RULES OF PROCEDURE
Rule 1.† Applicability of Rules.† These rules apply to all meetings of the Board of Commissioners of Stokes County at
†††† Which the board is empowered to exercise any of the executive, quasi-judicial, administrative, or legislative
†††† Powers conferred on it by law.
Rule 2.† Meetings to Be Open.
a.† It is the public policy of North Carolina and of Stokes County that the hearings, deliberations, and actions of
†††† this board and its committees be conducted openly.
b.† Except as otherwise provided in these rules and in accordance with applicable law, each official meeting of the
††† Stokes County Board of Commissioners shall be open to the public and any person is entitled to attend such a
c.† For the purposes of the provisions of these rules concerning open meetings, an official meeting of the board is
††† defined as any gathering together at any time or place or the simultaneous communication by conference telephone
††† or other electronic means of a majority of board members for the purpose of conducting hearings, participating in
††† deliberations, or voting upon or otherwise transacting public business within the jurisdiction, real or apparent,
††† of the board.
Rule 3.† Closed Sessions.
a.† Notwithstanding the provisions of Rule 2, the board may hold a closed session and exclude the public under
†††† the following circumstances and no others:
1.† To prevent the disclosure of information that is privileged or confidential pursuant to the law of this
†††† state or of the United States, or is not considered a public record within the meaning of Chapter 132
†††† of the General Statutes.
2.† To consult with the county attorney or another attorney employed or retained by the county in order
†††† to preserve the attorney-client privilege.
3.† To discuss matters relating to the location or expansion of industries or other businesses in the county.
4.† To consider and take action with respect to the position to be taken by the county in negotiating the
†††† price or other material terms of an agreement for the acquisition or lease of real property.
5.† To consider and take action with respect to the position to be taken by the county in negotiating the
†††† amount of compensation or other material terms of an employment contract.
6.† To consider the initial employment or appointment of an individual to any office or position, other than
††† a vacancy in the board of county commissioners or any other public body, and to consider the qualifications,
††† competence,† performance, character, and fitness of any public officer or employee, other than a member
††† of the board of commissioners or of some other public body.
7.† To hear or investigate a charge or complaint by or against an individual public officer or employee.
8.† To plan, conduct, or hear reports concerning investigations of alleged criminal misconduct.
b.† The board may go into closed session only upon motion made and adopted at an open meeting. A motion to go
††† †into closed session must cite one or more of the permissible purposes listed in subsection (a) of this rule.† In addition,
†††† a motion to go into closed session pursuant to Rule 3(a)(1) must state the name or citation of the law that renders
†††† the information to be discussed privileged or confidential, and a motion to go into closed session pursuant to Rule
†††† must identify the parties in each existing lawsuit, if any, concerning which the board expects to receive advice during
†††† the closed session.
c.†† Unless the motion to go into closed session provides otherwise, the county manager, county attorney, and clerk to
†††††††††† the board may attend the closed session. No other person may attend the closed session unless specifically invited
†††††††††† by majority vote of the board.
III. Organization of the Board
Rule 4.† Organizational Meeting.
Rule 5.† Election of the Chair.† The chair of the board shall be elected annually for a term of one year and shall not be
†††††††††††† removed From the office of chair unless he or she becomes disqualified to serve as a member of the board.
Rule 6.† Regular and Special Meetings.
a.† Regular Meetings.† The board shall hold a regular meeting on the second and fourth Monday of each month.† If a
†††† regular meeting day is a holiday on which county offices are closed, the meeting shall be held on the next business day
†††† or such succeeding day as may be specified in the motion adjourning the immediately preceding regular meeting.
†††† Regular meetings shall be held in the Commissionersí Chambers of the Government Center and shall begin at 7 p. m.††
†††† The board may change the place or time of a particular regular meeting or all regular meetings within a specified time
†††† period by resolution adopted, posted, and noticed no less than seven days before the change takes effect.† Such a
†††† resolution shall be filed with the clerk to the board and posted at or near the regular meeting place, and copies shall be
†††† sent to all persons who have requested notice of special meetings of the board.
b. Special Meetings.† The chair or a majority of the members of the board may at any time call a special meeting of the
††††† board by signing a notice stating the time and place of the meeting and the subjects to be considered.† The person or
††††† persons who call the meeting shall cause he notice to be posted on the door of the regular meeting place and delivered
††††† to the chair and all other board members or left at the usual dwelling place of each member at least 48 hours before
††††† the meeting.† In addition, the notice shall be mailed or delivered to individual persons and news media organizations
††††† that have requested such notice as provided in subsection (d), below.† Only those items of business specified in the
††††† notice may be transacted at a special meeting, unless all members are present or those who are not present have
††††† signed a written waiver.
