BYLAWS OF THE
NORTH END/WATERFRONT NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL
(Revised September 2014)
ARTICLE I. NAME AND PURPOSE OF ORGANIZATION
SECTION 1. NAME
The name of this organization shall be the North End/Waterfront Neighborhood Council, (“NEWNC”) hereinafter referred to as the Council, and will be comprised of twelve (12) elected members.
SECTION 2. PURPOSE
A program for neighborhood councils has been established for certain neighborhoods of the City of Boston by the Mayor’s Office of Neighborhood Services in an effort to increase communication between the neighborhoods and City departments and agencies. The Council program is organized to provide structured participation in the City’s decisions affecting land use, development, delivery of services and the quality of life in a particular neighborhood. Through this process, a partnership has been created between the North End/Waterfront Neighborhood Residents and the City of Boston to maximize the ability of NEWNC to participate fully as an advisory board in municipal affairs.
SECTION 3. JURISDICTIONAL SCOPE
NEWNC shall have jurisdiction over precincts 1-4 of Ward 3. (See Appendix I for jurisdictional map). NEWNC reserves the right to hear applications of, and issue opinions on, major projects that will influence the quality of life in the North End/Waterfront area.
ARTICLE II. MEMBERSHIP
SECTION 1. ELIGIBILITY FOR MEMBERSHIP
Membership on the Council is open to all residents of the North End/Waterfront Neighborhood. A member must be at least eighteen (18) years of age (Note: The North End/Waterfront Neighborhood for the purposes of membership shall be defined as the area outlined in the attached map marked as Appendix I.) as defined in Article I, Section 3.
SECTION 2. NEIGHBORHOOD COUNCIL AREAS OF RESPONSIBILITY
The Council, via its standing committees, is responsible for those areas of interest outlined in Article V, Section 3.
ARTICLE III. MEETINGS
SECTION 1. GENERAL REQUIREMENTS
The Council shall meet on the 2nd Monday of the month, at 6:00 P.M. in Executive Session and at 7:00 P.M. sharp for the general public, and at least ten (10) times per year. To the best of each Council member’s ability, every effort must be made to attend promptly at 6:00 P.M. In the event of a holiday on the 2nd Monday of a month, the meeting will be held on the 2nd Tuesday of that month. All regularly-scheduled meetings of the Council shall be open to the public. Notice of the time and place for the holding of said regularly-scheduled meetings shall be advertised by the publication in a newspaper of general circulation in the neighborhood, by mailing, by electronic mail, by internet notification, or in any other manner as the Council determines will ensure the broadest notification to the neighborhood. Notices of meetings to members, officers or committee members shall be in accordance with Article X. Public notice, including publication on the Council’s website (www.newncboston.org) of regularly scheduled meetings of the Council should include the Agenda, if possible, for such meetings.
SECTION 2. SPECIAL MEETINGS
Special meetings of the Council may be called at the request of a simple majority* of the members. At such special meetings, there shall only be considered such business as is specified in the notice of the special meeting. Notice shall be either in writing or e-mail to all Council members at least three (3) days prior to said meeting. The special meetings may be held in Executive Session if the simple majority of the members deems such action is necessary.
*A simple majority is defined as one-half of the total membership plus one.
SECTION 3. QUORUM
At all meetings of the Council, either regular or special, a simple majority of the Council membership shall constitute a quorum. If a quorum is not present, the presiding officer may adjourn the meeting to a day and hour fixed by the presiding officer.
SECTION 4. RULES OF ORDER
Roberts’ Rules of Order shall apply in all instances not covered by the Bylaws.
SECTION 5. VOTING
Each member shall have only one vote per agenda item at all meetings of the Council and at all committee meetings.
Voting is done by written ballet after each applicant is done with his or her presentation. Each Council member must write his or her name on the voting ballot. Each Council member must vote to either “SUPPORT” or “OPPOSE” an application unless her or she is deemed to have a conflict.
Votes will be counted and announced by the Secretary after all applications have presented before the Council.
Decisions and/or recommendations of the Council and committees shall be made by a simple majority vote of the members present, provided a quorum exists, unless otherwise provided in these Bylaws. Such decisions and/or recommendations of the Council shall be in effect for only one calendar year.
There shall be no proxy voting. Council members must be present to vote on any application before NEWNC. A member of the Council may be excused for just reason after voting on an application(s).
The Council may take advisory votes or votes which are non-binding.
The Members may not abstain from voting under any circumstances unless they recuse themselves under the conflict of interest section.
