HARDEE COUNTY

BOARD OF COUNTY COMMISSIONER’S

Logo: Hardee County logo

FY 2017

RULES OF PROCEDURE

The Hardee County Board of County Commissioners recognizes that as a deliberative body it needs agreed upon procedures by which the behavior of the body and of individual members is to be governed. An orderly process is necessary not only for the Commission (Board) but also for members of the staff and general public or persons doing business with the Commission.

Although there are several Florida statutes which, in effect specify certain rules, many of the rules of a county board of county commissioners are not specified by state statute. The intent is that various boards of county commissioners develop rules that fit their specific situation.

In compiling our board rules we had three major considerations. The first is that the rules adopted should reflect procedures that enhance our Commission’s ability to operate. Second, the commission adopts rules to operate as required by law. Third, the rules adopted should be internally consistent.

The Hardee County Board of County Commissioner’s Rules as herein adopted and are intended to include most of the relevant procedural topics that the Commission faces; topics which for the most part have been gleaned from a number of counties. The Board can change or amend its rules not governed by statute by a simple majority vote during any meeting.

Table of Contents

SECTION I -PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN COUNTY GOVERNMENT

1. Commission Meetings open to the Public

2. Appearance Before the Commission

3. Public Comments and Inquiries

4. Commission Meetings - Regular

5. Commission Meetings - Special

6. Commission Meetings - Emergency

7. Informal Commission Meetings - Inspection Trips, Retreats and Workshops

8. Public Hearings; Time; Location

9. Public Hearing; Procedures

10. Commission Mail; Circulation; Public Review and Duplication

SECTION II -PREPARATION OF AGENDA; ORDER OF BUSINESS

11. Preparation of Agenda

12. Agenda Material

13. Meeting; Order of Business

14. Quorum

15. Required Attendance of Officials

16. County Attorney; Parliamentarian

17. Clerk of the Court; Minutes

18. Sergeant at Arms

19. Rules of Order and Debate

20. Voting

21. Conflict of Interest

22. Ordinances

23. Resolutions

24. Motions

25. Reconsideration of Action Previously Taken

26. Rescinding Action Previously Taken

SECTION III -GENERAL PROVISIONS

27. Newly-Elected Commissioners

28. Election of Chair and Vice-Chair

29. Commission Chair; Presiding Officer

30. Legislative Program and Communication with Lobbyists

31. Commissioners Appointment to Boards and Committees

32. Appointment by the Board of County Commissioners of Citizens to serve on Boards and Committees.

33. Suspension and Construction of Rules

ATTACHMENTS

Attachment 1: Request to Speak for Non-Agenda Items

Attachment 2: Request to Speak for Agenda Items

Attachment 2Request to Amend suggested Agenda

Board and Committee Applicants Ranking Form

Examples of Motions

Definition of Parliamentary Terms

SECTION I -PUBLIC PARTICIPATION IN COUNTY GOVERNMENT

1.  Board Meetings - Open to the Public.   All meetings of the Hardee County Board of County Commissioners, its various Boards and committees thereof, shall be open to the public in accordance with the Florida Government in the Sunshine Law, Section 286.011, F.S.

  1. The exception shall be those meetings statutorily exempt, such as executive collective bargaining sessions Section 447.605(1), F.S.; meetings regarding risk management claims Section 768.28(16), F.S.; and litigation meetings pursuant to Section 286.011(8) F.S. The Board shall follow all statutory requirements for exempt meetings.
  2. Because of the need to comply with seating capacity requirements of the fire code, there may be occasions when entrance by the public to the Commission Chambers or other meeting rooms shall be limited. At the sole discretion of the Commission, when an unusually large crowd is anticipated the Commission may consider holding the meeting in the Hardee County Agri-Civic Center or other large public facility.
  3. Regular, as well as Special meetings of the Commission will be conducted in a publicly owned or controlled building. All meetings will be held in a building that is open to the public.
  4. For public safety purposes, no signs or placards mounted on sticks, posts, poles or similar structures will be allowed in County Commission meeting rooms.
  5. All persons with disabilities shall be provided the assistance that is necessary to enable them to effectively participate in Commission meetings.

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2.  Appearance Before the Commission.   Persons desiring to address the Commission on a matter pending before it, or which needs the attention of the Board may do so upon being recognized by the Chair. To ensure that everyone has a fair opportunity to participate, these procedures will be followed:

  1. After being recognized, the person shall:
    • step up to the speaker's rostrum and give her/his name and home address;
    • unless further time is granted by the Chair, limit the comments to three minutes;
    • address all remarks to the Commission as a body, and not a member thereof; and make comments and present documents to the Commission;
    • Speakers should make comments concise and to the point, and present any data or evidence they wish the Commission to consider. No person may speak more than once on the same subject unless granted permission by the Chair.
    • NOTE: If there is a large number of people wishing to speak on a particular issue the Chair or the Board may require those wishing to speak to fill out a “Request to Speak on Agenda Items form”, see Attachment 2
  2. The Commission may discuss the matter, assign it to a committee, or refer it to the County Manager and/or County Attorney for review and comment.
  3. No person other than a member of the Commission, and the person having the floor, may be permitted to enter into any discussion, either directly or through a member of the Commission, without permission of the Chair. No question may be asked except through the Chair.
  4. A person may not interfere with, or interrupt, the orderly procedure of the Commission, any Commissioner, or the person speaking who has been properly recognized by the Chair.
  5. If the Chair or the Commission declares an individual out-of-order, s/he will be requested to relinquish the speaker's rostrum. If the person does not do so, s/he is subject to removal pursuant to Rule 19 Sergeant-at-Arms.
  6. Prior to the beginning of a meeting or public hearing, the Chair may require that all persons who wish to be heard sign in with the Office Manager, give their name and home address, the agenda item and whether they wish to speak as a proponent, opponent, or otherwise. If a sign-in sheet is required, any person who does not sign in may be permitted to speak after all those who signed in have done so.
  7. The Chair, subject to concurrence of the majority of the Commission, is authorized to establish speaker time limits and otherwise control presentations to avoid repetition.
  8. Employees of the County may address the Commission on matters of public concern. Employee comments that address an active grievance/arbitration, employee appeal matter or a personnel dispute will not be entertained as a part of Citizen Comments. Employees will be advised of the appropriate forum and process for presenting or discussing such matters.

