Home : Regulations > Town Rules

TOWN OF ST. JOSEPH
RULES FOR THE GOVERNMENT OF THE TOWN BOARD,
COMMISSIONS AND COMMITTEES

Rule 1 -             Meetings, Regular and Special
Rule 2 -             Public Hearings
Rule 3 -             Placement of Items on the Agenda
Rule 4 -             Order of Business
Rule 5 -             Presiding Officer
Rule 6 -             Absence of Chair
Rule 7 -             Quorum
Rule 8 -             Roll Call; Procedure When Quorum Not In Attendance
Rule 9 -             Appointment of Plan Commission or Committee Members
Rule 10 -           Representatives
Rule 11 -           Item in Commission or Committee
Rule 12 -           Ordinances, Resolutions, Motions Out of Commission or Committee to be in Writing
Rule 13 -           Filing Commission, Committee or Representative Minutes
Rule 14 -           Ordinances
Rule 15 -           Resolutions
Rule 16 -           Members Must Address Chair
Rule 17 -           Interruption of Speaker Recording of Motions and Resolutions
Rule 18 -           Motions Arising Out Of Debate
Rule 19 -           Votes - How Taken
Rule 20 -           Duties of Town Clerk/Treasurer
Rule 21 -           Recording of Motions and Resolutions
Rule 22 -           Payment of Checks
Rule 23 -           Appropriations and Accounts
Rule 24 -           Selection Process for Job Vacancies
Rule 25 -           Suspension of Town Rules
Rule 26 -           Amendment of Town Rules
Rule 27 -           Reconsideration of Question
Rule 28 -           Abstaining on Vote
Rule 29 -           Use of Town Computers
Rule 30 -           E-mail
Rule 31 -           Use of Town Web Site
Rule 32 -           Robert's Rules of Order

Limited to the laws set forth by the Government of these United States, Wisconsin Statutes and Wisconsin Open Meetings Law, the following shall act as a guideline for those holding elected or appointed office in the Town of St. Joseph. 


RULE 1 - MEETINGS, REGULAR AND SPECIAL

The time, date and place of meetings shall be set by a majority vote of the group involved in order to meet the duties and requirements as deemed necessary.  The regular meetings of the Town Board shall be generally held on thesecond Thursday of each month at 6:00 p.m. There may be adjournments from time to time and the Chair may call a special meeting at any time.

RULE 2 - PUBLIC HEARINGS

Public Hearings may be scheduled for an evening that is agreeable to the majority of the Board.  When possible, public hearings will be scheduled during a regularly scheduled Town Board meeting.

RULE 3 - PLACEMENT OF ITEMS ON THE AGENDA

The Chair will be responsible for setting items on their respective agenda. The required format must be used and each must be presented in due time for proper publication and posting as directed by state statute.

The Town Clerk/Treasurer may place items on the agendas as requested by the Town Chair.  Any Town Board member may request to place an item on the Town Board agenda as long as the request is in writing and the required deadline of 48 hours immediately preceding the regular Board meeting is met.  When possible, agenda items should be finalized 1 week preceding the regular Board meeting.  At no time shall an agenda item be knowingly withheld from a scheduled meeting. The Chair may amend the agenda. If unavailable, the Town Clerk/Treasurer may amend the agenda to handle emergency situations.

RULE 4 - ORDER OF BUSINESS

Public Comments - Subject to the procedures that immediately follow, for a period of time allotted for such comments during each regular meeting of the Town Board and all commissions or committees, any person may address the group members. During this period the following procedures shall apply:

  • Any person wishing to speak must address the Chair.
  • Individual presentations are limited to 5 minutes unless prior approval from the Town Board is obtained.
  • Presentations shall be directed to topics subject to group action and relating to the Town of St. Joseph. (This means the presentations are limited to topics that are not on the official agenda of the current meeting and group members may choose to reply to the comments).
  • Presentations shall not deal in personalities or personal attacks on members of the group, town employees, town residents or others.
  • Presentations are limited to purposes that do not engage others in a debate in this forum.
  • Candidates for Public Office shall be prohibited from electioneering in this forum.
  • No group member may address the group during this forum.

