Rules and Orders of the Board of Aldermen: Passed January 5, 1852

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I. Upon the appearance of eleven members, the President, or in his absence, a President pro tem. shall take the chair as President, and the members be called to order.

II. In case the President shall not attend, the Clerk, on the appearance of eleven members, shall call the Board to order, when a President pro tem. shall be appointed by the Board for that meeting, or until the appearance of the President.

III. After the reading and approving of the minutes, the orders of business, which shall not in any case be departed from, except by the consent of eleven members voting therefore, shall be as follows:

1st.  Presentation of petitions.
2d.   Motions or resolutions.
3d.   Reports of Committees.
4th. Communications and reports from the Departments or Corporation officers.
5th. Unfinished business.
6th  Special orders of the day.
7th. Messages, papers from the Mayor, or the Board of Assistant Aldermen, may be considered at any time.

IV. Whenever the President may wish to leave the chair, he shall have power to substitute a member in his place, provided that substitution shall not continue beyond the day on which it is made.

V. The President, in all cases has the right of voting; and when the Board shall be equally divided, including his vote, the question shall be lost.

VI. Whenever it shall be moved and carried, that the Board go into Committee of the Whole, the President shall leave the chair, and shall appoint a Chairman of the Committee of the Whole, who shall report the proceedings of the Committee. The rules of the Board shall be observed in the Committee of the Whole, except the rules respecting a call for the ayes and noes, and limiting the time for speaking.

VII. On motion in Committee to rise and report, the question shall be decided without debate.

VIII. No amendment shall be allowed in the Board on any question which has been decided in Committee of the Whole, unless by the consent of two-thirds of the members present.

IX. If the question in debate contains several points, any member may have the same divided.

X. A motion to refer or lay on the table, until it is decided, shall preclude all amendments to the main question.

XI. When a question has been once put and decided, it shall be in order for any member who voted in the majority, to move for the reconsideration thereof; but no motion for the reconsideration of any vote, shall be made after the ordinance, resolution, or act shall have gone out of the possession of the Board; and no motion of reconsideration shall be taken more than once.

XII. No act, resolution or ordinance sent to this Board from the other Board for concurrence, shall be acted upon the same day it passed the other Board, unless by unanimous consent of the members present, except in case of invasion, insurrection or pestilence.

XIII. It shall be the duty of the Clerk to publish all ordinances and amendments of ordinances which shall be passed, and also the proceedings in the newspapers employed by the Corporation, except such parts as may require secrecy; and whenever a vote shall be taken upon the passage of a resolution or ordinance which shall contemplate any specific improvement, or involve the sale, disposition or appropriation of public property, or lay any tax or assessment, he shall, before the same is sent to the other Board, and immediately after the adjournment, cause the same to be published, with the ayes and noes, with the names of the persons voting for and against the same, in at least two newspapers, as a part of the proceedings, and shall thereafter certify and send to the other Board every act, ordinance and resolution which has originated in, and passed this Board, and which requires a concurrent vote of the Board of Assistant Aldermen; and to deliver to the Mayor, certified in like manner, all such ordinances and resolutions which shall have been received from the Board of Assistant Aldermen, and concurred in by this Board, and which are required to be submitted to him for approval, and shall certify to the other Board the proceedings of this Board, in reference to all acts or business originating with the other Board.

XIV. The President shall preserve order and decorum, and shall decide questions of order, subject to an appeal to the Board.

XV. Every member, previous to his speaking, shall rise from his seat, and address himself to the President.

XVI. When two or more members shall rise at once, the President shall name the member who is first to speak.

XVII. No person shall speak more than twice to the same question, without leave of the Board; nor more than once, until every member choosing to speak shall have spoken.

XVIII. While a member is speaking, no member shall entertain any private discourse, or pass between him and the chair.

XIX. No question on a motion shall be debated or put, unless the same be seconded. When a motion is seconded, it shall be stated by the President before debate; and every such motion shall be reduced to writing, if any member desire it.

XX. After a motion is stated by the President, it shall be deemed to be in the possession of the Board; but it may be withdrawn at any time by the mover before decision or amendment.