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3.  Public Comments and Inquiries for Non Agenda Items.   The Commission shall not take final action on public comment items presented at the same meeting unless it waives its Rules of Procedure. When inquiries and comments are brought before the Commission, other than for items already on an agenda, the Chair may first determine whether the issue is legislative or administrative in nature and then:

  1. If legislative, and the complaint is about the letter or intent of legislative acts or suggestions for changes to such acts, and if the Commission finds consideration of such suggestions advisable, the Commission may refer the matter to a committee, to the County Attorney and/or the County Manager for review and recommendation, or may take other action it deems appropriate.
  2. If administrative, and the complaint is regarding the performance of administrative staff, administrative interpretation of legislative policy, or administrative policy within the authority of the County Manager, the Chair should then refer the complaint directly to the County Manager for her/his review, if said complaint has not been so reviewed. The Commission may direct that the County Manager report to the Commission when her/his review is completed.
  3. The Chair may also assign to a Commissioner issues that require additional examination. If so assigned, the Commissioner shall provide a report to the Commission when the examination is complete.

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4.  Commission Meetings - Regular.   Unless otherwise advertised, all regular meetings of the Hardee County Board of County Commission are conducted at 8:30 a.m. on the 1st Thursday and 3rd Thursday at 6:00 p.m. of the month in the Commission Chambers at the Courthouse Annex, 412 W. Orange Street, Room 102, Wauchula, Florida:

  1. From time-to-time, regular meetings may be adjusted by the Commission to accommodate a holiday schedule or other special circumstances. Prior notice of such change shall be provided to the public, the Clerk and the media. While a minimum notice of 24 hours is required, the Commission will provide as much advance notice of a regular meeting as is feasible.

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5.  Commission Meetings – Special (Requires a Minimum of 24 hrs Notice).   The Chair or Vice-Chair, or the County Manager may call a special meeting.

  1. The call for a special meeting shall be in writing and shall contain time, place and business to be conducted. The notice of a special meeting shall be posted on the North and South doors of the Courthouse Annex. The time and place of the special meeting will be added to the meetings list. Special meetings may be held upon no less than twenty-four (24) hours public notice.
  2. Each Commissioner, the Clerk of the Court, the Sheriff, the County Manager and the County Attorney shall be given the most reasonable notice allowable under the circumstances. Such notice shall be provided by any reasonable means, including telephone, email, or facsimile transmission to the person's residence, place of employment, or other location, whichever site is most likely to ensure the person's receipt of the notice.
  3. The most reasonable notice allowable under the circumstances of the emergency meeting shall be provided to the business office of each local media organization that has on file a written request for notice of emergency meetings. Such notice shall be provided by any reasonable means, including telephone, email or facsimile transmission.
  4. Emergency meetings may be scheduled on days or evenings.
  5. An agenda outlining the business to be conducted will be available prior to the meeting. No business shall be conducted other than items listed on the agenda. Public comment shall be allowed on items on the agenda.
  6. If there is no longer a need for an emergency meeting, the person(s) who called the meeting is/are authorized to cancel the meeting.

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6.  Commission Meetings - Emergency.   Any one Commissioner or the County Manager may call, orally or in writing, an emergency meeting. An Emergency Meeting is a time sensitive meeting of such a nature that a 24 hour notice would be detrimental to the action to be addressed at the meeting.

  1. The call for an emergency meeting shall contain the time, place, and business to be conducted. Emergency meetings may be held, when practicable, upon the most reasonable notice allowable under the circumstances.
  2. Each Commissioner, the Clerk of the Court, the Sheriff, the County Manager and the County Attorney shall be given 24 hours prior notice of the special meeting. Such notice shall be provided by any reasonable means, including telephone, email or facsimile transmission to the person's residence, place of employment, or other location, whichever site is most likely to ensure the person's receipt of the notice.
  3. Twenty-four hours prior notice of the special meeting shall be provided to the business office of each local media organization that has on file a written request for notice of special meetings. Such notice shall be provided by any reasonable means, including telephone, email or facsimile transmission.
  4. Special meetings may be scheduled on days or evenings.
  5. An agenda outlining the business to be conducted will be available prior to the meeting. No business other than items listed on the agenda shall be conducted. Public comment shall be allowed on items on the agenda.
  6. If there is no longer a need for a special meeting, the person(s) who called the meeting is/are authorized to cancel the meeting.

