BYLAWS OF THE BOARD OF SELECTMEN OF WOOLWICH, MAINE
Section 1. Purpose and Scope
The purpose of these bylaws is to establish reasonable rules of procedure for Board of Selectmen (Board) meetings and to promote the fair, orderly and efficient conduct of the Board's proceedings and affairs. These bylaws shall govern the Board's practices and procedures except as otherwise provided by law and shall be liberally construed so as to accomplish their purpose.
Section 2. Parliamentary Authority
The rules contained in the current edition of Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the Board in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws.
Section 3. Officers and their Duties
Officers of the Board shall consist of a Chairman and a Vice Chairman to be chosen annually at the first Board meeting in January by and from among Board members. The Chairman shall preside at all Board meetings and shall have authority to rule on questions of evidence and procedure, to maintain order and determine the course of proceedings, and to take such other action as may be necessary and not inconsistent with these bylaws or other law to enable the Board to perform its duties and conduct its affairs. In the absence of the Chairman, the Vice Chairman shall preside and shall have the same authority. In a situation where the Chairman and the Vice Chairman of the Board are absent, the Board shall appoint by affirmative majority vote of its members present, a temporary Chairman of the Board to serve until such time as the Chairman or Vice Chairman returns to the Chair. The temporary Chairman is to have and exercise any and all authority conferred upon the permanent Chairman. The Administrative Assistant shall maintain a permanent record of all Board meetings and all correspondence of the Board, which shall be a public record except as otherwise provided by law. The vice Chairman shall be responsible, with the town Administrator, for a thorough review and analysis of the municipal budget for each of the first three quarters of the fiscal year and for each of the last three months of that fiscal year. The Vice Chairman will advise the Board of the results of those analyses and make appropriate recommendations.
Regular meetings of the Board shall be held every other Monday or as otherwise necessary or required by law except that the meeting will be held on Tuesday whenever the regular meeting day falls on a holiday. Special meetings may be called at the discretion of the Chairman or upon the request of a majority of the Board, provided, however, that notice thereof shall be given to each member at least twenty-four hours in advance, whenever possible, and that no business may be conducted other than as specified in said notice.
Notice of all Board meetings shall be given as required by law by the Administrative Assistant, and all such meetings shall be open to the public except as otherwise provided by law.
No business may be conducted by the Board except at a duly called and noticed meeting or without a quorum consisting of a majority of the Board being present.
The order of business at regular meetings shall be as follows:
1. Minutes of the previous meeting
2. Road Commissioner's Report
3. Fire Chief's Report
4. Codes Enforcement Officer's Report
5. Old (unfinished) business
6. New business
Board members are allowed to go into an executive session to deliberate on the matters authorized by 1 MRSA § 405 and no others. The executive session can only be entered after a motion has been made in public session to go into executive session. The nature of the business to be discussed must be a part of that motion, although the wording of the motion, obviously, may not substantially reveal the sensitive information which the law intends to protect by the executive session process. The motion must carry by at least 3t5 of the members present. No topic other than that referred to in the motion shall be discussed during executive session. All matters discussed during executive session shall be held in strictest confidence by the Board and shall not be discussed with or divulged to any person other than a fellow Board member or persons in attendance at the executive session. Any violation of this confidentiality requirement shall be deemed to be malfeasance of office and shall subject the offending Board member to sanction by the Board.
Section 5. Public to Address Board
As each item on the agenda for any meeting is brought to the floor for discussion, the sponsor of each item or, if there is no Board sponsor, the Administrative Assistant, shall first be allowed to present their initial comments for consideration by the public and other Board members. Following this introduction of the issue, there will be time devoted to any questions of the sponsor or the Administrative Assistant regarding the agenda item which any Board member may have which would help to clarify the question presented by the agenda item. The Chairman shall allow questions only during this time, and no debate or discussion of collateral issues shall be permitted. Once the agenda item has been explained by its sponsor or the Administrative Assistant and clarified by any questioning as provided above, there will be time devoted for any resident, taxpayer or authorized representative of an organization resident or taxpayer of the Town of Woolwich to address the Board regarding this particular agenda item. Any comment by the public shall be limited to the expression of opinions or concerns regarding the agenda item. No public comment shall be allowed which has the effect of embarrassing or attacking the character of any individual or Board member. After listening to any input from the public present, the Chairman will close public comment on the issue and then provide for debate and vote of the issue by the Board.
Section 6. Workshop Sessions
Workshop sessions may be scheduled by the Chairman for the purpose of disseminating information for Board enlightenment and evaluation or for the discussion or refinement of future agenda items.
Members of the public are invited to attend any workshop session but will not be allowed to participate in the workshop. Prior to adjourning any workshop session, the Board will provide time for members of the public to address the session to provide information relevant to the subject being explored or to ask questions, through the Chairman, relating to the subject of the workshop session.
Section 7. Agenda Items
All agenda items shall be, under normal circumstances, submitted by the Board members to the Administrative Assistant three working days prior to any regular or special meeting. The Administrative Assistant will draft the agenda and obtain the Chairman's approval before distribution. In the event that a matter shall arise which was not submitted to the Administrative Assistant within the proper time frame, then that item shall be presented to the Chairman as soon as possible. The Chairman may present the matter to be considered by the Board, with a majority vote of Board members present required for it to be included on the agenda.
Section 8. Hearings
Public hearings of the Board shall be called as required by law or on such other occasions as a majority of the Board may deem appropriate. Notice of all such hearings shall be given as required by law and shall include the date, time and place of the hearing and a general description of the subject matter.
The Chairman shall convene all hearings by describing the purpose of the hearing and the general procedures to be followed. The Board may receive any oral or documentary evidence but shall exclude irrelevant, immaterial or unduly repetitious evidence, provided, however, that formal rules of evidence shall not apply. Every party shall have the right to present its case in the order determined by the Chairman and without interruption, provided, however, that the Chairman may impose such reasonable time limits as may be necessary to ensure that all parties have an adequate opportunity to be heard. In any adjudicatory proceeding, including proceedings on licenses, permits or other approvals, every party shall also have the right to submit rebuttal evidence and to conduct cross-examination of any other party through the Chairman, provided, however, that the Chairman may impose such other reasonable limitations as may be necessary to prevent an abuse of process.
Section 9. Participation and Voting
Any action of the Board shall require the affirmative vote of a majority of its membership unless otherwise provided by law. No member may participate or vote in any matter in which the member has a conflict of interest or other disqualification as defined by law. Any question of whether a member has such a conflict of interest or other disqualification shall be decided by majority vote of the remaining members. No member may participate or vote in any adjudicatory proceeding, including proceedings on licenses, permits or other approvals, unless the member was present during all hearings thereon.
All members who are present and not disqualified as provided herein shall vote in every matter to be voted upon unless excused by the Chairman for good cause shown. Those present, in such circumstances, who refuse to vote are regarded as having voted affirmatively, i.e. for the proposition, or to have voted with the majority.
Section 10. Meeting Length
All Board meetings, workshops or executive sessions should, except in extraordinary circumstances, adjourn at or before 8:00 p.m.
Section 11. Conflict with Laws
Any conflict or inconsistency between these bylaws and any applicable law shall be resolved in favor of the law.
Section 12. Waivers: Amendments
These bylaws, or any provisions thereof, may be waived on any occasion by majority vote of the Board unless otherwise provided by law. These bylaws may be amended at any time in writing by majority vote of the Board.
Adopted by the Board on January 7, 2008. Attest: Lynette R. Eastman, Administrator
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