By-Laws of Newton Highlands Neighborhood Area Council

Article I

Authority

The By-Laws for the Newton Highlands Neighborhood Area council [Council] are adopted under the provisions of Article 9, Section 9-9(b) of the Charter of the City of Newton [Charter] as adopted by the voters on November 2, 1971 and taking effect on January 1, 1972.

Article II

Council

Section 1 - General Powers. The affairs of the Newton Highlands Neighborhood Service Area [Area] shall be managed by the Council as authorized by the Charter and the "Board Resolution 441-74 Adopting Newton Highlands Neighborhood Area Council" [Resolution], approved July, 3, 1974, and amendments thereto.

Section 2 - Composition. The Council shall consist of nine members. The term of office of each member shall be two years, and until a successor is qualified.

Section 3 - Meetings.

  1. Regular Meetings. Regular meetings shall be held at least once each month provided a quorum is present.
  2. Special Meetings. A special meeting of the Council may be called by the president of the Council or a quorum of its members by causing a notice of such meeting, specifying the matters to be considered, to be left at the usual place of residence of each Council member or given to such member in hand. A Special meeting of the Council shall be called by the president of the Councilor or a quorum of its members within twenty (20) days of receipt by the Council of a written request by not fewer than fifty (50) registered voters of the Area. Such request shall be deemed received by the Council when served in hand upon a Council member.
  3. Notice of Meetings. The Council shall give notice of all meetings according to the procedures set forth in Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 39 section 23A and amendments thereto.
  4. Manner of Acting. The act of a majority of the Council members present at a meeting at which a quorum is present shall be the act of the Council unless the act of a greater number is required by law, ordinance or these by-laws.
  5. Records. The Council shall maintain accurate records setting forth the action taken at each meeting and make available a summary of all matters voted in the manner required by Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 39 Section 23A and amendments thereto. Copies of the records of the Council shall be forwarded to the City Clerk of the City of Newton.
  6. Conduct of Meetings. Where applicable and not in conflict with any law or ordinance, procedures for the meetings of the Council shall be governed by Roberts Rules of Order as most recently revised and amended.

Section 4 - Officers. The officers of the Council shall be president, vice president, secretary and treasurer. The officers shall be elected by the Council from among its members at the first regular meeting of each calendar year and shall hold office until their successors have been elected.

  1. President and Vice President. The president, or if absent, the vice president, shall preside over all meetings of the Council. In the absence of both, a temporary presiding officer shall be elected from among the members present.
    The president shall exercise general supervision over all of the affairs of the Council.
    The president shall be a member ex-officio of all committees but shall not be counted in determining a quorum.
    In the absence of the president, the vice president may act in his or her stead.
  2. Secretary. The secretary shall keep a complete record of all proceedings and correspondence of the Council; shall insure compliance with Section 3 (e) of this Article; shall file notices of meetings as may be required; shall make at the end of every calendar year an annual report of the Council's activities to the Board of Aldermen which shall be open to the public and shall perform all other duties usually appertaining to the office of secretary.
  3. Treasurer. The treasurer shall perform the duties usually assigned to this officer and shall give bond, if required by the Council. He or she shall make payments only for bills properly approved by the Council and as otherwise authorized by law. In the absence or incapacity of the treasurer, any power which he or she may have to sign checks may be delegated by vote of the Council to one of its members. The treasurer shall keep complete financial records of the activities of the Area Council which shall be subject to city audit as required by Article 9, Section, 9-11 of the Charter and shall submit a financial report to the Council at the end of every calendar year.
  4. Removal from Office. Any officer may be removed, either with or without cause, by two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Council, at any regular or special meeting.
  5. Resignation. Any officer may resign at any time by giving written notice to any member of the Council. Any such resignation shall take effect upon the date of the receipt of such notice, or at any later time specified therein. Acceptance of such resignation shall not be necessary to make it effective.

Section 5 - Vacancies. The Council shall notify the residents of the neighborhood of the occurrence of a vacancy on the Council and such notice shall solicit applications for appointment to the Council. At its second regular meeting following the date of such notice, the Council shall elect, by vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the remaining members, a person to fill such vacancy from voters residing in the Area at the time of said meeting.

Section 6 - Debt. The Council shall not incur any debt or liability exceeding the net assets of the Neighborhood Service Area Council.

Section 7 - Legal Opinions. The Council shall consult with the City Solicitor on matters of law to the same extent as such consultation is required of City officers, departments, agencies, boards and commissions.

Article III

Committees

The Council may establish committees from time to time as it deems necessary and in the best interests of the Area, to report to it on subjects requiring investigation. Committee membership need not be limited to members of the Council.

Article IV

Communications Network

The Council shall establish and maintain a Communications Network (Network) under the supervision of a Council member designated by the president.

Section 1 - Purposes. The Network shall be used to inform the residents of the Area about all issues coming before the council and shall be a means by which the residents may communicate their opinions on such issues to the Council.
In addition, the Network may be used to further other purposes which the Council deems in the best interest of the Area.

Section 2 - Method. The Area shall be divided into regions.

  1. Each region shall have one or more regional coordinators who are appointed by the Council.
  2. The regional coordinators shall be responsible for the gathering and dissemination of information among the residents within their regions and they may designate street or block representatives to facilitate the communication process.
  3. Each regional coordinator shall insure that the residents in his or her region are informed:
    1. of the name, address and telephone number of their regional coordinator and street or block representative;
    2. that they may communicate their opinions and concerns to the Council through their regional coordinator or street or block representative; and
    3. in writing, when possible, of issues and concerns upon which the Council seeks the opinion of the community.
  4. The services of any regional coordinator may be terminated, either with or without cause, by the Council, at any regular or special meeting.

Article V

Liason With City Government

Upon receipt, through the Network or otherwise, of written responses from 20% of the registered voters expressing an opinion of the community as provided in Section III 2 of the Resolution, the Council shall forthwith communicate such opinion to the appropriate City officers, departments, agencies, boards and/or commissions by written memorandum to the City Clerk of the City of Newton.

Article VI

Amendment of By-Laws

The By-Laws may be amended by a two-thirds (2/3) majority of those voting residents of the Area attending an announced meeting or meetings called for that purpose, provided that notice of a proposed amendment and the nature thereof shall have been given to such voting residents at least fourteen (14) days prior to the date of the meeting at which such amendment is to be presented for consideration. Any proposed amendment to the By-Laws may be submitted in writing by any registered voter at any regular or special meeting of the Council. Such proposed amendment shall be reviewed by the City Solicitor so as not to conflict with the substantive authority of City government.

ARTICLE VII

Dissolution of Council and Distribution of Assets

Should the Council be dissolved in the manner provided by Article 9, Section 9-6 of the Charter or any other manner, the assets of the Area shall be distributed in a manner approved by twenty (20) percent of registered voters unless otherwise provided by law.

ARTICLE VIII

Construction

If any provision of these By-Laws shall in any manner conflict with or contravene any Federal or State law or ordinance, such law or ordinance shall govern and the remaining provisions of these By-Laws shall remain in full force and effect.

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