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7.  Informal Commission Meetings -Inspection Trips, and Workshops.    The Chair, Commission, or County Manager may schedule informal meetings, inspection trips, or workshops to gain new information, request clarification and in general improve communication between elected officials and the general public Advance notice of these meetings shall be given in the same manner as special meetings. Minutes of these meetings shall be made by County Commission staff.

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8.  Public Hearings; Time; Location.

  1. Public hearings shall be held as part of the regularly scheduled Commission meetings and will be so agendaed by the County Commission staff.
  2. The matters under consideration shall be heard at the designated time, or as soon thereafter as practicable. However, by vote (of a majority plus one pursuant to Subsection 125.66(4) (b) (1), F.S.), the County Commission may conduct public hearings for those applications identified in this subsection. Public hearings may be continued from a prior meeting, or scheduled on days or evenings in addition to the first Thursday and third Thursday of each month.
  3. Prior to the beginning of any meeting or public hearing, the Chair may require that all persons who wish to be heard sign in with the Office Manager, give their name, the agenda item and whether they wish to speak as a proponent, opponent, or otherwise. If a sign-in sheet is required, any person who does not sign in may be permitted to speak after all those who signed in have done so. The Chair, subject to concurrence of a majority of the Commission, is authorized to establish speaker time limits and otherwise control presentations to avoid repetition.

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9.  Public Hearing; Procedures.

  1. General Public Hearings - The procedures to be followed for public hearings are, generally, as follows:
    1. The County Manager or his/her designee should describe the agenda item to be considered, and provide the staff recommendation. The Chair should then inquire as to whether any Commissioners have questions for administration. After Commissioners' questions are answered, the Chair then opens the public hearing.
    2. Following public comment (if any), the Chair closes the public hearing and inquires if any Commissioner wishes to put forth a motion. If a motion and a second are made, the Chair then calls for discussion among Commissioners.
    3. The Chair inquires if there is any further discussion by the Commissioners and any final comments or recommendations from administration. The Chair restates the motion.
    4. The Chair inquires of the Commissioners as to whether they are ready for the question, calls for the vote and after the vote restates the vote.
  2. Quasi-Judicial Hearings - The procedures to be followed for quasi-judicial hearings are generally as follows:
    1. Prior to the commencement of quasi-judicial hearings, the County Attorney will provide the public with an explanation of quasi-judicial hearing proceedings and shall read the following statement:

      “This is a quasi-judicial proceeding and any decision of the Board must be supported by substantial and competent evidence. In rendering its decision the Board shall rely solely upon the testimony which is relevant and material and any testimony given in the form of an opinion will not be relied upon unless given by a qualified witness.”

      “You shall have the right to give testimony, and to present evidence and witnesses. The applicant, the Board and any interested persons shall be given an opportunity to ask question of any witness. Any person who wishes to testify shall be administered an oath to swear or affirm to tell the truth.”

      “At this time, if there is anyone who wishes to testify before the Board, please rise for the administration of the Oath.”

    2. After reading the statement, the Deputy Clerk will make the following inquiry of the County Commissioners:

      “Has any Commissioner received any oral or written communications regarding the land use items to be discussed? If so, please disclose the substance of the communication and identify the person making the communication.”

      Disclosure made must be made before or during the public meeting at which a vote is taken on such matters, so that persons who have opinions contrary to those expressed in the ex-parte communication are given a reasonable opportunity to refute or respond to the communication.

    3. The County Attorney shall administer the affirmation to all persons who desire to speak at quasi-judicial proceedings before the County Commission
    4. The County Manager or his/her designee shall describe the quasi-judicial item to be considered and make a presentation pertaining to the item. The Chair shall then inquire as to whether any Commissioner has questions for the staff that made the presentation. After the Commissioners’ questions are answered, the Chair will ask if any of the parties to the proceeding have any questions of staff members who made presentations.
    5. The applicant for a land use change or his/her representative will make a presentation pertaining to the application. The Chair will once again inquire as to whether Commissioners and then parties to the proceeding have questions of the applicant and the applicant’s representatives.
    6. The Chair will next ask if any members in the audience wish to present testimony. At the conclusion of the testimony, the Chair will ask if any of the Commissioners or any of the parties to the proceeding have questions of the witness.
    7. There will be an opportunity for applicant rebuttal and staff closing comments.
    8. The Chair will then inquire of the Commissioners as to whether they are prepared to vote to address the application before them.
  3. Ex-Parte Communications

    Florida Statutes Section 286.0115 provides that any person who is not otherwise prohibited by statute, charter provision or ordinance may discuss with any commissioner the merits of any matter that the County Commission may take action. The following procedures, which remove the presumption of prejudice, shall be followed for ex-parte communication.
    1. The substance of any ex-parte communication with a Commissioner which relates to a quasi-judicial action pending before the Commission (such as a land use decision) is not presumed prejudicial to the action if the subject of the communication and the identity of the person, group or entity with whom the communication took place is disclosed and made a part of the record before the final action on the matter.
    2. A County Commissioner may read a written communication from any person. A written communication that relates to quasi-judicial action pending before the Commission (such as a land use decision) shall not be presumed prejudicial to the action. Such written communication shall be made a part of the record before final action on the matter.
    3. Commissioners may conduct investigations and site visits and may receive expert opinions regarding quasi-judicial action pending before the Commission. Such activities shall not be presumed prejudicial to the action if the existence of the investigation, site visit or expert opinion is made a part of the record before final action on the matter.

