Public Meeting Procedures

CITY OF BRIGHTON

PUBLIC MEETING PROCEDURES

 

  1. Purpose

 

This document summarizes certain public meeting procedures that the City Council and the City’s boards and commissions are required to follow under state law and the City Charter, and it establishes additional procedures to promote civil, orderly public meetings.  If anything in these Public Meeting Procedures conflicts with a provision of applicable law or the City Charter or City Code, then the applicable law, City Charter, or City Code provision controls. 

 

  1. Public Meetings – General Requirements

 

  1. Open Meetings Act

 

All meetings of the City’s Council, boards and commissions must comply with the Open Meetings Act, Act 267 of 1976, MCL 15.261 et seq (“OMA”).  This includes, but is not limited to, the City Council, Planning Commission, Zoning Board of Appeals, Board of Review, Building Authority, and any committee that meets the definition of public body under the OMA.  A quorum of the members of a public body must not hold a meeting except in compliance with the OMA. 

 

  1. Notices

 

The City must provide notice of all meetings of the City’s boards and commissions in accordance with the OMA.  Generally, City staff will prepare all required notices and arrange for posting or publishing the notices. 

 

Special meetings[1] and rescheduled regular meetings of a public body require that public notice be posted at least 18 hours before the meeting in a prominent place at City Hall and on the City’s website.  The notice must state the date, time, and place of the meeting. 

 

  1. Minutes

 

Minutes required. The City Council and each board and commission of the City must keep minutes of each meeting showing the date, time, place, members present, members absent, any decisions made at a meeting open to the public, and the purpose or purposes for which a closed session is held. MCL 15.269(1).  The minutes must include all roll call votes taken at the meeting.  MCL 15.269(1).  

 

Preparation of minutes. The City Clerk prepares the minutes of City Council meetings.  For other boards and commissions, the secretary of the board or commission prepares the meeting minutes.  Draft minutes must be prepared and available for public inspection within 8 business days after the date of the meeting, as required by the OMA.  MCL 15.269(3). The approved minutes must be made available for public inspection within 5 business days after the meeting at which the minutes are approved.  MCL 15.269(3).

 

Correction of minutes. Meeting minutes may only be corrected at the next meeting after the meeting to which the minutes refer.  MCL 125.269(1). 

 

  1. Closed Sessions

 

Permissible Purposes. The City Council and any board or commission of the City may enter into a closed session during the meeting for any of the following reasons under the OMA:

 

  • To consider the dismissal, suspension, or disciplining of, or to hear complaints or charges brought against, or to consider a periodic personnel evaluation of, a public officer, employee, staff member, or individual agent, if the named person requests a closed hearing. A person requesting a closed hearing may rescind the request at any time, in which case the matter at issue shall be considered after the rescission only in open sessions.

 

  • [omitted][2].

 

  • For strategy and negotiation sessions connected with the negotiation of a collective bargaining agreement if either negotiating party requests a closed hearing.

 

  • To consider the purchase or lease of real property up to the time an option to purchase or lease that real property is obtained.

 

  • To consult with its attorney regarding trial or settlement strategy in connection with specific pending litigation, but only if an open meeting would have a detrimental financial effect on the litigating or settlement position of the public body.

 

  • To review and consider the contents of an application for employment or appointment to a public office if the candidate requests that the application remain confidential. However, except as otherwise provided in this subdivision, all interviews by a public body for employment or appointment to a public office shall be held in an open meeting pursuant to this act. This subdivision does not apply to a public office described in subdivision (j) [president of an institution of higher education].

 

  • [omitted].

 

  • To consider material exempt from discussion or disclosure by state or federal statute. [Note: this includes attorney-client privileged written legal opinions.]

 

  • [omitted].

 

  • [omitted].

 

  • [omitted].

 

MCL 15.268 (subsections b, g, and j-k omitted as inapplicable to cities).

 

Procedure. Entering closed session requires a 2/3 roll-call vote of all members elected or appointed and serving, except that closed sessions under subsections (a) and (c) require only a majority vote. The roll call vote and the purpose of the closed session must be included in the meeting minutes. 

 

Separate Minutes.  A separate set of minutes must be taken for the closed session.   The closed session minutes are retained by the City Clerk (the clerk or secretary of any board or commission must ensure that sealed closed session minutes are sent to the City Clerk for retention), are not available to the public, and are to be disclosed only if required by a civil action filed under the OMA.  The closed session minutes may be destroyed 1 year and 1 day after approval of the minutes of the regular meeting at which the closed session was approved.

