The rules of procedure for the Town Council are as follows.
   (A)   Meetings.
      (1)   The Town Council is required to hold its first regular meeting in January after the town election, per I.C. 36-4-6-7.
      (2)   The Council shall establish the time and day of its regular monthly meetings during the first meeting of the year.
      (3)   Special Council meetings may be called by the Town Council President when necessary; or by a vote of three or more members of the Council.
      (4)   Public notice of meetings must be given at least 48 hours before the meeting starts, per I.C. 5-14-1.5-5.
      (5)   All meetings shall adhere to and are subject to the state’s Open Door Law, I.C. 5-14-1.5.
      (6)   A majority of all the elected members of the Council constitutes a quorum for conducting business, per I.C. 36-5-2-9.2.
      (7)   When the quorum of the Council is only four members, the Clerk-Treasurer is an ex officio member of the Council solely for the purpose of casting the deciding vote to break a tie, per I.C. 36-5-2-8.
      (8)   An agenda shall be used for all regular Council meetings. Such agenda must be posted outside the meeting room and made available to the public, per I.C. 5-14-1.5-4.
      (9)   An agenda does not have to be used for special Council meetings, per I.C. 5-14-1.5-4.
      (10)   During meetings, the Chair may only add additional business to the agenda upon the approval of a simple majority of the Council members.
      (11)   The most recent edition of Robert’s Rule of Order shall be the authority on all questions of parliamentary law and procedure not specifically covered by this section.
      (12)   All matters of a general and ongoing nature which establish fees, which regulate conduct, which prescribe penalties, or which are required by statute to be addressed by ordinance, shall be submitted in the form of an ordinance.
      (13)   Declarations of position by the Council and items of a special and nonrecurring, which are not required by statute to be addressed by ordinance, shall be submitted in the form of a resolution.
      (14)   Matters not otherwise addressed by ordinance or resolution may be considered by motion.
      (15)   When introducing ordinances and resolutions, its entire text must be read during the public meeting, unless, copies of the ordinances and resolutions are made available to the public. If so, then only the caption is required to be read. A rule, regulation, ordinance, or other final action adopted by reference to agenda number or item alone is void per I.C. 5-14-1.5-4.
      (16)   All ordinances and resolutions shall be presented in written form only.
      (17)   Motions may be requested to be in written form, as instead of orally, by members of the Council.
      (18)   Ordinances, with the exception of a zoning ordinance or amendment to a zoning ordinance, require two readings and votes on two different days and meetings, with the second reading and vote to be binding with a majority yes vote; unless a two-thirds vote of all the elected members (four members), after unanimous consent of the members present to consider the ordinance or resolution, vote yes, then the ordinance or resolution can be passed on the same day and same meeting at which it is introduced, per I.C. 36-5-2-9. Unanimous consent is always presumed, unless a Council member makes an objection to consideration.
      (19)   A zoning ordinance or amendment to a zoning ordinance must comply with I.C. 36-7-4-602.
      (20)   To amend or repeal an ordinance or resolution, it requires the same procedure as to pass an ordinance or resolution.
      (21)   All motions shall be restated by the Chair, before asking for a second, and allowing debate.
      (22)   All motions shall be restated by the Chair, before a vote is taken.
      (23)   Council members shall abstain from a vote of a motion, ordinance, or resolution if there exists a substantial conflict with the member’s personal or pecuniary interests and the subject matter under consideration. The Council member must fully disclose the nature of the conflict of interest to the Chair. The Chair shall rule if a conflict of interest exists and if no conflict exists the Chair may compel the member to vote yes or no.
      (24)   A call to question motion shall be proper when each member has had the opportunity to address the issue under debate. A call to question motion doesn’t require a second and, upon said motion, all debate ceases and a vote of the motion are taken.
      (25)   There will be time allotted at the beginning and ending of the meeting for public comments.
      (26)   The Chair, upon recognizing a member of the public, shall limit the time allowed to address the Council to no more than five minutes, unless a majority of the Council members present vote to extend such time period.
      (27)   No member of the public may speak twice on the same subject unless every one had an opportunity to speak and then a three-minute time limit is imposed. A majority of the Council members present may vote to extend the allotted time.
      (28)   A member of the public may request to be put on the agenda for the following meeting should any comments or questions require extra consideration.
      (29)   Except during the public comments period, the Chair has the prerogative to allow or not allow public input during meetings and reserves the right to limit any and all public input, unless the meeting is a hearing where public input is required.
      (30)   The sergeant-of-arms shall be the Police Chief or, in his or her absence, a member of the town’s Police Department.
      (31)   The Clerk-Treasurer shall attend all meetings and make and keep accurate minutes or, in his or her absence, one of the Clerk-Treasurer’s staff, per I.C. 36-4-6-9.