SECTION 6. REQUIRED DOCUMENTS NEEDED TO APPEAR BEFORE NEWNC
In order for the North End/Waterfront Neighborhood Council (NEWNC) to vote on an application, the following documents must be submitted to NEWNC for review prior to a vote being taken.
A. Appeals for Zoning Relief
1. Copy of the application submitted to the Zoning Board of Appeals (ZBA)
2. Copy of the denial letter from the Inspectional Services Department (ISD)
3. Copy of the Neighborhood Notification Letter sent to the abutters
4. List of the addresses of abutters notified (for instructions on how to determine this list see NEWNC Neighborhood Notification Policy below)
5. Finalized plans submitted to the ZBA (i.e. floor plans)
B. Application for a Liquor License
1. Copy of the application submitted to the Licensing Board
2. Copy of the Neighborhood Notification Letter sent to the abutters
3. List of the addresses of abutters notified (for instructions on how to determine this list see NEWNC Neighborhood Notification Policy below)
4. Copy of floor plan including any proposed changes to the property
5. Copy of the menu for proposed establishment
C. Presentation to NEWNC should include:
1. Proof of Neighborhood Notification to abutters
2. Plans for any change(s) to the interior or exterior of the property
3. Construction impact, if any, including duration of project, loss of parking spaces, traffic disruptions, trash removal
4. Plans for any change(s) to the business operation
5. Hours of operation
6. Planned signage
D. NEWNC Neighborhood Notification Policy:
1. Neighborhood notification should be made at least seven (7) days prior to the NEWNC meeting.
2. Notifications should consist of:
A. Certified mailing to the owner(s) and renters in the applicant building.
B. Standard mailing to the owners and renters of the two (2) buildings to the left and two (2) buildings to the right of the applicant building.
C. Standard mailing to the owner(s) and renters of the building directly across the street, and the buildings to the left and right of it.
D. Standard mailing to the owner(s) and renters of the buildings behind the applicant building.
E. Flyers left in the common areas of the applicable buildings.
F. NEWNC may increase the scope of notification at its discretion.
3. The text of notifications must include:
A. Date, time and location of the NEWNC hearing as well as the ZBA or Licensing hearing.
B. Text of the petition before NEWNC.
C. Description of proposed change to the property or business.
D. Name and contact information for the projects contact person.
SECTION 7. PRESENTING BEFORE NEWNC
At each regularly-scheduled Council meeting, the agenda shall include:
A. A period of five (5) minutes or less for each applicant to present before NEWNC.
B. A period of ten (10) minutes or less for NEWNC members to ask questions to the applicant.
C. A period of ten (10) minutes or less for public/abutter participation.
Time will be kept by NEWNC’s Sergeant of Arms.
ARTICLE IV. ELECTION OF MEMBERS AND OFFICERS
SECTION 1. ELECTION OF MEMBERS
The election to the Council will be held during the month of May in accordance with the Election Plan identified as Appendix II.
For the purposes of continuity and working knowledge based on experience, the number of persons being elected annually, for a two-year term, will be staggered so that six (6) persons will be elected one year and six (6) persons the following year.
SECTION 2. TERMS OF OFFICE FOR MEMBERS
Each member of the Council shall serve for a period of two (2) years.
SECTION 3. VACANCIES OF MEMBERS
If the number of Council members falls to ten (10) members, the next highest receiver of votes from the most recent NEWNC election MAY be elevated to an elected NEWNC Council member at the discretion of the Council and by two-thirds (2/3) majority vote by the Council.
SECTION 4. ELECTION OF OFFICERS
The Council shall elect from among the members a President, a Vice-President, a Secretary, and a Sergeant of Arms. Nominations for officers shall be made during an executive session meeting to be held within a week after the Saturday election in May. At this meeting, any Council member may nominate another Council member for office. Nominees shall indicate their willingness to accept the nomination at the time they are nominated, either in person or in writing. Every elected member must serve on the Council for at least one year before being nominated for any position.
The election of officers must take place following the annual election for members and before the Council's June Meeting.
Any number of nominations may be made for each office. No member may hold more than one (1) office within the Council during the same term of office. Elections are to be by written ballot and by a plurality vote of the membership Council.
SECTION 5. TERMS OF OFFICE FOR ELECTED OFFICERS
The term of office for the President, Vice-President, Secretary, and Sergeant of Arms shall be for a term of one (1) year commencing immediately after election and until such time as his/her successor assumes office. Elected officers shall not serve for more than three (3) consecutive terms in the same office.
SECTION 6. ADDITIONAL OFFICERS
If the Council deems it appropriate, additional positions may be established using the same election process from Section 4, supra.
