Policies and Procedures

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Quorum

For the Grievance hearing Board, Historic District Commission, Planning Commission and Community Design Commission, quorum is 5 members.  For the Board of Adjustment the quorum is 6 members. For all other advisory boards, quorum is a majority of members excluding any vacant seats.

Advisory Board Roles

Every September, advisory boards shall elect a Chair and Vice-Chair to serve a one year term.  No one shall serve as an officer on an advisory board or commission for more than two consecutive full terms. Following a one-year absence, an individual is eligible to serve again as an officer on the same board or commission.

Chair’s Responsibilities

  • Develop meeting agenda & packet with Staff Liaison
  • Facilitate discussion
  • Ensure interests of Town & Town Council are met
  • Sign documents & represent board as appropriate
  • Call special meetings in accordance with the North Carolina Open Meetings Law

Vice-Chair’s Responsibilities

  • To fulfill the Chair’s responsibilities in his absence.

Member’s Responsibilities

  • Prepare
  • Show up
  • Participate
  • Be fair, objective & polite
  • Follow through

Effective Members:

  • Recognize serving the public is priority #1
  • Are knowledgeable about the legislative process and issues affecting the advisory board
  • Understand that authority is granted to the board not individuals
  • Willing to work with the group to make decisions
  • Recognize that compromise may be necessary
  • Do not let personal feelings interfere with their judgment

Participation in Meetings

On March 6, 2017, the Town Council passed a resolution establishing a pilot program for remote participation by members of Town advisory boards in advisory board meetings.

Parameters of Remote Participation

Only Boards and Commissions shall be included, not the Council.

Boards that are quasi-judicial in nature, specifically the Board of Adjustment and Historic District Commission, shall not be included, except where those Boards are engaging in making recommendations and not hearing quasi-judicial applications.

Participation in voting on Boards and Commissions shall be limited to those situations in which the Boards and Commissions are making recommendations to the Town Council. Where the action being considered is approval or denial of, for example, a minor subdivision by the Planning Commission or a certificate of appropriateness by the Community Design Commission for Ephesus Fordham, a board member attending remotely could participate in the conversation but would not vote on any decision.

Members could fully participate in and vote at meetings in which they participate remotely, but they wold not be counted toward a quorum (i.e., quorum of the Board would need to physically present at the designated site of the meeting).

Board or Commission members could participate remotely in no more that one-third of the meetings they are scheduled to attend.

Guidelines for Childcare and Transportation Assistance for Board and Commission Members Pilot Program

The Town Council seeks to attract persons from diverse backgrounds to serve on the Town’s boards and commissions. The Town Council believes that childcare and transportation can sometimes be barriers to service on boards and commissions for many qualified and interested Town residents.

The Town Council included resources in the FY2018-19 budget adopted on June 13, 2018 to fund a pilot project for providing childcare and/or transportation assistance for qualifying board and commission members as a way to increase diversity among those who serve.

Oath of Office

All advisory board and commission members must be sworn in by the Town Clerk, her designee or a North Carolina notary public and sign an Oath of Office prior to voting on matters before the board.

Ethics Guidelines

All advisory board and commission members and applicants shall agree to comply with the following ethics guidelines adopted by the Council on March 1, 1999 and updated January 31, 2018:

Ethics Guidelines for Town Advisory Boards and Commissions

Members of advisory boards and commissions shall not discuss, advocate, or vote on any matter in which they have a conflict of interest or an interest which reasonably might appear to be in conflict with the concept of fairness in dealing with public business. A conflict of interest or a potential conflict occurs if a member has a separate, private, or monetary interest, either direct or indirect, in any issue or transaction under consideration.

In addition, members of the Historic District Commission and Board of Adjustment, when these boards are hearing cases, serve as quasi-judicial bodies. Pursuant to State Statute 160A-388(e)(2), members of these boards

“shall not participate in or vote on any quasi-judicial matter in a manner that would violate affected persons' constitutional rights to an impartial decision maker. Impermissible violations of due process include, but are not limited to, a member having a fixed opinion prior to hearing the matter that is not susceptible to change, undisclosed ex parte communications, a close familial, business, or other associational relationship with an affected person, or a financial interest in the outcome of the matter.”

