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Board of Supervisors Department

VI. Conduct of Business

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Rule 16. Order of Business

The Order of Business for Regular meetings is attached to these Rules as Appendix A. The Board shall conduct business in the order specified in the posted agenda or as modified as determined necessary by the Chair. The Board may permanently modify or amend the Agenda Order by majority vote.

Rule 17. Board Member; Notification of Absence

If any Board member is unable to attend a meeting of the Board, all reasonable efforts shall be made to notify the Chair, County Administrator, and the Clerk, in writing and as soon as possible to ensure there are sufficient members present to consider all agenda items.

Rule 18. Quorum and Action

Three members of the Board shall constitute a quorum sufficient to transact business. In the absence of a quorum, the remaining members or the Clerk may adjourn the meeting to another date and time in accordance with Government Code §54944 and shall post a Notice of Adjournment.

Rule 19. Matters Not on the Agenda/Emergency Items

No action shall be taken on any item not appearing on the posted agenda except:

a) Upon a majority vote of the Board that an emergency situation exists as defined in Government Code §54956.5;

b) Upon a determination by a four-fifths (4/5) vote of the Board, or if less than four-fifths (4/5) of the members are present, a unanimous vote of those members present, that 1) there is a need to take immediate action, and 2) the issue arose subsequent to the agenda being posted.

Any requests to hear a matter not on the agenda or emergency item shall be communicated to the Chair, County Administrator, County Counsel and Clerk as soon as the need becomes known.

Rule 20. Consent/Regular Calendar Items

Agenda items on the Consent Calendar are routine in nature, consistent with adopted Board policy, and do not require individual consideration. The Consent Calendar will be enacted by one motion for approval of the recommended actions. There will be no separate discussion of these items prior to the time the Board votes on the motion unless any member of the Board or the public requests removal of a specific item from the Consent Calendar for separate discussion and action. Any Board member may ask the Clerk to record a "no" or "abstention" vote on any Consent Calendar item.

Agenda items on the Regular Calendar require separate discussion and/or action and may include, but are not limited to changes in policy, items that require the Board to consider options and provide direction, requests for new or unbudgeted positions, introductions or adoption of a proposed Ordinance, Public Hearings, and other matters as required by law.

Rule 21. Public Hearings

Public hearings may be legislative or quasi-adjudicatory in nature. Upon receipt of a request by a Department/Agency or Board member for a public hearing, the County Administrator or Clerk may set the hearing without action of the Board unless the Board is required by law to schedule the hearing. In that event, the matter shall be placed on the Consent Calendar to set the hearing.

Public Comment at a Public Hearing

Subject to the Chair’s right to maintain order, any person wishing to speak at a public hearing shall be heard. Except for closing comments allowed an applicant and the appellant in the case of an appeal (a quasi-adjudicatory hearing), each speaker shall speak only once. Each speaker’s presentation at a public hearing shall be relevant and to the point, and shall be as brief as possible; visual and other materials may be used as appropriate. The Chair may establish a time limit for presentations.

When speakers use or submit to the Board visual or other materials, such materials shall become part of the file and identified and maintained as such. When CDs, DVDs, thumb drives, USB memory sticks, or other portable electronic media (e-media) are submitted to the Board, at least one hard-copy of the information stored on the e-media must be provided to the Clerk. Speakers with lengthy presentations are encouraged to submit them in writing.

Members of the public may not present PowerPoint materials to the Board unless a department head has authorized a joint presentation. However, in a quasi-adjudicatory hearing, the parties may submit PowerPoint presentations to Permit Sonoma staff and the Clerk of the Board for review at least 30 days in advance of the hearing in compliance with Rule 22 below.

Comments after Close of the Public Hearing

The closing of a quasi-adjudicatory public hearing signifies the point after which the Board will no longer accept or consider any additional communication on the matter that was the subject of the hearing. As used in this Rule, “communication” includes oral communication; written communication such as documents, letters, and photographs, and any type of electronic communication, including e-mails, e-mail attachments, graphic images, spread sheets, text messages, and social media messages.

Should the Board close a public hearing and continue its deliberations to a subsequent meeting, or announce a tentative decision, by motion or other proceedings, and defer its action on a final decision to a subsequent meeting to allow preparation of appropriate findings and/or conditions of approval, any written or electronic communication received by a Board member or the Clerk after the close of the hearing on the matter that was the subject of the hearing shall be placed in a separate file kept by the Clerk and labeled to indicate it was received after the close of the hearing. Late written and electronic communication shall not be given to Board members, nor should Board members retain copies.

Reopening the Public Hearing

Should County staff determine that communication received after the close of a quasi-adjudicatory public hearing should be considered by the Board prior to its rendering a final decision on the matter that was the subject of the hearing, County staff shall recommend to the Board that the hearing be reopened. If the Board concurs, the Board shall reopen the hearing, following appropriate notice, for the limited purpose of receiving testimony and evidence on the new information, including the disclosure of ex parte communications. See Rule 44 concerning Communications Outside of Public Hearings (Ex Parte Communications) generally.