BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
RULES OF PROCEDURE
Adopted January 6, 2014
Rule 1. Applicability of Rules
These rules apply to all meetings of the Board of Commissioners of Henderson
County and the Board of (collectively, the Board) 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
Nothing here shall be construed to violate the Open Meetings Law as codified
in N.C. Gen. Stat. §143-318.9 et seq.
No person shall be entitled to willfully interrupt, disturb, or disrupt an official
meeting. In such case, the person may be directed to leave the place of such official
meeting by the chair, upon pain of violation of N.C. Gen. Stat. §143-318.17.
Rule 3. Closed Sessions
The Board may hold closed sessions and exclude the public as is provided
under North Carolina law.
No final actions on appointments or discharges of employees may be taken in
To go into closed session, the Board must be in an official and open meeting,
A motion to go into closed session must be made.
The reason for the closed session, including the provision in North
Carolina law allowing a closed session must be cited as a part of the motion, unless
the closed session is noted on the Boards published proposed agenda for the official
and open meeting, and unless the proposed agenda is adopted without change to the
provisions for the closed session.
Unless the motion to go into closed session provides otherwise, the County
Manager, the Clerk to the Board and the County Attorney may attend the closed
session. In situations where one or more of the County Manager, the Clerk to the
Board, or the County Attorney is a subject of the closed session, one or more of them
may be dismissed from the closed session by the Board.
Rule 4. Organizational Meeting
Even-Numbered Years. The Board shall hold an organizational meeting on
the first Monday in December of each even-numbered year.
The agenda for this organizational meeting shall be limited to
induction (and, if necessary, taking of oath(s) of office) of newly elected
members of the Board and other elected county officials and organization of
the Board for the ensuing year.
The organizational meeting shall be convened and concluded
immediately before the first regular December meeting is convened.
The County Attorney shall call the meeting to order and shall preside
until a chair is elected.
The agenda for such organizational meeting shall the following order,
conducted in the following order:
(if they have not already been sworn and inducted into office)
the newly elected members of the Board shall take and subscribe the
oath of office;
the Board shall elect a chair and vice-chair from among its
the Board shall approve the bonds of the sheriff, and the register
The Board shall then convene its first regular meeting in December.
Odd-Numbered Years. The procedure for organizational meetings in odd-
numbered years shall be the same as for even-numbered years, except that such
meeting shall occur just before the first regular meeting in December of such year.
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. Types of Meetings
Regular Meetings. The Board shall hold a regular meeting on the first
Monday of each month, commencing at 5:30 p.m., and on the third Wednesday of
each month, commencing at 9:00 a.m. 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 at the Historic
Courthouse, 1 Historic Courthouse Square, Hendersonville, North Carolina. The
Board may cancel a particular meeting, 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. In no event shall the Board meet less than
one time during a calendar month.
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 subject(s) to be considered at such meeting. The person
or persons who call the meeting shall cause the notice to be posted on the bulletin
Board designated as the door of the Henderson County Historic Courthouse, 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 who 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.
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 which 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.
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 must be
renewed annually on or before 15 December of each year.
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 generally held on a regular schedule, and if not held during regular
meetings 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 Henderson County except as
otherwise provided herein.
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.
A special meeting called for the purpose of considering and acting
upon any order or resolution requesting members of the General Assembly or
Congress representing all or any portion of this county to support or oppose
any bill pending in the General Assembly or Congress or proposed for
introduction therein may be held in any place as may be stated in the call of
Rule 8. Broadcasting and Recording Meetings
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.
Any radio or television station wishing to broadcast any portion of an official
meeting of the Board shall so notify the county manager prior to 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, the county
manager may require the news media either to pool equipment and personnel or to
secure and pay the costs of an alternative meeting site that is mutually agreeable to
the Board and the media representatives.
Rule 9. Agenda
The clerk to the Board, in consultation with the County Manager and the
County Attorney, shall prepare the agenda for each regular, special, and emergency
Regular meetings: The draft agenda, with supporting information,
shall be prepared and provided to members of the Board at least three (3)
working days prior to the meeting.
Board member requests: Any Member may have an
item placed on the agenda by requesting the same of the
County Manager or County Attorney at least two (2) working
days prior to the date by which the draft agenda and supporting
documentation must be made available to the Board.
Staff requests: Any County staff request for an item to be
placed on the agenda must be made in accordance with policies
adopted by the County Manager. No County staff requested matters
may be requested to be added to an agenda after the draft agenda is
provided to the Board, except in cases of emergency, or in cases of
requests for time-sensitive closed sessions.
Requests from the public: Any request received by County staff
from the public for a matter to be included on the Boards agenda will
be evaluated by staff. If in the judgment of the staff the matter should
be included, it will be dealt with as a staff request. In the event the
request is denied by staff, a copy of the request shall be supplied to all
members of the Board. If any member then requests that the matter be
included in the draft agenda, it will be dealt with as a Board member
Special meetings: The notice of the special meeting along with
supporting information shall constitute the agenda for such meeting. No
matters may be added to the draft agenda without the written consent of all
members of the Board.
Emergency meetings: The draft agenda, with supporting information,
shall be provided to members of the Board at the meeting.
