Code of Virginia

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Code of Virginia
Title 15.2. Counties, Cities and Towns
Chapter 14. Governing Bodies of Localities

Article 2. Meetings of Governing Bodies.

§ 15.2-1415. At what meetings governing body may act.

Unless otherwise specially provided, a governing body may exercise any of the powers conferred upon it at any meeting of the governing body, regular, special or adjourned at which a quorum is present. A majority of the governing body shall constitute a quorum except as may be otherwise provided in the State and Local Government Conflict of Interests Act (§ 2.2-3100 et seq.). Meetings of governing bodies shall be subject to the applicable provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act (§ 2.2-3700 et seq.).

Code 1950, § 15-247; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-542; 1997, c. 587; 2007, c. 613.

§ 15.2-1416. Regular meetings.

A. The governing body shall assemble at a public place as the governing body may prescribe, in regular session in January for counties and in July for cities and towns. Future meetings shall be held on such days as may be prescribed by resolution of the governing body but in no event shall less than six meetings be held in each fiscal year.

B. The days, times and places of regular meetings to be held during the ensuing months shall be established at the first meeting which meeting may be referred to as the annual or organizational meeting; however, if the governing body subsequently prescribes any public place other than the initial public meeting place, or any day or time other than that initially established, as a meeting day, place or time, the governing body shall pass a resolution as to such future meeting day, place or time. The governing body shall cause a copy of such resolution to be posted on the door of the courthouse or the initial public meeting place and inserted in a newspaper having general circulation in the county or municipality at least seven days prior to the first such meeting at such other day, place or time. Should the day established by the governing body as the regular meeting day fall on any legal holiday, the meeting shall be held on the next following regular business day, without action of any kind by the governing body.

At its annual meeting the governing body may fix the day or days to which a regular meeting shall be continued if the chairman or mayor, or vice-chairman or vice-mayor if the chairman or mayor is unable to act, finds and declares that weather or other conditions are such that it is hazardous for members to attend the regular meeting. Such finding shall be communicated to the members and the press as promptly as possible. All hearings and other matters previously advertised shall be conducted at the continued meeting and no further advertisement is required.

C. Regular meetings may be adjourned from day to day or from time to time or from place to place, not beyond the time fixed for the next regular meeting, until the business before the governing body is completed. Notice of any regular meeting continued under this section shall be reasonable under the circumstances and be given as provided in subsection E of § 2.2-3707.

D. The governing body shall provide members of the general public with the opportunity for public comment during a regular meeting at least quarterly.

E. Notwithstanding the provisions of this section, any city or town that holds an organizational meeting in compliance with its charter or code shall be deemed to be in compliance with this section.

Code 1950, § 15-241; 1950, p. 8; 1954, c. 286; 1958, c. 291; 1960, c. 33; 1962, cc. 218, 623, § 15.1-536; 1964, c. 403; 1980, c. 420; 1994, cc. 371, 591; 1997, c. 587; 2004, c. 549; 2017, c. 616; 2020, c. 1144; 2023, c. 536.

§ 15.2-1416.1. Actions prior to convening of meeting.

During the time prior to the governing body's actual call to order or convening of business, any expressions by members of the governing body or members of the public shall be held consistent with the individual's First Amendment right of freedom of speech.

2005, c. 592.

§ 15.2-1417. Special meetings.

The governing body may also hold such special meetings, as it deems necessary, at such times and places as it finds convenient. It may adjourn such special meetings from time to time as it finds convenient and necessary.

Code 1950, § 15-242; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-537; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1418. Same; how called.

A special meeting of the governing body shall be held when called by the chairman or mayor or requested by two or more of the members of the board of supervisors or council. The call or request shall be made to the clerk, and shall specify the matters to be considered at the meeting. Upon receipt of such call or request, the clerk of the governing body, after consultation with the chairman or mayor, shall immediately notify each member of the governing body and the attorney for the Commonwealth or the county or municipal attorney, as appropriate in writing delivered in person or to his place of residence or business or, if so requested by the member of the governing body, by electronic mail or facsimile to attend such meeting at the time and place stated in the notice. Such notice shall specify the matters to be considered at the meeting. No matter not specified in the notice shall be considered at such meeting, unless all members are present. The notice may be waived if all members of the governing body attend the special meeting or sign a waiver.

Code 1950, § 15-243; 1954, c. 181; 1960, c. 412; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-538; 1964, c. 249; 1966, c. 33; 1975, c. 575; 1979, c. 210; 1983, c. 403; 1994, c. 87; 1997, c. 587; 2011, c. 180.

§ 15.2-1419. Meeting times of certain authorities, boards and commissions.

Notwithstanding any contrary provision of law, general or special, the governing body of any locality may establish the regular meeting times (day and hour) of its authorities, boards and commissions so as to prevent conflict with other meetings.

1995, cc. 198, 240, § 15.1-37.3:14; 1997, c. 587.

§ 15.2-1420. How questions determined; tie breaker.

All questions submitted to the governing body for decision shall be determined by a majority of the members voting on any such question unless another method of determination is required by the Constitution of Virginia or general law.

In counties which have designated a tie breaker pursuant to § 15.2-1421, in any case in which there is a tie vote of the board upon any question when all the members are not present, the question shall be passed by till the next meeting when it shall again be voted upon even though all members are not present; in any case in which there is a tie vote on any question after complying with the herein above procedure, the clerk shall record the vote and immediately notify the tie breaker elected by the voters as provided in § 15.2-1421, to give the casting vote in case of a tie, if that is practicable, and request his presence at the present meeting of the board; but if that is not practicable then the board may adjourn to a day fixed in the minutes of the board, or in case of a failure to agree on a day, to a day fixed by the clerk and entered by him on the minutes. At the present meeting or on the day named in the minutes the tie breaker shall attend. He shall be entitled to be fully advised as to the matter upon which he is to vote, and if not prepared to cast his vote at the time he may require the clerk to enter an order adjourning the meeting to some future day to be named in the minutes not to exceed thirty days and from time to time he shall have continuances entered until he is ready to vote, not to exceed thirty days. When he casts his vote the clerk shall record his vote and the tie shall be broken, and the question shall be decided as he casts his vote. If a meeting for any reason is not held on the day named in the minutes, the clerk shall enter on the minute book a day within ten days as a substitute day and duly notify all the members, and this shall continue until a meeting is held. After a tie has occurred, the tie breaker shall be considered a member of the board for the purpose of counting a quorum for the sole purpose of breaking the tie. Final votes on any ordinance or resolution shall be in accordance with the procedure provided for in Article VII, Sections 7 and 9 of the Constitution of Virginia.

Code 1950, § 15-245; 1962, c. 623, § 15.1-540; 1972, cc. 734, 790; 1974, c. 550; 1980, c. 172; 1994, c. 550; 1997, c. 587; 2007, c. 833.

§ 15.2-1421. Tie breakers.

The governing body of each county may designate a tie breaker, whose duty it shall be to cast the deciding vote in case of tie, as set forth in § 15.2-1420. The designation of the tie breaker shall be by election by the voters of the county from the county at large. Every tie breaker shall serve for a period of four years from the date of his election and every tie breaker so elected shall serve the same term as a member of the governing body. No person shall be elected or serve as tie breaker who is not a resident of the county; who is not qualified to hold office as supervisor or who is an employee or officer of the county. Tie breakers heretofore appointed or elected shall continue in office until the expiration of the respective terms. Vacancies in the position of tie breaker shall be filled in the same manner as vacancies in the governing body.

Code 1950, § 15-240; 1952, c. 159; 1952, Ex. Sess., c. 10; 1954, c. 91; 1962, cc. 595, 623, § 15.1-535; 1966, c. 280; 1972, c. 593; 1974, c. 550; 1981, c. 261; 1994, c. 550; 1997, c. 587; 2007, c. 833.