SECTION 7. VACANCIES IN OFFICE
A plurality vote of the total Council members is required to fill a vacancy of the office. No officer will automatically succeed another officer. An officer’s official term is to begin at the first June meeting of NEWNC.
ARTICLE V. COMMITTEES
SECTION 1. DUTIES OF COMMITTEES
Committees shall perform those duties assigned to them by the membership and/or Executive Committee, and report back on such findings, conclusions or activities to the membership and/or the Executive Committee.
SECTION 2. MEMBERSHIP
Committees will be formed at the first (1st) meeting in June. Any member is eligible to serve on any committee. A member may volunteer on any committee of his/her choice. The Council will elect the chairperson and vice-chairperson of each committee. Election of the chairperson by the full Council must be made by the July meeting. The President of the Council will serve ex officio on all committees. No Council member shall be chairperson of more than one standing committee.
SECTION 3. STANDING COMMITTEES
The purpose of standing committees shall be to address the issues impacting the community. Standing committee reports at NEWNC meetings shall not exceed three (3) minutes. The President will facilitate the formation of all standing committees. The functions of the following four (4) standing committees are described in Appendix III:
a) Public Safety
c) Resident Parking & Traffic
d) Election Committee (Incumbents up for re-election cannot serve on this committee. Six (6) NEWNC members not running in an upcoming election are automatically Committee members.)
SECTION 4. OTHER COMMITTEES
(a) Ad Hoc Committees
Ad hoc committees may be formed upon passage of a motion by a majority of the Council at a regular business meeting. Any ad hoc committee may be dissolved by a vote of a majority of the Council. Criteria for dissolution shall include, but shall not be limited to, completion of the committee goals or assignments or a determination that the committee is failing to achieve its goals or assignments.
(b) Rules and Bylaws Committee
The Bylaws Committee shall consist of at least three (3) members of the Council appointed by the Council President with the approval of the Council. It shall receive and initiate proposed amendments to the Bylaws and it shall present proposed amendments and revisions to the Bylaws to the Council for approval.
The Bylaws Committee shall review the Bylaws at least every two (2) years or as deemed necessary by the Council as outlined in Article XI, Section 1.
SECTION 5. TERM OF SERVICE
The term of service on standing committees shall be one (1) year.
ARTICLE VI. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
SECTION 1. COMPOSITION OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
The Executive Committee shall consist of the President, the Vice-President, Secretary, and Sergeant of Arms. The President of the Council shall be considered the presiding officer of the Executive Committee. Any individual has only one vote on the Executive Committee, regardless of the number of his/her functions.
SECTION 2. DUTIES OF THE EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
The Executive Committee shall serve as a conduit for the smooth operation of the Council. It shall:
(a) Have all the powers of the Council to transact business of an emergency nature between Council meetings or to perform other specific duties as the Council may request, provided that none of these actions shall modify or conflict with any action taken by the Council.
(b) Recommend policy, present proposals to the full membership and set priorities for regular meetings of the full Council.
(c) Report in full all of its transactions at the next regularly-scheduled meeting of the Council.
SECTION 3. FREQUENCY OF MEETINGS
The Executive Committee shall meet at the call of the President or at the request of any members of the Executive Committee at a time and place mutually agreed upon with a simple majority of the Executive Committee constituting a quorum.
The Executive Committee may, in the interest of efficiency, conduct administrative business via email to expedite the business of the Council. Transcripts of email correspondence shall be made available to other members of the Council upon request.
ARTICLE VII. POWERS, DUTIES AND CONDUCT OF MEMBERS
SECTION 1. POWERS
Having been empowered to enter into a partnership with the City of Boston for full participation in municipal affairs, the Council will function as the decision-making body for all recommendations and proposals as they pertain to the quality of life in the North End/Waterfront area as incorporated in Article I, Section 2.
SECTION 2. DUTIES OF MEMBERS
A member may make recommendations, proposals and present information to the Council and its committees for communication by the Council to the City of Boston or any other party.
SECTION 3. NO AUTHORITY TO IMPOSE LIABILITY ON MEMBERS
The Council shall not impose any liability or levy any assessment upon the members, officers, or committee members. No Council member shall incur any liabilities or expenses on behalf of the Council.
SECTION 4. CONDUCT OF EACH MEMBER
A member, officer or committee member shall conduct himself/herself in a professional manner and work in cooperation with other members toward common goals and achievements for the well-being of the neighborhood, and in conformity with the terms of these Bylaws. Further, no member shall write, speak or present himself for the Council without prior approval from the majority of the Council.
