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Ms. B

City Council Meeting Agenda

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Good Morning,

I've run into a issue, I've been ask on several different occasions to remove Items from the Agenda once I have prepared it. Under Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, can the Mayor instruct me (City Secretary) to remove items from the Agenda once it has been prepared? The City Council has voted on Items and I was asked to remove them from the agenda. Please advise.

Thank you,

A. Bynum 

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Strictly under RONR, when used, an agenda is adopted by the body, i.e. the City Council (p. 372).  Mayors are not mentioned in RONR.

Edited by J. J.

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29 minutes ago, Ms. B said:

Good Morning,

I've run into a issue, I've been ask on several different occasions to remove Items from the Agenda once I have prepared it. Under Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, can the Mayor instruct me (City Secretary) to remove items from the Agenda once it has been prepared? The City Council has voted on Items and I was asked to remove them from the agenda. Please advise.

Thank you,

A. Bynum 

Agreeing with J.J., it does not sound like your city council is following the procedure set out in RONR.  That is not unusual for a public body like a city council.  If you are following the procedure in RONR, someone, usually the chairman or the secretary on the chairman's behalf, prepares a proposed or draft agenda in advance of the meeting.  It may or may not be circulated to the other  members prior to the meeting.  

Until it is actually adopted by the assembly by a majority vote (or by unanimous consent),  it is only a proposed agenda and is not binding.  Items can be added to it or removed from it by majority vote at the beginning of the meeting.  Any member can propose changes.  Once the agenda is actually adopted by the assembly, it becomes THE agenda.  Once it has been adopted, it can still be changed by adding to it, removing items from it or rearranging it during the meeting, but doing so requires a two thirds vote.

However, with this being a public body, the procedures for promulgating, publishing, adopting and changing the agenda are almost certainly set out in the city council's own rules, city ordinances, the city charter, or state law.  Most (perhaps all) states have an open meetings law, or sunshine law, which dictates posting or publishing an agenda in advance of the meeting and also the procedure to be followed in modifying the agenda once it has been "published".  It frequently requires a super-majority vote (two thirds or higher... sometimes unanimous) in order to amend the agenda at the meeting or even within a day or two preceding the meeting.

The bottom line is that the procedure for promulgating, adopting and amending an agenda for a city council is almost certainly going to be spelled out in laws and rules which trump RONR. In the case of my own city council, the council rules provide that the Council  Clerk prepares and distributes the agenda.  The state open meetings law specifies how far in advance of the meeting the agenda shall be posted and published and also specifies the procedure to be followed in amending the agenda at the meeting after it has been posted. Among other procedural safeguards, it requires a unanimous vote to amend the agenda at the meeting and gives the public the right to object.

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1 hour ago, Ms. B said:

I've been ask on several different occasions to remove Items from the Agenda once I have prepared it. Under Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, can the Mayor instruct me (City Secretary) to remove items from the Agenda once it has been prepared? The City Council has voted on Items and I was asked to remove them from the agenda. Please advise.

To elaborate on my previous answer, per the rules in RONR, if the assembly (in this case the city council) has voted to put certain things on the agenda, such as taking up a proposed ordinance or resolution which was postponed from the previous meeting, nobody has the authority to arbitrarily remove that item from the agenda for the meeting at which it is to be taken up.   The body itself... the council, not anyone else.... has the ultimate right determine what goes on its agenda unless there is a superior rule or law to the contrary.

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1 hour ago, J. J. said:

Strictly under RONR, when used, an agenda is adopted by the body, i.e. the City Council (p. 372).  Mayors are not mentioned in RONR.

Thank you for your help.

Ms. B

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Mr. Brown,

Thank you for your help. The full explanation really helped. I'm the City Secretary and prepare the Agenda, the items on the Agenda are carried over or given to me by City Council. But every time it's prepared with City Council approval, the Mayor asks me to remove items. I'm going to locate the RONR - City Council (p. 372) to use with my argument.

Again, thank you for your help.

Ms. B

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On 8/6/2019 at 12:41 PM, Ms. B said:

Good Morning,

I've run into a issue, I've been ask on several different occasions to remove Items from the Agenda once I have prepared it. Under Robert's Rules of Order Newly Revised, can the Mayor instruct me (City Secretary) to remove items from the Agenda once it has been prepared? The City Council has voted on Items and I was asked to remove them from the agenda. Please advise.

Thank you,

A. Bynum 

Who prepares the agenda?  Is it the Mayor alone?  When you say the Council has "voted on items", do you mean that the council has voted that these items be included on the next agenda?

If the rules in RONR apply, and we treat the Mayor strictly in the role of presiding officer, the mayor would not have the power to remove items that have been ordered included by the council.   But in public bodies, there are often regulations that go well beyond, and which supersede, the rules in RONR.  These rules sometimes afford powers to a Mayor that go beyond those afforded by the rules in RONR.

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