At each regular Town Board meeting, the suggested order of business shall be as follows:

  • Call to Order.
  • Statement of Public Notice.
  • Roll Call.
  • Adoption of the Agenda.
  • Pledge of Allegiance.
  • Dates of Upcoming Meetings/Events.
  • Reports from Board Representatives, town employees, and other Commissions or Committees shall be presented and considered.
  • Public Comments.
  •  Approval of the minutes of previous meetings.
  •  Presentation and consideration of town business.
  •  It shall be in order for any individual in attendance to address the Board during the time allotted, providing the individual is recognized by the Chair. Said address shall be limited to 5 minutes unless prior approval from the Town Board is obtained and must pertain to the subject matter being discussed.

RULE 5 - PRESIDING OFFICER

The Chair shall, at the hour of meeting, call the meeting to order. The Chair shall preserve order and decorum, and decide all questions of order, subject to an appeal by any member. The Chair may seek the advice and counsel of any board member or person in attendance.  Any decision made by the Chair regarding questions of order or procedures may be appealed to the group by any member and requires a majority vote.

RULE 6 - ABSENCE OF CHAIR

In case the Chair is absent at the time of the meeting, the Town Clerk/Treasurer shall call the meeting to order; thereupon the group shall elect one of its own members as the Chair Pro Tem.  If the Town Clerk/Treasurer is absent, the Deputy Town Clerk/Treasurer shall call the meeting to order.  If both the Town Clerk/Treasurer and Deputy Town Clerk/Treasurer are absent, the Supervisor holding the highest position (1st through 4th) will call the meeting to order.

RULE 7- QUORUM

Two thirds of the members shall constitute a quorum. The Chair or any member may vote or abstain in any matter.  The Town Board shall wait up to thirty (30) minutes for a quorum to gather before cancelling or rescheduling a scheduled Town Board meeting.

RULE 8 - ROLL CALL; PROCEDURE WHEN QUORUM NOT IN ATTENDANCE

As soon as the meeting is called to order, roll call shall be taken, noting who are present and who are absent and record the same in the record. If there is not a quorum present, this fact shall be entered in the minutes and the meeting shall adjourn and therefore not vote, take action nor make any decisions on behalf of the group.

RULE 9 - APPOINTMENT OF PLAN COMMISSION OR COMMITTEE MEMBERS

The Board shall appoint members to the Plan Commission according to any ordinance in effect.  All other committee members shall be appointed annually at the first Town Board meeting following the election and qualification of Board members; or as necessary when vacancies occur.  The following guidelines will be followed for any Commission or Committee vacancy:

    Upon receipt of notification of vacancy in a Commission or Committee position, the Commission or Committee, at its next regular meeting shall announce the vacancy.  If the Commission or Committee does not have a list of interested citizens, the Town Board may direct the Town Clerk/Treasurer to advertise said vacancy by any means determined appropriate by a majority of the Town Board.  The notice of vacancy will indicate the Town Hall office hours, as well as the closing date of the application period.  
    Residents shall file a written notice of interest with the Town Clerk/Treasurer and will be given a receipt to indicate that the document was received.  Citizens may submit a letter of intent at any time to the Town Clerk/Treasurer and their names will be kept on a list for each Commission or Committee. 
    All residents interested in a Commission or Committee position shall be notified and scheduled for an interview by the Chairperson of the Commission or Committee.  All interested residents will be interviewed by the Commission or Committee before a recommendation is made to the Town Board.

RULE 10 - REPRESENTATIVES

Unless other statutes, ordinances or rules apply, representatives to each committee or commission shall be appointed from members of the Board annually by the Board Chair at the first Town Board meeting following the election and qualification of Board members.  These appointments shall be effective from the date of appointment until the next election.  The Chair or other appointed official shall at all times be responsible to fill the duties of the appointed Board member in his or her absence.  Representatives may also be a town employee or resident provided that a majority of the Town Board is in agreement.

Should the Board determine that a new committee needs to be created, the Board shall create a charter  indicating the scope of work, the goals, number of members, meeting requirements, reporting methods, and any other requirement deemed necessary by the Board.

RULE 11 - ITEM IN COMMISSION OR COMMITTEE

Unless otherwise dictated by state statute, Town ordinances or Town rules, the Town Board, by motion approved by simple majority vote, will assign directives to the Plan Commission or a Committee.  At the time of the directive, parameters about the scope of study, time frame for consideration, or other relevant matters will be made of record.  The Town Board may request from time to time a report from the Commission or Committee and may amend the parameters based on reports provided or at any time the Board deems it necessary to do so.

Any member of the Town Board who wishes to remove a particular item from a commission or committee shall request a Town Board agenda item for the removal of that item for the next regular Board meeting.

RULE 12 - ORDINANCES, RESOLUTIONS, MOTIONS OUT OF COMMISSION OR COMMITTEE TO BE IN WRITING

All ordinances, resolutions, motions and communications from the Plan Commission, Committees, Contractors, or Employees shall be made in a written report.. The report may contain a recommendation from the reporting entity.  If a recommendation is provided, a brief statement regarding the basis for that recommendation shall be provided.  Regardless of whether a recommendation is made, the report shall contain a list of relevant matters considered by the entity during discussion of the referred issue.  The  report shall be made of record at the Town and discussed at a public meeting of the Town Board as needed and/or allowed.

RULE 13 - FILING COMMISSION, COMMITTEE or REPRESENTATIVE MINUTES

Whenever possible, all minutes, shall be filed with the Town Clerk/Treasurer no later than 48 hours immediately preceding the regular Town Board meeting for any item included in said minutes to be brought up and considered by the Board at such meeting. When possible, each member should receive a copy of all minutes to be considered at least 1 week preceding the regular Board meeting.  Failure to cite minutes in the manner prescribed shall not prevent their being acted upon by the Board unless a motion to defer is made, seconded and approved by the Board. Any minutes so deferred shall be taken up at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board. All items in any Plan Commission, Committee, or Representative minutes to be brought up at the Town Board Meeting shall be included in the Agenda for such meeting.

RULE 14 - ORDINANCES

Only the Town Board can direct that ordinances be drafted, unless otherwise provided by state statute. Any proposed changes to existing codes or new ordinances will be discussed at a Town Board meeting. The Board may then direct the Town Attorney, Plan Commission, Code Publisher, or Town Clerk/Treasurer to draft the regulation. The Code Publisher shall review and present recommended revisions and corrections prior to publication of the ordinance.

Each member shall receive a copy of every ordinance being considered at least 48 hours before the ordinance is to appear before the Board. When possible, each member should receive a copy of every ordinance being considered at least 1 week preceding the regular Board meeting.  The Board may request a Public Hearing or adopt the ordinance immediately.

RULE 15 - RESOLUTIONS

All resolutions to be considered at a Board meeting must be in the hands of all Board members at least 48 hours prior to a Board meeting. When possible, each member should receive a copy of every resolution being considered at least 1 week preceding the regular Board meeting.  All resolutions must be announced to the public at the Board meeting at which it is to be considered. The Town Clerk/Treasurer or Chair can paraphrase the resolution rather than reading it verbatim at the Board meeting. Any member may ask to have the resolution read in its entirety and this will be done if the majority of the Board members so desire.

Resolutions may be adopted at the same meeting at which they are introduced.

RULE 16 - MEMBERS MUST ADDRESS CHAIR

Any member or person in attendance wishing to speak shall address the Chair and confine remarks to the question under consideration.  Presentations shall not deal in personalities or personal attacks on members of the group or town employees.

RULE 17 - INTERRUPTION OF SPEAKER

When any member is speaking, no member shall entertain any private discourse that is disruptive or in any way interrupt the speaker, except as to a question of order.

RULE 18 - MOTIONS ARISING OUT OF DEBATE

If required by the Chair, or any member, any principal motion shall be reduced to writing.  Any member may ask the Chair at any time to restate the motion in question.

RULE 19 - VOTES - HOW TAKEN

All questions shall be put in this form: Those who are in favor of the motion say "AYE". Those opposed say "NAY".  The Town Clerk/Treasurer will record pass/fail for each motion or individual votes by roll call in the minutes.

