discussions and debate. Difficult questions, tough challenges to a particular point of view, and criticism of ideas and information are legitimate elements of a free democracy in action. This does not allow, however, Councilmembers to make belligerent, personal, impertinent, slanderous, threatening, abusive, or disparaging comments. No shouting or physical actions that could be construed as threatening will be tolerated.

(viii) Honor the role of the Chair in maintaining order. It is the responsibility of the Chair to keep the comments of Councilmembers on track during public meetings. Councilmembers should honor efforts by the Chair to focus discussion on current agenda items. If there is disagreement about the agenda or the Chair’s action, those objections should be voiced politely and with reason, following procedures outlined in parliamentary procedure.

(ix) Avoid personal comments that could offend other Councilmembers. If a Councilmember is personally offended by the remarks of another Councilmember, the offended Councilmember should make notes of the actual words used and call for a “point of personal privilege” that challenges the other Councilmember to justify or apologize for the language used. The Chair will maintain control of this discussion.

(x) Demonstrate effective problem-solving approaches. Councilmembers have a public stage to show how individuals with disparate points of view can find common ground and seek a compromise that benefits the community as a whole.

B. In Private Encounters.

(iv) Continue respectful behavior in private. The same level of respect and consideration of differing points of view that is deemed appropriate for public discussions should be maintained in private conversations.

(v) Be aware of the insecurity of written notes, voicemail messages, and e-mail. Technology allows words written or said without much forethought to be distributed wide and far. Would you feel comfortable to have this note faxed to others? How would you feel if this voicemail message was played on a speakerphone in a full office? What would happen if this e-mail message were forwarded to others? Written notes, voicemail messages and e-mail should be treated as potentially “public” communication.

(vi) Even private conversations can have a public presence. Elected officials are always on display – people around them they may not know will monitor their actions, mannerisms, and language. Casual comments between individuals before and after public meetings are noted and can be read in the newspaper.

RULE NO. 30

COUNCIL CONDUCT WITH CITY STAFF

Governance of a City relies upon the cooperative efforts of elected officials who set policy and City staff who implement and administer the Council’s policies. Therefore, every effort should be made to be cooperative and show mutual respect for the contributions made by each individual for the good of the community.

(ix) Treat all staff as professionals. Clear, honest communication that respects the abilities, experience, and dignity of each individual is expected. Poor behavior towards staff is not acceptable.

(x) Limit contact to specific City staff. Questions of City staff and/or requests for additional background information should be directed only to the City Manager, City Attorney and Assistant City Manager. The Office of the City Manager should be copied on any request, except those to the City Attorney. Requests for follow-up or directions to staff should be made only through the City Manager or the City Attorney when appropriate. When in doubt about what staff contact is appropriate, Councilmembers should ask the City Manager for direction. Materials supplied to a Councilmember in response to a request will be made available to all members of the Council so that all have equal access to information.

(xi) Disrupting City staff work. City Councilmembers should not disrupt staff while staff is attending meetings, on the phone, or engrossed in performing their job functions, in order to meet a Councilmember’s individual needs.

(xii) Never publicly criticize an individual employee. Council should never express concerns about the performance of a City employee in public, to the employee directly, or to the employee’s manager. Comments about staff performance should only be made to the City Manager through private correspondence or conversation.

(xiii) Do not get involved in administrative functions. Councilmembers must not attempt to influence City staff on the making of appointments, awarding of contracts, selecting of consultants, processing of development applications, or granting of City licenses and permits unless required.

(xiv) Check with City staff on correspondence before taking action. Before sending correspondence, Councilmembers should check with City staff to see if an official City response has already been sent or is in progress.

(xv) Limit requests for staff support. Routine secretarial support will be provided to all Councilmembers. All mail for Councilmembers is opened by the City Clerk’s office unless a Councilmember requests other arrangements. Mail addressed to the Mayor is reviewed first by the City Manager who notes suggested action and/or follow-up items. Requests for additional staff support – even in high priority or emergency situations – should be made to the City Manager who is responsible for allocating City resources in order to maintain a professional, well-run City government.