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10.  Commission Mail; Circulation; Public Review and Duplication.   All mail addressed to the Chair and the Commissioners, which is received pursuant to law or in connection with the transaction of official County business, is a public record (Chapter 119, F.S.). The public may review and duplicate these records via email.

  1. Each Commissioner will be provided a copy of the Chair’s mail. The originals with attachments will remain in the Chair’s mail file. Items of considerable length (such as petitions) will not be copied; instead, a memorandum will be distributed which announces the availability and location of the item in the office. Publications and lengthy agenda materials for other boards on which Commissioners serve will not be copied; only the agenda will be circulated.
  2. Each Commissioner will receive the original of items addressed to her/him. Mail with the words similar to "Personal", "Confidential" or "For the Addressee Only", shall be delivered unopened to the addressee.
  3. The Chair and Commissioners who receive individually-addressed mail will be responsible for replying. Asking the County Manager to draft a response for their signature or requesting that the item be agendaed for formal Commission consideration is appropriate. The County Manager shall be responsible for ensuring that mail addressed to the Chair or the Commission is properly answered or placed on an agenda.

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SECTION II -PREPARATION OF AGENDA; ORDER OF BUSINESS

11.  Preparation of Agenda.   The Office Manager is responsible for the preparation of the suggested agenda. The Office Manager shall prepare the agenda. The Chair, any Commissioner or Constitutional Officer, the County Manager, or the County Attorney may place an item on the agenda. The Chair and County Manager will meet to discuss each agenda.

  1. As a general practice, all supporting documentation (original plus five copies) must be provided to the County Manager’s office not later than Thursday, 12:00 p.m., the week prior to the scheduled Commission Meeting. This includes any power point, video, or any other type of technical presentations. Item(s) may not be included on the suggested agenda if the supporting documentation is not provided by the deadline unless approved by the Chair.
  2. Presentations will normally not exceed fifteen (15) minutes in length.
  3. Agenda review is a session conducted between the Chair and the County Manger designed for discussion of the suggested Board agenda items prior to the Commission Meeting. The Chair is the final approval authority for the suggested agenda. During a Commission meeting the suggested agenda may be approved as is or changed at the discretion of the Commission. The Commission can amend the suggested agenda over the objections of the Chair by a simple majority vote.

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12.  Agenda Material.   The Office Manager insures a copy of the suggested agenda and supporting materials is ready to be mailed to each Board Member, the Clerk, the County Manager, the County Attorney and the media by 5:00 p.m. the Monday prior to the scheduled Commission meeting or Public Hearing, except when legally observed holidays affect copying and distribution. The agenda, as well as lengthy reports that are part of agenda documentation, will be available for public review in the County Manager’s office located on the 1st floor of the Courthouse Annex at 412 W. Orange Street, Room 103, Wauchula, Florida, 33873:

  1. Each Commissioner should carefully review the Consent Agenda to determine whether there is any item s/he wishes to have removed from the Consent Agenda and placed on the Regular Agenda. If any Commissioner wants an item removed from the Consent Agenda and placed on the Regular Agenda s/he should contact the County Manager.

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13.  Meeting; Order of Business.   The Commission shall not take final action on public comment items presented at the same meeting unless it waives its Rules of Procedure. When inquiries and comments are brought before the Commission, other than for items already on an agenda, the Chair may first determine whether the issue is legislative or administrative in nature and then:

  1. The business of all regular meetings of the Commission should be transacted as follows provided, however that the Chair may, by simple majority vote or consensus of the Commission, re-arrange items on the suggested agenda to more expeditiously conduct the business before the Commission.
    1. Invocation and Pledge of Allegiance - The Commission may maintain a clergy rotational roster for the invocation. Members of the Commission as well as others may also be designated to present the invocation. The Chair shall lead the pledge.
    2. Adjustments and Approval of the Regular, Consent and Public Hearing Agenda except for items advertised for public hearings, items may be added to, or removed from, the agenda. Adjustments are made to the suggested agenda based upon the review of the suggested agenda, or recommended additions or deletions to the consent or general business agenda by Board members or staff. Examples of items to be added include grant applications or items received after the established deadline that are time-sensitive. Authorization to advertise ordinances may be placed on the consent agenda. A motion to approve the agenda:
      1. approves any amendments to the Regular and Consent Agenda;
      2. adopts the Regular Agenda; and
      3. approves all items on the Consent Agenda to stay on the Consent Agenda. The County Manager may place items on the consent agenda which are: routine or technical in nature, have been previously discussed by the Board, resolutions of a routine nature authorization to advertise ordinances, public hearings, bid specifications, items that have a unanimous recommendation of the Planning Board and staff for approval and no opposition on the agenda and other items as authorized by the board.
    3. Approval of Minutes from previous meetings
    4. Comments and Concern from the Public for Non Agendaed Items
    5. Awards/Recognitions
    6. Approval of the Consent Agenda
    7. Bids/Public Hearings
    8. Advisory Committee Reports
    9. Constitutional Officers/Other Governmental Units
    10. General Business
    11. County Staff Items
    12. County Attorney
    13. County Manager
    14. Commissioner Comments – Board Informational Items
    15. Motion to Adjourn
  2. Any items not listed on the printed agenda, for which a Commissioner will request Commission action, should be in writing, and should be provided to the Commission, the County Manager, the Clerk and the public not later than the beginning of the meeting. The exceptions are items of an emergency nature or those that do not require a written explanation.
  3. No meeting should be permitted to continue beyond 1:30 p.m. for the first meeting of the month or 11 p.m. for the second meeting of the month without the approval of a majority of the Commission. A new time limit must be established before taking a Commission vote to extend the meeting. In the event that a meeting has not been closed or continued by Commission vote prior to midnight, the items not acted on are to be continued to a designated time on the following day, unless State law requires hearing at a different time or unless the Commission, by a majority vote of members present, determines otherwise.