c.† Emergency Meetings.† If a special meeting is called to deal with an unexpected circumstance that requires immediate
†††† consideration by the board, the notice requirements of this rule do not apply.† However, the person or persons who call
†††† an emergency meeting shall take reasonable action to inform the other members and the public of the meeting.† Local
†††† news organizations that have requested notice of special meetings as provided in subsection (d), below, shall be notified
†††† of such emergency meetings by the same method used to notify board members.† Only business connected with the
†††† emergency may be discussed at the meeting.
d. Sunshine List.† Any individual person and any newspaper, wire service, radio station, and television station may file
†† †with the clerk to the board of commissioners a written request for notice of all special meetings of the board.† Requests
††† by individuals must be renewed on or before the last day of each calendar quarter and are subject to a $10.00
††† nonrefundable annual fee.† Requests made by news media organizations must be renewed annually on or before
††† December 1st and are not subject to any fee.
e.† Work Sessions and Committee Meetings.† The board may schedule work sessions, committee meetings, or other
†††† informal meetings of the board or a majority of the members of the board at such times and with respect to such
†††† subject matter as may be established by resolution or order of the board.† A schedule of any such meetings that are
†††† held on a regular basis shall be filed in the same place and manner as the schedule of regular meetings.† Work sessions
†††† and other informal official meetings not held on a regular schedule are subject to the same notice requirements as
†††† special board meetings.
Rule 7.† All Meetings within the County.† All meetings shall be held within the boundaries of Stokes County except as
†††††††††††† otherwise provided herein.
1.† A joint meeting with the governing board of any other political subdivision of this state or any other state may be held
††† within the boundaries of either subdivision as may be stated in the call of the meeting.† At any such joint meeting, this
††† board reserves the right to vote separately on all matters coming before the joint meeting.
2.† A special meeting called for the purpose of considering and acting upon any order or resolution requesting members
††† of the General Assembly representing all or any portion of this county to support or oppose any bill pending in the
††† General Assembly or proposed for introduction therein may be held in Raleigh or such other place as may be stated in
††† the call of the meeting.
Rule 8.† Broadcasting and Recording Meetings.
a. Except as provided in this rule, any radio or television station is entitled to broadcast all or any part of an official
meeting of the board that is required to be open to the public.† Any person may photograph, film tape-record, or
otherwise reproduce any part of a meeting required to be open.
b.† Any radio or television station wishing to broadcast any portion of an official meeting of the board shall so notify the
††† county manager no later than 24 hours before the meeting.† If the number of requests or the quantity and size of the
††† necessary equipment is such that the meeting cannot be accommodated in the designated meeting room and no suitable
††† alternative site in the county office building is available, the county manager may require the news media either to pool
††† equipment and personnel or o secure and pay the costs of an alternative meeting site that is mutually agreeable to the
††† board and the media representatives.
a. The chairman and clerk to the board shall prepare the agenda for each regular, special, and emergency meeting.† A
††††††††††††††††† request to have an item of business placed on the agenda for a regular meeting must be received at least 5 working
††††††††††††††††† days before the meeting.† Any board member may, by a timely request, have an item placed on the agenda.
b.† The agenda packet shall include the agenda document, any proposed ordinances or amendments to ordinances, and
†††† supporting documentation and background information relevant to items on the agenda.† A copy of the agenda packet
†††† shall be delivered to each member of the board at least 4 working days before the meeting.† Documents in the agenda
†††† packet, if not previously available for public inspection, shall become so when packets have been delivered to each
†††† board member or left at his or her usual dwelling.† The proposed agenda shall be posted on the county web site at least
†††† 3 working days before the meeting.
c.† The board may, by majority vote, add an item that is not on the agenda.
Rule 10.† Informal Public Comments.†† The clerk to the board shall include on the agenda of each regular meeting a period
†††††††††††††† of at least 30 minutes for comments or questions from members of the public in attendance.† The chair will first
†††††††††††††† recognize individuals or groups who have made prior appointment to be heard, and then may recognize others,
†††††††††††††† subject to available time.† The chair may specify the time allotted to each speaker.† After the time set aside for
†††††††††††††† informal public comments has expired, the chair will recognize further speakers only upon motion duly made and
Rule 11.† Order of Business.† At regular meetings, the board shall proceed to business in the following order:
2. Approval of the Agenda.
3. Scheduled public hearings.
4. Informal public comments.
5. Administrative reports.
6. Committee reports.
7. Unfinished business.
8. Introduction of ordinances, resolutions, and orders.
9. Other new business.
Without objection, the chair may call items in any order most convenient for the dispatch of business.