 

  1. Public Comment

 

Under the OMA, a person must be permitted to address a meeting of a public body under rules established and recorded by the public body.  MCL 15.263(5).  The City of Brighton has adopted a “Policy for Public Comments at Meetings.” The City will allow public comment at all City Council, board, and commission meetings pursuant to that policy.

 

  • City Council Meetings

 

  1. Schedule Set by Resolution

 

Under Section 6.1 of the City Charter, the City Council must establish the time and place of its regular meetings by resolution and hold at least one regular meeting each month.  A regular meeting must be held at 8:00 P.M. on the Monday after each regular City election.

 

  1. Special Meetings of City Council

 

Calling Special Meeting; Notice to Council Members. Under Section 6.2 of the City Charter, the City Clerk must call a special meeting on the written request of the Mayor or any two members of the Council.  Each member of the Council must receive at least 24 hours’ written notice, served personally or left at his or her usual place of residence.  The special meeting may be held on less than 24 hours’ notice to Council members if all members of the Council are present or have waived notice of the meeting in writing. 

 

Public Notice. Under the OMA, all special meetings require that public notice be posted at least 18 hours before the meeting in a prominent place at City Hall and on the City’s website.  The notice must state the date, time, and place of the meeting.  

 

Business at Special Meeting. Under Section 6.3 of the City Charter, no business may be transacted at any special meeting of the Council unless the business was stated in the meeting notice. However, any business that lawfully comes before a regular meeting may be transacted at a special meeting if all the members of the Council present consent and all the members absent file their written consent.

 

  1. Agendas

 

Although agendas are not required under the OMA, the City’s policy is to prepare agendas for City Council meetings.  Agendas are prepared by City staff in consultation with the Mayor and/or Mayor Pro Tem and are considered for approval by the City Council at each meeting. Members of City Council may request that City staff include specific items on the agenda before the meeting and may move to add items to the agenda during the meeting.  

 

Members of the public may request that an item be placed on the City Council agenda by contacting the City Clerk’s office or any City Council member or by raising the item during Public Comment.  The City Council has sole discretion to determine the content of each meeting agenda and is not obligated to add any item to the agenda. 

 

  1. Publication of Proceedings

 

In addition to the minutes required under the OMA, the City Council must publish the proceedings or a summary of the proceedings within 15 days after each meeting.  (City Charter, Section 6.7.)  Any summary must be prepared by the Clerk and approved by the Mayor, and it must show the substance of each separate proceeding of the Council.

 

  1. Voting Procedures

 

Roll Call Required.  Under Section 6.7 of the City Charter, a roll call vote is required on all ordinances and resolutions. The roll call must be recorded in the minutes unless the vote is unanimous, in which case the minutes may state that the vote was unanimous. 

 

Order of Roll Call.  In all roll call votes, the names of the members of the Council must be called in alphabetical order, and the name to be called first will be advanced one position alphabetically in each successive roll call vote.

 

Members Required to Vote.  Each Council member in attendance must vote on each question before the Council unless (1) the Council member has a conflict of interest under the Ethics Ordinance, (2) the Council member has a financial interest in the question, other than the common public interest, or (3) the question concerns the Council member’s conduct.  A Council member who refuses to vote when required to vote is guilty of misconduct in office under Section 6.7 of the City Charter. 

 

  1. Quorum; Rescheduling of Meetings

 

A majority of Council members constitutes a quorum.  A quorum is required to hold a meeting.  If less than a quorum is present, the City will reschedule the meeting and provide the notice required under the OMA for a special meeting. 

 

  1. Conduct of Council Members

 

City Council members must conduct themselves in accordance with the City’s Ethics Ordinance and are encouraged to act with civility toward fellow Council members, City staff, and members of the public.  

  1. Parliamentary Procedure

 

The City may rely on Robert’s Rules of Order (Newly Revised) for guidance on parliamentary procedure, but the City is not required to strictly follow Robert’s Rules of Order to govern all questions of conduct and procedure.

 

 

 

Approved by City Council: 10/21/2021

 

[1] See Section III(B) of these Procedures for additional requirements for special meetings of the City Council.

[2] This document omits permissible closed session purposes under the OMA that do not apply to cities.

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