Public Meeting & Agenda Policy

Public Meeting & Agenda Policy passed on 8/22/23 by Ordinance No. 1861
(Amended 12/12/23)
 
PURPOSE:
Public meetings are essential to the democratic process. Public comment at meetings is permitted based on the guidance outlined below. These objectives and rules are established to allow the public’s business to be accomplished in an efficient and effective manner.

PUBLIC MEETING NOTICE:
At least 48 hours’ notice prior to a meeting of the local legislative body, the agenda for the upcoming meeting will be made available to the public, at no charge, in a place accessible to the public (i.e., Website, social media, city hall, newspaper). The agenda must reasonably describe the matters to be deliberated upon or acted on during the public meeting.

PUBLIC MEETING CODE OF CONDUCT OBJECTIVES:
1.     Observe the Public Meeting Rules and the Rules of Decorum.
2.     Listen to understand, not to reply.
3.     Speak with intention in a concise manner.
4.     Be tolerant and respectful in disagreements with others’ statements or comments.
5.     Express your opinion to educate board members, commissioners, audience members, and your neighbors with respect.

PUBLIC MEETING RULES:
1.     No action will be taken by the Board on items presented as “new business” on the same date if new business requires the appropriation of city funds. 

Instances when committee actions can be taken to the full board for immediate consideration:
A.    Annual routine requests from nonprofit organizations where no funds are requested other than normal set up expenses.
B.    Personnel considerations involving disciplinary action or termination.

2.     Business requiring the appropriation of city funds must be on the Board agenda.

Instances when committee actions are taken to full board after a 2-week waiting period:
A.      Actions involving the spending of funds not budgeted in the current fiscal year budget, and where there are no time constraints for grant, loan, or other deadlines that could cause cancellation of the project.
B.      All other requests that do not meet the qualifications under item 1 above other than emergency requests and items 3 below.
C.       All other personnel considerations.

3.     All business, excluding new business where no city funds are appropriated or allocated, will originate, or be routed through the committee system.

Actions bypassing the committees and taken to the full board immediately:
A.    Spending of city funds not budgeted in the current fiscal year budget for economic development where there are time constraints for grants, loans, state notifications, etc. This situation will occur when the immediate action of the board is necessary, and we'll create economic growth and job creation for the citizens of McMinnville.
B.    Any other emergency that requires the full boards immediate action; where inaction would cause the City of McMinnville or the taxpayers damage or harm if immediate action is not taken.
C.     Special meetings called by the mayor in accordance with state law.

4.     In the event of an unforeseen emergency where the City of McMinnville or its citizens will suffer harm, the board may suspend part or all this policy and amend an agenda with approval of four (4) board members or with 2/3 of the board members present.

It is the desire of the board to inform the public of all items of business being considered, therefore the city will:
A.    Post items approved by committees no later than 5 calendar days after the committee meeting.
B.    Post all business being considered at the next Board meeting 48 hours prior to the meeting. The city will use social media, the website, the local newspaper, and or the local radio stations.
C.     All city business requiring a vote of the mayor and board of Alderman will originate through the committee system excluding item 3 above.

5.     The rules of order and parliamentary procedure contained in the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the transaction of business by and before the City of McMinnville at its meetings in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with provisions of the charter or this code. 

6.     Those requesting to speak must reside in or own property in Warren County, TN. 

7.  All comments shall be directed through the chair. Public comments are not a debate and there shall be no questions and answers as part of any comments.
 
8.  All comments should be concise, non-repetitive, and shall not exceed three (3) minutes per speaker. Time cannot be shared or allotted with other speakers. Time limits may be adjusted at the discretion of the Chair. The allotted time of three (3) minutes shall include and commence from the beginning of the speaker's remarks.

9.  The Chair can stop comment after time has expired or if the commenter has violated these Rules and/or the Rules of Decorum.

10.  The Chair can remove the commenter from the meeting if violations occur.

11.  Persons will refrain from creating, provoking, or participating in any type of disturbance involving unwelcome physical contact.

12.  Persons will refrain from behavior that will disrupt the public meeting. This includes loud noises, shouting, booing, hissing, heckling, or engaging in any other activity in a manner that disrupts or impedes the orderly conduct of the meeting or impedes the ability of the speaker to be heard by the Board/Commission.

13.  Persons will refrain from the use of obscene language, "fighting words" likely to incite violence from the individual(s) to whom the words are addressed, or other language which is disruptive to the orderly and fair progress of discussion at the meeting.

14.  Persons will refrain from using audible electronic devices (including, but not limited to mobile phones, radios, portable gaming devices, or computers) or other devices while the meeting is in session.

15.  Signs, posters, banners and/or other display material are prohibited in the Board Room, as they may obstruct the view or safe passage of other attendees, or otherwise disturb the business of the meeting.

16.  Persons in the audience will refrain from the following prohibited conduct at meetings: campaigning for public office, soliciting of funds, or promoting private business ventures.

17.  All persons shall, at the request of the Chair, be silent.

18.  If, after receiving a warning from the Chair, a person persists in disturbing the meeting, the Chair may order that person to leave the meeting. If he/she does not remove him/herself, the Chair may order that person to be removed by a law enforcement officer.

19.  Weapons and other objects deemed a threat to the safety of persons at the meeting or the facility infrastructure are not allowed.

20.  Persons in the audience shall refrain from smoking or eating in the Board Room.

21.  Persons exiting the Board Room shall do so quietly. 

EXCEPTIONS:
1.     A meeting of a governing body, or a portion thereof, where the governing body is conducting a disciplinary hearing for a member of the governing body or a person whose profession or activities fall within the jurisdiction of the governing body; or

2.     A meeting where there are no actionable items on the agenda; or

3.     Executive sessions, which are not open to the public. 
 
(Ordinance No. 1861)
8/22/2023