Rancho Palos Verdes City Council







Consider Amendments to the City Council Rules of Procedure.


At their meeting of April 6, 2004, the City Council discussed the effectiveness of the new City Council agenda format and the new procedure for conduct of City Council business. As a result of the discussion it was decided that:

  • Public Comments should remain at the front of the agenda.
  • City Council Oral Reports would be placed later on the agenda and follow the first break at about 8:30 PM.
  • The agenda category "Old Business" would be deleted. Council items previously discussed and continued for future action would be placed on the City website. (A note will be placed on the agenda describing how and where to find this information.)
  • The agenda category "Future Agenda Items" will remain near the end of the agenda.
  • An estimated time for each item on the agenda will continue to appear next to each item title. There will be a note on the agenda that times listed are estimated only, and utilized for the purpose of avoiding overly long meeting agendas. Also the estimated times are not intended to preclude public input, full discussion and thoughtful deliberation of each item.
  • The Council will take up no new business after 11:00 PM and meetings will adjourn no later than midnight. The Council will review this policy after six months.
  • The Council meeting procedure will not require that a motion be made prior to discussing a matter.

Mayor Gardiner and Mayor Pro Tem Clark suggested that the remaining agenda format issues and meeting procedures discussed in the April 6, 2004 Staff Report but not yet addressed by the City Council be continued. The matter was agendized for April 20, 2004, but no action was taken at that time. The Council felt that the issues could be better addressed in a workshop setting, perhaps at the proposed City Council Team Building Workshop.



Further discussion of Council meeting procedures took place at the June 19, 2004 Council Workshop. Various strategies to make the meetings more efficient included:

  • Move items to the consent calendar when possible.
  • Have a reasonable number of items on the agenda Ė donít overload it.
  • Have a pre-allotted time to complete meetings Ė about three hours.
  • Receive the agenda packet a day earlier.
  • Strive for more off-line preparation.
  • Mayor to increase role of summarizing to move things along.
  • Consider a trial period of an 11:00 PM cut-off time and carry over to the following night if necessary.
  • Try to limit questions to those that are material to the discussion or being asked for the benefit of the public. Questions should be asked off-line whenever possible and appropriate. Disclose when a question has been asked beforehand.
  • The default will be no oral staff reports unless requested. When requested, they can be either a summarized version or an entire version depending on the need.
  • Strive not to overly repeat comments that have already been made.

It was not clear to staff whether or not these strategies should become part of the published City Council Rules of Procedure.

Attached are the Rules of Procedure with previously approved amendments shown in bold font and deletions shown with double strikethrough.

The City Attorney has made some recommended changes to the Rules that are shown in yellow highlight.


Respectfully Submitted,

Les Evans

City Manager

Attachment: Revised Rules of Procedure

Staff Report of April 6, 2004

Mayor Gardinerís Memorandum of December 16, 2003

Councilman Sternís Memorandum dated April 6, 2004

Councilman Wolowiczís Memorandum dated April 6, 2004

Councilman Longís Memorandum dated April 5, 2004





Table of Contents

Subject Page

  1. Authority 3
  2. General Rules 3
  3. 2.1 Quorum 3

    2.2 Vacancy by Unexcused Absence 3

    2.3 Minutes of Proceedings 3

    2.4 Right of Floor 3

    2.5 Rules of Order 3

    2.6 City Manager 3

    2.7 City Attorney 4

    2.8 City Clerk 4

    2.9 Department Heads/Employees 4

  4. Types of Meetings 4
    1. Public Meetings 4

    3.2 Regular Meetings 4

    3.3 Adjourned Meetings 5

    3.4 Special Meetings 5

    3.5 Closed Session Meetings 5

    3.6 Work Session Meetings 5

    3.7 Media Attendance 5

    3.8 Recess 5

    3.9 Redevelopment Agency and Improvement Authority Business 5

  5. Duties of the Mayor 6
    1. Election of the Mayor 6
    2. Mayor Pro Tem 6
    3. Presiding Officer 6
    4. Call to Order 6
    5. Preservation of Order 6
    6. Point of Order 6
  6. Order and Preparation of Agenda 6
    1. Order of Business 6
    2. Agenda Preparation 7
    3. Agenda Posting 7
    4. Minutes 7
    5. Public Comments (see Citizenís Rights in Section 6) 7
    6. Public Hearings 7
    7. Consent Calendar 7
    8. Actions Limited to Posted Agenda 8



    Subject Page

  7. Citizenís Rights 8
    1. Addressing the Council 8
    2. Personal and Slanderous Remarks 8
    3. Enforcement of Decorum 9
    4. Reading of Protests 9
    5. Written Communications 9
  8. Ordinances, Resolutions and Contracts 10
    1. Document Preparation 10
    2. Document Approval 10
    3. Ordinance Introduction/Adoption 10
    4. Majority Vote Required 10
    5. Ordinance Preservation 10
  9. Procedures Regarding Public Hearings 10
    1. Introduction 10
    2. Staff and Written Material Presentation 11
    3. Public Testimony 11
    4. Council Deliberation 12
    5. Council Action 12
  10. Boards, Commissions and Committees 12
    1. Mayor/City Council Committee 12
    2. Citizen Boards, Commission and Committees 12
  11. Suspension and Amendment of These Rules 13
    1. Suspension 13
    2. Amendment 13
  12. Miscellaneous Rules 13
  13. 11.1 Motion to be Stated 13

    11.2 Roll Call Votes 13

    11.3 Silence 13

    11.4 Continuance of an Item 14

    11.5 Personal Privilege 14

    11.6 Motion to Reconsider 14

  14. Rules of Debate 15
    1. Mayor as Presiding Officer 15
    2. Appeals 15
    3. Precedence of Motions 15



  2. As provided by Government Code Section 36813, the City Council hereby establishes these Rules of Procedure for the conduct of meetings. These Rules shall be in effect upon the adoption by City Council and until such time as they are amended or new rules are adopted in the manner provided by these Rules.

  4. 2.1 Quorum

    Three members of the Council shall constitute a quorum necessary to transact business. In the event a quorum is not in attendance, the City Clerk will adjourn the meeting to a later set time.

    2.2 Vacancy by Unexcused Absence

    If a City Councilmember is absent without permission from all regular City Council meetings for 60 days consecutively from the last regular meeting s/he attended, his/her office becomes vacant and shall be filled as any other vacancy, as provided by Government Code Section 36513.

    2.3 Minutes of Proceedings

    An account of all public proceedings of the City Council shall be recorded by the City Clerk or his/her designee and entered into the official minute books of the Council. These minutes shall be available to the public following approval by the Council.

    2.4 Right of Floor

    Any councilmember desiring to speak shall first be recognized by the Mayor and shall confine any remarks to the subject under consideration.

    2.5 Rules of Order

    In all matters and things not otherwise provided for herein, the proceedings of the Council shall be governed by "Robertís Rules of Order." However, no ordinance, resolution, proceedings or other action of the City Council will be invalidated, or the legality thereof affected, by the failure or omission to observe or follow said Rules.

    2.6 City Manager

    The City Manager shall attend all meetings of the Council unless excused, and in his/her absence, the Assistant City Manager or Acting City Manager shall substitute. The City Manager may make recommendations and shall have the right to take part in all discussions of the Council, but shall have no vote.

    2.7 City Attorney

    The City Attorney shall attend all meetings of the Council unless excused, and in his/her absence, the City Attorney shall make arrangements for a substitute attorney. The City Attorney, upon request, shall give opinions, either written or oral, on questions of law and shall act as the Councilís parliamentarian.

    2.8 City Clerk

    The City Clerk or his/her designee shall attend all meetings of the Council unless excused by the City Manager, and in her/his absence, the Deputy City Clerk shall substitute. The City Clerk shall record, prepare and maintain the official record of the Council and perform other related duties as prescribed by the Council and/or City Manager.

    2.9 Department Heads/Employees

    Department Heads and other city employees, as directed by the City Manager, shall attend Council meetings.

    1. Public Meetings

All meetings (except closed sessions as provided by State law) of the Council shall be open to the public.

3.2 Regular Meetings

The Council shall meet in the City Council Chambers located at Fred Hesse Community Park, 29301 Hawthorne Boulevard, for all regular meetings. Regular meetings of the City Council shall be held on the first and third Tuesday of each month at the hour of seven p.m. in the Council Chambers except as follows:

    1. When an official a Rancho Palos Verdes municipal or a presidential election is conducted in the City on the first or third Tuesday of any month, the meeting shall be held on the next succeeding day, which is not a holiday.
    2. When an official City holiday falls on the first or third Tuesday of any month, the meeting shall be held on the next succeeding day, which is not a holiday.

Only closed sessions and work sessions may be held between six p.m. and seven p.m. unless a regular meeting is adjourned to, or a special meeting is called for such time. No work session or closed session will be held during such hours unless the agenda is posted at least seventy-two hours prior to the meeting as required by Section 54954.2 of the California Government Code. No action shall be taken during any work session held between such hours unless the agenda so provides.

3.3 Adjourned Meetings

Any meeting of the City Council may be adjourned to a later date, place and time, provided no adjournment is for a longer period than the next regularly scheduled meeting.

3.4 Special Meetings

Special meetings may be called by the Mayor or by a majority of the Councilmembers. The notice for a special meeting must specify the subject(s) to be considered. In accordance with Government Code Section 54956, twenty-four hours notice must be given prior to the meeting; only specified matters may be discussed at special meetings.

3.5 Closed Session Meetings

Closed sessions may be held in accordance with the provisions of the Brown Act. The City Attorney shall attend all closed sessions either in person or telephonically, unless his or her performance is being reviewed.

3.6 Work Session Meetings

The Council may meet in work sessions called by the Mayor or the majority of the Councilmembers. Work sessions are open to the public and are meetings for the purposes of the Brown Act.

3.7 Media Attendance

Except for closed sessions, all meetings of the City Council and City Boards/ Commissions shall be open to the media, and may be recorded by tape, radio, television, or photography, provided such recordings do not interfere with the orderly conduct of the meetings.

3.8 Recess

Once every hour and one-half, or as Council business permits, the Council shall recess for a period of time specified by the Mayor.

3.9 Redevelopment Agency and Improvement Authority Business

Unless otherwise directed by the City Council, upon adjournment of the City Council meeting held on the first Tuesday of each month, the City Council will meet as the Redevelopment Agency and then as the Improvement Authority of the City.


    1. Election of the Mayor
    2. The Mayor is a member of the City Council and is annually elected by majority vote of the City Council at the first regular meeting in December or, in the case of an election year, upon certification of the election results. As a member of the City Council, the Mayor shall have all the powers of a member.

    3. Mayor Pro Tem

The Mayor Pro Tem shall be selected by a Council majority vote.

4.3 Presiding Officer

The Mayor, if present, shall preside. In the Mayorís absence, the Mayor Pro Tem shall preside. In the absence of both, the Councilmembers present shall elect a Presiding Officer.

    1. Call To Order

The Mayor or Mayor Pro Tem shall call the meeting to order at the hour appointed. In the absence of both, the meeting shall be called to order by the City Clerk and those Councilmembers present shall proceed to elect a temporary Presiding Officer.

4.5 Preservation of Order

The Mayor shall preserve strict order and decorum, shall prevent verbal attacks on Councilmembers, staff and/or citizens, and confine debate to the item under discussion, and shall discourage debate between Councilmembers and persons addressing the Council.

    1. Point of Order

The Mayor shall determine all points of order, subject to the right of any member to appeal. If an appeal is taken, the question shall be, "Shall the decision of the Mayor be sustained?"


5.1 Order of Business

    1. Call to Order, Roll Call, Pledge of Allegiance

2. Mayorís Announcements

2. 3. Proclamations, Announcements, Recycling Drawing

3 4. Approval of Agenda

5. Public Comments

6. City Manager Reports

4. 7. Consent Calendar

5. 8. Public Hearings

6. 9. City Council Reports (at approximately 8:30 PM)

7. Public Comments (at approximately 8:40 PM)

8. 10. Regular Business

9. Written Communications

10. Committee Reports

    1. City Manager Reports

11. Closed Session Report

12. 12. Adjournment

Council items previously discussed and continued for future action will be placed on the City website. A note will be placed on the Agenda describing how and where to find this information.

    1. Agenda Preparation
    2. The Agenda shall be prepared in accordance with the preparation procedure as directed by the City Manager. The Agenda shall be delivered to the Mayor and Council members, as soon as practicable after 5:00 PM on the Thursday Wednesday preceding the Tuesday meeting.