(xvi) Do not solicit political support from staff. Councilmembers should not solicit any type of political support (financial contributions, display of posters or lawn signs, name on support list, etc.) from City staff. City staff may, as private citizens with constitutional rights, support political candidates but all such activities must be done away from the workplace.



RULE NO. 31

GUIDELINES FOR
COUNCIL CONDUCT WITH THE PUBLIC

A. In Public Meetings.

Making the public feel welcome is an important part of the democratic process. No signs of partiality, prejudice or disrespect should be evident on the part of individual Councilmembers toward an individual participating in a public forum. Every effort should be made to be fair and impartial in listening to public testimony.

(vii) Be welcoming to speakers and treat them with respect.

(viii) Be fair and equitable in allocating public hearing time to individual speakers. “The first thing the Mayor said to me was to be brief because the meeting was running late and the Council was eager to go home. That shouldn’t be my problem. I’m sorry my item was at the end of the agenda and that there were a lot of speakers, but it is critically important to me and I should be allowed to say what I have to say and believe that the Council is listening to me.”

The Chair will determine and announce limits on speakers at the start of the public hearing process. Generally, each speaker will be allocated five minutes, with applicants and appellants or their designated representatives allowed more time. If many speakers are anticipated, the Chair may shorten the time limit and/or ask speakers to limit themselves to new information and points of view not already covered by previous speakers.

No speaker will be turned away unless he or she exhibits inappropriate behavior. Each speaker may only speak once during the public hearing unless the Council requests additional clarification later in the process. After the close of the public hearing, no more public testimony will be accepted unless the Chair reopens the public hearing for a limited and specific purpose.

(ix) Give the appearance of active listening. It is disconcerting to speakers to have Councilmembers not look at them when they are speaking. It is fine to look down at documents or to make notes, but reading for a long period of time, gazing around the room, gives the appearance of disinterest. Be aware of facial expressions, especially those that could be interpreted as smirking, disbelief, anger, or boredom.

(x) Ask for clarification, but avoid debate and argument with the public. Only the Chair – not individual Councilmembers – can interrupt a speaker during a presentation. However, a Councilmember can ask the Chair for a point of order if the speaker is off the topic or exhibiting behavior or language the Councilmember finds disturbing. If speakers become flustered or defensive by Council questions, it is the responsibility of the Chair to calm and focus the speaker and to maintain the order and decorum of the meeting. Questions by Councilmembers to members of the public testifying should seek to clarify or expand information. It is never appropriate to belligerently challenge or belittle the speaker. Councilmembers’ personal opinions or inclinations about upcoming votes should not be revealed until after the public hearing is closed.

(xi) No personal attacks of any kind, under any circumstances. Councilmembers should be aware that their body language and tone of voice, as well as the words they use, could appear to be intimidating or aggressive.

(xii) Follow parliamentary procedure in conducting public meetings. The City Attorney is available to answer questions or interpret situations according to parliamentary procedures. The Chair, subject to the appeal of the full Council, makes final rulings on parliamentary procedure.

B. In Unofficial Settings.

(iv) Make no promises on behalf of the Council. Councilmembers will frequently be asked to explain a Council action or to give their opinion about an issue as they meet and talk with constituents in the community. It is appropriate to give a brief overview of City policy and to refer to City staff for further information. It is inappropriate to overtly or implicitly promise Council action, or to promise City staff will do something specific (fix a pothole, remove a library book, plant new flowers in the median, etc.)

(v) Make no personal comments about other Councilmembers. It is acceptable to publicly disagree about an issue, but it is unacceptable to make derogatory comments about other Councilmembers, their opinions or actions.

(vi) Remember that despite population figures, Brentwood is a small town at heart. The community is constantly observing Councilmembers every day that they serve in office. Their behaviors and comments serve as models for proper deportment in the City of Brentwood. Honesty and respect for the dignity of each individual should be reflected in every word and action taken by Councilmembers, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. It is a serious and continuous responsibility.

