REVISED RULES AND ORDERS OF THE PORTSMOUTH CITY COUNCIL
RULE 1. MEETING
The regular meetings of the City
Council shall be on the first and third Mondays of each month at some time
between 7:00 o'clock and 8:30 o'clock in the evening to be set by the
Council. Work sessions may commence
at any time after 6:00 p.m. and the regular council meeting may commence at any
time after 7:00 p.m. (See Charter section 4.4). (AMENDED 4/2/90 TO AGREE WITH
THE CITY CHARTER) (AMENDED 1/9/06)
RULE 2. SPECIAL
Special meetings may be called by
written request of five or more members of the Council, by the Mayor, or by the
The City Clerk shall prepare a
notice of the special session stating the time and the place and this notice
shall be served personally upon each member of the Council and the City
Manager, or left at their usual place of residence at least twenty-four (24)
hours before the time of the meeting.
It shall also be the duty of the
City Clerk, immediately upon receipt of written request for a special meeting
to make every diligent effort to notify each member of the Council in person,
either by telephone or otherwise of such special session. The City Clerk shall also post notices
of the special meeting in a conspicuous place in City Hall and shall make every
effort to publicize the meeting by way of local news media. Only matters set
forth in the notice of the meeting shall be discussed and/or acted upon.
RULE 3. WORK
Upon request of the Mayor or five
or more members of the Council, the Council may meet in "work
sessions." Each work session
shall be devoted exclusively to subjects for which the preliminary receipt and
discussion of information is deemed appropriate. No formal vote shall be taken on any
matter under discussion, nor shall any Council member enter into a commitment
with another respecting the vote to be taken at a subsequent meeting of the
Council; provided, however, that nothing herein shall prevent a polling of the
Council or the taking of any informal vote on any matter under discussion. Work sessions shall be open to the
public, and notice procedures for regular meetings shall be followed.
RULE 4. COUNCIL
All reports, communications,
ordinances, resolutions, or other matters to be submitted to the Council shall,
by 12:00 noon on Wednesday prior to each Council meeting be delivered to the
City Clerk whereupon the City Clerk shall immediately arrange or cause to be
arranged a list of such matters according to the Order of Business. The City Clerk shall furnish each member
of the Council, City Manager, and City Attorney with a copy of the Agenda by
5:00 p.m. on Thursday prior to each Council meeting, and shall make copies of
the Agenda available in the Office of City Clerk for the public by that
time. (AMENDED 1/5/98)
RULE 5. CALL
The Mayor shall take the chair at
the hour appointed for the meeting and shall call the members to order. A roll call shall be taken to determine
if a quorum be present.
RULE 6. CHAIRING
In the absence of the Mayor, the
Assistant Mayor shall preside during that meeting or until the Mayor
arrives. In the absence of both the
Mayor and the Assistant Mayor, the Councilor present who received the largest
plurality in the last election shall preside during that meeting or until the
Mayor or Assistant Mayor arrives.
RULE 7. ORDER
The business of all regular
meetings of the Council shall be transacted in the following order, unless the
Council by vote of at least two-thirds of the members present, shall suspend
the rules and change the order:
Call to Order
[7:00 p.m. or thereafter]
Hearings on Ordinances and/or Resolutions
of Resolutions and Ordinances
and Consideration of Written Communications and Petitions
Communications from City Officials
Items Which Require Action Under Other Sections of the Agenda
City Manager’s Items Which Require Action
CITY COUNCIL MEMBERS
Business Including Business Remaining Unfinished at Previous Meeting
[at 10:00 p.m. or earlier]
(ADOPTED NEW ORDER OF BUSINESS 1/9/06)
RULE 8. CONSIDERATION
When a motion is made and
seconded, it shall be considered by the Council, and not otherwise.
RULE 9. WRITTEN
Every motion shall be reduced to
writing if the Chair so directs; or if any member of the Council requests it;
and upon request of any member the roll call shall be called upon any question
before the Council.
RULE 10. DIVISION OF
The Division of a question may be
called for when the motion contains two or more independent parts.