    3. Agenda Posting
    4. The City Clerk shall post, in a location that is freely accessible to members of the public, an agenda at least 72 hours before a regular meeting. The agenda shall specify the time and location of the meeting and contain a brief description of each item of business to be transacted or discussed.

    5. Minutes
    6. Unless requested by Council, minutes may be approved without reading if the City Clerk previously furnished a copy to each member.

    7. Public Comments Ė (also see Citizenís Rights)
    8. During Public Comments any person may address the Council, provided that the item is within the subject matter jurisdiction of the Council and is not otherwise on the agenda.

    9. Public Hearings
    10. Items requiring a public hearing will be published and/or mailed to property owners as required by law.

    11. Consent Calendar
    12. Items listed under the Consent Calendar are those items staff believes will not require Council discussion and are considered ministerial and routine. Also, the Consent Calendar frequently contains resolutions confirming prior Council action. Any member of the Council may remove an item for discussion or clarification. Items removed from the Consent Calendar will be heard after the Consent Calendar section of the agenda or at such time as the Council may direct.



    13. Actions Limited to Posted Agenda

The City Council shall not take action on any item not appearing on the posted agenda except under the conditions permitted by Government Code Section 54954.2 (Brown Act).

    1. Addressing the Council
    1. Any person may address the Council on the following portions of the agenda:
    1. Public Comments as provided in Section 5.5.
    2. Public Hearings as provided in Section 8.
    3. All other portions of the agenda prior to the vote, if any, being taken.
    1. The following shall apply:
    1. Each person addressing the Council shall step to the podium and give their name and address or city of residence for the record.
    2. Each speaker is limited to three minutes on Public Comments as provided in Section 5.5. All remarks shall be directed to the Mayor and Council as a body and not to any particular member.
    3. No person, other than members of the Council and the person having the floor, shall be permitted to enter into the discussion.
    4. No question shall be asked of Councilmembers or staff except through the Mayor.
    5. These guidelines will generally apply to special meetings as well, but the City Council reserves the right to otherwise limit or preclude Public Comments during Special Meetings.
    6. The City Council may limit the public input on any item based on the number of people requesting to speak, length of agenda, or the business of the Council.
    1. Personal and Slanderous Remarks
    2. No person in the audience at a Council meeting shall engage in disorderly or boisterous conduct, including the utterance of loud, threatening, profane or abusive language, personal, impertinent or slanderous remarks, whistling, stamping of feet, applauding, booing or other acts which disturb, disrupt or otherwise impede the orderly conduct of any Council meeting.

      Any person who conducts himself or herself in the aforementioned manner shall, at the discretion of the Mayor or by a majority of the Council, pursuant to a point of order requested pursuant to Section 4.6 of these Rules of Procedure, be barred from further audience before the Council during the meeting. Any person who so disturbs, disrupts or otherwise impedes the orderly conduct of more than two Council meetings, may be barred from attending future Council meetings delete

      The Mayor shall request that a person who is breaching these rules of conduct be orderly and silent. If, after receiving a warning from the Mayor, a person persists in disturbing the meeting, the Mayor shall order the person to leave the Council meeting. If such person does not immediately remove himself or herself, the Mayor may order any law enforcement officer who is on duty at the meeting as sergeant-at-arms of the Council to remove the person from the Council Chambers. Alternatively, the Mayor may recess the meeting until a law enforcement officer is able to arrive and remove the person.

    3. Enforcement of Decorum

After issuing a verbal warning, the Mayor shall order removed from the Council Chambers any person or persons who commit the following acts in respect to a regular or special meeting of the City Council:

    1. Disorderly, contemptuous or insolent behavior toward the Council or any member thereof, tending to interrupt the due and orderly course of said meeting.
    2. A breach of the peace, boisterous conduct or violent disturbance, tending to interrupt the due and orderly course of said meeting.
    3. Disobedience of any lawful order of the Mayor which shall include an order to be seated or to refrain from addressing the Council from the audience.
    4. Any other unlawful interference with the due and orderly course of the meeting.
    1. Reading of Protests
    2. Interested persons or their representatives may address the Council for the reading of protests, petitions or communications relating to the matter under consideration if a majority of the Council agree that the person should be heard. Such presentation shall be subject to the time limits that have been established for addressing the City Council.