XXI. When a question is under debate, no motion shall be received, unless

1. To amend it.
2. To commit it.
3. To lay on the table.
4. To postpone it.
5. For the previous question, or
6. To adjourn.

XXII. A motion to lay on the table shall be decided without amendment or debate, and a motion to commit, until it is decided, shall preclude all amendments and debate of the main question.

XXIII. A motion to adjourn shall always be in order, and shall be decided without debate.

XXIV. The previous question until it is decided, shall preclude all amendments and debate, and shall be put in this form__"Shall the main question be now put?"

XXV. Every member who shall be present when a question is put, shall vote for or against the same, unless the Board shall excuse him, unless he be immediately interested in the question, in which case he shall not vote; but no member shall be permitted to vote upon a question, when a division is called, unless present when his name is called in its regular order.

XXVI. A member called to order, shall immediately sit down, unless permitted to explain; and the Board, if appealed to shall decide on the case, but without debate. If there be no appeal, the decision of the Chair shall be submitted to.

XXVII. All questions shall be put in the order they are moved, except in filling up blanks, the longest time and the largest sum shall be first put.

XXVIII. The ayes and noes shall be taken at the request of a member, and the name of the member calling for the division, shall be entered on the minutes.

XXIX. Upon a division of the Board, the names of those who vote for, and those who vote against the question, shall be entered upon the minutes.

XXX. All appointments of officers shall be by ballot, unless dispensed with by the consent of the Board, and a majority of the whole number present shall be necessary to constitute a choice.

XXXI. No member shall absent himself without permission from the President.

XXXII. All Committees shall be appointed by the President, unless otherwise ordered by the Board.

XXXIII. Committees appointed to report on any subject referred to them by the Board, shall report the facts in relation to the subject referred, with their opinion thereon, in writing, and shall attach thereto all resolutions, petitions, remonstrance's and other papers relative to the matter referred; and no report shall be received, except the same be signed by a majority of the Committee; but nothing contained in this rule shall prevent a minority of any Committee from submitting a report. And no report shall be printed, unless by the express direction of the Board, specifying the number of copies to be printed.

XXXIV. Whenever the doors are directed to be closed, all persons, excepting the members and the Clerk, shall retire.

XXXV. Every petition, remonstrance or other written application, intended to be presented to the Common Council, may be delivered to the President, or any member of the Board, and the member to whom it shall be given shall examine the same, and indorse thereon the name of the applicant, and the substance of such application, and sign his name thereto; which endorsement only shall be read by the President, unless a member shall require the reading of the paper, in which case the whole shall be read.

XXXVI. Standing Committees, consisting of three members each, shall be appointed on the following subjects:

1.   Alms-House Department.
2.   Arts and Sciences.
3.   Assessments.
4.   Cleaning Streets.
5.   Ferries.
6.   Finance.
7.   Fire Department.
8.  Joint Committee on Accounts.
9.  Joint Committee on Croton Aqueduct.
10. Lamps and Gas.
11. Lands and Places.
12. Law Department.
13. Markets.
14. Ordinances.
15. Police.
16. Public Health.
17. Public Buildings on Blackwell's Island, Randall's Island, and Bellevue Establishment.
18. Repairs and supplies.
19. Roads.
20. Salaries and Offices.
21. Sewers.
22. Streets.
23. Wharves, Piers and Slips.

XXXVII. The President shall be, ex-officio, a member of all Committees; but a majority of such Committee, exclusive of the President, shall be sufficient to agree upon a report.

XXXVIII. The members of the Board shall not leave their places on adjournment, until the President leaves the chair.

XXXIX. None of the foregoing rules and orders shall be amended or repealed, except by the vote of at least ten members.

D.T. Valentine, Clerk.


Website: The History
Article Name: Rules and Orders of the Board of Aldermen: Passed January 5, 1852
Researcher/Transcriber Miriam Medina


BIBLIOGRAPHY: From My Collection of Books: Manual of the Corporation of the City of New York For 1852 by D.T. Valentine
Time & Date Stamp: