(1) General Requirements for Council Sessions
(a) Legislative Year --
The Council legislative year begins December 1st and ends November 30th. All bills and resolutions not enacted by the Council by the last day of November are considered to have failed.
(b) Legislative Days --
The first and third Tuesdays of each month except August and December (and except November in a Council election year) are set by the charter as days when bills may be introduced and enacted. The Council may declare other legislative days not to exceed an overall total of 45 days.
(c) Business Sessions --
Council meetings on the second and fourth Tuesdays are business sessions at which bills may be presented (but not introduced or enacted), resolutions introduced or adopted, public hearings conducted, and Executive nominations considered.
(d) Agenda --
The Council's Tuesday agendas are prepared by the Clerk of the County Council in consultation with the Council Administrator. All items to appear on the agenda must be transmitted to the Council Administrator at least fourteen days before the scheduled meeting. According to the Council Rules of Procedure, an item may be added to the agenda with the consent of a Council majority.
(e) Quorum. Attendance Roll --
A quorum of five members must be present to begin a Council meeting. An attendance roll call is called not later than 10 minutes after the designated starting time of all meetings. The attendance roll is kept on file for public inspection.
(f) Council Administrator --
The Council Administrator attends all Council sessions and presents certain items that merit Council consideration but are not in legislative form under “Administrative Officers Report” on the agenda.
(g) Clerk --
The Clerk of the Council attends all sessions. Roll call votes are recorded, actions noted, and minutes prepared. All meetings are recorded on audio and video tape.
(h) Staff --
The Press and Public Relations Office attends all meetings to keep reporters apprised of Council actions and debate. The Legislative Officer and a representative of the County Attorney attend to present procedural legal advice. Other Council staff members, including the Deputy Council Administrator and the committee Directors, attend the meetings as needed. The Council Administrator is responsible for scheduling other resource personnel, from the Council Staff, Executive Branch, or other governmental agencies, when needed to address specific issues.
(i) Public Hearing --
Citizens seeking to speak at a public hearing are encouraged to register with the Clerk of the Council prior to the hearing. Citizens may also sign up during the meeting and may be called on from the floor by the Chairman. Time limits of three minutes per speaker are imposed when issues are expected to elicit an extraordinary number of witnesses.
(j) Open and Closed Sessions --
All final actions on bills, resolutions and other matters must be taken in open sessions. This State's “sunshine law” provides 14 specific reasons for which an executive or closed session may be called and they are included as Exhibit 1. A roll call vote must be taken if the Council decides to go into executive session during a meeting. The motion to go into executive session must include one of the authorized specific reasons. A reason for the executive session must be entered into the official record along with the vote tabulation. (See Exhibit 1)