Section 33-3 Number, Selection Term
All legislative powers of the Town shall be vested in a Council consisting of the Mayor and six Councilmen who shall be elected as hereinafter provided and who shall hold office for a term of two years or until the succeeding Council takes office. The regular term of Councilmen shall expire on the first Wednesday following the election and qualification and installation of their successors. Councilmen who hold seats that were up for election in May 2004 shall to serve until their replacements elected in March 2007 are qualified and take office according to the provisions of this Charter. Councilmen who were elected to office in May 2005 (excluding any incumbents who were appointed and/or elected to fill seats that have been vacated subsequent to the May 2005 election) shall cease to hold that office on April 28, 2007. Any vacancies created by such cessation shall be filled in an election to be held on May 9, 2007. Terms of Council members who were elected by the Council under the provisions of Section 33-11, or in a special ward election, to fill seats that were up for election in May 2005, and were subsequently vacated, shall continue to serve in those positions until their successors elected in March 2008 take office according to the provisions of this Charter. (Charter Resolution Number 1, August 21, 1963, section 3; Charter Resolution Number 25, March 9, 2007)
Section 33-4 Qualifications
Councilmen shall have resided in the Wards of the Town they represent for at least one year immediately preceding their election, shall be qualified voters of the Town, and shall maintain a permanent residence in the Town during their term of office. (Charter Resolution Number 1, August 21, 1963, section 4.)
Section 33-5 Salary
Each Councilman shall receive an annual salary as specified from time to time by an ordinance passed by the Council in the regular course of its business. Provided, however, that the salary specified at the time any Councilman takes office shall not be changed during the term for which that Councilman was elected. The ordinance making any change in the salary paid to the several Councilmen, either by way of increase or decrease, shall take effect only as the terms of the members of the Council which enacted it expire. (Charter Resolution Number1, August 21, 1963, section 5.)
Section 33-6 Meetings
The Council shall meet at 8:00 P.M. on the third Wednesday in May of each year for the purpose of organization, after which the Council shall meet the third Wednesday of each month.
Special meetings shall be called by the Town Clerk upon the request of the Mayor or at least three of the members of the Council. The rules of the Council shall provide that residents of the Town shall have a reasonable opportunity to be heard at any meeting in regard to any municipal question. All meetings of the Council shall be open to the public, except that the Council may go into an executive session subject to the requirements of the Annotated Code of Maryland, Subtitle 5, "the Open Meetings Act" under the following conditions: (a) Procedure for Closing a Meeting. Before the Town Council meets in closed session, at least four members of the Council must vote in favor of closing the meeting.
The vote must be conducted and recorded in accordance with the State Open Meeting Act Laws, and a written statement of the reason for closing the meeting must be made in accordance with the State law. The Council shall limit discussion in closed session to the topic stated as the reason for closing the meeting.
(1) discuss: (i) the appointment, employment, assignment, promotion, discipline, demotion, compensation, removal, resignation, or performance evaluation of appointees, employees, or officials over whom it has jurisdiction; or
(ii) any other personnel matter that affects 1 or more specific individuals; (2) protect the privacy or reputation of individuals with respect to a matter that is not related to public business; (3) consider the acquisition of real property for a public purpose and matters directly related thereto; (4) consider the investment of public funds; (5) consider the marketing of public securities; (6) consult with counsel to obtain legal advice; (7) consult with staff, consultants, or other individuals about pending or potential litigation; (8) conduct collective bargaining negotiations or consider matters that relate to the negotiations; (9) discuss public security, if the public body determines that public discussion would constitute a risk to the public or to public security, including: (i) the deployment of fire and police services and staff; and
(ii) the development and implementation of emergency plans; (10) prepare, administer, or grade a scholastic, licensing, or qualifying examination; (12) conduct or discuss an investigative proceeding on actual or possible criminal conduct; (13) comply with a specific constitutional, statutory, or judicially imposed requirement that prevents public disclosures about a particular proceeding or matter; or
(14) before a contract is awarded or bids are opened, discuss a matter directly related to a negotiating strategy or the contents of a bid or proposal, if public discussion or disclosure would adversely impact the ability of the public body to participate in the competitive bidding or proposal process. (Charter Resolution Number 1, August 21, 1963, section 6; Charter Resolution Number 19, March 6, 2006; Charter Amend Resolution Number FH001-07, September 4, 2007)
Section 33-7 Council to Be Judge of Qualifications of Its Members
The Council shall be the judge of the qualifications, as contained in Sections 33–4 and 33–16, of its members. (Charter Resolution Number 1, August 21, 1963, section 7.)
