Article 5. Meetings

Article 5. Meetings

§1-501   MEETINGS; DEFINED.  Meetings, as used in this Article shall mean all regular, special, or called meetings, formal or informal, of a public body for the purposes of briefing, discussion of public business, formation of tentative policy, or the taking of any action. (Ref. 84-1409(2) RS Neb.)

§1-502    MEETINGS; PUBLIC BODY DEFINED. Public Body as used in this Article shall mean:

A.   The Governing Body of the Municipality,

B.   All independent boards, commissions, bureaus, committees, councils, subunits, or any other bodies, now or hereafter created by Constitution, statute, ordinance or otherwise pursuant to law, and

C.   Advisory committees of the bodies listed above.

This Article shall not apply to subcommittees of such bodies unless a quorum of the public body attends a subcommittee meeting or unless such subcommittees are holding hearings, making policy or taking formal action on behalf of their parent body. (Ref. 84-1409(1) RS Neb.)

§1-503    MEETINGS; PUBLIC.  All public meetings as defined by law shall be held in a Municipal public building which shall be open to attendance by the public.  All meetings shall be held in the public building in which the Governing Body usually holds such meetings unless the publicized notice hereinafter required shall designate some other public building or other specified place.  The advance publicized notice of all public convened meetings shall be simultaneously transmitted to all members of the Governing Body and to the public by a method designated by the Governing Body or by the Mayor if the Governing Body has not designated a method.  Such notice shall contain the time and specific place for each meeting and either an enumeration of the agenda subjects known at the time of the notice, or a statement that such an agenda kept continually current shall be readily available for public inspection at the office of the Municipal Clerk.  Except for items of an emergency nature, the agenda shall not be enlarged later than (a) twenty-four (24) hours before the scheduled commencement of the meeting or (b) forty-eight (48) hours before the scheduled commencement of a meeting of the Governing Body scheduled outside the corporate limits of the Municipality.  The Governing Body shall have the right to modify the agenda to include items of an emergency nature only, at such public meetings. The minutes of the Municipal Clerk shall include the record of the manner and advance time by which the advance publicized notice was given, a statement of how the availability of an agenda of the then known subjects was communicated, the time and specific place of the meetings, and the names of each member of the Governing Body present or absent at each convened meeting. The minutes of the Governing Body shall be a public record open to inspection by the public upon request at any reasonable time at the office of the Municipal Clerk. Any official action on any question or motion duly moved and seconded shall be taken only by roll call vote of the Governing Body in open session. The record of the Municipal Clerk shall show how each member voted, or that the member was absent and did not vote. (Ref. 84-1408, 84-1409, 84-1411, 84-1413 RS Neb.)

§1-504  MEETINGS; CLOSED SESSIONS.  (1)  Any public body may hold a closed session by the affirmative vote of a majority of its voting members if a closed session is clearly necessary for the protection of the public interest or for the prevention of needless injury to the reputation of an individual and if such individual has not requested a public meeting. Closed sessions may be held for, but shall not be limited to, such reasons as:

(a) Strategy sessions with respect to collective bargaining, real estate purchases, pending litigation or litigation which is imminent as evidenced by communication of a claim or threat of litigation to or by the public body;

(b)  Discussion regarding deployment of security personnel or devices;

(c) Investigative proceedings regarding allegations of criminal misconduct; or

(d)  Evaluation of the job performance of a person when necessary to prevent needless injury to the reputation of a person and if such person has not requested a public meeting.

Nothing in this section shall permit a closed meeting for discussion of the appointment or election of a new member to any public body.

(2)  The vote to hold a closed session shall be taken in open session. The vote of each member on the question of holding a closed session, the reason for the closed session, and the time when the closed session commenced and concluded shall be recorded in the minutes. The public body holding such a closed session shall restrict its consideration to matters during the closed portions to only those purposes set forth in the minutes as the reason for the closed session. The meeting shall be reconvened in open session before any formal action may be taken. For purposes of this section, formal action shall mean a collective decision or a collective commitment or promise to make a decision on any question, motion, proposal, resolution, order, or ordinance or formation of a position or policy but shall not include negotiating guidance given by members of the public body to legal counsel or other negotiators in closed sessions authorized under subdivision (a) of this section.

(3)  Any member of the public body shall have the right to challenge the continuation of a closed session if the member determines that the session has exceeded the reason stated in the original motion to hold a closed session or if the member contends that the closed session is neither clearly necessary for (a) the protection of the public interest or (b) the prevention of needless injury to the reputation of an individual. Such challenge shall be overruled only by a majority vote of the members of the public body. Such challenge and its disposition shall be recorded in the minutes.

(4)  Nothing in this section shall be construed to require that any meeting be closed to the public. No person or public body shall fail to invite a portion of its members to a meeting and no public body shall designate itself a subcommittee of the whole body for the purpose of circumventing the provisions of this Article. No closed session, informal meeting, chance meeting, social gathering, or electronic communication shall be used for the purpose of circumventing the provisions of this Article.