    3. Written Communications

Any citizen may submit written comments to the Council through the City Clerk or City Managerís office and request that Council receive copies in the agenda packet provided such written comments are received in sufficient time to include them in the agenda packet. Written communications may consist of letters, facsimiles or messages received by electronic mail.

    1. Document Preparation
    2. All ordinances and resolutions shall be approved by the City Attorney. No ordinance shall be prepared for presentation to the Council unless ordered by a majority vote of the Council or prepared by the City Attorney on his/her own initiative.

    3. Document Approval
    4. All ordinances, resolutions, and contracts shall, before being placed on the agenda, be approved as to form and legality by the City Attorney. All documents shall be reviewed by the City Manager.

    5. Ordinance Introduction/Adoption
    6. A proposed ordinance will be read by title only unless a member disagrees that the ordinance can be read by title only and requests a full reading. Ordinances introduced by first reading shall not be adopted within five days of the introduction nor at other than a regular or an adjourned regular Council meeting. If the ordinance carries an urgency clause, introduction and adoption may occur at the same meeting. After an ordinance has been introduced for first reading, it can be placed on the Consent Calendar for adoption at a subsequent meeting.

    7. Majority Vote Required
    8. An affirmative vote of at least three members of the Council shall be necessary to adopt an ordinance or resolution. An urgency ordinance must be adopted by at least four-fifths vote. (NOTE: motions and any other matters not involving the approval of ordinances, resolutions or the expenditure of funds may be adopted by the majority present.)

    9. Ordinance Preservation

    Following adoption of an ordinance, the City Clerk will assign it a number and publish and/or post according to law. All ordinances are filed and preserved in the City Clerkís Office.

    1. Introduction
    2. The Mayor announces the subject of the public hearing and declares the public hearing open.

    3. Staff and Written Material Presentation
    1. Staff summary report and other written material included in the agenda packet is received and filed. Written comments (e.g. protests, etc.) are noted for the record.
    2. Written material not in the agenda packet, if any, is received and filed.
    3. Oral staff report, if any, is presented by a staff member, upon request by a Council member.
    4. Staff responds to Council member questions.

5. Prior to hearing public testimony or comments, Council members are encouraged to raise questions or identify issues of concern that they may have, which may assist members of the public to focus their comments upon those questions or issues. However, Council members shall refrain from stating their final position or how they intend to vote on the issue until all public testimony has been received.

    1. Public Testimony
    1. The purpose of this section is to provide an opportunity to members of the public who wish to testify in support or opposition to the matter being heard.
    2. The Mayorís instructions to the audience will vary and will depend upon the issue being discussed. Generally, the instructions will follow these general guidelines:
    1. participants must speak from the podium;
    2. must give their name and address or city of residence before speaking;
    3. that the normal time limit for each speaker is three minutes;
    4. that repetition should be avoided; and,
    5. that speakers will be discouraged from reading a submission that has been copied and is contained in the agenda.

3. Although the normal time limit is three minutes for each speaker, the Mayor may grant additional time to a representative speaking for an entire group. However, this should not discourage anyone from addressing the City Council individually;

    1. The applicant or their representative speaks first and will generally be allowed ten minutes. If the appellant is different from the applicant, the appellant will also be allowed ten minutes to make a presentation. Normally, the applicants and appellants will be limited to a three minute rebuttal (if requested).
    2. At the Mayorís discretion, staff and/or Council will answer questions by speakers at the Mayorís discretion after the completion of the speakerís testimony.


6. Council will generally reserve questioning of individual speakers until after the completion of the speakerís testimony.

    1. Council Deliberations
    1. After the Mayor has determined that there is no more public testimony, the Council will then deliberate on the matter.
    2. The Council may ask additional questions of speakers and/or staff for clarification.

3 The Council will then debate and/or make motions on the matter.

    1. Council Action
    1. Council may, at this point, continue the open public hearing.
    1. This should be done if any additional information is requested (e.g. a staff report).
    2. Continuing a public hearing to a specific date does not require additional notice.
    1. The Council may:
    1. Close the public hearing and vote on the item;
    2. Offer amendments or substitute motions allowing additional public comment; or
    3. Close the public hearing and continue the matter to a later date for a decision. (NOTE: No additional reports or testimony may be received after the public hearing has been closed.)
    1. Mayor/Council Committee

At the first or second meeting in January of each year, the Mayor shall appoint Councilmembers to serve on various committees, which require a Council representative.