Section 33-8 President
The Mayor shall serve as Chairman of the Council. The Mayor may take part in all discussions, and shall have a vote on any question before the Council. The Council shall elect a President of the Council from among its members who shall act as Chairman of the Council in the absence of the Mayor. (Charter Resolution Number 1, August 21, 1963, section 8.)
Section 33-9 Quorum
A majority of the members of the Council shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, but no ordinance or resolution shall be approved without the favorable votes of four members of the Council. (Charter Resolution Number 1, August 21, 1963, section 9.)
Section 33-10 Procedure
The Council shall determine its own rules and order of business. It shall keep a journal of its proceedings and enter therein the yeas, nays, and abstentions upon final action on any question, resolution, or ordinance, or at any other time if required by any one member. The journal shall be open to public inspection. (Charter Resolution Number 1, August 21, 1963, section 10.)
Section 33-11 Vacancies
"If a vacancy on the Council occurs less than fifteen (15) months prior to the next election, the council shall appoint a person qualified in accordance with section Section 33-4 to fill such vacancy until the next regular election. Provided, that the person appointed shall reside in the same ward as his predecessor. The appointment shall require the favorable votes of a majority of the remaining Councilmembers. If the vacancy occurs fifteen (15) months or more prior to the next regular election, the Council shall call a special election to be held not less than forty-five (45) days nor more than sixty (60) days following the occurrence of the vacancy. The person elected at the special election shall serve until the next Regular Election."
(Charter Resolution Number. 1, August 21, 1963, section 11; Charter Amend. Resolution Number FH002-07, September 4, 2007.)
Section 33-12 Ordinances
No ordinance shall be passed at the meeting at which it is introduced. At any regular or special meeting of the Council held not less than six nor more than sixty days after the meeting at which an ordinance was introduced, it shall be passed, or passed as amended, or rejected, or its consideration deferred to some specified future date. In cases of emergency the above requirement may be suspended by the affirmative votes of five members of the Council. Every ordinance, unless it be passed as an emergency ordinance, shall become effective at the expiration of thirty calendar days. An emergency ordinance shall become effective on the date specified in the ordinance. A summary of each ordinance shall be published at least twice in the "Forest Heights News," the town newsletter or in a newspaper or newspapers having general circulation in the municipality. (Charter Resolution Number 1, August 21, 1963, section 12.)
Section 33-13 Referendum
If, before the expiration of thirty calendar days following passage of any ordinance, a petition is filed with the Town Clerk containing the signatures of not less than twenty per centum (20%) of the qualified voters of the Town and requesting that the ordinance, or any part thereof, be submitted to a vote of the qualified voters of the Town for their approval or disapproval, the Council shall have the ordinance, or the part thereof requested for referendum, submitted to a vote of the qualified voters of the Town at the next regular Town election or, in the Council's discretion, at a special election occurring before the next regular election. No ordinance, or the part thereof requested for referendum, shall become effective following the receipt of such petition until and unless approved at the election by a majority of the qualified voters voting on the question. An emergency ordinance, or the part thereof requested for referendum, shall continue in effect for sixty days following receipt of such petition. If the question of approval or disapproval of any emergency ordinance, or any part thereof, has not been submitted to the qualified voters within sixty days following receipt of the petition, then the operation of the ordinance, or the part thereof requested for referendum shall be suspended until approved by a majority of the qualified voters voting on the question at any election. Any ordinance, or part thereof, disapproved by the voters, shall stand repealed.
The provisions of this section shall be self-executing, but the Council may adopt ordinances in furtherance of these provisions and not in conflict with them. The Council may, at its discretion, require a referendum on an ordinance, without a petition being presented. (Charter Resolution Number 1, August 21, 1963, section 13.)
Section 33-14 Files of Ordinances
Ordinances shall be permanently filed by the Town Clerk and shall be kept available for public inspection. (Charter Resolution Number 1, August 21, 1963, section 14.)