Ordinance No. 880

Establishing the Organization of All City Committees and Prescribing the General Powers and Duties Thereof

WHEREAS, the City of Vernonia currently establishes committees of City Council by ordinance which has resulted in non-uniform standards for the various committees;

WHEREAS, the Council desires to retain committees and values citizen involvement in City government;

WHEREAS, the Council desires to adopt uniform standards for Council committees as specified below and provide; and

WHEREAS, to the extent that state law governs as to any committee, this ordinance is not intended to conflict with any committee created by the City Council.


Section 1. Purpose.

The purpose of this ordinance is to provide uniform standards for all committees established by resolution of the City Council. This ordinance does not apply to committees governed by State law or established by a separate ordinance of the City.

Section 2. Creation and Establishment.

Each City committee shall be established by resolution of the City Council. Only committees established by resolution of the City Council have the power and duties specified in this ordinance. A resolution establishing a committee such as (Airport, Cemetery, Economic Development, Emergency Preparedness, Finance/Audit, Library, Parks, Public Works, VCLC) may provide for additional powers, duties, and procedures not in conflict with this ordinance.

Section 3. Membership and Compensation.

  • a. Each City committee shall consist of seven (7) members appointed by the Mayor, with the consent of the City Council and one City Council member who shall act as a liaison to City Council. Five (5) members shall be residents of the City and two (2) members may be appointed from outside city limits. Committee members may only serve on one committee at a time. All members shall serve without compensation.
  • b. The Council liaison is not a voting member of the committee. The liaison shall attend committee meetings and report to the Council on the work of the committee. The liaison is also responsible for maintaining communication between the City Council and the committee.

Section 4. Organization.

  • a. At the first meeting of the committee, the seven appointed members shall choose their term of office by lot as follows: one for one year, two for two years, two for three years, and two for four years. Immediately thereafter, the members shall notify the City Recorder in writing of the allotment. Their successors shall hold office for four years.
  • b. Any committee member who is absent from four (4) or more meetings in a consecutive 12 months, without being excused by the chair of the committee, is considered no longer active and their position to be vacant.
  • c. When a vacancy occurs, the Mayor shall fill the vacancy by appointment, with the consent of the Council, for the unexpired portion of the term.

Section 5. Officers.

Upon initial formation of a committee, the Mayor will appoint a committee chair and vice-chair, who shall hold office until July 1 of the next odd numbered year. Thereafter, officers shall serve for two years and their replacements elected by committee members. Officer elections shall be conducted every July 1 in an odd-numbered year (i.e.: July 1, 2013, July 1, 2015).

Section 6. Secretary and Reports.

  • a. The committee shall elect a secretary who need not be a member of the committee. The secretary shall keep an accurate record of all committee proceedings. The secretary is responsible for submitting the record of committee proceedings to City Council after every meeting, or on a monthly basis, in accordance with committee minutes standards outlined in (Exhibit A).
  • b. On the first of October of each year, the committee shall submit to the City Council a report of all the work performed by the committee since the previous report. The Council may request one or more members of the committee to attend a City Council meeting to review and discuss the report.
  • c. Recording of committee meetings: The secretary shall access city equipment to record the committee meeting, following the completion of the committee meeting minutes, the secretary shall deliver the recording to the City Recorder for compliance as per city records retention policy.

Section 7. Quorum: Rules: Meetings.

  • a. Four (4) members of the committee constitutes a quorum.
  • b. The committee will follow rules governing the conduct of its business as outlined in (Exhibit B).
  • c. The committee shall meet monthly, or at least a minimum of once every six months.
  • d. Meetings of the committee shall be open to the public. All meetings shall be noticed and held in accordance with the Oregon Public Meetings Law.

Section 8. Expenditures.

  • a. In accordance with the resolution establishing the committee and as provided for in the budget for the committee, a committee may incur expenses necessary for its operation. Payment of all expenses is subject to the approval of the City Administrator. In the absence of budgeted funds for a committee, all expenses must be approved by the City Administrator prior to the expense being incurred.
  • b. Except as provided above or in the establishing resolution of the committee, committees have no authority to make expenditures on behalf of the City, or to obligate the City for payment of any sums of money.

Section 9. Powers and Duties.

Each committee has the specific duties and responsibilities established by resolution. General duties and responsibilities of committees also include:

  • a. Act in an advisory capacity to the City Council. Committees have no authority to make any decisions binding on the City Council or City.
  • b. Promote the general welfare and economic benefit of the City and its citizens.
  • c. Make studies, hold hearings, and prepare reports and recommendations on their own or at the request of the City Council.

Section 10. Communications in Writing.

  • a. Committees shall communicate with the City Council in writing.
  • b. All communications to the City Council must be submitted to the City Recorder, who is responsible for presenting them to the City Council at the next available meeting, unless the Council specifically requests that the committee or a member(s) of the committee present the communication. Recommendations will be written in accordance with committee recommendation standards outlined in (Exhibit C).
  • c. All communications to the City Council must be approved by a majority of the committee.
  • d. Committees and their members are otherwise free to communicate with the City Administrator in accordance with standards established by the City Administrator. Committees and their members shall not communicate directly with other members of City staff regarding committee business without the prior approval of the City Administrator.

Section 1. Repeal of Existing Ordinances.