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14.  Quorum.   A quorum for the transaction of business by the Commission consists of three (3) Commissioners. Once a quorum has been established, a majority of Commissioners present at the meeting shall be required to carry a motion, unless by statute, ordinance or other regulation, an extraordinary majority (4/5ths) of the Commission is required for approval of an item (e.g. consideration of emergency ordinances, gas tax).

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15.  Required Attendance of Officials.   The Chair or Vice-Chair, or the County Manager may call a special meeting.

  1. The call for a special meeting shall be in writing and shall contain time, place and business to be conducted. The notice of a special meeting shall be posted on the North and South doors of the Courthouse Annex. The time and place of the special meeting will be added to the meetings list. Special meetings may be held upon no less than twenty-four (24) hours public notice.
  2. Each Commissioner, the Clerk of the Court, the Sheriff, the County Manager and the County Attorney shall be given the most reasonable notice allowable under the circumstances. Such notice shall be provided by any reasonable means, including telephone, email, or facsimile transmission to the person's residence, place of employment, or other location, whichever site is most likely to ensure the person's receipt of the notice.
  3. The most reasonable notice allowable under the circumstances of the emergency meeting shall be provided to the business office of each local media organization that has on file a written request for notice of emergency meetings. Such notice shall be provided by any reasonable means, including telephone, email or facsimile transmission.
  4. Emergency meetings may be scheduled on days or evenings.
  5. An agenda outlining the business to be conducted will be available prior to the meeting. No business shall be conducted other than items listed on the agenda. Public comment shall be allowed on items on the agenda.
  6. If there is no longer a need for an emergency meeting, the person(s) who called the meeting is/are authorized to cancel the meeting.

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16.  County Attorney - Parliamentarian.   The County Attorney serves as parliamentarian, and advises the Chair as to correct rules of procedure or questions of specific rule application. The parliamentarian calls to the attention of the Chair any errors in the proceedings that may affect the substantive rights of any member, or may otherwise do harm.

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17.  Clerk of the Court - Minutes.   The Clerk of the Court or her/his designee shall make correct minutes of the proceedings of each regular, special or emergency Commission meeting.

  1. The Clerk’s office places the minutes on the agenda for approval by the Commission. Such minutes stand confirmed at the regular Commission meeting without a reading in open meeting, unless some error is shown. In such event, an appropriate correction is made.
  2. The Clerk of the Court or her/his designee shall be responsible for recording County Commission workshops. The Clerk will be included in the selection of dates and times for workshops.

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18.  Sergeant at Arms.   The Hardee County Sheriff’s Office or her/his designee shall be sergeant-at-arms of the Commission meetings. The Hardee County Sheriff’s Office is authorized to perform this duty. The Hardee County Sheriff’s Office or her/his designee shall carry out all orders and instructions given by the County Commission for the purpose of maintaining order and decorum at the Commission meeting. The following policy will provide guidance in handling disruptions:

  1. If an individual refuses to relinquish the podium after being allowed to address the Commission, the Chair will inform the individual that their time to address the Commission has expired and the Chair will direct the individual to leave the podium.
  2. If an individual causes disruption in the Commission meeting site, the Chair will inform the individual causing the disruption to cease the disruptive activity.
  3. If the disruption fails to stop:
    1. The Chair will inform the individual causing the disruption that their actions are contrary to the orderly function of the meeting and that the individual is to cease such action or the Sergeant-at-Arms will be instructed to remove the individual from the meeting site.
    2. The Chair will direct the individual to leave the meeting site. The Chair will inform the individual that, if s/he is directed to leave and fails to do so, the individual will be subject to arrest for trespass.

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19.  Rules of Order and Debate.   Every Commission member desiring to speak should address the Commission Chair and, upon recognition by the Chair, the speaker shall confine their comments to the question under debate.

  1. The maker of a motion shall be entitled to the floor first for debate.
  2. A member once recognized should not be interrupted when speaking unless to call said member to order. The member should then cease speaking until the question of order is determined, without debate, by the Chair. If in order, said member will be at liberty to proceed.
  3. If the Commission Chair wishes to put forth or second a motion, s/he shall relinquish the chair to (1), the Vice Chair, (2), the senior Commission member (if the Vice Chair is absent), (3) another Commission member who has remained impartial or (4), the County Attorney, until the main motion on which the presiding officer spoke has been disposed.

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20.  Voting.   The votes during all Commission meetings should be transacted as follows:

  1. In order to expedite business, the Chair shall determine whether to call a simple vote (all in favor of) or by roll call. At the request of any Commissioner, a roll call vote shall be taken by the Deputy Clerk. The roll call vote may be determined in alphabetical order, with the Chair voting last.
  2. When the Chair calls for a vote on a motion, every member, who is present in the Commission chambers must give his/her vote, unless the member has publicly stated that s/he is abstaining from voting due to a conflict of interest, pursuant to Section 112.3143 or Section 286.011, Florida Statutes. If any Commissioner declines to vote "aye" or "nay" by voice, his or her vote shall be counted as an "aye" vote.
  3. The passage of any motion, policy or resolution shall require the affirmative vote of at least a majority of the membership of the Commissioners who are present and eligible to vote. In case of a tie in votes on any proposal, the proposal shall be considered lost.
  4. Any Commissioner shall have the right to express dissent from or protests against any ordinance, resolution or policy of the Commission, and to have the reason therefore entered in the minutes.

