General Rules

Rule One
The President - Powers and Duties
The President, or in his absence, the senior member in service, shall take the Chair at the hour appointed for the Council to meet and shall immediately call the members to order. In the absence of the President, the senior member in service shall assume the role of President pro-tern. If there is a question as to who the senior member is, then the President will be selected by ballot and plurality of votes shall elect from among the senior members. The Clerk will temporarily preside. The roll call shall then be called by the Clerk, who shall enter in the minutes of the meeting the names of the members present. In the absence of a quorum at the time appointed for a meeting, the members present may, by a majority vote, take a recess or recesses, and direct the Clerk to procure the attendance of absent members.

No President shall serve more than two consecutive one year terms.

Rule Two
Appeals from Decision of the President
The President shall preserve decorum and decide all questions of order, subject to appeal to Council. In the case of an appeal from a ruling of the President, the question shall be: "Shall the decision of the President stand as the decision of the Council?" If a member transgresses the rules of the Council, the President shall, or any member, by addressing the President may call him to order, in which case he shall be seated, unless permitted to explain.

Rule Three
Substitute Chairman
The President may call any member to the Chair, but such substitutes shall not continue longer than one meeting. The President may express his opinion on any subject under debate without leaving the Chair.

Rule Four
Viva Voce and Rising Votes
All questions shall be stated and put by the President. In case of a roll call vote, the President shall declare the result, after the Clerk has announced the number voting on each side. The results of viva voce votes shall be declared by the President without reference to the Clerk. Where a rising vote is taken, the President shall count and announce the result. Where the result of a viva voce vote is in doubt, the President may, and on demand of any member, shall call for a division of the Council, which shall be taken by a roll call. It shall not be in order for members to explain their votes during the call of the roll.

Rule Five
Seating Arrangements
The President shall assign the seats of the Councillors and no member shall change his seat but by the permission of the President.

Rule Six
Admission to Council Floor
No person will be admitted within the rail in the City Council Chamber or in the member's lobby connected with said Chamber at any meeting of the City Council, except upon permission of the President or presiding officer of the Council.

Rule Seven
Committee Appointments
All standing committees shall be appointed and announced by the President. Any other committee established by the Council shall be constituted pursuant to relevant council order or resolution

Rule Eight
Clerk and Employees
The City Clerk and the Quincy City Council Clerk of Committees shall be residents of the City of Quincy and all other officers and employees of the City Council shall be under the supervision of the Council President during sessions of the City Council.

Members · Duties And Privileges

Rule Nine
Addressing Chair
Every member speaking to a question or making a motion shall address the Chair as "Mr. President," who shall thereupon pronounce the name of the member entitled to the floor. Members addressing Council shall confine themselves to the question under debate and avoid personalities.

Rule Ten
Debate Limitation
A member shall be allowed to speak on anyone subject for a period not to exceed fifteen (15) minutes. For matters coming before the Council in the fIrst instance not being referred to committee and/or requiring a question-and-answer period, the foregoing limitations shall not apply. A member shall be allowed an additional five (5) minutes to speak after every other member choosing to speak has spoken.

Rule Eleven
Speaking Decorum
No member shall be interrupted while speaking, but by call to order for the correction of a mistake; nor shall there be any conversation among the members while a question is being stated, while a member is speaking, or a paper being read. If a member is speaking or otherwise transgresses the rules of the Council, any member may call him to order by addressing the President.

Rule Twelve
Point of Order
Any member on being called to order shall cease debate until the point of order is decided unless allowed by the President to explain.

Rule Thirteen
Every member present when a question is put may vote either "yes" or "no" or "present."

Rule Fourleen
Election of Officers
A majority of all members elected to the Council shall be required to elect a President and Clerk of Committees.

Rule Fifteen
Tie Vote
In case of a tie in votes on any proposal, the proposal shall be considered lost.

Rule Sixteen
Division of a Question
On demand of any member, a question under consideration covering two or more points, shall be divided where the question admits of such division.

Rule Seventeen
Demand for Roll Call
Upon demand of any member, made before the negative has been put, the roll shall be called for yeas and nays upon any question before the Council.

Rule Eighteen
Motions and Procedure During Debate
When a question is before the Council, no motion shall be entertained except:

  1. To adjourn
  2. To lay on the table
  3. The previous question
  4. To postpone to a time certain
  5. To refer
  6. To amend
  7. To postpone indefinitely

Such motions shall be precedence in the foregoing order. A roll call may be ordered at any time to ascertain the number of members present.

Rule Nineteen
Motion to Lay on Table
A motion to lay on table shall preclude all amendments or debate on the subject under consideration. If the motion shall prevail, the consideration of the subject may be resumed only upon motion of a member voting with the majority and with the consent of a majority of all the members of the Council.

Rule Twenty
Motion to Adjourn --
When Not in Order •• Not Debatable

A motion to adjourn shall be in order at any time, except as follows:

  • (A) When repeated without intervening business or discussion.
  • (B) When made as an interruption of a member while speaking.
  • (C) When the previous question has been ordered.
  • (D) While a vote is being taken.

A motion to adjourn is debatable only as to the time to which the meeting is adjourned.

Rule Twenty-One
Written Proposals
All proposed ordinances, orders and resolutions shall be in writing. No member shall be allowed to submit a written notice or resolution until he or she has read it in his or her place.

Rule Twenty-Two
Personal Privilege
The right of a member to address the Council on a question of personal privilege shall be limited to cases in which his or her integrity, character or motives are assailed, questioned or impugned.

Rule Twenty-Three
Suspension of Rule/Objection
(A) SUSPENSION OF RULE Except as controlled by statute, any rule may be suspended by the votes of a majority or all the members of the Council without debate. (B) OBJECTION Any ordinance, order or resolution may be passed through all its stages of legislation at one session, provided that no member of the Council objects thereto; but if any member of the Council objects, the measure shall be postponed for that meeting. Rule twenty-three cannot be suspended.

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