Any member who violates these Ethics Guidelines may be subject to removal from the board or commission.

If the advisory board or commission member believes he/she has a conflict of interest then that member should ask the advisory board or commission to be recused from voting. The advisory board or commission should then vote on the question on whether or not to excuse the member making the request. In cases where the individual member or the advisory board or commission establishes a conflict of interest, then the advisory board or commission member shall remove themselves from the voting area.

Any advisory board or commission member may seek the counsel of the Town Attorney on questions regarding the interpretation of these ethics guidelines or other conflict of interest matters. The interpretation may include a recommendation on whether or not the advisory board or commission member should excuse himself/herself from voting. The advisory board or commission member may request the Town Attorney respond in writing.

Length of Term

Members serve staggered three-year terms which shall expire on June 30.

Advisory board, Commission, or Committee members who are appointed by Chapel Hill Town Council may be removed at any time by a vote of the Council.

Consecutive Terms

No one shall serve on an advisory board or commission for more than two consecutive full terms. Following a one-year absence, an individual is eligible to serve again on the same board or commission. The Council may reappoint an individual to a board or commission for an additional one-year term following two consecutive terms, by resolution for the purpose of completing ongoing projects.

Additionally, when a vacancy occurs before the scheduled end of a term, the person appointed to such a vacancy shall complete the term of the seat. This is considered a partial term and the individual will be eligible for two additional full-terms on the board.  

Attendance

Any member of the board, commission or committee who misses more than three (3) consecutive regular meetings or more than half the regular meetings in a calendar year shall lose his or her status as a member of the board, commission or committee, and shall be replaced by the Council or Orange County Board of Commissioners, as appropriate, provided that special extenuating circumstances may be considered by Council prior to automatic removal, on a case by case basis. Absence due to sickness, death, or other emergencies of like nature shall be recognized as excused absences, and shall not affect the member's status on the board, commission or committee, except that in the event of a long illness or other such cause for prolonged absence, the member shall be replaced.

The attendance provision also applies to any member of a board or commission that does not have regular meetings, or any alternate member of a board or commission that does meet regularly, who misses more than three (3) consecutive meetings or more than half the meetings in a calendar year at which their attendance is expected.

Advisory Board or Commission’s Chair and staff liaison shall to reach out to a member who has two consecutive unexcused absences to alert the member of the attendance clause. Notification shall also be sent to Mayor and Council and Town Clerk. Upon the third consecutive regular meeting absence, the chair or staff liaison shall send another notification to the member, Mayor and Council, and Town Clerk.

Leave of Absence

Leaves of absence from boards shall be approved by the Council and shall not exceed five months. No interim appointments will be made.

Resignations

Resignations shall be submitted in writing via hardcopy or email to the chair of the board or commission, who shall forward the original written resignation to the Town Clerk for Council notification.

Dual Membership

Members of standing boards may apply for a different board or commission seat without having to resign unless and until the appointment is made. A current member of the Community Design Commission, Environmental Stewardship Advisory Board, Housing Advisory Board or Transportation and Connectivity Advisory Board may apply to serve as the Planning Commission Champion representing the board on which he or she currently sits.

Members of a standing board are eligible for appointment to an ad hoc committee or task force concurrent with their service on a standing board. Individuals may serve on multiple ad hoc committees or task forces concurrently.

Application Process

The Town Clerk shall keep applications on file for a 12-month period beginning on July 1st and ending on June 30th. Applicants who are not appointed within this time will be notified and encouraged to reapply

Applicants are strongly encouraged to apply for only one board, but may apply for up to two boards if their preferences are ranked.