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21.  Conflict of Interest as Specified in 112.3143, Florida Statutes.    No Commissioner shall vote in her/his official capacity on a matter which would constitute a conflict of interest pursuant to Section 112.3143 Florida Statutes.

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22.  Ordinances.   An enacted ordinance is a legislative act which prescribes general, uniform, and permanent rules of conduct relating to the corporate affairs of the county. Commission action shall be taken by ordinance when required by law, or to prescribe permanent rules of conduct which continue in force until repealed, or where such conduct is enforced by penalty. All ordinances shall be introduced in writing, and scheduled for public hearing after advertisement.

  1. Emergency Ordinances. By vote of one more than the majority, the Commission may without notice or hearing adopt an emergency ordinance. The emergency ordinance shall contain a declaration describing the emergency, and shall be passed in accordance with Section 125.66(3), F.S.

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23.  Resolutions.   Generally, an enacted resolution is an internal legislative act which is a formal statement of policy concerning matters of special or temporary character. Commission action shall be taken by resolution when required by law and in those instances where an expression of policy more formal than a motion is desired. All resolutions shall be reduced to writing. A resolution may be put to its final passage on the same day on which it was introduced. Resolutions are to be assigned numbers and recorded with the number by the Clerk or designee.

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24.  Motions.   An enacted motion is a form of action taken by the Commission to direct that a specific action be taken on behalf of the county. A motion, once approved and entered into the record, is the equivalent of a resolution in those instances where a resolution is not required by law. All motions shall be made and seconded before debate.

Before a motion has been stated by the Chair, its proposer may change or withdraw it without the Commission’s permission, and any member or the Chair may request that the maker withdraw it. Once the motion has received a second and has been stated by the Chair, the Commission must vote on the motion.

Examples of properly made motions are found in Attachment 5 and may be used as appropriate in Board proceedings.

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25.  Reconsideration of Action Previously Taken.   Refer to examples of properly made motions in Attachment 5

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26.  Rescinding Action Previously Taken.    Refer to examples of properly made motions in Attachment 5

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SECTION III - GENERAL PROVISIONS

27.  Newly-Elected Commissioners.   The term of County Commissioners elected to office shall commence on the second Tuesday following the general election as specified in Florida Statutes Section 100.41.

A swearing-in ceremony for newly-elected commissioners will be coordinated by the County Manager. The County Manager shall provide an orientation program.

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28.  Election of Chair and Vice-Chair.   The Clerk of Court/County Attorney shall preside over the election of officers. Procedures for electing officers are as follows:

  1. At the second regularly scheduled Commission Meeting of November each year, or as soon thereafter as practicable, the Commission elects a Chairperson from among its members. The Clerk/County Attorney calls for nominations for Chair; nominations do not require a second. A roll-call vote is conducted by the Clerk/County Attorney if there is more than one nomination. If a vacancy occurs in the office of the Chair, the Commission shall, at its next meeting, select a Chair for the remainder of the term.
  2. In conjunction with the above election, a Vice-Chair is also elected in a like manner.
  3. In case of the absence or temporary disability of the Chair, the Vice-Chair serves as Chair during the absence. In case of the absence or temporary disability of the Chair and the Vice-Chair, an Acting Chair and Vice-Chair, selected by members of the Commission, serves during the continuance of the absences or disabilities.

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29.  Commission Chair; Presiding Officer.   The Presiding Officer (the Chair) presides at all meetings of the Commission, and is recognized as the head of the County for all ceremonial purposes. In addition to the powers conferred upon her/him as Chair, s/he continues to have all the rights, privileges and immunities of a member of the Commission. The Chair’s responsibilities include:

  1. Call the meeting to order, having ascertained that a quorum is present;
  2. Recognize all Commissioners who seek the floor under correct procedure. All questions and comments are to be directed through the Chair and restated by her/him, and s/he declares all votes;
  3. Preserve order and call to order any member of the Commission who violates any of these procedures; and, when presiding, decide questions of order, subject to a majority vote on a motion to appeal;
  4. Expedite business in every way compatible with the rights of members;
  5. If the Chair wishes to place a motion, the gavel must be relinquished.
  6. Based upon these Rules of Procedure, the gavel will be relinquished in the following order:
    1. Vice Chair;
    2. Other Commissioners based upon seniority;
    3. Another Commission member who has remained impartial;
    4. County Attorney;


  7. The presiding officer who relinquished the chair should not return to it until the pending main question has been disposed of, since s/he has expressed partisanship as far as that particular matter is concerned.

  8. Declare the meeting adjourned when the Commission so votes, or at any time in the event of an emergency affecting the safety of those present;
  9. When time constraints dictate, the Chair is authorized to approve authorizations to advertise for public hearings.
  10. Assign Commissioner’s seats in the commission chambers.
  11. For time-sensitive matters only, send letters to the Hardee County’s State and Federal Legislative Delegations and other government officials in support of Hardee County municipality or community-based organization initiatives, such as legislative changes and grant requests, provided the Board of County Commissioners has taken a position in support of the initiative in its legislative agenda or by some other action expressed its position on the issue presented.
  12. The Chair is to be paid an additional $50 a month as provided by Florida Statute to offset the additional cost associated with the duties and responsibilities of the position.

