Article 5. Meetings


§1-501                MEETINGS; DEFINED. Meetings, as used in this Article shall mean all regular, special, or called meetings, formal or informal, of a public body for the purposes of briefing. discussion of public business, formation of tentative policy, or the taking of any action. (Ref. 84-1409(2) RS Neb.)


§1-502               MEETINGS; PUBLIC BODY DEFINED. Public Body as used in this Article shall mean:

             (1)        The Governing Body of the Municipality,

             (2)        All independent boards, commissions, bureaus, committees, councils, subunits, or any other bodies, now or hereafter created by Constitution, statute, ordinance or otherwise pursuant to law, and

             (3)        Advisory committees of the bodies listed above.


This Article shall not apply to subcommittees of such bodies unless a quorum of the public body attends a subcommittee meeting or unless such subcommittees are holding hearings, making policy or taking formal action on behalf of their parent body. (Ref 84-1409(1) RS Neb.)


§1-503                MEETINGS; PUBLIC. All public meetings as defined by law shall be held in a Municipal public building which shall be open to attendance by the public. All meetings shall be held in the public building in which the Governing Body usually holds such meetings unless the publicized notice hereinafter required shall designate some other public building or other specified place. The advance publicized notice of all public convened meetings shall be simultaneously transmitted to all members of the Governing Body and to the public by a method designated by the Governing Body or by the Mayor if the Governing Body has not designated a method. Such notice shall contain the time and specific place for each meeting and either an enumeration of the agenda subjects known at the time of the notice, or a statement that such an agenda kept continually current shall be readily available for public inspection at the office of the Municipal Clerk. Except for items of an emergency nature, the agenda shall not be altered later than (a) twenty-four (24) hours before the scheduled commencement of the meeting or (b) forty-eight (48) hours before the scheduled commencement of a meeting of the Governing Body scheduled outside the corporate limits of the Municipality. The Governing Body shall have the right to modify the agenda to include items of an emergency nature only at such public meetings. The minutes of the Municipal Clerk shall include the record of the manner and advance time by which the advance publicized notice was given, a statement of how the availability of an agenda of the then known subjects was communicated, the time and specific place of the meetings, and the names of each member of the Governing Body present or absent at each convened meeting. The minutes of the Governing Body shall be a public record open to inspection by the public upon request at any reasonable time at the office of the Municipal Clerk. Any official action on any question or motion duly moved and seconded shall be taken only by roll call vote of the Governing Body in open session. The record of the Municipal Clerk shall show how each member voted, or that the member was absent and did not vote. (Ref 84-1408, 84-1409, 84-1411, 84-1413 RS Neb.)

 

§1-504                            MEETINGS; CLOSED SESSIONS. (1) Any public body may hold a closed session by the affirma-

tive vote of a majority of its voting members if a closed session is clearly necessary for the protection of the public interest or for the prevention of needless injury to the reputation of an individual and if such individual has not requested a public meeting. Closed sessions may be held for, but shall not be limited to, such reasons as:

(a)   Strategy sessions with respect to collective bargaining, real estate purchases, pending litigation or litigation which is imminent as evidenced by communication of a claim or threat of litigation to or by the public body;

(b)   Discussion regarding deployment of security personnel or devices;

(c)   Investigative proceedings regarding allegations of criminal misconduct; or

(d)   Evaluation of the job performance of a person when necessary to prevent needless injury to the reputation of a person and if such person has not requested a public meeting.

Nothing in this section shall permit a closed meeting for discussion of the appointment or election of a new member to any public body.

        (2)          The vote to hold a closed session shall be taken in open session. The vote of each member on the question of holding a closed session, the reason for the closed session, and the time when the closed session commenced and concluded shall be recorded in the minutes. The public body holding such a closed session shall restrict its consideration to matters during the closed portions to only those purposes set forth in the minutes as the reason for the closed session. The meeting shall be reconvened in open session before any formal action may be taken. For purposes of this section, formal action shall mean a collective decision or a collective commitment or promise to make a decision on any question, motion, proposal, resolution, order, or ordinance or formation of a position or policy but shall not include negotiating guidance given by members of the public body to legal counsel or other negotiators in closed sessions authorized under subdivision (a) of subsection (1) of this section.

        (3)          Any member of the public body shall have the right to challenge the continuation of a closed session if the member determines that the session has exceeded the reason stated in the original motion to hold a closed session or if the member contends that the closed session is neither clearly necessary for (a) the protection of the public interest or (b) the prevention of needless injury to the reputation of an individual. Such challenge shall be overruled only by a majority vote of the members of the public body. Such challenge and its disposition shall be recorded in the minutes.

