Guest sue w.

Must resolutions be read out loud?

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A resolution was presented at a recent city council meeting. The resolution was to not renew the contract for a 9 year employee (ploice chief), so there was much heated discussion. The motion was made, but the resolution was never read. Does RONR speak to this?

 

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Yes, and no.  Hieu's section says that every member has the right to have the resolution to be read before the vote ("When any paper is laid before the assembly for action, it is a right of every member that it be read once; and, if that it be read again before members are asked to vote on it." RONR 11th ed., p. 299, ll. 4-8), but he section goes on to say that it is up to the group ("Except as just stated, no member has the right to have anything read without permission of the assembly." RONR 11th ed., p. 299, ll. 8-10.)

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Since this body is a city council, it is almost certainly a "public body" and is subject to its own rules and to state law regarding open meetings, meeting procedures, etc.  It is quite common, almost universal, that city councils and other public bodies do not normally read the entire contents of a proposed ordinance, law or resolution out loud in its entirety.  The clerk usually reads the title and maybe a brief summary out loud and nothing else. The members have the full text of the resolution in front of them. 

I suspect that what happened in this case is nothing out of the ordinary.  Resolutions usually get read in full only when someone is being honored or when it is expressing the city council's strong feeling on a public issue that will ultimately be acted on by another public body such as the Mayor, Governor, county governing board or state legislature.  Then they do it for effect, not because it's required (except, perhaps, for honoring someone with a proclamation).

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