Rule 12.† Powers of the Chair.†† The chair shall preside at all meetings of the board.† A member must be recognized by the
†††††††††††††† chair in order to address the board.† The chair shall have the following powers:
1.† To rule on points of parliamentary procedure, including the right to rule out of order any motion patently offered
†††† for obstructive or dilatory purposes;
2. To determine whether a speaker has gone beyond reasonable standards of courtesy in his or her remarks and
†††† to entertain and rule on objections from other members on this ground;
3.† To call a brief recess at any time;
4.† To adjourn in an emergency.
Rule 13.† Presiding Officer When the Chair Is in Active Debate.† If the chair wishes to become actively engaged in
†††††††††††††† debate on a particular proposal, he or she shall designate another board member or a staff member to preside.†
†††††††††††††† The chair shall resume the duty to preside as soon as action on the matter is concluded.
Rule 14.† Action by the Board.† The board shall proceed by motion.† Any member, including the chair, may make a motion.
Rule 15.† One Motion at a Time.† A member may make only one motion at a time.
Rule 16.† Substantive Motion.† A substantive motion is out of order while another substantive motion is pending.
Rule 17.† Adoption by Majority Vote.† A motion shall be adopted if approved by a majority of the votes cast, a quorum
†††††††††††††† being present, unless these rules or the laws of North Carolina require an extraordinary majority.
Rule 18.† Debate.† The chair shall state the motion and then open the floor to debate, presiding over the debate according to
††††††††††††† these general principles:
1. The member making the motion or introducing the ordinance, resolution, or order is entitled to speak first.
2. A member who has not spoken on the issue shall be recognized before someone who has already spoken.
3. To the extent possible, the debate shall alternate between opponents and proponents of the measure.
Rule 19.† Procedural Motions.
a.† In addition to substantive proposals, the procedural motions listed in subsection (b) of this rule, and no others, shall be
†††† in order.† Unless otherwise noted, each motion is debatable, may be amended, and requires a majority vote for
b.† In order of priority, the procedural motions are:
1. To Adjourn.† The motion may be made only at the conclusion of action on a pending matter; it may not interrupt
†† deliberation of a pending matter.
2. To Take a Recess.
3. To Call to Follow the Agenda.† The motion must be made at the first reasonable opportunity or it is waived.
4. To Suspend the Rules.† The motion requires a vote equal to a quorum.
5. To Divide a Complex Motion and Consider It by Paragraph.
6. To Defer Consideration.† A substantive motion whose consideration has been deferred expires on hundred days
†† thereafter, unless a motion to revive consideration is adopted.
7. To Call the Previous Question.† The motion is not in order until there have been at least 5 minutes of debate and
†† every member has had one opportunity to speak.
8. To Postpone to a Certain Time or Day.
9. To Refer to Committee.† Sixty days after a motion has been referred to a committee, the introducer may compel
†† consideration of the measure by the entire board, regardless of whether the committee has reported the matter
†† back to the board.
††††††††††††††††††† 10. To Amend.† An amendment to a motion must be germane to the subject of the motion, but it may not achieve the
†††† opposite effect of the motion.† There may be an amendment to the motion and an amendment to an amendment,
†††† but no further amendments.† Any amendment to a proposed ordinance shall be reduced to writing.
††††††††††††††††††† 11. To Revive Consideration. †The motion is in order at any time within one hundred days of a vote deferring
†††† consideration of it.† A substantive motion on which consideration has been deferred expires one hundred days
†††† after the deferral, unless a motion to revive consideration is adopted.
††††††††††††††††††† 12. To Reconsider.† The motion must be made at the same meeting at which the original vote was taken, and by
†††††††††††††††††††††††† a member who voted with the prevailing side.† The motion cannot interrupt deliberation on a pending matter but
†††††††††††††††††††††††† is in order at any time before adjournments.
†††††††††††††††††† 13. To Prevent Reconsideration for Six Months.† The motion shall be in order immediately following the defeat of a
††††††††††††††††††††††† substantive motion and at no other time.† The motion requires a vote equal to a quorum and is valid for six months
††††††††††††††††††††††† or until the next regular election of county commissioners, whichever occurs first.
Rule 20.† Renewal of Motion.† A defeated motion may not be renewed at the same meeting.
