Council Meeting Policies & Protocols

City Council Policy


The City of San Marcos recognises the need to establish guidelines and procedures for the smooth, orderly, reasonable, effective and timely conduct of municipal business at both regular and special meetings of the City Councils. This policy will apply to the conduct of any other meetings where the City Councils sits as the Board, Commission, Authority or Committee, and supersedes and replaces Policies Number A-6 and A-16 in their entirety.


It shall be the policy of the City of San Marcos to conduct municipal business at regular and special meetings pursuant to the following procedures


I. Notice

It is in the best interest of the entire community that adequate public notice be provided for any meeting of the City Council or any other meeting where the City Council sits as the Board, Commission, Authority or Committee.

Regular City Council meetings are held on the 2nd and 5th Tuesday of each month. Council meetings traditionally start at 6:00 pm and conclude by or before 10:30 pm. No business shall be transacted unless it is placed on the agenda in a timely fashion in accordance with the Ralph M. Brown Act (“Brown Act”) and the administrative procedures adopted by the City Clerk. Matters deemed by the City Council to be an emergency or urgency item are exempted from the provisions relating to prior notice of an agenda item, provided the appropriate findings are made under Government Code section 54954.2 as may be amended from time to time. The Council shall attempt to limit emergency or urgency items to those items that have a time contraint on them such that action needs to be taken prior to the next regularly scheduled meeting.

Special meetings may be held from time to time as deemed necessary by the City Council. When determined appropriate, special meetings may be called at any time by the Mayor or a majority of the Council by delivering personally or by mail, written notice to each member of the Council and to each local newspaper of general circulation, radio or television station requesting notice in writing. The notice must be delivered personally by mail, at least twenty four (24) hours before the time of the meeting as specified in the notice. The notice shall specify the time and place of the special meeting and identify the business to be transacted. Other than as identified in the notice no other business shall be considered at the special meeting.

II. Location

Unless specifically designated otherwise by the City Council, meetings will be held in the City Council Chambers at 1 Civic Center Drive within the City of San Marcos

III. Conduct of Meetings

  1. General – 

    The Mayor or presiding officer of municipal business meetings has the authority to chair the meetings in accordance with the Brown Act and Roberts Rules of Order. In the event of any inconsistency or ambiguity between these sources, the Brown Act shall control. All Councilmembers as well as the City Manager and City Attorney are specifically delegated the authority to enforce the policies and protocols established for the conduct of Council meetings.

    City Council meetings are for the conduct of municipal business and as such are not to be used for the purpose of providing forums for political campaigning or rhetoric by Council members or members of the public which is inconsistent with orderly business functions.

    Reserved areas are designated within the Council chambers specifically for staff and media representatives. All other visitors and members of the public should be seated in the general public seating area or in the overflow room.

  2. Order of Agenda – 

    Agenda items will be considered in the order in which they appear on the agenda. However, in particular circumstances, a member of the COuncil or staff may request that an agenda item be take out of sequence due to the timeliness of the agenda item, to accommodate the public in terms of saving time and effort, or to address a unique circumstance.

  3. Presentations by Members of the Public
    1. Requests to Speak – 

      For the convenience of the public, the City Clerk will provide request to speak forms and a place for depositing completed speaker requests forms in the rear area of the COuncil chambers. Members of the public are to place their requests to speak in the area designated by the City Clerk so as not to disrupt or distract from the activities of the City Council or staff in the conduct of municipal business.

      Members of the public shall deposit their request to speak forms in the area designated by the City Clerk prior to Council’s initiation of the agenda item for which the request to speak has been made.

      Members of the public will be permitted to submit only one request to epeak for each agenda item they wish to address. Request to speak will be submitted to the City Council by the City Clerk in random order. Unless specifically approved by the City Council, individual requests with respect to the order of speaker presentations will not be honored.

    2. Time Limitations for Public Speakers
      1. Individual Speakers – 

        Public speakers addressing the Council are provided a maximum of five (5) minutes when speaking as an individual. Their time will be monitored and the City Clerk will provide both a one (1) minute notice and when their speaking time has expired. The five (5) minute time limitation will be announced at the beginning of each hearing and will be strictly adhered to.

      2. Group Speakers – 

        A speaker qualified under the rules set forth in this section as representing members of a group may receive a maximum of fifteen (15) minutes to address the Council. Groups are encouraged to designate one (1) spokesperson to speak on behalf of the group. For those groups that do not designate a spokesperson, the Mayor may request that one to be chosen.

        To receive the maximum allotted fifteen (15) minutes, all group members present at the Council meeting must cede their individual speaking time in favor of the group spokesperson, unless an individual group member desires to speak on a non-related issue or an element of the agenda item that will not be addressed by the group.

        Groups are designated as either a forma or informal organization. The following documentation and information, which shall be retained by the group, must be presented to the City Clerk to review and verification purpose at least one (1) business day prior to the COuncil meeting at which the group desires to speak. The group is required to update all information annually; previous submissions will not suffice whether or not changes have been made to the applicable documents.

        1. Formal Organization
          1. Current bylaws, including a statement of the organization’s purpose and requirements for membership; and
          2. a newly-adopted resolution designating those individuals authorized to speak on behalf of the organization.
        2. Informal Organization
          1. organization’s name;
          2. organization’s position and
          3. newly-adopted resolutions designating those individual(s) authorized to speak on behalf of the organization.

The Mayor, at his/her discretion, maybe limit the presentation of redundant information by individual or group speakers.

Upon Conclusion of speaker presentations the Council, at is discretion, will determine whether Council questions and/or any Council and staff responses should be immediate or made at a later time in a more comprehensive approach. Speakers will not be allowed to engage Council or staff in a debate and/or questions/answer period while at the podium.

If the agenda item appears to be controversial or complex, the Council may establish additional rules and regulations regarding presentations which could include, but are not limited to, allotted times for presentation by each group or each side of an issue.

Source: Council Meetings Policies and Protocols