9.2 Citizen Boards, Commissions, and Committees

    1. Creation
    2. The City Council may create boards, commissions, or committees to act as advisory boards to the Council.

    3. Appointments
    4. The City Council shall make appointments to citizen boards, commissions and committees. All committee and commission applicants will be interviewed by the City Council at a public meeting.

    5. Dissolution

Except as provided by the Cityís Municipal Code, the City Council may dissolve an existing board, commission, or committee if the Council finds that the purpose of the advisory board is no longer necessary or required.

    1. Suspension
    2. Any provision of these Rules not already governed by the Cityís Municipal Code or the Government Code may be temporarily suspended by a majority vote by the Council present.

    3. Amendment

    These Rules may be amended by additions or deletions or new rules adopted by a majority vote of the Council provided the proposed amendment or new rules are introduced into the record at a prior Council meeting.

    1. Motion to be Stated

The City Clerk shall state all motions submitted for a vote and announce the result. A roll call vote shall be taken upon the request of any member and shall be required for the introduction of any ordinance or expenditure of funds.


11.2 Roll Call Votes

Upon demand by a Councilmember, made before the "Nays" are called for, a roll call vote shall be taken on the motion before the Council. The Mayorís name shall be called last with other membersí names called at random by the City Clerk. Members shall not be required to give explanations of their vote during roll call.

11.3 Silence

During a collective vote (Ayes and Nays), silence of any members denotes an affirmative vote.

11.4 Continuance of an Item

    1. Continuance by a Councilmember
    2. Any Councilmember may continue an item (not subject to a deadline) to the next agreed upon meeting. This continuance may only be denied by a majority vote of the Council.

    3. Continuances Requested by Someone Not a Councilmember

Anyone may request a continuance of an item and the Council, by a majority vote, may grant such a continuance. A request for a subsequent continuance may be granted by a majority vote of the Council only if it finds that:

    1. The need for the continuance was beyond the control of the person requesting it, and
    2. the need for the continuance arose after: (1) the date of the notice of public hearing was published if the item is subject to a public hearing or; (2) the time of the Council agenda was posted for items not subject to a public hearing.
    3. Continuance does not adversely affect the City or the welfare of the Cityís residents.

11.5 Personal Privilege

The right of a Councilmember to address the Council on a question of personal privilege shall be limited to cases in which the integrity, character, or motives of the Councilmember is in question, or where the welfare of the Council is concerned.

11.6 Motion of Reconsider

A motion to reconsider any action taken by the Council may be made in accordance with the following:

    1. The motion must be made by a member of the prevailing side, although it may be seconded by any Councilmember.
    2. The motion must be made prior to the adjournment of the meeting at which the original action was taken.
    3. The motion is debatable and has precedence over a pending motion.
    1. Mayor as Presiding Officer
    2. The Mayor may move, second, and debate from the Chair, and shall not be deprived of any rights and privileges of a Councilmember.

    3. Appeals
    4. Any ruling of the Mayor may be appealed at the request of a Councilmember. The Mayor shall call for a roll call vote to determine if the ruling is upheld.

    5. Precedence of Motions

When a motion is before the Council, no motion shall be entertained except:

    1. Motion to Amend
    2. A motion to amend is debatable only as it relates to the amendment. An amendment that modifies the motion is in order; however, a substitute motion is in order if the intent is changed. Amendments are voted on first, main motion vote is last. A motion may be amended more than once with each amendment being voted on separately. There shall only be one amending motion on the floor at any one time.

    3. Motion to Postpone
    4. A motion to postpone indefinitely is debatable. If such a motion is adopted, the principal question is lost. Motion to postpone to a definite time is subject to debate and amendment as it relates to propriety of the postponement and time set.

    5. Motion to Table

A motion to table is undebatable and not subject to amendment. The purpose of a motion to table is to temporarily bypass the item. If a motion to table is adopted, the item may be taken from the table at any time prior to the adjournment of the next regular meeting. If the item is not taken from the table in the time specified, the business of the item is killed.