The following ordinances are repealed: 837, 839, 840, 841, 842, 843, 853, 856, 873 and all other ordinances and parts thereof in conflict herewith are hereby repealed.

Section 2. Effective Date.

Under the provisions of the City of Vernonia Charter of 1998, Chapter VIII, the council finds it may provide two readings at the same hearing and that this ordinance may take effect in 30 days from the date of decision.

Section 4. Emergency Clause.

Section 5. Recorder’s Duties.

The City Recorder is hereby directed, upon its adoption and authentication, to number this ordinance as the next adopted ordinance of the City of Vernonia.

Exhibit A

Committee Minutes Standards

{Committee Name}
{Date of Meeting}
{Time and Place of Meeting}

Call to Order: {Identify who called the meeting to order and time}

Attendance of Members: {List members present and document if absent members are excused}

Additions or Corrections: {Document any items that were added or changed from original agenda}

Public Comment: {Document citizens who spoke and the subject of which they commented}

Approval of Minutes of Previous Meeting: {List any changes made to previous minutes, who made the motion to approve, who seconded the motion, and if motion carried}

New Business: {Items listed here need to be entirely new to committee business}

  • 1. {Give heading and general discussion points}
  • 2. {Etc}

Unfinished Business: {Items listed here are unfinished items carried over from previous meetings}

  • 1. {Give heading and general discussion points}
  • 2. {Etc}

Report to City Administrator: {Listed here will be subjects, questions, or issues which need to be discussed with the City Administrator, typically the committee directs the Chair to have those discussions}

Recommendations to Council: {Listed here will be recommendations which have been voted on by the committee. Committee secretary will draft recommendation letter and deliver to City Recorder}

Next Meeting Date: {Document the date and time of next official meeting}

Adjourn: {Document who adjourned the meeting and time}

Exhibit B

Committee Meeting Conduct Standards

Speaking by Committee Members Generally

Every Committee member desiring to speak shall address the Committee Chair and, upon recognition by the Chair, shall confine the remarks to the question under debate.

Expressing and Recording Dissents or Protests

Any member of the Committee shall have the right to express dissent from or to protest any action of the Committee immediately following the vote on the action and to have the reason entered in the minutes.

After recording dissent or protest, the Committee member(s) in the minority are expected to support the majority decision.

  • A. Committee members will conduct themselves so as to bring credit upon the City government by respecting the rule of law, keeping informed concerning the matters coming before the Committee and abiding by all Committee decisions, whether or not the member voted on the prevailing side.
  • B. Committee members will assist the Committee Chair to preserve order and decorum during Committee meetings and may not, by conversation or other action, delay or interrupt the proceedings. Committee members will confine themselves to questions or issues under discussion and not engage in personal attacks, or impugn the motives of any speaker.
  • C. The following ground rules will be observed to maintain order and decorum during Committee discussions:
    • 1. Committee members will gather necessary information before meetings.
    • 2. Committee members will have an opportunity to speak at least once on any pending motion or agenda item, and will speak for themselves and not for other Committee members.
    • 3. Committee members will not speak on behalf of the Committee, unless they have been authorized by the Committee to do so.
    • 4. Committee members will be open, direct and candid in the Committee forum.
    • 5. Committee members should be brief and succinct in stating their views and focus on a single issue or topic at any one time.
    • 6. Committee members will focus on City issues and avoid becoming involved in “extra-territorial” issues.
    • 7. The Committee Chair will recognize Committee members wishing to speak in the order of their requests. The Committee Chair will provide a Committee member with an opportunity to speak before recognizing another Committee member. Committee members will not interrupt another Committee member who has the floor.
    • 8. Committee members will not disguise statements as questions or use repetitions as a way to convince others.
    • 9. Committee members will keep discussions moving and call for a “process check” if the Committee becomes bogged down in discussions. Committee members will set and adhere to time limits on discussions.
    • 10. Committee members will not criticize or attack each other, City Staff or other persons.
    • 11. If a Committee member wishes to discuss a major issue not under discussion, it will be scheduled on a future agenda and not raised during a current agenda.

Failure to follow the committee meeting conduct standards may result in the following disciplinary actions:

  • Firstly, a letter will be issued to committee member identifying the conduct standards that have been unheeded, and state the expectation that conduct standards are to be followed.

If the committee member does not comply with the expectation then;

  • Secondly, a formal meeting including but not limited to; the committee member in question, committee chair, Mayor and/or City Administrator, may be held to mediate and resolve conduct standard issues.

If the committee member cannot follow the conduct standards following the meeting then;

  • The City Council may remove by consensus a member of the committee for the failure to participate within the committee conduct standards.

Exhibit C

Recommendation Letter Standard


To: Vernonia City Council
From: {Committee Name}
Re: {Subject of Recommendation}

The {Committee Name}, at the {Date} committee meeting, by majority vote recommends {Simple Statement of Recommendation}.

{Background Information}

{Full Recommendation}

{List Attachments}


{Committee Secretary}

{Committee Chair}

Adoption Information

Ayes: 5  Nays: 0  Abstain: 0  Abssent: 0

Adopted: 2012-02-21  Effective: 2016-03-22

Signed: Josette Mitchell, Mayor  Attest: Joann Glass, City Recorder