RULE NO. 32

COUNCIL CONDUCT WITH OTHER PUBLIC AGENCIES

Be clear about representing the City or personal interests. If a Councilmember appears before another governmental agency or organization to give a statement on an issue, the Councilmember must clearly state: 1) if his or her statement reflects personal opinion or is the official stance of the City; and 2) whether this is the majority or minority opinion of the Council.

If the Councilmember is representing the City, the Councilmember must support and advocate the official City position on an issue, not a personal viewpoint. If the Council-member is representing another organization whose position is different from the City, the Councilmember should withdraw from voting on the issue if it significantly impacts or is detrimental to the City’s interest. Councilmembers should be clear about which organizations they represent and inform the Mayor and Council of their involvement.

Correspondence also should be equally clear about representation. City letterhead may be used when the Councilmember is representing the City and the City’s official position. A copy of official correspondence should be filed in the Council Office as part of the permanent public record.

City letterhead is not to be used for correspondence of Councilmembers representing a personal point of view, or a dissenting point of view from an official Council position. However, if a Councilmember uses City letterhead to express a personal opinion, the official City position must be stated clearly so the reader understands the difference between the official City position and the minor viewpoint of the Councilmember.

RULE NO. 33

COUNCIL CONDUCT WITH COMMISSIONS

The City has established several Commissions as a means of gathering more community input. Citizens who serve on Commissions become more involved in government and serve as advisors to the City Council. They are a valuable resource to the City’s leadership and should be treated with appreciation and respect.

(vii) If attending a Commission meeting, be careful to only express personal opinions. Councilmembers may attend any Commission meeting, which are always open to any member of the public; however, they should be sensitive that their participation – especially if it is on behalf of an individual, business or developer – could be viewed as unfairly affecting the process. Any public comments by a Councilmember at a Commission meeting should be clearly made as individual opinion and not a representation of the feelings of the entire City Council.

(viii) Limit contact with Commission members to questions of clarification. It is inappropriate for a Councilmember to contact a Commission member to lobby on behalf of an individual, business, or developer. It is acceptable for Councilmembers to contact Commission members in order to clarify a position taken by the Commission.

(ix) Remember that Commissions serve the community, not individual Councilmembers. The Mayor appoints, with City Council approval, individuals to serve on Commissions and it is the responsibility of Commissions to follow policy established by the Council. Commission members do not report to individual Councilmembers, nor should Councilmembers feel they have the power or right to threaten Commission members with removal if they disagree about an issue. Appointment and re-appointment to a Commission should be based on such criteria as expertise, ability to work with staff and the public, and commitment to fulfilling official duties. A Commission appointment should not be used as a political “reward.”

(x) Be respectful of diverse opinions. A primary role of Commissions is to represent many points of view in the community and to provide the Council with advice based on a full spectrum of concerns and perspectives. Councilmembers may have a closer working relationship with some individuals serving on Commissions, but must be fair and respectful of all citizens serving on Commissions.

(xi) Keep political support away from public forums. Commission members may offer political support to a Councilmember, but not in a public forum while conducting official duties. Conversely, Councilmembers may support Commission members who are running for office, but not in an official forum in their capacity as a Councilmember.

(xii) Inappropriate behavior can lead to removal. Inappropriate behavior by a Commission member should be noted to the Mayor, and the Mayor should counsel the offending member. If inappropriate behavior continues, the Mayor should bring the situation to the attention of the Council and the individual is subject to removal from the Commission.

RULE NO. 34

COUNCIL CONDUCT WITH THE MEDIA

Councilmembers are frequently contacted by the media for background and quotes.

(iv) The best advice for dealing with the media is to never go “off the record.” Most members of the media represent the highest levels of journalistic integrity and ethics, and can be trusted to keep their word. But one bad experience can be catastrophic. Words that are not said cannot be quoted.

