Procedure for County Commission Meetings
It is the intent of the Chairman to provide for the smooth and orderly functioning of the business of the Commission. As the County's procedure calls for the Chairman to set the Rules of Procedure, the following is established for all Regular, Special, Emergency and Workshop Meetings of the Board of County Commissioners through November, 2003. These rules may be modified as circumstances dictate.
Regular, Special and Emergency Meeting Times
Regular meetings shall commence at 9:00 A.M. Special meetings and Emergency meetings shall begin at the time provided in the notice.
The purpose of a workshop meeting is to allow staff to make presentations and to allow questions by the Commission. Public comment will be at the direction of the Chairman but will be no more than three minutes for each person unless the Commission, by affirmative vote, wishes to extend the time limit. Workshop meetings are noticed as Special Meetings and official action may be taken upon any of the items discussed at the workshop meeting and any of the items of official business that require immediate consideration and decision by the Commission.
Chairman Presiding Officer, Duties
The Chairman of the Commission shall preside at all meetings at which the Chairman is present. In the absence of the Chairman, the Vice Chairman shall preside. The presiding officer shall preserve strict order and decorum at all meetings of the Commission. The maker of the motion shall repeat every motion and the Chairman will announce the decision of the Commission on all matters coming before it. A majority vote of the members present shall govern and conclusively determine all questions of order not otherwise covered. The Chairman may vote on all questions, the Chairman's name being called last when a roll call is requested. In the absence of the Chairman or in the event of the Chairman's inability to serve by reason of illness or accident, the Vice Chairman shall perform the duties and functions of the Chairman until the Chairman's return to the County or recovery and resumption of duty.
The County Attorney shall act as parliamentarian and shall advise and assist the Chairman in matters of parliamentary law.
There shall be an official agenda for every meeting of the Commission, which shall determine the order of business conducted at the meeting.
A portion of the agenda shall be designated as a consent agenda, and all items contained therein may be voted on with one motion; except that any Commissioner may withdraw an item from the consent agenda, and it shall be voted on individually.
Any departure from the order of business set forth in the official agenda shall be made only upon majority vote of the members of the Commission present at the meeting.
Additions, deletions, or corrections to the agenda may be considered by the Commission and adopted by the passage of a single motion. Non-agenda matters shall be confined to items that are informational only. This shall not include items of emergency nature that must be added to be considered by the Commission.
The agenda shall be prepared by the Manager.
Citizen's Input: Addressing Commission, Manner, Time
When a person is called forward, the person shall step up to the speaker's podium and shall give the following information in an audible tone of voice for the minutes:
Name and address
All remarks shall be limited to no more than three minutes unless the Chairman extends the time and shall be addressed to the Commission as a body and not to any member thereof. Any person addressing the Commission during a public hearing shall limit remarks to five minutes unless the Chairman extends the time. No person, other than members of the Commission and the person having the floor, shall be permitted to enter into any discussion, either directly or through a member of the Commission, without the permission of the presiding officer. No question shall be asked a member of the Commission except through the presiding officer.
No person who has addressed the Commission during any given Citizens Input on agenda items shall be allowed to make additional comments on the agenda items except with the permission of the presiding officer. Citizens may make additional comments on specific items being heard during a public hearing.
For those matters in which citizen's input is heard by the Commission, the Chairman shall close the citizen's input portion of the meeting upon the conclusion of the last speaker's comments. No additional citizen's input shall be allowed, except in specific response to questions by members of the Commission or if an extension of time for public comment is approved by the Commission.
Any person making slanderous remarks or who becomes boisterous while addressing the Commission shall be barred from making any additional comments during the meeting by the presiding officer, unless permission to continue or again address the Commission is granted by the majority of the Commission members present.
Any person who becomes disruptive or interferes with the business of the Commission may be removed from the audience for the remainder of the meeting.
Any person shall be entitled to submit written comments for consideration by the Commission. Written comments submitted may be considered and entered into the record of the meeting.
Voting. Unless otherwise provided by law, ordinance or statute, when the Commission has finished discussion and is ready to vote a question, the Chairman shall call for the vote, and there shall be no further discussion by any member voting. Each member shall vote aye or nay, and silence shall be considered an "aye" vote. When a matter is brought up for a vote on a motion to approve it and said motion fails, the status quo ante shall be maintained, and the matter shall be considered denied. Such a vote shall not preclude a subsequent motion at the same meeting to approve with modifications to the motion.
Roll call. Upon any roll call, there shall be no discussion by any member prior to voting, and each Commissioner shall vote yes or no.
Vote change. Any Commissioner momentarily absent for a vote on a particular item may record his or her vote before adjournment is called, but not thereafter. The Commissioner desiring to record his vote shall state the item upon which he is voting and whether his vote is for or against the motion. If a Commissioner does not vote before adjournment, then his absence shall be duly recorded in the minutes of the meeting, unless the Commissioner abstained from voting which shall be recorded in the minutes as required by Florida Law.
Rules of Debate
As to the Chairman. The Chairman may make or second any motion after relinquishing the Chair. The Chairman shall not resume the Chair until after the Commission has acted upon the matter under consideration.
Getting the floor, improper references to be avoided. Every Commission member desiring to speak for any purpose shall address the Chairman and, upon recognition, shall confine discussion to the question under debate.
Interruption. A Commission member once recognized shall not be interrupted when speaking unless it is to call that member to order. If a Commission member while speaking is called to order, the member shall cease speaking until the question of order is determined by the Chairman; and, if in order, the member shall be permitted to proceed. Any Commission member may appeal to the Commission from the decision of the Chairman upon a question of order, whereupon without debate the Chairman shall submit to the Commission the question, "Shall the decision of the Chairman be sustained?" and the Commission shall decide by a majority vote of those present at the meeting.
Privilege of closing debate. Any Commission member may move to close debate and call the question on the motion being considered which shall be non-debatable. By request of a Commissioner, members of the Commission shall be polled to decide whether debate may be reopened.
Whenever the Chairman deems it necessary or desirable that the Commission shall be represented at meetings, conferences or other occasions involving other governmental entities, agencies, officials or groups, or non-governmental organizations, or departments, agencies or officials of the County government, the Chairman may nominate members of the Commission to represent the Commission at such meetings, conferences or other occasions, with the consent of the nominated member. Such representative shall have no power to act for or on behalf of the Commission or to make any commitment or binding obligation on behalf of the Commission or the County. Such representatives may report to the Commission with regard to such meeting, conference or other occasion.
Regularly scheduled Bay County Commission meetings held at Bay County Government Complex, 840 West 11th Street, Panama City are broadcast by WKGC FM (90.7) AM (1480).