        (4)          Nothing in this section shall be construed to require that any meeting be closed to the public. No person or public body shall fail to invite a portion of its members to a meeting and no public body shall designate itself a subcommittee of the whole body for the purpose of circumventing the provisions of this Article. No closed session, informal meeting, chance meeting, social gathering, or electronic communication shall be used for the purpose of circumventing the provisions of this Article.

        (5)          The provisions of this Article shall not apply to chance meetings, or to attendance at or travel to conventions or workshops of members of a public body at which there is no meeting of the body then intentionally convened and there is no vote or other action taken regarding any matter over which the public body has supervision, control, jurisdiction, or advisory power. (Ref 84-1410 RS Neb.)


§1-505           MEETINGS; EMERGENCY MEETINGS. When it is necessary to hold an emergency meeting without reasonable advance public notice, the nature of the emergency shall be stated in the minutes and any formal action taken in such meeting shall pertain only to the emergency. Such emergency meetings may be held by means of electronic or telecommunication equipment. The provisions of section 1-508 of this Article shall be complied with in conducting emergency meetings. Complete minutes of such emergency meetings specifying the nature of the emergency and any formal action taken at the meeting shall be made available to the public by no later than the end of the next regular business day. (Ref 84-1411 RS Neb.)


§1-506            MEETINGS; MINUTES. (1) Each public body shall keep minutes of all meetings showing the time, place, members present and absent, and the substance of all matters discussed.

        (2)          The minutes shall be public records and open to public inspection during normal business hours.

        (3)          Minutes shall be written and available for inspection within ten (10) working days, or prior to the next convened meeting, whichever occurs earlier. (Ref 84-1412, 84-1413 RS Neb.)


§1-507            MEETINGS; VOTES. (1) Any action taken on any question or motion duly moved and seconded shall be by roll call vote of the public body in open session, and the record shall state how each member voted, or if the member was absent or not voting. The requirements of a roll call or viva voce vote shall be satisfied by the Municipality utilizing an electronic voting device which allows the yeas and nays of each member of the Governing Body to be readily seen by the public.        (2)          The vote to elect leadership within a public body may be taken by secret ballot, but the total number of votes for each candidate shall be recorded in the minutes. (Ref 17-616, 84-1413 RS Neb.)


§1-508            MEETINGS; NOTICE TO NEWS MEDIA. The Municipal Clerk, Secretary, or other designee of each public body shall maintain a list of the news media requesting notification of meetings and shall make reasonable efforts to provide advance notification to them of the time and place of each meeting, and the subjects to be discussed at that meeting. (Ref 84-1411 RS Neb.)


§1-509   MEETINGS; PUBLIC PARTICIPATION. (1) Subject to the provisions of this Article, the public shall have the right to attend and the right to speak at meetings of public bodies and all or any part of a meeting of a public body, except for closed meetings called pursuant to section 1-504, may be videotaped, televised, photographed, broadcast, or recorded by any person in attendance by means of a tape recorder, camera, video equipment, or any other means of pictorial or sonic reproduction or in writing.

        (2)          It shall not be a violation of this section for any public body to make and enforce reasonable rules and regulations regarding the conduct of persons attending, speaking at, videotaping, televising, photographing, broadcasting, or recording its meetings. A body may not be required to allow citizens to speak at each meeting, but it may not forbid public participation at all meetings. No public body shall require members of the public to identify themselves as a condition for admission to the meeting. The body may require any member of the public desiring to address the body to identify himself or herself. No public body shall for the purpose of circumventing the provisions of this Article hold a meeting in a place known by the body to be too small to accommodate the anticipated audience. No public body shall be deemed in violation of this section if it holds its meeting in its traditional meeting place which is located in this State. An agency which contracts with municipalities outside the State of Nebraska may hold meetings of any committee outside the State of Nebraska if such meetings are held only in such contracting municipalities. Final action on any agenda item shall only be taken by the agency at a meeting in the State of Nebraska, which meeting shall comply with sections 84-1408 to 84-14 14RS Neb. The public body shall, upon request, make a reasonable effort to accommodate the public̓s right to hear the discussion and testimony presented at the meeting. Public bodies shall make available at the meeting, for examination and copying by members of the public, at least one (1) copy of all reproducible written material to be discussed at an open meeting. (Ref 84-1412, 18-2438 RS Neb.)


§1-510            MEETINGS; ORDER OF BUSINESS. All meetings of the Governing Body shall be open to the public. Promptly at the hour set by law on the day of each regular meeting, the members of the Governing Body, the Municipal Clerk, the Mayor, and such other Municipal officials that may be required shall take their regular stations in the meeting place, and the business of the Municipality shall be taken up for consideration, and disposition in the manner prescribed by the official agenda on file at the office of the Municipal Clerk.