RULE 20 - DUTIES OF TOWN CLERK/TREASURER

It shall be the duty of the Town Clerk/Treasurer or Deputy Town Clerk/Treasurer, in addition to his or her other duties, to be present and keep a correct record of the proceedings of each Town and Town Board meeting and make a correct Minute Book of the same. If either are absent for a meeting, another elected official may take the meeting minutes.

The Town Clerk/Treasurer shall endorse all ordinances, resolutions and by-laws and record the same; furnish the Plan Commission with copies of resolutions and other matters that may be referred to them; and do such other clerical duties as may be prescribed by the Board. The Town Clerk/Treasurer shall present a copy of the checks to be paid to all Board members in writing at least 48 hours immediately preceding the next regular meeting of the Board.

It shall be the duty of the Town Clerk/Treasurer, in addition to his or her other duties, to be present at each regularly scheduled meeting of the Town Board and to present a correct Journal of the monies of the Town and checks to be paid thereof.

RULE 21 - RECORDING OF MOTIONS AND RESOLUTIONS

In all cases where a motion or resolution is recorded in the minutes, the name of the member moving the same shall be entered in the minutes, as well as the member seconding the motion.

RULE 22 - PAYMENT OF CHECKS

Anyone wishing to submit a claim for payment from the Town must do so by the Thursday before the next meeting when checks are scheduled to be paid.  Failure to submit a proper claim by this deadline will result in the claim being held until the next meeting when checks are scheduled to be paid.

Payment of checks may not be deferred to a future Board meeting due to a lack of Board review, as all Board members receive a copy of the Checks to be paid sheet prior to the Board meeting. If any member questions any check, this check can be reviewed in the Town Clerk/Treasurer's Office 48 hours prior to the Board meeting, discussed at the Board meeting, and, if still in dispute, can be removed by a motion made and carried by majority vote of the Board.

RULE 23 - APPROPRIATIONS AND ACCOUNTS

No ordinance shall be passed, confirmations made, accounts allowed, nor appropriation of money made unless a majority of the Board members present shall vote in favor thereof. The vote shall be announced and recorded by the Town Clerk/Treasurer.

RULE 24 - SELECTION PROCESS FOR JOB VACANCIES

Unless specific provision is made in a Town ordinance governing a vacancy, it shall be the policy of the Town Board to utilize the procedure set forth herein for filling vacancies in job positions.  The basis for selection shall be the merits of the applicants who apply to the Board for consideration to be appointed to fill a job vacancy created during a regular term of office.

    Upon receipt of notification of vacancy in a Jobs position, the Town Board at its next regular meeting shall announce the vacancy and direct the Town Clerk/Treasurer to advertise said vacancy in selected newspapers. The advertisement shall be placed in at least two editions one week apart and the Town website, stating the time for submission of applications.
    Following the close of the application period, the Board may schedule a meeting for purpose of interviewing all applicants who submit the required application. Said meeting shall be within fourteen days of the close of the application period.
    At the next regular Town Board Meeting the Board may select, using paper ballots, one of the applicants to fill the vacancy. The Town Clerk/Treasurer will announce each vote.  A majority of the entire Board will be required to declare a winner.

RULE 25 - SUSPENSION OF TOWN RULES

It shall require a majority vote of the Town Board to suspend any town rule.

RULE 26 - AMENDMENT OF TOWN RULES

These town rules may be amended or altered or new town rules adopted by a majority of the Town Board.

RULE 27 - RECONSIDERATION OF QUESTION

It shall be in order for any member of the group who voted with the prevailing side to move a reconsideration of such vote at the same or next succeeding regular meeting of the group or any adjournment thereof. A motion to reconsider having been put and lost cannot be renewed. Any member who qualifies to move reconsideration of any question as provided in this Rule shall advise the Town Clerk/Treasurer or Chair at least 48 hours before the next regular meeting of the group of his or her intent. When possible, the member should advise the Town Clerk/Treasurer or Chair at least 1 week preceding the regular Board meeting. Such request shall be placed on the agenda.

