Frequently Used Terms
Consent Agenda: One or more ordinances and/or resolutions that can be acted on at one time under a single motion.
Refer / Time: When Council delays taking any action on a piece of legislation until a future meeting.
Declaring an Emergency: Allows Council to dispense with the requirement that a piece of legislation be read at three separate Council meetings, and allows the legislation to go into effect earlier than 30 days from passage of the legislation.
Suspension of the Rules: Allows Council, upon a two-thirds vote, to temporarily suspend or set aside the Rules of Procedure for Council. This motion is most commonly used to pass legislation as an emergency (see above).
Amend: A proposal to alter the text of an ordinance or resolution by substituting, adding, or deleting language.
Legislation: An official act of Council that takes the form of either an ordinance or a resolution (see below).
Ordinance: A formal act of Council. Examples of ordinance topics include: authorizing the Director of Public Service to enter into a contract for the construction of a project, approving a union agreement, approving a conditional use application, or amending the Codified Ordinances of the City.
Resolution: A formal expression of the opinion or will of Council. Examples of resolution topics include congratulating a local high school that has won a state championship, supporting or opposing a bill pending before the Ohio General Assembly, or approving the appointment of members of a board or commission.
Substitute Offered as an Amendment: An amended version of an ordinance or resolution that replaces an earlier version before Council.
Motion: A formal request for consideration of a proposal for action by Council members. Examples include a motion to pass an ordinance, a motion to amend, or a motion for time.
Second: An indication by a member of Council, other than the member who made the motion, that he or she agrees that the proposed motion should be considered.
Executive Session: A closed-door session of Council for the purpose of discussing a particular confidential matter, in accordance with law.
Roll Call: When the names of Council members are called out by the Clerk of Council to confirm their vote on the previous motion.
Public Hearing: When a hearing is held before Council or a committee of Council on a particular piece of legislation. Members of the public wishing to testify before Council at a public hearing are asked to first take an oath to swear or affirm that the testimony they will provide is the truth.
Public Speaking Period: The portion of a regular Council meeting where members of the public are invited to address Council for three minutes on topics that are germane and relevant to Council business. Members of the public are asked to provide their name and address, and to refrain from making personal attacks or disrespectful remarks.
Minutes: The official record of a meeting of Council or a committee of Council.
Committee: A smaller group of members of Council that meet to consider legislation before it is considered or voted upon by all of Council. Standing committees are established by the Rules of Procedure of Council and have five members each. Special committees are appointed by the President. Committee meetings take place on Monday afternoons.
Quorum: The minimum number of members who must be present to officially conduct business. A quorum of Council is a majority of the all of the members of Council, a quorum of a committee is three members.
Abstain: When a member of Council elects not to vote on a particular motion.
“Aye” or “Yea”: an affirmative or favorable vote on a motion.
“Nay” or “No”: a negative or unfavorable vote on a motion.
Roberts Rules of Order: A manual on parliamentary procedure. In the absence of any provision governing matters of business in either the Rules of Procedure of Council, the laws of the State of Ohio, or the City Charter, Roberts Rules of Order, Newly Revised shall be the standard of parliamentary procedure for Council.
Chairperson: The member of Council who presides over a particular committee and its meetings. In the absence of the Chairperson the Vice-Chairperson shall preside over the committee.
President: The member of Council who presides over Council and its meetings. In the absence of the President, the Vice President shall be the presiding officer. In the absence of either the President or the Vice President the President Pro Tem shall be the presiding officer.