RULE 11. READING
When the reading of a paper is
called for and the same is objected to by any member, it shall be determined by
vote of the Council.
RULE 12. ADJOURNMENT
The Chair shall consider a motion
to adjourn always in order, the time of the next meeting having been agreed
on. Such motion shall be decided
RULE 13. DISPOSITION OF
After a motion is seconded, and
stated by the Chair, it shall be disposed of by vote of the Council unless the
mover withdraws it before a decision or amendment.
RULE 14. MOTIONS DURING
When a question is under debate,
only the following motions shall be received: Adjourn; take a recess; raise a question
of privilege; call for orders of the day; lay on the table; the previous
question; limit or extend limits of debate; postpone definitely or to a certain
time; commit or refer or recommit; amend; postpone indefinitely; questions of
order and appeal; suspend the rules; object to consideration of questions;
division of a question; division of the assembly.
RULE 15. ORDER OF
The Chair shall put all questions
in the order in which they are moved, unless the subsequent motion shall be
previous in its nature; except in naming sums and fixing times, the largest sum
and the longest time shall be put first.
RULE 16. MOTION FOR
A motion for the reconsideration
of a vote shall be open to debate, but such motion shall not be considered
unless made by a member voting with the majority, nor unless such motion is
made at the meeting at which such vote is passed, or notice of such motion is
given at said meeting, in which case the motion shall be made at the next
meeting; and only one motion for the reconsideration of any vote shall be
RULE 17. TABLING
No motion which has been tabled
at a current or prior Council meeting may be acted upon after being removed
from the table at a current meeting; but such action must be withheld until the
next regular Council meeting which
agenda will show the item of business.
RULE 18. SPEAKING PRIORITY
When two or more members rise at
once, the Chair shall then name the member who is entitled to the floor.
RULE 19. SPEAKING
any member is about to speak in debate or to deliver any matter to the Council,
and respectfully address the presiding officer; the member shall confine
themself to the question under debate, and avoid personalities. The member shall sit down as soon as
done speaking. (AMENDED 4/2/90)
RULE 20. INTERRUPTION OF SPEAKING
No member shall be interrupted by
another, but by rising to a call to order, to correct a mistake, or for
explanation. But if any member in
speaking, or otherwise, transgress the Rules of the Council, the Mayor shall or
any member may call the offending member to order who shall immediately sit
down, unless permitted to explain; and the Council, if appealed to, shall
decide on the case, and without debate.
RULE 21. CONFLICTS OF
No member shall vote or serve on
any committee or any question as to which the member has a direct, personal and
RULE 22. VOTING REQUIRED
Every member present when a
question is put, if not excluded by interest, shall vote. No member shall leave a meeting without
permission, if their presence is necessary to make a quorum.
RULE 23. COMMITTEE
At the first Council meeting of the year, Councilors will bring forward their requests for committees. If there is a multiple request for a committee, a one-minute explanation of why a councilor would like to sit on that committee will be given. A closed vote will be taken by the Council, and the votes will be counted by the City Clerk.
The Councilor on a committee will bring forward the names of citizens, who are interested in being on said committee. Those individuals must have completed the application process through the City Clerk's office. The Council will vote on the recommendation at the next regularly scheduled Council meeting
*(ADOPTED 1/22/96; AMENDED 1/17/2012)
RULE 24. COMMITTEE
No member shall be obliged to be
on more than two committees at the same time nor to be chairman of more than
RULE 25. SPECIAL
COMMITTEES AND COMMITTEE RESPONSIBILITIES
All special committees of the Council
shall consist of three members, unless a different number be ordered. It shall be the duty of every committee
of the Council to whom a subject is specially referred to report thereon within
the time limit set by the Council or to request an extension thereof. No report shall be received unless
presented in writing, signed by a majority of the committee and agreed to in
committee actually assembled.
RULE 26. COMMITTEE
No Committee shall sit during the
sitting of the Council without special leave.