Appointment Process

In January of each year, the Town Clerk shall notify the Council and all advisory board and commission chairs of those advisory board and commission members whose terms expire June 30. The Town Clerk shall advertise vacancies from February through April in a newspaper or newspapers of general circulation within the community and such other means as may be deemed effective, including, but not limited to, mailings to community organizations, public service announcements, and letters of invitation to citizens who have expressed interest throughout the year, and posting the advertisement for vacancies to the Town’s website.

Beginning in March, the Town Clerk shall distribute to the Council and the respective boards and commissions the applications that have been received to date from eligible citizens wishing to serve. The Town Clerk will not forward applications to Council or boards and commissions if the applicant’s eligibility has not been determined. Upon verification of an applicant’s eligibility the Town Clerk shall forward the application to the Council and board or commission for consideration.

The Council requests that the boards and commissions review all applications and recommend candidates to the Council for each vacancy, unless the board or commission declines to do so. The board or commission’s recommendation should clearly articulate the reasons why it is recommending each applicant.  The recommendation shall be submitted in writing to the Town Clerk no later than April 25. If a board or commission elects not to recommend applicants, it is requested that the board or commission notify the Town Clerk of this decision in writing by April 25. Notwithstanding recommendations from boards and commissions, the Town Clerk shall forward the names and applications of all eligible persons interested in appointment for the vacancy on a board or commission and the board or commission recommendations to the Council for its consideration. The Council may choose to not consider appointments without a recommendation from the board or commission.

The Council also requests that the Community Design Commission, Environmental Stewardship Advisory Board, Housing Advisory Board and Transportation and Connectivity Advisory Board review all applications for the Champion seat that will represent its board or commission on the Planning Commission. The board or commission’s recommendation should clearly articulate the reasons why it is recommending a particular applicant or declining to recommend any applicant.  The recommendation shall be submitted in writing to the Town Clerk no later than April 25.

The Council will interview all applicants to the Community Design Commission and the Planning Commissions prior to appointments being made to those boards.  Interviews will usually take place at a Council meeting at least one meeting prior to the Council meeting at which appointments will be made. 

Applications received after the Monday prior to the Council’s regular business meeting at which appointments are scheduled shall be held until another vacancy occurs, thus allowing the Town Clerk to verify the applicant’s eligibility and the board or commission to make a recommendation.

Mid-term vacancies shall be filled from applications on file without special advertising efforts unless requested by the Council. However, any application from an individual currently serving on a standing advisory body will not be considered for a mid-term vacancy on a standing advisory body. The board or commission shall submit a recommendation for these appointments to the Town Clerk no later than the Monday prior to the Council’s regular business meeting at which appointments for the vacancy are scheduled, unless the board or commission declines to do so and notifies the Town Clerk in writing by the Monday prior to the Council’s regular business meeting at which the vacancies are scheduled to be filled. The Council may choose to not consider appointments without a recommendation from the board or commission. Additional applications received after this time will not be considered until the next vacancy occurs.

If possible, Council members are to mark and sign their ballots prior to the meeting, and forward them to the Town Clerk at any time prior to the start of the meeting. The Town Clerk will provide the results of the balloting at the appropriate time during the Council’s meeting. If vacancies remain (applicants did not receive 5 or more votes), the Council may immediately hold further rounds of balloting to fill the vacancies, or may postpone filling these vacancies until the next regular meeting.

Beginning with the first regular meeting in May, and through the second regular meeting in June (four consecutive regular meetings of the Council), the Council may consider appointments to three or more boards and commissions per meeting.

All appointments to Town boards and commissions are made at the will of the Council.  Therefore, Council may remove at any time a member of a board or commission.

Information on Composition of Membership

At the meeting when board recommendations and applications are submitted to the Council, the Town Clerk shall give the Council a report on the race and gender composition of each board and commission. In addition, the application for membership on Town boards and commissions shall include a request for the applicant’s occupation and avocation. The application form shall also include a statement encouraging interested applicants to visit a meeting of the board or commission they are interested in serving on.

 

As Adopted (2014-03-10/R-8) and Amended (2016-11-07/R-2), (2017-03-06/R-9), (2017-03-06/R-10), (2018-01-31/R-2)

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