RULE 28 - ABSTAINING ON VOTE

Any member may abstain from voting on any question before the group after notifying the Chair of the intention to abstain and the reason therefore. The member will notify the Chair as soon as a conflict becomes apparent to the member. Once the Chair has been notified of a conflict, the member will not enter into the discussion about the issue. The minutes shall reflect the name of the member abstaining.

RULE 29 - USE OF TOWN COMPUTERS

Town computers are provided for and intended to be used by elected or appointed officials and certain town employees (Deputy Clerk, SVRS, Fire Department, First Responders) only.  No other persons shall be allowed to use a Town computer at any time.  Those officials who are required to use a town computer to fulfill the duties of their elected position shall use the computer for Town business only – no personal use of a Town computer is allowed at any time.

Some Town Officials will be provided with a computer by the Town to perform the duties of their position.  For such Officials, no personal computer should be used for Town business at any time.  This is to prevent a security breach of critical Town data and information.  In the event that a Town provided computer is lost or stolen, the user of that computer must contact the Town Chair immediately.  The Town Chair will determine the best steps to help protect the town from unauthorized access to Town information.

If, at any time, a situation arises where any town computer is in need of repair (hardware or software), only another elected or appointed official or a representative from a Town Board approved vendor may use or be in possession of a Town computer.

RULE 30 - E-MAIL

In an effort to best abide by the Wisconsin Public Records law, all e-mail regarding town business sent by elected or appointed officials and certain town employees (Deputy Clerk, SVRS, Fire Department, First Responders) should be copied to the Town Clerk/Treasurer.

All e-mail sent by the Town Clerk/Treasurer to the Town Board, Committee members, appointed officials, or others will be kept on file by the Town Clerk/Treasurer.  E-mails received by individual members of the Town Board, Committee members, or appointed officials should be forwarded to the Town Clerk/Treasurer to be kept on file.  At no time should personal e-mail be sent by the Town Clerk/Treasurer using the Town’s official e-mail, nor should personal e-mail be forwarded to the Town Clerk/Treasurer to be kept on file.

RULE 31 – USE OF TOWN WEB SITE

The Town web site shall serve as a place for residents and others to receive information about the Town and Town business.  Various elected and appointed officials will be given access to place information on the web site by the Town Clerk/Treasurer.  The following criteria shall apply to all content placed on the Town web site:

  • Home Page– Information placed on the home page shall be critical information only that will be in effect for a considerable duration and it shall be information that impacts all residents of the Town.  Examples of critical information would be a bridge or road closure, a burning ban or its lifting, etc.  The information contained on the home page shall not change often.
  • Calendar – Events placed on the Town web site calendar shall be Town meetings or events only.  If applicable, the Town Clerk may also list events that will use the Town’s resources, such as the Town Hall or the Town ball park.
  • Notifications – The Notices section of the Town web site shall be used to send information, links or other relevant information related to Town business to residents and others who subscribe to receive the Notices.  The Notices shall contain information that applies to all residents.  Residents should be notified that the practice of using email lists to notify residents of Town matters will be discontinued and given directions for subscribing to the Notices section on the Town web site.  Various elected and appointed officials will continue to keep smaller email lists for distribution of information that applies only to the various Town bodies, e.g. the Town Board, the Plan Commission, the Finance Committee, subcommittees organized from time to time, and other similar bodies.  The Town will no longer use or maintain email distribution lists for Town residents.
  •  Agendas and Minutes – Town elected and appointed officials authorized to do so will post agendas and minutes of the meetings of various Town bodies on the Town web site.  Agendas and minutes for 5 prior years will be posted on the web site.  All attempts will be made to publish agendas at least one week in advance of the meeting to be held and to publish approved minutes within 5 business days of the date of approval.
  • Business/Church Listings – The Town web site may contain listings or links to area churches and businesses.  Only businesses that are considered essential providers to residents in the Town will be allowed on the web site.  Any questions regarding whether a business is considered essential will be decided by the Town Board.
  • Violations – Any person who violates this policy may have their web site access removed by a majority vote of the Town Board.

RULE 32 - ROBERT'S RULES OF ORDER

The rules of parliamentary practice comprised in Robert's Rules of Order Revised shall govern the Town Board, Plan Commission and any committee in all cases in which they are not inconsistent with these rules.