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Council and Board Procedures

 

Council and regional district board procedure concerns:

  • council and regional district board decisions made by bylaw or resolution
  • council and regional district board member attendance, participation and voting
  • the role of the mayor, chair or presiding member
  • voting
  • procedures bylaw

Councils and regional district boards make decisions by bylaw or resolutions. Bylaws are passed when the legislation requires that form of decision. In all other situations where a policy is adopted or other decision is made by a council or a regional board, it can be in the form of a resolution. Board and council meetings must be "open meetings", except in clearly defined circumstances.
 

Council and board members are expected to attend every meeting, to participate and vote. However, if they are absent from four consecutively scheduled regular meetings, or 60 days, whichever is longer, they could be disqualified from holding office - unless the absence is due to illness or injury, or the person has permission from the council or regional district board. Disqualification from office can occur for various reasons but final decisions about disqualification and removal from office are made by the courts.
 

The mayor and regional district board chair are participating members of the council/regional board and have the ability to vote and to make motions. They are typically the presiding member at meetings which means that they are responsible for maintaining order and the conduct of debate. The presiding member can even expel a person from a meeting for acting improperly.
 

Councils are required to appoint an acting mayor or a schedule of acting mayors to serve in the absence of the mayor.
 

In most cases, votes at a council or regional board meeting are decided by a simple majority of the members present at the meeting. However, there are a few circumstances where two-thirds majority is required. For regional districts, there are added rules regarding weighted votes and stakeholder votes. If a council or board member does not indicate how he or she votes, they are deemed to have voted in the affirmative. In other words, they cannot abstain from voting unless they may not participate because of a conflict of interest. The Community Charter establishes standards of ethical conduct.
 

Municipal councils and regional district boards are required to establish the procedures for the conduct of their meetings and for the general administration of the local government. These procedures are contained in a Procedure Bylaw.
 

While each local government has the flexibility to adopt meeting procedures to suit their circumstances, there are certain procedures that must be addressed in their procedure bylaw. For example, they are required to establish and make available to the public a schedule of their regular meetings but they have the flexibility to decide the schedule that is most suitable to the council. Councils may also conduct meetings as "electronic meetings" (i.e. via voice conferencing).
 

Since most council and regional district board meetings are open to the public, they generally allot time on their agenda for members of the public to address the council or regional district board members directly. Citizens should check with their local government about the procedures councils or regional district boards have established.
 

 

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