VII: Debate and Decorum - Rules of BoA
Rules covering Admission to the Chamber, Procedure for Recognition, Transgression of the Rules, and Appeal of a Decision of the Chair.
VII. Debate and Decorum
- During a meeting of the Board of Aldermen only the Mayor or his/her designee; the Comptroller or his/her designee; members of the Board of Aldermen; employees of the Board of Aldermen and the President shall be admitted to the floor of the Chamber. Honored guests, and representatives of the Press with proper professional identification shall be admitted to the floor of the Chamber, to be situated at places designated by the President. It shall be the duty of the Sergeant-at-Arms and other staff members to see that all other persons are excluded, and directed to the Gallery.
- The Mayor and the Comptroller shall each have a seat and a voice but no vote in the Board of Aldermen. (City Charter, Art. VII, Sec. 1 and Art. XV, Sec. 2)
- Before speaking, members (as well as the Mayor and Comptroller) shall rise from their seats and address the Chair as ``Mister or Madame President,'' and wait to be recognized before speaking.
- Should two or more persons address the Chair simultaneously, the person recognized by the President shall be entitled to the floor.
- No person shall be recognized to speak twice upon the same subject until every other person shall have had an opportunity to be heard.
- No other person shall be recognized to speak on a motion after the President recognizes the proposer to close on such motion.
If any member transgresses the Rules of the Board of Aldermen, the President or any member, may call him to order, in which case the member called to order shall immediately sit down. After recognition the person calling the member to order then shall state the rule or order transgressed and the President shall decide whether the point of order is well taken or not, subject to an appeal from his decision to the Board of Aldermen. If there be no appeal, the decision of the Chair shall be submitted to without debate. If the point of order be decided not well taken, the member called to order shall be permitted to proceed with his/her remarks; if otherwise, he/she shall keep his/her seat and not proceed until recognized by the Chair. According to these Rules, and if the case requires it, said member shall be liable to censure of the Board of Aldermen. On such question of order, no member shall speak more than twice, except the President, who shall be heard in preference to any other member. All questions of order shall be noted by the Clerk, with the decision reported in the Journal.
When an appeal of a decision of the Chair is seconded, the question shall be put in this form, ``Shall the decision of the Chair stand as the opinion of the Board of Aldermen?'' and unless a majority of the members present vote in the negative the decision of the Chair shall be considered as sustained.