(5)  The provisions of this Article shall not apply to chance meetings, or to attendance at or travel to conventions or workshops of members of a public body at which there is no meeting of the body then intentionally convened and there is no vote or other action taken regarding any matter over which the public body has supervision, control, jurisdiction, or advisory power. (Ref. 84-1410 RS Neb.) Amended by Ord. 95-104.

§1-505    MEETINGS; EMERGENCY MEETINGS. When it is necessary to hold an emergency meeting without reasonable advance public notice, the nature of the emergency shall be stated in the minutes and any formal action taken in such meeting shall pertain only to the emergency. Such emergency meetings may be held by means of electronic or telecommunication equipment. The provisions of section 1-508 of this Article shall be complied with in conducting emergency meetings.  Complete minutes of such emergency meetings specifying the nature of the emergency and any formal action taken at the meeting shall be made available to the public by no later than the end of the next regular business day. (Ref. 84-1411 RS Neb.)

§1-506    MEETINGS; MINUTES.  Each public body shall keep minutes of all meetings showing the time, place, members present and absent, and the substance of all matters discussed.

The minutes shall be public records and open to public inspection during normal business hours.

Minutes shall be written and available for inspection within ten (10) working days, or prior to the next convened meeting, whichever occurs earlier. (Ref. 84-1412, 84-1413 RS Neb.)

§1-507    MEETINGS; VOTES.  Any action taken on any question or motion duly moved and seconded shall be by roll call vote of the public body in open session, and the record shall state how each member voted, or if the member was absent or not voting.  The requirements of a roll call or viva voce vote shall be satisfied by the Municipality utilizing an electronic voting device which allows the yeas and nays of each member of the Governing Body to be readily seen by the public.

The vote to elect leadership within a public body may be taken by secret ballot, but the total number of votes for each candidate shall be recorded in the minutes. (Ref. 17-616, 84-1413 RS Neb.)

§1-508    MEETINGS; NOTICE TO NEWS MEDIA.  The Municipal Clerk, Secretary, or other designee of the Governing Body shall maintain a list of the news media requesting notification of meetings and shall make reasonable efforts to provide advance notification to them of the time and place of each meeting, and the subjects to be discussed at that meeting.  (Ref. 84-1411 RS Neb.)

§1-509    MEETINGS; PUBLIC PARTICIPATION.  Subject to the provisions of this Article, the public shall have the right to attend and the right to speak at meetings of public bodies and all or any part of a meeting of a public body, except for closed meetings called pursuant to section 1-504, may be videotaped, televised, photographed, broadcast, or recorded by any person in attendance by means of a tape recorder, camera, video equipment, or any other means of pictorial or sonic reproduction or in writing.

     It shall not be a violation of this section for any public body to make and enforce reasonable rules and regulations regarding the conduct of persons attending, speaking at, videotaping, televising, photographing, broadcasting, or recording its meetings.  A body is not required to allow citizens to speak at each meeting, nor may it forbid public participation at all meetings. No public body shall require members of the public to identify themselves as a condition for admission to the meeting. The body may, however, require any member of the public desiring to address the body to identify him self or herself. No public body shall for the purpose of circumventing the provisions of this Article hold a meeting in a place known by the body to be too small to accommodate the anticipated audience.  No public body shall be deemed in violation of this section if it holds its meeting in its traditional meeting place which is located in this State.  An agency which contracts with Municipalities outside the State of Nebraska may hold meetings of any committee outside the State of Nebraska if such meetings are held only in such contracting Municipalities. Final action on any agenda item shall only be taken by the agency at a meeting in the State of Nebraska, which meeting shall comply with sections 84-1408 to 84-1414 Neb.  The public body shall, upon request, make a reasonable effort to accommodate the public's right to hear the discussion and testimony presented at the meeting. Public bodies shall make available at the meeting, for examination and copying by members of the public, at least one (1) copy of all reproducible written material to be discussed at an open meeting. (Ref. 84-1412 RS Neb.)

§1-510    MEETINGS; ORDER OF BUSINESS.  All meetings of the Council shall be called to order by the presiding officer at the time set for the meeting, whereupon the Clerk shall call the roll of Council members, and if there is a quorum present, the Council shall proceed to business in the following  order:

1.   Reading of the Minutes of the last Meeting.

2.   Presentation of Petitions and other Communications.

3.   Reports of Officers.

4.   Reports of Standing Committees.

5.   Reports of Special Committees.

6.   Unfinished Business of the Preceding Meetings

7.  Introduction of Resolutions and Ordinances and proceedings for, or toward the passage, and adoption of same.

8.   Special Business.

9.   Miscellaneous Business.

10.  Presentation of and action upon claims against and of the City.

11.  Adjournment.

§1-511    MEETINGS; RULES OF CONDUCT. The business and proceedings of the meeting of the Council shall be conducted in accordance with the following rules:

1.   The presiding officer may refer back to any order of business after passing it, if there is no objection from any council member.

2.   The presiding officer shall preserve order at all meetings and when any Council member is called to  order he shall be seated until the point is decided. All questions of order shall be decided by the presiding officer, subject to appeal to the Council.  In such appeal, a Council member shall state briefly  what in his opinion the ruling should have been and upon this appeal being seconded, the question of the appeal shall be  put by the presiding officer.