RULE 27. COMMITTEE OF THE
The City Council may resolve
itself of the Whole, at any time, upon a motion of a member made for the
purpose; and in forming a Committee of the Whole, the Mayor may leave the Chair
and appoint some member to preside in the Committee; and when the Committee of
the Whole shall have gone through the subject referred to them, they shall
rise, and the Chairperson, or any other member that the Committee may order,
shall report their proceedings to the Council.
RULE 28. COMMITTEE OF THE
The rules of proceedings in the
Council shall be observed in Committee of the Whole, so far as they may be
applicable; but no member shall speak twice to any question until every member
choosing to speak shall have spoken.
RULE 29. ORDINANCES
All bylaws passed by the City
Council shall be termed "ordinances", and the enacting style shall
be: "The City of Portsmouth Ordains." Each ordinance shall be identified by a
number and a short title, and the effective date shall be specified in it.
RULE 30. ORDINANCE
Each Ordinance shall pass through
the following stages, to wit: There
shall be a first reading for information.
If the first reading is passed, the Council shall, consistent with
public notice requirements of law, set a time and place for a public hearing
and consideration of second and third readings. An ordinance may be rejected at any
stage in its progress. No ordinance
shall be amended except on second reading.
Passage of the third reading shall constitute final passage.
RULE 31. ORDERS AND
In all votes by which the City
Council shall express anything by way of command the form of expression shall
be "Ordered" and whenever it shall express opinions, principles,
facts or purposes, the form shall be "Resolved." Resolutions prepared in writing prior to
introduction shall be identified by a short title.
RULE 32. TAXING, SPENDING,
Each order or resolution
authorizing the levying of a tax, the expenditure of money, or the borrowing of
money shall have two separate readings and a public hearing with notice as
required by law.
RULE 33. RECORD RETENTION
OF RESOLUTIONS AND ORDINANCES
When an ordinance or resolution
shall have passed the City Council, it shall receive the signature of the
Mayor. It shall be enrolled in the
City records of the City Clerk, and the original ordinance or resolution shall
be placed in some safe deposit in the archives of the City.
RULE 34. CITY CLERK
The City Clerk shall attend all
Council meetings, except work sessions and executive sessions, and shall keep a
record of procedures of the Council by recording the motions and votes
thereon. The City Clerk shall make
notes of the general content of the remarks by members of the Council, the
Mayor, and the City Manager and not their specific detail. The City Clerk shall note in the minutes
all reports, memorials and other papers submitted to the Council by their title
or brief description of the purport.
The City Clerk shall cause to be recorded through the use of appropriate
recording device the business of all Council meetings, said recordings to be
maintained by the City Clerk as a public record for a period of three
years. Preservation of the
recordings and custody of all recordings shall be the sole responsibility of
the City Clerk who shall prepare such rules for use as the Clerk deems
necessary or appropriate to the discharge of the above responsibility.
RULE 35. SEATING
ARRANGEMENT DURING COUNCIL MEETINGS
Council seats shall be assigned
by the Mayor. Council members who
wish to exchange seats may do so upon request to the Mayor. Seating arrangement may be changed at
any time the Mayor wishes. (AMENDED
RULE 36. PROCEDURE FOR
QUESTIONS TO THE CITY ATTORNEY
Whenever a City Councilor has a
question of the City Attorney, during a City Council Meeting, on the Council
Rules, the Portsmouth City Charter or on Parliamentary Procedure, they shall,
through the Chair, be given the immediate right to state their question.
RULE 37. HOUR CITY
COUNCIL MEETINGS TO CONCLUDE
City Council meetings shall
conclude no later than 10:00 P.M. or at such time as any agenda item being
discussed at 10:00 P.M. is acted upon.
If because of this rule any agenda items remain to be taken up, the Council
shall recess the meeting to a time certain at which recessed meeting the
remainder of the agenda shall be acted upon unless a majority of the Council
wishes to suspend in order to continue.
RULE 38. NOTICE TO COUNCIL
REGARDING APPOINTMENT QUALIFICATIONS
All nominees to positions on
boards or commissions of the City shall submit in writing, on a form as
provided by the City Clerk, information regarding their occupational
backgrounds, the nature of their nominations, and their reasons for wishing to
serve. Such form shall accompany
the agenda in which the nomination is to be made and shall be delivered to City
Council members in accordance with Rule No. 4.