(v) The Mayor is the official spokesperson for the Council on City policy. The Mayor is the designated representative of the Council to present and speak on the official City position. If the media contacts an individual Councilmember, the Councilmember should be clear about whether their comments represent the official City position or a personal viewpoint.

(vi) Choose words carefully and cautiously. Comments taken out of context can cause problems. Be especially cautious about humor, sardonic asides, sarcasm, or word play. It is never appropriate to use personal slurs or swear words when talking with the media.

RULE NO. 35

SANCTIONS

Public Disruption
Members of the public who do not follow proper conduct after a warning in a public hearing may be barred from further testimony at that meeting or removed from the Council Chambers.


Inappropriate Staff Behavior
Councilmembers should refer to the City Manager any City staff who do not follow proper conduct in their dealings with Councilmembers, other City staff, or the public. These employees may be disciplined in accordance with standard City procedures for such actions.

Councilmembers’ Behavior and Conduct
City Councilmembers who intentionally and repeatedly do not follow proper conduct may be reprimanded or formally censured by the Council, lose committee assignments (both within the City of Brentwood or with inter-governmental agencies) or have official travel restricted. Serious infractions of the Code of Ethics or Code of Conduct could lead to other sanctions as deemed appropriate by Council.

Councilmembers should point out to the offending Councilmember infractions of the Code of Ethics or Code of Conduct. If the offenses continue, then the matter should be referred to the Mayor in private. If the Mayor is the individual whose actions are being challenged, then the matter should be referred to the Vice Mayor.

It is the responsibility of the Mayor to initiate action if a Councilmember’s behavior may warrant sanction. If the Mayor takes no action, the alleged violation(s) can be brought up with the full Council in a public meeting.

If violation of the Code of Ethics or Code of Conduct is outside of the observed behaviors by the Mayor or Councilmembers, the alleged violation should be referred to the Mayor. The Mayor should ask the City Manager and/or the City Attorney to investigate the allegation and report the findings to the Mayor. It is the Mayor’s responsibility to take the next appropriate action. These actions can include, but are not limited to: discussion and counseling with the individual, recommending sanction to the full Council to consider in a public meeting, and forming a Council ad hoc subcommittee to review the allegation, the investigation and findings, as well as to recommend sanction options for Council consideration.

RULE NO. 36

COUNCIL TRAVEL AND EXPENSE

The City will pay actual and necessary expenses incurred by Councilmembers when on official duty on order of the City Council pursuant to the following guidelines:

A. Councilmembers’ attendance at conferences and meetings.

Attendance at conferences and meetings can be both beneficial and cost effective to the City. For those Councilmembers who choose to participate, attendance would be viewed as an extension of official City responsibilities. Councilmembers may choose to attend a conference for one or more of the following reasons:

1. Voting Delegate.

The City is usually requested to designate an official delegate from among the Council who will cast the City’s vote and represent the City’s position on business presented before the conference delegation.

2. Committee Membership.

Councilmembers may choose to serve on local, state and national committees which provide the opportunity to represent state or City interests in key policy and legislative areas. Meetings are often held in conjunction with annual conferences, as a means of saving cost and encouraging wider attendance.

3. Education.

Most conferences are workshops and seminars which are used to brief Councilmembers on key legislation, policies or programs impacting local government.

4. Advocacy.

A conference environment offers Councilmembers the opportunity to articulate the City’s position on key legislation and funding policies with key elected/appointed officials on both the state and federal levels.

5. Sharing of City’s Expertise.

Brentwood Councilmembers may, on occasion, be invited to present papers or presentations to a conference or workshop with the goal of improving the efficiency and performance of local government in general.

