A Guide to Board of Aldermen Meetings
All Board of Aldermen meetings are conducted in compliance with the Missouri Sunshine Law, which requires that legislative bodies to hold their meetings in public except under specific circumstances where closed sessions are authorized. Chapter 610, RSMo outlines the rules of conduct for Board of Aldermen Meetings.
The regular meetings of the Board of Aldermen are a vital part of the democratic process in the conduct of the City's affairs. The Board generally meets the first and third Mondays of each month at 7:00 p.m. in the Aldermanic Chambers at the Manchester Justice Center – provided that, if either of such dates falls on a legal holiday, then such regular meeting shall be held at 7:00 p.m. on the Tuesday evening next following the Monday holiday.
Special meetings may be called by the Mayor or by two (2) or more Aldermen upon delivering a notice and agenda of such meeting to the Mayor and Board of Aldermen at least thirty-six (36) hours prior to the time of such meeting. Attendance at any meeting by all the Aldermen and the Mayor shall waive any notice provisions previously mentioned for Special Meetings.
The Board of Aldermen may meet in closed session before, during, or after a meeting to discuss matters such as pending or threatened litigation, conference with real property negotiators, or consideration of appointment, performance evaluation, discipline, dismissal, or release of a public employee.
Agendas for Board of Aldermen meetings are posted at City Hall and on the City website at least 24 hours before every regular meeting at www.manchestermo.gov/agendacenter. An agenda packet and copies of the agenda are available at City Hall upon request.
In general, a Public Hearing is an item of open consideration heard within a Regular Meeting, for which special notice has been given. Public Hearings are required on specific items, such as zoning changes, appeals, proposed budget and fee changes, certain permits issued by the City, and other items.
Call to Order
This is where the Board of Aldermen, Mayor, City officials, or other individuals present at the meeting take the Pledge of Allegiance and an Invocation is offered by the President of the Board of Aldermen.
Roll Call and Statement of Quorum
The City Clerk takes a roll call to establish that a quorum of the Board of Aldermen (at least four members of the Board) is present and can conduct the business of the City.
Approval of the Minutes
The Board considers the minutes of previous Board of Aldermen meetings or hearings. Aldermen may offer amendments to the minutes. The minutes are approved as submitted or amended by a simple majority (four affirmative votes) of the Board of Aldermen.
Establishment of Order of Items on the Agenda
The Board consents to the items listed on the agenda. Amendments may be offered by Board members. The agenda items are approved as submitted or amended by a simple majority of the Board of Aldermen.
Consideration of Petitions
The point in the meeting where members of the public and City officials may petition the Board of Aldermen. This is where members of the public have their first opportunity to address the Board.
Reports from the Mayor
The Mayor may offer a report to the Board. The report often includes announcements for upcoming events or reports on matters related to City business.
Reports from the City Administrator
The City Administrator may offer a report to the Board about administrative matters within the City. The City Administrator often invites other City officials to report on matters within their respective department. The City Administrator always submits a report of paid bills as part of their overall report to the Board.
Reports from Committees
Members of the Board report on the business of the other Boards and Commissions of the City that they are assigned to.
Action on Old Legislation
The Board of Aldermen considers and acts on legislation that was introduced or considered at a previous meeting of the Board. Legislation is considered passed and enacted as an ordinance or resolution with the consent from a simple majority of the Board of Aldermen.
Action on New Legislation
The Board of Aldermen considers newly introduced legislation and in certain circumstances may act on the introduced legislation. Legislation is considered passed and enacted as an ordinance or resolution with the consent from a simple majority of the Board of Aldermen.
The second opportunity for residents to address the Board of Aldermen falls under the Miscellaneous section of the agenda. The Board may also consider other miscellaneous items that come before it at this point.
The Board of Aldermen may meet in closed session before, during, or after a meeting to discuss matters such as pending or threatened litigation, conference with real property negotiators, or consideration of appointment, performance evaluation, discipline, dismissal, or release of a public employee. The Board may enter a closed session after the consent of a simple majority of the Board members via a roll call vote.
