County Board Meeting Procedures
As summer winds down, we all try to squeeze in a few more days of sun and fun.
Throughout the summer, the NACO office has received questions about county board meeting procedures when officials are absent. Here are four of the most commonly asked questions and answers.
Q: If one member of a three-commissioner board is absent and the votes of the two remaining members are split, how is the issue decided?
A: When only two of three commissioners are present and voting on an issue and cannot reach an agreement, Neb.Rev.Stat. §23-155 requires a delay until the next meeting so that a majority of the board can make the decision. It states, “When two only of the commissioners of the board shall attend, and shall be divided on any question, the decision thereof shall be deferred until the next meeting of the board, and then the matter shall be decided by a majority of the board.”
In township counties, decisions are made by a majority of supervisors present. Section 23-277 states, “A majority of all the supervisors elected in any county shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business, and all questions which shall arise at meetings shall be determined by the votes of a majority of the supervisors present, except in cases otherwise provided for.”
This section was amended in 2014 to require a majority, rather than two-thirds, of the elected supervisors to constitute a quorum.
Q: In the above scenario, what happens if one of the commissioners makes a motion but the only other member present does not second it?
A: According to
Robert’s Rules of Order
, a motion and second are needed before an issue is open to debate. If the motion is not seconded, it will die for lack of a second. Because there is no statutory requirement for county boards to follow
, some county boards choose to apply a somewhat less rigorous style of parliamentary procedure. Regardless of the meeting style, all meetings are subject to the Open Meetings Act in §84-1408 through §84-1414.
Q: How many board members constitute a supermajority for purposes of voting on the budget?
A: A December 2017 Attorney General’s opinion concludes that for purposes of approving the additional one percent of budget authority in Neb.Rev.Stat. §13-519, an affirmative vote of 75 percent of the members of the governing body constituting a quorum is required. The opinion was issued in response to a request from the State Auditor to define whether the phrase “governing body” in §13-519 refers to the entire elected body or only those members present for the required vote.
The full text of the opinion is available
Q: Neither the county clerk nor deputy will be able to attend the county board meeting. Can someone else take the minutes?
A: Section 23-1302 provides that if the county clerk or deputy is unable to be present for any proceeding of the county board, the clerk may appoint a designee to record the proceedings.
Likewise, §77-1501 provides for the county clerk, deputy or designee pursuant to §23-1302 to attend meetings of the county board of equalization and make a record of the proceedings.