      (32)   Regular Town Council meetings shall conduct its order of business as follows:
         (a)   Call to order;
         (b)   Pledge of Allegiance;
         (c)   Roll call;
         (d)   Approval of minutes;
         (e)   Public petitions and comments/questions of agenda items only;
         (f)   Department and committee reports;
         (g)   Unfinished business;
         (h)   New business;
         (I)   Approval of claim docket and signing of purchase orders;
         (j)   Miscellaneous business;
         (k)   Public comments of any concerns;
         (l)   Individual Council member comments;
         (m)   Announcements; and
         (n)   Adjournment.
      (33)   The Chair may modify the Council meetings in order to make the meetings run smoothly.
   (B)   Public hearings.
      (1)   Council members will not express opinions during the public hearing of the meeting except to ask pertinent questions of the speaker or staff.
      (2)   Council members shall refrain from argument or debate with the pubic during a public hearing.
      (3)   The Chair will determine the length of time allowed for presentations.
      (4)   Members of the public shall have three minutes to speak.
      (5)   The applicant or appellant shall have the right to speak first and to make closing comments.
      (6)   The Chair may modify the public hearing in order to make the meeting run smoothly.
   (C)   Executive sessions.
      (1)   An executive session is a meeting from which the public is excluded, except the governing body may admit those persons necessary to carry out its purpose, per I.C. 5-14-1.5-2(f).
      (2)   All executive sessions shall adhere to I.C. 5-14-1.5-2(f).
      (3)   An executive session cannot be conducted during a meeting, and a meeting cannot be recessed in order to meet in executive session and then be reconvened, per I.C. 5-14-1.5-6.1.
      (4)   Public notice must be given in the same manner of a regular meeting, with reference to the statute authorizing the executive session.
      (5)   Minutes of the executive meetings must contain a certification by the Town Council that no subject matter was discussed other than the subject matter specified in the public notice.
   (D)   Gatherings and serial meetings. A serial meeting is a series of small meetings held by a governing body in an attempt to avoid the requirement of the Open Door Laws. By definition, the Serial Meeting Law can only by violated by governing bodies of six or more members, per I.C. 5-14-1.5-3.1. As the Town Council has only five members, it cannot violate the Serial Meeting Law. However, meetings of a majority of the Council, three members or more, without public notice would violate Open Door Laws. Any Council member may call or meet with any other Council member, as long as there are not more than two members present at such meetings. Although not subject to the Serial Meeting Law, I.C. 5-14-1.5-3.1 recognizes that telephonic participation or texting, but not email, may be sufficient to constitute participation at a meeting. The intent of the Open Door Laws is to be liberally construed to assure that action is taken openly. Accordingly, the Council members should always avoid discussion of town matters with three or more Council members.
   (E)   Allowable meetings. Per I.C. 5-14-1.5-3.1, allowable meetings consist of the following:
      (1)   Any social or chance gathering not intended to avoid the law;
      (2)   Any on-site inspection of any project or program, or facilities of applicants for incentives or assistance from the Town Council;
      (3)   Traveling to and attending meetings related to better government;
      (4)   A caucus of political party members as defined under I.C. 5-14-1.5-3.1;
      (5)   A gathering to discuss an industrial or a commercial prospect that does not include a conclusion as to recommendations, policy, decisions, or final action on the terms of a request or an offer of public financial resources;
      (6)   An orientation of members of the governing body on their role and responsibilities as public officials, but not for any other official action;
      (7)   A gathering for the sole purpose of administering an oath of office to an individual; and
      (8)   A gathering between less than a majority of the members of the governing body intended solely for members to receive information and deliberate on whether a member or members may be inclined to support a member’s proposal or a particular piece of legislation and at which no other official action will occur.
   (F)   Chain of command. Although the town may not engage in unconstitutional restraints upon speech, it is in the best interests of Council members to avoid excessive interaction with the operations of the town, which is conducted by employees. The following chain of command is, therefore, recommended for communication between Council members and town employees.
      (1)   All employee issues should be referred to the employee’s respective department heads.
      (2)   Any allegation of wrongdoing or substandard performance should be addressed with great care to avoid repetition of slanderous or libelous statements about persons affected. Information concerning alleged misconduct may be received in executive session, and employee job performance may be discussed in executive session.
      (3)   The Town Council President shall mediate any grievances between town officials.
      (4)   All non-elected town officials shall report to the Town Council President who in turn reports to the Town Council.
      (5)   The Town Council President is the chief executive officer of the town, and with the exception of the Clerk-Treasurer, has the authority to compel all town employees and appointed officials to perform their lawful duties, with the exception of directing law enforcement in executing arrest powers.
(Ord. G-09-01, passed 1-6-2009)