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30.  Legislative Program and Communication with Lobbyists.   Each year, prior to the Legislative Session, the County Manager shall submit to the Commission a proposed legislative program for the State Legislature and the Federal Government. This program shall be based on legislative concerns submitted by Hardee County and other Special Districts of the County. The County will coordinate with the Florida Association of Counties, as is appropriate, to protect the interests of Hardee County in the legislative process.

  1. The final State and Federal Legislative Program will be approved at a County Commission meeting. Copies of the approved Legislative Program shall be submitted to the appropriate Legislative Delegation in order to seek favorable legislation and appropriations to further the goals of Hardee County. The Legislative Program and lobbying efforts should be developed to coordinate and leverage federal and state appropriations.
  2. As deemed necessary by the County Commission, the County Manager may solicit and obtain the services of professional lobbyists to gain approval or favorable consideration of issues within the Legislative Program, or to intercede on behalf of Hardee County before governmental administrative agencies. The County Manager shall notify the County Commission when such services are to be rendered.
  3. Professional registered lobbyists or county staff members assigned to advance the County's Legislative Program shall meet all legal requirements of the State of Florida and conduct themselves ethically to eliminate any conflict of interest, as they represent the citizens of Hardee County. Firms or individuals lobbying on behalf of the County will use the approved Hardee County Legislative Program as a guide for their activities. New issues shall be approved by the County Commission for inclusion in the adopted Legislative Program.
  4. In the event of emergency or in the changing climate of the legislative amendment process, the County Manager may (in consultation with the Chair of the County Commission) take action on bills or amendments that would have a favorable impact on Hardee County. Such emergency authorizations will be reported to the County Commission in a timely manner. The County Manager may, at his/her discretion, assign county employees to the legislative tasks (including attendance in Tallahassee, or appearance before legislative or administrative bodies) to promote the Legislative Program.

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31.  Commissioners Appointment to Boards and Committees.   Members of the County Commission serve on various boards and committees (e.g., Health Care Task Force, Central Florida Regional Planning Council, and Small County Coalition etc.). Appointments are reviewed and assigned the second meeting in November each year or as soon thereafter as practicable by the new Chair.

  1. A listing of previous-year appointments will be disseminated by the Chair to the County Commission at the last meeting in October so that each Commissioner can determine his/her interest in serving on various boards/committees.
  2. If there is no nominee or no volunteer or more than one volunteer for a vacancy, the Chair will appoint a Commissioner to serve. The Commission shall ratify the appointments to boards and committees.
  3. Each Commissioner shall call upon and seek the recommendation of the County Manager regarding staff support for various committees. Employees shall assist Commissioners as directed by the County Manager. When the County Manager’s and a Commissioner’s recommendation differ, both recommendations will be discussed at an appropriate regular commission meeting.
  4. The County Manager is responsible for scheduling recommendations on the Commission agenda in a timely manner.

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32.  Appointment by the Board of County Commissioners of Citizens to serve on Boards and Committees.   The County Commission is required to select individuals to serve on various boards and committees (e.g., Planning & Zoning Board, Indigent Health Care Board, Hardee County Industrial Development Authority, Hardee County Economic Development Council, Hardee County Economic Development Authority, Hardee County Construction Industry Licensing Board, SHIP Committee, Library Board, etc.). Applications are to be turned in to the office of the County Manager or his designee for the Board or Committee. The Commission will make the selection for appointment in an open Board meeting by using an Applicant Ranking Form listing the applicants provided by the County Manger’s office (see Attachment 4).

  1. Prior to each ranking the Commission will agree upon how many applicants are to be ranked. In the event an applicant is currently serving on a board and has expressed an interest in continued service, such applicant may be re-appointed by the Board without inclusion in the ranking process. Each Commissioner must rank the number of candidates specified. If more than one position is to be filled the Board may use one ranking to fill multiple positions. If the Commission in its sole discretion determines that there are no suitable applicants they may choose to continue to a future meeting and solicit additional applicants instead of going through the ranking process.
  2. If the Commission decides to rank order the applicants available, each Commissioner will rank order the specified number of applicants from the names provided on the Applicant Ranking Form. Commissioners are to rank their top applicant as #1, ranking their second best applicant as #2, etc. The rankings of all Commissioners present will be combined to provide the overall ranking. The applicant with the lowest score will then be designated as the selected candidate by the Commission. If there are multiple positions to be filled the applicant with the second lowest position would fill the second vacancy. This procedure would be followed until all positions are filled... These rules may be modified to fit the specific situation.
  3. Once an applicant is selected a member of the Commission will make a motion to fill the position with that individual.

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33.  Suspension and Construction of Rules.   Temporary suspension of these procedures shall permit the Commission to take some action that would otherwise be prevented by a procedural rule already adopted. These Rules of Procedure may be amended or temporarily suspended at any Commission meeting with an affirmative vote of a majority of the Commission. These rules are for the efficient and orderly conduct of Commission business only; no violation of such rules shall invalidate any action of the Commission when approved by a majority vote required by law.

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DEFINITION OF PARLIAMENTARY TERMS

Adhere: to be attached to and dependent on; pending amendments adhere to the motion to which they are applied.

