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City Council Meeting Procedures

Meeting Procedures

Open Meetings - Public Comment

The Common Council values public participation and offers opportunities for the public to comment on matters considered by the Council. The Common Council complies with the state Open Door Law (I.C. 5-14-1.5) and Chapter 2.04 of the Bloomington Municipal Code (BMC) when providing notice of forthcoming meetings and giving the public an opportunity to comment on matters before the Council. Prior to the vote on any legislation, the chair of the meeting invites remarks from the public. And, time is reserved at two places on the Regular Session agenda for individuals from the public to talk for no more than five minutes a person on items other than those covered in the agenda for that evening.

Conduct of Meetings - Source of Procedures

The rules for the conduct of meetings are set forth in Chapter 2.04 of the Bloomington Municipal Code. Issues of procedure that are not covered by local code or state law are resolved by Roberts Rules of Order as interpreted by the Parliamentarian, who is elected by the Council each year.

The Agenda

Agenda and Notices

An Agenda and Meeting Notices are posted on this website and in various places within the Showers Center on the Friday before the Wednesday night meeting. Please note that the order of the items may be rearranged at the meeting by a vote of the Council. For the most recent information on the agenda order, you are invited to contact the Council Office.

The Legislative Packet

A Council Packet is also distributed on the Friday before the Wednesday night meeting. The packet generally contains a brief memo, the agenda, the weekly calendar, copies of legislation and background material which have not already been distributed to the Council, and notices and agendas announcing other city-related meetings. These packets are available for public inspection at the Council Office and in the Indiana Room of the Monroe County Public Library.

Annual Schedule of Council Regular Sessions and Committees of the Whole

As a general rule, the Common Council meets on the first four Wednesdays of each month. The first and third Wednesdays are set aside for Regular Sessions, where formal actions of the Council occurs, and the second and fourth Wednesdays are reserved for Committees of the Whole, where matters referred to the committee are discussed and given a recommendation.

There are, however, some exceptions to the above schedule. The first meeting of the year occurs on the first Monday in January and is an Organizational Meeting, where officers are elected and first items of the year are introduced. In August there is a recess which commences after the first Wednesday and concludes with the first meeting in September. The Council does not meet on the Wednesday before Thanksgiving or on any City holiday. And, there is a recess in December which commences after the third Wednesday and concludes with the first meeting of the new year.

Rescheduling and Canceling Meetings

The Regular Sessions and Committees of the Whole may be rescheduled or canceled by a vote of the Council and notice of these changes will be posted at least forty-eight hours before the date of the meeting.

Special Sessions - When, Notice and Records

The Council may vote to hold a Special Session. These are typically scheduled in order to finish items on a long agenda or to consider one long and involved piece of legislation. And, in the event of some emergency, a special meeting can be called by the Mayor, the presiding officer, or any three members of the Council.

In order to comply with the Open Door law, the Clerk notifies the Council and the press of the Special Meetings by mail, phone, or by personal delivery at least 48 hours before the meeting. However, if the meeting is held because of an emergency, notice to the media must be given at the same time and in the same manner as it is given to the Council. The agenda will state "Special Session" rather than "Regular Session" and the minutes are kept in the same manner as those for Regular Sessions.

Executive Sessions - Closed Meeting with Notice and Reporting Requirements

Executive Sessions are an exception to the general rule that all meetings are open to the public. The Open Door statute allows these closed meetings in a few specific instances where privacy serves the public interest - i.e. to discuss pending litigation, selecting a site for a project, etc. The requirements for notification of Executive Sessions are generally the same as for Special Sessions, except that the notice must cite the statutory basis for holding the closed meeting. The Council must also keep a record of the meeting and at the next Regular Session certify the record and that no other matters than those enumerated in the notice were discussed.