§1-511            MEETINGS; CHANGE IN OFFICE. The change in office shall be made as follows: The Mayor and Council shall meet on the first regular meeting date in December of each year in which a Municipal election is held and the outgoing officers and the outgoing members of the Council shall present their reports, and upon the old Council having completed its business up to the said time, the outgoing members of the Council shall surrender their offices to the incoming members, and the outgoing officers shall thereupon each surrender to his successor in office all property, records, papers and moneys, belonging to the same. (Ref 17-107.02(9) RS Neb.)


§1-512            MEETINGS; ANNUAL ORGANIZATIONAL MEETING. (1) The newly elected City Council shall convene at the regular place of meeting in the Municipality on the second Tuesday in December in each year at 7:30 p.m. and proceed to organize themselves for the ensuing year. The Mayor shall call the meeting to order. The City Council shall then proceed to examine the credentials of their new members and other elective officers of the Municipality to see that each has been duly and properly elected and to see that such oaths and bonds have been given as are required.

        (2)          President of Council. After ascertaining that all members and officers are duly qualified, the City Council shall then elect one of their own body who shall be styled as President of the Council.

        (3)          Appointive Officers. The Mayor shall nominate his candidates for appointive offices, board members and Municipal employees; and said officers, board members and City employees shall hold office until their successors are duly appointed and qualified.

        (4)          Assuming Office. It is hereby made the duty of each and every member of the City Council of the Municipality, or their successors in office and of each officer hereafter elected to any office, to qualify prior to the second Tuesday in December following his election, and at 7:30 p.m. upon the second Tuesday in December following his election, each officer elected at the Municipal election shall take possession of his office. All appointive officers shall qualify within two (2) weeks following their appointment.


§1-513            MEETINGS; REGULAR MEETING. (1) The meetings of the City Council shall be held in the meeting place of the Municipality. Regular meetings shall be held on the second Tuesday of each month at the hour of seven-thirty (7:30) o̓clock p.m. at the City Hall Council Chambers.

        (2)          A majority of all the members elected to the City Council shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of any business, but a fewer number may adjourn from time to time and compel the attendance of absent members. Unless a greater vote is required by law, an affirmative vote of at least one-half of the elected members shall be required for the transaction of any business. (Ref 17-105 RS Neb.)


§1-514            MEETINGS; SPECIAL MEETINGS. (1) Special meetings may be called by the Mayor, or by three members of the City Council, the object of which shall be submitted to the Council in writing. The call and object, as well as the disposition thereof, shall be entered upon the journal by the Municipal Clerk. On filing the call for a special meeting, the Municipal Clerk shall notify the Councilmembers of the special meeting, stating the time and its purpose. Notice of a special meeting need not be given to a Councilmember known to be out of the state, or physically unable to be present. A majority of the members of the City Council shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, but a smaller number may adjourn from day to day and compel the attendance of the absent members. Whether a quorum is present or not, all absent members shall be sent for and compelled to attend.

        (2)          At the hour appointed for the meeting, the Municipal Clerk shall proceed to call the roll of members and announce whether a quorum is present. If a quorum is present, the Council shall be called to order by the Mayor, if present, or if absent, by the President of the Council. In the absence of both the Mayor and the President of the Council, the City Councilmembers shall elect a President pro tempore. All ordinances passed at any special meeting shall comply with procedures set forth in Chapter 1, Article 6 herein. (Ref 17-106 RS Neb.)


§1-515           MEETINGS; VIDEOCONFERENCING, WHEN ALLOWED. (1) A meeting of an organization created under the Interlocal Cooperation Act or the Municipal Cooperative Financing Act or of the governing body of a risk management pool or advisory committee organized in accordance with the Intergovernmental Risk Management Act may be held by means of videoconferencing if:

        (a)          Reasonable advance publicized notice is given;

        (b)          Reasonable arrangements are made to accommodate the public̓s right to attend, hear, and speak at the meeting, including seating, recordation by audio or visual recording devices, and a reasonable opportunity for input such as public comment or questions to at least the same extent as would be provided if videoconferencing was not used;

        (c)          At least one copy of all documents being considered is available to the public at each site of the videoconference;

        (d)          At least one member of the governing body or advisory committee is present at each site of the videoconference; and 

        (e)          No more than one-half of the governing body̓s or advisory committee̓s meetings in a calendar year are held by videoconference.


        Videoconferencing shall not be used to circumvent any of the public government purposes established in this Article.

 

        (2)          For purposes of this section, videoconferencing shall mean conducting a meeting involving participants at two or more locations through the use of audio-video equipment which allows participants at each location to hear and see each meeting participant at each other location, including public input. Interaction between meeting participants shall be possible at all meeting locations.

(Ref 84-1409, 84-1411 RS Neb.)