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Except as otherwise specifically provided in this charter, every department, board and commission is hereby empowered to make such reasonable regulations as may be necessary and appropriate in the exercise of its powers and performance of its duties under this charter or under any statute or ordinance. Except as otherwise provided in this charter, in the adoption of regulations, the following procedure shall apply:
(a) The department, board or commission promulgating the regulations shall first submit them for approval to the Law Department and upon receiving such approval file them with the Department of Records where they shall be available for public inspection for thirty days;
(b) The Department of Records shall give public notice of such filing by advertising in the three daily newspapers of the City having the largest paid circulation the fact that regulations relating to a particular subject have been filed with it, and that any person affected thereby may request a hearing. Council may by ordinance adopted by a vote of two-thirds of all of its members specify different or additional requirements for providing public notice of the filing of regulations and the availability of a hearing, in accordance with applicable law. Any such ordinance may include a requirement that notice be posted on the City's website; 165
(c) If any person affected shall present to the Department of Records a written request therefor, the person shall be afforded a public hearing before the department, board or commission promulgating the regulations and the City Solicitor. A report of the hearing reaffirming the regulations or modifying them with the approval of the Law Department shall be filed by the department, board or commission with the Department of Records. 165.1
The regulations shall become effective at midnight of the thirtieth day after their filing when no hearing has been requested and at midnight of the tenth day after a report has been filed when a hearing was requested and held.
All regulations shall be published and made available for distribution.
Amendments to regulations shall be adopted under the same procedure as the regulations which they amend.
The requirements of this section may be suspended by the Mayor in writing and temporary regulations promulgated in emergencies affecting the public health or safety but any regulations so put into force shall not remain effective unless the procedures otherwise required by this section are complied with forthwith.
Sources: Cf. the Administrative Code of 1929, Act of April 9, 1929, P.L. 177, Section 506.
Purposes: 1. See Annotation to Section 8-406.
2. Administrative agencies may not legislate. However, they may when appropriately authorized by this Charter, or by statute or ordinance, define and apply through administrative regulations standards established by this Charter or by legislation. Thus regulations afford a means for an administrative agency to exercise powers and to perform duties of law administration and enforcement imposed upon and vested in it by this Charter or by statute or ordinance.
3. Since members of the public will be the ones who will be affected by regulations, fairness to them prompts the requirement that they be afforded, as a rule, an opportunity to be heard on proposed regulations. Such hearings are intended to protect persons who will be affected from arbitrary administrative action. They should also serve to bring to the attention of administrative officials facts necessary for the exercise of informed judgment in the promulgation of regulations.
4. Approval by the Law Department of all proposed regulations is required to assure that they are authorized, comply with basic legislation, and do not exceed constitutional limits.
5. Filing with the Department of Records is required since this is the central depository for public documents and the agency where all public records are to be kept available for public use and inspection. See Article 5, Chapter 11.
6. The purpose of the advertising requirement of subsection (b) is to assure adequate notice to members of the public of proposed regulations and of the fact that persons who may be affected may request a hearing.
7. Persons affected by any proposed regulation are entitled upon written request to a public hearing before a representative of the agency promulgating the regulation and a member of the Law Department who will pass on any questions of law raised. After such a hearing the regulation in question may be reaffirmed or modified. A report of the action taken is to be filed with the Department of Records for purposes of public notice.
8. With the exception hereafter noted, regulations can in no event take effect earlier than thirty days after their filing. This period of time should afford affected persons an adequate opportunity to request public hearings should they desire to do so.
9. All regulations must be published and made available for distribution so that members of the public and City officers and employees may obtain copies.
10. The procedure for amending regulations is the same as that for new regulations since amendments may impose new requirements affecting members of the public.
11. Emergencies affecting the public health or safety may require immediate administrative action through regulations. In such instances disaster may be courted if it were required that the regular procedure of this section be followed before regulations become operative. Therefore, this section permits regulations in such emergencies to be put into force immediately by the Mayor suspending in writing the requirements specified. However, for such temporary regulations to remain effective, the steps normally required by this section must immediately be initiated and followed. If they are, the temporary regulations continue in effect while the filing, advertising, waiting period, hearings, etc. take place.
The phrase "he shall be afforded a public hearing" was changed by the Code editor to read "the person shall be afforded a public hearing" to be gender neutral consistent with the broad Charter change set forth in the May 17, 2022 referendum. See Bill No. 220001 (approved February 25, 2022); Resolution No. 220009 (adopted February 24, 2022).