RULE 39. SUSPENSION OF
No standing rule or order of the
Council shall be suspended unless a two-thirds majority of the members of the
Council present shall consent thereto, for a specific purpose; nor shall any
rule or order be repealed or amended without one week's notice being given of
the motion therefore, or unless a two-thirds majority of the Council shall
RULE 40. PARLIAMENTARY
Except where specifically
controlled by Charter, Statute, Ordinance or these Rules, proceedings of the
City Council shall be conducted pursuant to the parliamentary authority of the
most recent revision of Roberts Rules of Order, Newly Revised, published by
Scott, Foresman & Co.
RULE 41. ADDRESS BY PUBLIC
Members of the public-at-large
may address the Council on any issue being discussed by the Council after a
motion to allow same has been made by any Council member and passed by a
majority vote, provided that no person shall speak for more than five (5)
RULE 42. PUBLIC'S RIGHT TO
All letters, memos, reports and
other information provided or circulated to the City Council by staff members
or received as communications to the Mayor and City Council from any person
shall be included with the Agenda packet of a City Council meeting and made
publicly available by 5:00 p.m. on Friday prior to each Council meeting, or if
sent separately to Council members shall be made publicly available in the
Office of City Clerk. Exempt under
this Rule are those documents which would not be deemed public records under
the New Hampshire Right to Know Law (RSA 91-A) or personal communications. (AMENDED 1/27/92)
RULE 43. PUBLIC COMMENT
A public comment session shall
appear on the agenda of all regular Council meetings. This session shall be a period of time
not to exceed forty-five minutes during which any member of the public may have
three minutes to address any single topic which that member of the public has
identified to the City Clerk prior to the commencement of the meeting. Comments shall be limited to one topic
per person per meeting. All
speakers must register in person (not electronically or telephonically) with
the City Clerk prior to the City Council meeting. Any person abusing the provisions of
this rule may be prohibited from speaking at future public comment sessions by
a majority vote of the City Council.
Any provision of this rule may be modified on a per case basis by
majority vote of the Council. (ADOPTED 3/12/90) (AMENDED 1/5/98) (AMENDED
4/17/2000) (AMENDED 1/24/2005)
* Comments for which a public
hearing is scheduled under the same agenda shall not be permitted.
reserves the right to select speakers of different issues to be permitted to
speak in order to provide a form of various topics to be presented. *(ADOPTED
RULE 44. NAMING OF MUNICIPAL BUILDINGS, PARKS AND FACILITIES
The procedure to be followed in
naming municipal buildings, parks and facilities shall be that a written
request be submitted to the Mayor by the City Councilors or resident who
proposes the naming of any municipal building, park or facility. The Council shall then schedule a work
session to deliberate concerning that request. In general, it shall be deemed
inappropriate to name complete municipal buildings after actual persons,
although portions of buildings may be so named. Subsequent to the work session, the
request shall then be placed on the next available Council agenda for a vote of
the full City Council. (ADOPTED
City Council public
hearings shall be subject to the following terms and conditions:
The order in which speakers shall be called, the
duration of time permitted for each person to speak and the number of
opportunities which any person shall be provided to speak on any issue may be
regulated by the Mayor in the interest of legislative efficiency.
All speakers must limit their presentation to
the issue for which the public hearing has been called. Any speaker not in compliance with this
provision shall be ruled out of order by the Mayor.
The agenda for any regular meeting of
the City Council may include a section entitled “Consent
Agenda”. The Consent Agenda
shall consist of items of City Council business which the Mayor, the City
Manager and the City Clerk have previously determined to be routine in nature. All Consent Agenda items shall identify
the action which it is anticipated will be taken by the City Council on
it. Any item of business shall be
removed from the Consent Agenda and placed elsewhere on the Council agenda for
the same meeting at the request of any member of the City Council. All recommended actions on Consent
Agenda items shall be deemed to have been taken by the City Council on the
passage of a motion, “to adopt the Consent Agenda”. (ADOPTED 1/9/06).