The end of the meeting. Adjournment can only occur after the consent of a simple majority of the Board members is given.
The Board of Aldermen encourages public participation in the decision-making process and appreciates when residents bring issues of community concern to their attention. Individuals wishing to address the Board on any agenda item may do so during the public comment portion on the Board’s Regular Meeting agenda. Comments are limited to no more than three minutes per speaker, but that time limit may be reduced at the Mayor’s discretion if there are numerous speakers on a particular item. To ensure efficient proceedings, those desiring to speak are requested to complete a speaker card, which can be found on the back table near the entrance of the Aldermanic Chambers and submit it to the City Clerk prior to the start of a meeting. Members of the public wishing to submit written comments on agenda items to the Board of Aldermen can do so at firstname.lastname@example.org. Written comments must be submitted prior to 5:00 p.m. on the day the Board meets to ensure the comments are entered into the record.
After the Mayor opens the Public Hearing, proponents of the proposed item under consideration are invited to testify. Opponents of the considered item are also invited to testify after the proponent and then followed by general comments from the public on the considered item. Finally, members of the Board of Aldermen or Mayor can ask questions or make comments on the item before the Board. Once all comments and questions have been offered, the Mayor will close the Public Hearing. The Board will discuss and consider the matter and render its decision later in the meeting.
Comments from the Public
The public has two opportunities to address the Board of Aldermen and discuss any item within the jurisdiction of the City. The first opportunity for the public to address the Board falls within the “Consideration of Petitions” portion of the Regular Meeting. The second opportunity is near the end of the meeting when the Board considers “Miscellaneous” items that may be presented for its consideration.
Tips for Speakers during Public Comment Portions of the Meeting
- When the Mayor calls your name, step up to the podium and state your name and address.
- Speak directly into the microphone and address the Board, not the audience.
- Unless speaking during the public comment portion of the meeting, remember to speak only on the topic under consideration.
- Applauding or other displays of approval/disapproval are discouraged.
- Speakers are expected to be truthful in their comments to the best of their knowledge and ability.
A motion initiatives approval or disapproval process for a procedural action. Generally, a motion is made by one Alderman and seconded by another, and then the Board discusses and votes on the action. A roll call vote may be necessary to determine how all Aldermen have voted if it is unclear. Motions are considered passed when a simple majority of the Board of Aldermen votes affirmatively for the motion.
A resolution constitutes an official written action or decision of the Board and becomes effective upon adoption. Resolutions are considered passed when a simple majority of the Board of Aldermen votes affirmatively for the resolution.
Ordinances are the laws of the City and are the most binding form of action taken by the Board of Aldermen. An ordinance, unless Emergency Legislation is approved by a simple majority, is introduced at one meeting and adopted at a second meeting. Generally, the ordinance becomes effective 30 days later.
A proclamation is an item that expresses the Mayor and Board’s support on various state and local activities or recognition of individuals or organizations for their work. Proclamations are usually presented during the Mayoral Reports portion of the Agenda.
Every bill passed by the Board of Aldermen and presented and approved by the Mayor shall become an ordinance, and every bill presented as previously mentioned, but returned with the Mayor's objections, shall be considered vetoed by the Mayor. The Board of Aldermen shall receive the veto and instruct the Mayor and City Clerk to enter into the journal the objections of the Mayor. At the Board’s convenience, the Aldermen shall consider the vetoed bill and vote to override the Mayoral veto. The vote on the veto override shall be taken by ayes and nays and the names entered upon the journal, and if two-thirds (four Aldermen) of all the members vote to override the veto, the City Clerk shall certify the fact on the roll, and the bill shall become an ordinance in the same manner and with like effect as if it had received the approval of the Mayor. The Mayor shall have power to sign or veto any ordinance passed by the Board of Aldermen provided that should the Mayor neglect or refuse to sign any ordinance and fail to return the reasoning for their objections, in writing, at the next regular meeting of the Board of Aldermen, the bill shall become a law without the Mayor’s signature.