Rule 21.† Withdrawal of Motion.† The introducer may withdraw a motion at any time before the chair puts the motion to a
Rule 22.† Duty to Vote.† It is the duty of each member to vote unless excused by a majority vote according to law.† The
†††††††††††† board may excuse members from voting on matters involving their own financial interest or official conduct.† A
†††††††††††† member who wishes to be excused from voting shall so inform the chair, who shall take a vote of the remaining
†††††††††††† members.† A member, who fails to vote, not having been excused, shall be recorded as voting in the affirmative.
Rule 23.† Prohibition of Secret Voting.† No vote may be taken by secret ballot.† If the board decides to vote by written
†††††††††††††† ballot, each member shall sign his or her ballot and the minutes shall record the vote of each member.† These ballots
†††††††††††††† shall be retained and made available for public inspection until the minutes of that meeting have been approved, at
†††††††††††††† which time they may be destroyed.
Rule 24.† Action by Reference.† The board shall not deliberate, vote, or otherwise act on any matter by reference to an
††††††††††††† agenda or document number unless copies of the agenda or documents being referenced are available for public
††††††††††††† inspection at the meeting and are so worded that people at the meeting can understand what is being discussed or
††††††††††††† acted on.
Rule 25.† Introduction of Ordinances, Resolutions, and Orders.† A proposed ordinance shall be deemed introduced at the
†††††††††††††† first meeting at which it is on the agenda, regardless of whether it is actually considered by the board, and its
†††††††††† ††††introduction shall be recorded in the minutes.
Rule 26.† Adoption, Amendment, or Repel of Ordinances.† To be adopted at the meeting where first introduced, an
††††††††††††† ordinance† or any action with the effect of an ordinance, or any ordinance amending or repealing an existing
††††††††††††† ordinance (except the budget ordinance, a bond order, or another ordinance requiring a public hearing before
††††††††††††† adoption) must be approved by all† members of the board of commissioners.† If the proposed measure is approved by
††††††††††††† a majority of those voting but not by all the members of the board, or if the measure is not voted on at the meeting
††††††††††††† where introduced, it shall be considered at the next regular meeting of the board.† If the proposal receives a majority
††††††††††††† of the votes cast at the next meeting or within one hundred days of being introduced, it is adopted.
Rule 27.† Quorum.† A majority of the board membership shall constitute a quorum.† The number required for a quorum is not
††††††††††††† affected by vacancies.† If a member has withdrawn from a meeting without being excused by majority vote of the
††††††††††††† remaining members present, he or she shall be counted as present for the purposes of determining whether a quorum
††††††††††††† is present.† The board may compel the attendance of an absent member by ordering the sheriff to take the member
††††††††††††† into custody.
Rule 28.† Public Hearings.† Public hearings required by law or deemed advisable by the board shall be organized by a special
††††††††††††† order, adopted by a majority vote, setting forth the subject, date, place, and time of the hearing as well as any rules
††††††††††††† regarding the length of time allotted to each speaker and designating representatives to speak for large groups.† At
††††††††††††† the appointed time, the chair shall call the hearing to order and preside over it.† When the allotted time expires, the
††††††††††††† chair shall declare the hearing ended and the board shall resume the regular order of business.†
Rule 29.† Quorum at Public Hearings.† A quorum of the board shall be required at all public hearings required by law.
Rule 30.† Minutes.† Minutes shall be kept of all board meetings.
Rule 31.† Appointments.† The board shall use the following procedure to make appointments to fill vacancies in other boards
†††††††††††† and public offices over which the board has power of appointment.†
†††††††††††† No appointment shall be made until the meeting following the meeting at which the opening has been announced.†
†††††††††††† The chair shall open the floor to nominations, where upon the members shall put forward and debate names of
†††††††††††† possible appointees.† When debate ends, the chair shall call the roll of the members, and each member shall vote.† The
†††††††††††† votes shall not be tallied until each member has voted.†
††††††††††††† Each vote shall be decided by a majority of the valid ballots cast.† It is the duty of each member to vote for as many
††††††††††††† appointees as there are appointments to be made, but failure to do so des not invalidate that memberís ballot.
Rule 32.† Reference to Robertís Rules of Order.† To the extent not provided for in, and not conflicting with the spirit of,
† †††††††††††these rules, the chair shall refer to Robertís Rules of Order to resolve procedural questions.
Adopted by the Stokes County Board of Commissioners December 12, 2002 with the following exception :
Item IV. - Regular and Special Meetings - Rule 6 (a).
New time and date to be effective January 1, 2003.