The agenda packet shall include the draft 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 by placing a copy of the same in such
members interoffice mail box, and by emailing each member notice of the
availability of the same. Additionally, the draft agenda packet shall be posted online
on the Countys web site at the designated place.
At regular meetings only, the Board may, by majority vote, add an item for
discussion that is not on the draft agenda.
The draft agenda may include a list of items (consent list) proposed by staff
for action without substantial debate and by consent. Such items will be routine
matters or matters anticipated to be non-controversial.
Without objection from a Member, the items included in the consent
list will be acted on by the Board pursuant to a single collective motion.
Any Member may by objection remove an item from the consent list.
Such item will then be added to the list of discussion items for consideration
by the Board.
Further, any Member, by reserving the right to object, may direct
inquiries regarding any such item to staff prior to determining whether to
object to the consideration of the item on the consent list. If the Member
reserving their right to object after inquiries withdraws their reservation, the
item will be considered with the rest of the consent list. If after inquiries the
Member wishes to object, the item will then be added to the list of discussion
items for consideration by the Board.
Rule 10. Informal Public Comments
The draft agenda of each regular meeting shall include a period of at least thirty
minutes for comments from members of the public in attendance. The chair will first
recognize individuals or groups who have made a prior appointment to be heard, and
then may recognize others, subject to available time. Each speaker shall be allowed
three (3) minutes, although such time may be extended by the Board.
Rule 11. Order of Business
At regular meetings, the Board shall proceed to business in the following order:
Scheduled public hearings.
Informal public comments.
Approval of the agenda.
Approval of consent items.
Introduction of ordinances, resolutions, and orders.
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,
subject to being overruled by a majority of the Board:
To rule on points of parliamentary procedure, including the right to
rule out of order any motion patently offered for obstructive or dilatory
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;
To call a brief recess at any time;
To adjourn in an emergency.
Rule 13. Action by the Board
The Board shall proceed by motion. Any member, including the chair, may make a
Rule 14. Second Not Required
A motion shall not require a second.
Rule 15. One Motion at a Time
A member may only make one motion at a time.
Rule 16. Substantive Motion
substantive motion (also called a main 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 an extraordinary majority is required by the laws of North
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:
The member making the motion or introducing the ordinance,
resolution, or order is entitled to speak first.
A member who has not spoken on the issue shall be recognized before
someone who has already spoken.
To the extent possible, the debate shall alternate between opponents
and proponents of the measure.
Rule 19. Procedural Motions
In addition to substantive motions, 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
In order of priority (if applicable), the procedural motions are:
To Appeal a Ruling of the Chair.
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.
To Take a Recess.
To Call to Follow the Agenda. This motion must be made at the first
reasonable opportunity or it is waived.
To Suspend the Rules. This motion requires a vote equal to a quorum.
To go into a closed session.
To leave closed session.
To Divide a Complex Motion and Consider It by Paragraph.
To Defer Consideration. A substantive motion whose consideration
has been deferred expires one hundred days thereafter, unless a motion to
revive consideration is adopted.
To Call the Previous Question. The motion is not in order until every
member has had one opportunity to speak.
To Postpone to a Certain Time or Day.
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.
To Revive Consideration. The motion is in order at any time within
one hundred days of a successful motion to defer consideration. A
substantive motion on which consideration has been deferred expires one
hundred days after the deferral, unless a motion to revive consideration is
To Reconsider. The motion must be made at the same meeting at
which the original vote was taken or the regular meeting next following, and
by a member who voted with the prevailing side.
Rule 20. Renewal of Motion
A defeated motion may not be renewed at the same meeting.
Rule 21. Withdrawal of Motion
A motion may be withdrawn by the introducer at any time before the chair puts the
motion to a vote.
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
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
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 a
reasonable person attending the meeting can understand what is being discussed or
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 Repeal 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, 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 Boards membership shall constitute a quorum and shall be
required for all meetings and hearings. 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, such withdrawn
Member 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 and present such Member
before the Board.
Rule 28. Public Hearings and Public Comment Periods
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.
Public Comment Periods. The Board shall provide at least one period for
public comment per month during a regular meeting. Each speaker shall be allowed
three (3) minutes, although such time may be extended by the Board. The Board
may adopt reasonable regulations governing the conduct of the public comment
period, including but not limited to rules providing for (1) the designation of
representatives to speak for groups supporting or opposing the same position, (2) the
selection of delegates from groups with the same position when the meeting hall's
capacity is exceeded, and(3) the maintenance of order and decorum in the conduct of
the public comment period. The Board shall not restrict speakers based on subject
matter, point of view, or the fact that the Board may find the remarks offensive or
insulting, as long as the comments pertain to a subject that is within the Board's real
or apparent jurisdiction.
Rule 29. 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.
The chair shall open the floor to nominations, whereupon 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 (a
majority is determined by dividing the number of valid ballots cast by two and
taking the next highest whole number). 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 does not invalidate that member's ballot.
Notwithstanding any contrary provision in any board or committee
by-laws or charter, for any board or committee created by the Board for which
the Board appoints at least one-half the members, the Board shall select the
chair of such board or committee, by the process set out in this Rule.