Ad-hoc Committee: a special committee chosen to do a particular task of work only.

Adjourn: to officially terminate a meeting.

Adjourned Meeting: a meeting that is a continuation at a later specified time of an earlier regular or special meeting. The continuation is always a part of the earlier meeting.

Adopt: to approve by vote; to pass by whatever vote required for the motion.

Affirmative Vote: the “aye” or “yes” vote supporting a motion as stated.

Agenda: the official list of items of business planned for consideration during a meeting.

Approval of Minutes: Formal acceptance of the record of a meeting thus making the record the official minutes of the Board. Chair: the Hardee County Chair, or in his/her absence, the Vice-Chair or other Board member elected to preside.

Board (The Board of County Commissioners): The legislative governing body of County government. Board and Commission are synonymous and are used interchangeable in this document.

Common Parliamentary Law: The body of rules and principles that is applied by the courts in deciding litigation involving the procedure of any organization. It does not include statutory law or particular rules adopted by any organization or board.

Convene: to open a meeting.

Debate: formal discussion of a motion under the rules of parliamentary law. (More often in these rules referred to as discussion.)

Defer: to not take action by either referring it to a committee; County Administrator or County Attorney for further action.

Delegation of Authority: authority given by the Board in certain matters to act for the Commission that is lawful and capable of being delegated.

Demand: an assertion of a parliamentary right by a member of the Commission.

Dilatory Motions or Tactics: misuse of procedures or motions that are out of order or would delay or prevent progress in a meeting.

Discretionary Duty: a duty that usually cannot be delegated to another because of the special intelligence, skill, or ability of the person chosen to perform the duty.

Executive Session: statutorily exempt meeting or session, such as executive collective bargaining sessions -Section 447.605(1), F.S.; meetings regarding risk management claims -Section 768.28(16), F.S.; and litigation meetings pursuant to Section 286.011(8) F.S. The Board shall follow all statutory requirements for exempt meetings.

Ex-officio: a person who is assigned to a board or committee by virtue of the office they hold.

Floor (as in “you have the floor”): when a member receives formal recognition from the Chair, s/he “has the floor” and is the only member entitled to make a motion or to speak.

General Consent: an informal method of disposing of routine motions by assuming unanimous approval unless objection is raised. Method: Are there any objections? Hearing none, the motion has passed.

Germane Amendment: an amendment relating directly to the motion to which it is applied.

Hearing: a meeting of the Commission for the purpose of listening to the views of an individual or of a particular group on a particular subject.

Hostile Amendment: an amendment that is opposed to the spirit or purpose of the motion to which it is applied.

In Order: permissible and right from a parliamentary standpoint, at the particular time.

Invariable in Wording: when a motion can be worded only one way and therefore is not subject to amendment, it is said to be invariable in wording.

Majority Vote: more than half of the number of legal votes cast for a motion.

Minutes: the legal record of the action of the Board (or any body) that has been approved by vote of the body.

Motion: a proposal submitted to the Board for its consideration and decision; it is introduced by the words, “I move….”

Objection: the formal expression of opposition to a proposed action.

Order of Business: the adopted order in which the business is presented to the meeting of the Board.

Out of Order: not correct, from a parliamentary standpoint, at the particular time.

Parliamentary Authority: the code of procedure adopted by the Board as its parliamentary guide and governing in all parliamentary situations not otherwise provided for in the Board’s rules or Florida Statutes.

Pending Motion: sometimes referred to as Pending Question. Any motion that has been proposed and stated by the Chair for the Board’s consideration and is awaiting decision by vote.

Precedence: the rank or priority governing the motion.

Precedent: a course of action that may serve as a guide or rule for future similar situations.

Proposal or Proposition: a statement of a motion of any kind for consideration and action.

Quorum: the number of persons that must be present at a meeting of the Board to enable it to act legally on business.

Recognition: acknowledgement by the Chair, giving a member sole right to speak.

Reconsider: to review again a matter previously disposed of, and to vote on it again, a motion to reconsider can be made at the same meeting day or at a future meeting.

Request: a statement to the Chair asking a question or some “right.”

Rescind: to nullify or cancel a previous action.

Resolution: a formal motion, usually in writing, and introduced by the word “resolved,” that is presented to the Board for a decision.

Resolution of Thanks: a formal resolution given to a person(s) for a special service(s) from the Board.

Restricted Discussion: discussion on certain motions in which discussion is restricted to a few specified points.

Roll Call Vote: a recorded vote taken by calling the roll of the Commission.

Ruling: a pronouncement of the Chair that relates to the procedure of the Board.

Second: after a motion has been proposed, the statement “I second the motion” by another member who thus indicates his/her willingness to have the motion considered.

Seriatim: consideration by sections or paragraphs.

Standing Committees or Boards: committees or boards that have a fixed term and perform any work in its field assigned to it by the County or the Commissioners.

Statute: a law passed by the Legislature.

Tie Vote: a vote in which the affirmative and negative vote are equal on a motion. A motion receiving a tie vote is deemed denied, since a majority vote is required to take action.

Unanimous Consent: deciding a routine motion without voting on it. If anyone objects, a vote must be taken.

Unfinished Business: any business that is postponed definitely to a time certain.

Voice Vote: a vote taken by asking for the “ayes” and “nays”. A person voting “aye” shall be in favor and a person voting “nay” shall be opposed. :”Aye” may never be used to vote in opposition.