3.   When a question is being put by the presiding officer, no Council member shall leave the Council Chambers.

4.   Upon request of any Council member, any motion or resolution shall be reduced to writing before being acted upon.

5.  Every Council member shall vote on each question put by the presiding officer unless excused from doing so by a majority of the Council present.

6.   No motion shall be put or discussed until it has been seconded.

7.   The minutes of the meeting shall show the Council member who offered or introduced a motion, resolution, or ordinance and the Council member seconding the same.

8.   The "yeas" and "nays" upon any question shall be taken and entered on the minutes on request of any Council member.

9.   The Council may reprimand or censure any of its members for improper behavior as Council members.

10.  Any resolution, ordinance, or motion may be withdrawn by its introducer or mover with consent of the Council member seconding same, before same is voted  upon.

11.  Motions to reconsider may only be made by a Council member who voted with the majority.

12.  The presiding officer may reasonably limit the time during which any person not a member of the Council may address a Council meeting.

13.  The presiding officer may express his opinion on any subject being discussed or debated by the Council. 

14.  The rules may be suspended on the affirmative vote of five (5) members of the Council.

§1-512    MEETINGS; ORGANIZATIONAL.  The newly elected Council shall convene at the regular place of meeting in the City on the first (1st) regular meeting in December of each year in which a Municipal election is held immediately after the prior Council adjourns and proceed to organize themselves for the ensuing year.  The Mayor elected for the new municipal year shall call the meeting to order.  The Council shall then proceed to examine the credentials of its members and other elective officers of the City to see that each has been duly and properly elected, and to see that such oaths and bonds have been given as are required.  After ascertaining that all members are duly qualified, the Council shall then elect one of its own body who shall be styled as "President of the Council." The Mayor shall then nominate his candidates for appointive offices. He shall then proceed with the regular order of business.  It is hereby made the duty of each and every member of the Council, or his successor in office, and to each officer elected to any office, to qualify prior to the first (1st) regular meeting in December following his election. All appointive officers shall qualify within two (2) weeks following their appointments.  Qualification for each officer who is not required to give bond shall consist in his subscribing and taking an oath to support the Constitution of the United States, the Constitution of the State of Nebraska, the laws of the Municipality and to perform faithfully and impartially the duties of his office, said oath to be filed in the office of the Municipal Clerk.  Each officer who is required to give a bond shall file the required bond in the office of the Municipal Clerk with sufficient sureties, conditioned on the faithful discharge of the duties of his office, with the oath endorsed thereon.

§1-513  MEETINGS; TIME.  Regular meetings of the City Council shall be held at the City Council Chamber in the City Hall commencing at six o'clock (6:00) P.M. on the first Monday of each month and at six o’clock (6:00) P.M. on the third Monday of each month. Special meetings may be held at said chambers whenever called by the Mayor or any three (3) Council members. A majority of all the members elected to the Council shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of any business, except as otherwise required by law, but a lesser number may adjourn, from time to time, and compel the attendance of absent members.  An affirmative vote of not less than one-half (1/2) of the elected members shall be required for the transaction of any business. (Ref. 17-105, 17-106 RS Neb.) (Ord. #2013-100; 2014-101; 2016-102)

§1-514    MEETINGS; AGENDA.  All requests for items to be placed on the agenda of a regular Council meeting for action by the Governing Body shall be made to the City Clerk's office by five P.M. (5:00) on the Thursday preceding the meeting.

§1-515    MEETINGS; CLAIMS.  All claims on which action is requested at a meeting of a Public Body of the Municipality shall be submitted to the City Clerk's office during regular business hours at least twenty-four (24) hours prior to the meeting.

§1-516  MEETINGS; VIDEOCONFERENCING, WHEN ALLOWED. (1) A meeting of an organization created under the Interlocal Cooperation Act or the Municipal Cooperative Financing Act or the governing body of a risk management pool or advisory committee organized in accordance with the Intergovernmental Risk Management Act may be held by means of video conferencing if:

(a)  Reasonable advance publicized notice is given;

(b)  Reasonable arrangements are made to accommodate the public=s right to attend, hear, and speak at the meeting, including seating, recordation by audio or visual recording devices, and a reasonable opportunity for input such as public comment or questions to at least the same extent as would be provided if video conferencing was not used;

(c)  At least one copy of all documents being considered is available to the public at each site of the video conference;

(d)  At least one member of the governing body or advisory committee is present at each site of the video conference;

(e) No more than one-half of the governing body's or advisory committee's meetings in a calendar year are held by video conference.

Video conferencing shall not be used to circumvent any of the public government purposes established in this article.

(2)  For purposes of this section, video conferencing shall mean conducting a meeting involving participants at two or more locations through the use of audio-video equipment which allows participants at each location to hear and see each meeting participant at each other location, including public input.  Interaction between meeting participants shall be possible at all meeting locations. (Ref. 84-1409, 84-1411 RS Neb.) (Ord. #97-109)