B. Affiliations.

Each year the Council will assess the benefit of City membership in the following organizations which have traditionally been identified as providing support and service to local governments:

 The National League of Cities (NLC)
 U.S. Conference of Mayors (USCM)
 League of California Cities (LCC)

C. Conferences.

The following conferences and meetings are approved for inclusion by Councilmembers in the annual Council Travel Budget:

 Annual Meeting (National League of Cities)
 Local Government Commission
 Annual Conference (LCC)
 New Councilmembers Conference (LCC)
 Bi-Annual Legislative Conference (LCC)
 Contra Costa Mayors’ Conference
 Planners Institute (LCC)
 General Conference (GVC)
 National Association of Cities
 Brentwood Agricultural Trust

Attendance at one-day workshops not requiring air travel and which meet any of the purposes cited in Section A above may be included in the travel budget.

Councilmembers traveling at City expense to conferences and committee meetings of National League of Cities. U. S. Conference of Mayor, the League of California Cities, shall submit a written activity report to the entire Council. The written activity report shall be submitted at the same time the expense statement is submitted.

D. Budget.

The cost of the proposed travel must not exceed the fiscal year adopted budget. Beginning in fiscal year 2003-04, the annual appropriation for general travel shall be divided equally among the five members of the City Council. It is not always possible to anticipate all future plans of every organization or group. As such, the adopted travel budget can be amended during the fiscal year by approval of the City Council at a public meeting. The budget for Council travel should be reviewed at each two-year budget cycle.

E. Approval and Monitoring.

Specific Council authorization is not required for Councilmembers to attend conferences and meetings which fall under Section C of this policy, subject to the Councilmember’s budget limitations. In addition, Councilmembers may attend conferences and meetings that meet one or more of the following purposes, subject to individual budget limitations and prior Council approval to attend:

 Committee/board meetings of NLC and LCC
 Conferences that are of obvious benefit to the City
 Councilmember has been invited to present a City/State position
 Councilmember is lobbying on behalf of a City/State program
 Conferences that provide professional development for Councilmembers in carrying out official City responsibilities

Staff will work with each Councilmember to prepare an individual annual budget, based upon the Councilmember’s travel plans relating to appointments to organizations and individual interests. This will be amended as necessary. The purpose of this budget is to provide a monitoring tool for each Councilmember’s travel budget. This budget does not need Council approval, as it is subject to the overall guidelines of this policy. In the event that a Councilmember’s travel budget, as amended, will result in the individual allocation being exceeded, the budget must go to Council for approval. As Councilmembers request authorization to attend any conference requiring Council approval above, the effect of that travel on the individual Councilmember’s budget will be provided to Council at that time.

Each Councilmember will be provided with an update of his/her travel expenses compared to budget as expenses are paid. In addition, the City Manager (who authorizes payment of expenses) will receive current information on each Councilmember’s expenditures in a timely manner.

F. Expense Reimbursed.

Expenses will be paid by the City for conferences, conventions, meetings, workshops, seminars, activities and the like in accordance with the City’s Travel Policy and Procedures.

G. Reporting of Expenses.

1. Statements of expense shall be submitted to the City Manager on forms provided for such purpose. The statement shall show all expenses incurred which are chargeable to the City.

2. Documentation. Written receipts shall be required to show expenses incurred for air travel, lodging and rental vehicles. Written receipts shall not otherwise be required.

3. Statements of expenses for conferences, which include all expenses incurred, shall be submitted no later than 21 days after return from a conference or meeting, so that they can be forwarded to the City Manager no later than 30 days after return. Statements of expenses incurred for local meetings or activities should be submitted within 30 days of the time such expense was incurred; provided, however, that statements of expense for local mileage should be submitted monthly. Statements submitted after the dates specified shall be received and claims based thereon be paid if in order.

4. The City Manager shall review and approve statements of expense for all Councilmembers.

5. Any Councilmember who believes that the City Manager has denied approval of an expense may appeal the decision to the entire City Council.



 

City Administration
City of Brentwood City Council
150 City Park Way
Brentwood, CA 94513
(925) 516-5440
Fax (925) 516-5441
E-mail allcouncil@brentwoodca.gov