Abusive language, threats and disruptive actions by any member, officer or committee member will not be tolerated. Anyone who engages in such behavior will receive a maximum of two (2) oral warnings during any one meeting from an officer and may be subject for removal at the next scheduled meeting as stated in Article IX, Section 1.
SECTION 5. CONFLICT OF INTEREST
A member is deemed to have a conflict when he/she, an immediate family member, or an employer is making a presentation to the Council.
A conflict is defined as:
1) Having an immediate family member presenting before NEWNC and/or
2) having a direct financial interest in the application being presented before NEWNC.
A Council member who is a direct abutter of an owner of a property appearing before NEWNC is not considered to have a conflict unless it is deemed the NEWNC member has a direct financial interest in the property and/or the property owner is an immediate family member.
A council member who shares a similar profession or owns a similar business with an applicant is not deemed to have a conflict with said applicant unless it can be showing the NEWNC member has a direct financial interest in the property and/or the property owner is an immediate family member.
A member with a possible conflict of interest with an upcoming application must bring up said conflict to the Council during the Executive Session. Additionally, a fellow Council member who believes that another Council member may have a conflict, may bring this potential conflict to the attention to the Council during the Executive Session.
A Council member shall not vote on any matter in which he/she has a conflict of interest. Any Council member so affected by this Section is required to recuse himself/herself from the agenda item, both during the Executive Session and the public meeting. The Council member is not required to recuse himself/herself for the entire meeting at which he/she has a conflict.
ARTICLE VIII. POWERS AND DUTIES OF OFFICERS
SECTION 1. PRESIDENT
The President shall perform his/her duties in a manner dutifully responsive to the members of the Council and other officers. The President shall be responsible for creating the agenda and maintaining order at meetings. The President shall provide leadership and encourage public participation in open meetings of the Council and shall communicate with all the appropriate government agencies on matters regarding the Council. At his/her discretion, the President may express in speeches, or in writing, the adopted policies of the Council. The President, and only the President, can authorize the use of Council stationery, provided that such use is in a manner consistent with actions approved by the full Council, and all correspondence must be available for review. The President shall also be responsible for emailing the monthly agenda to all relevant North End publications.
SECTION 2. VICE PRESIDENT
The duties of the Vice President shall be to act on behalf of the President in the temporary absence of the President. The Vice President shall read the meeting’s protocol at the beginning of each meeting. The Vice President shall also be responsible for all social media/email communication for NEWNC.
SECTION 3. SECRETARY
The Secretary shall keep the minutes of all regular and special meetings of the Council and shall, if requested, read such minutes at the beginning of each meeting for approval. In the absence of both the President and Vice-President, the Secretary shall preside and assume the duties of the President.
The Secretary shall count, record, and announce all votes by the council regarding applications presented before NEWNC.
The Secretary will coordinate and oversee the keeping of an official record of the Council meetings, including but not limited to, taking minutes and establishing an attendance list.
SECTION 4. SERGEANT OF ARMS
The Sergeant of Arms shall keep the time for each application presented before NEWNC. Prior to the expiration of each speaker, the Sergeant of Arms shall give a one minute warning.
The Sergeant of Arms shall also be responsible for enforcing order and removing any unruly or hostile members of the NEWNC meeting.
ARTICLE IX. REMOVAL OF MEMBERS, OFFICERS AND COMMITTEE MEMBERS
SECTION 1. REMOVAL
Members, officers, and committee members will be removed from the Council if they miss a total of three (3) regularly-scheduled General Council Meetings per year. However, removal for three (3) absences is not automatic if just cause can be shown. Just cause includes, but is not limited to, work related absences, familial responsibilities, or any other absence the Council determines to be justified. Prompt notice must be given to the Council if any member if going to be absent.
The removal of a Council member is subject to a vote by the Council. The Council member in question may not participate in the vote, and the removal is decided by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the full Council.
Members, officers and committee members can also be removed for just cause, subject to a two thirds (2/3) vote of the full Council. Just cause shall include, but not limited to, violations of Article VII, Sections 4 and 5 of these Bylaws.
ARTICLE X. CORRESPONDENCE SENT TO A COUNCIL MEMBER
SECTION 1. CORRESPONDENCE
As it is in the common interest of the neighborhood served by the Council to have an open and informed Council, all Council Members will receive prompt notice of all non-agenda related correspondence sent to any party by any member, officer or committee member pertaining to Council business.
All initial correspondence, non-administrative in nature, sent to any Council member, shall be made available to all other Council members through e-mail. All additional correspondence on the same issue, will be made available to any Council member upon request.
ARTICLE XI. CHANGES/AMENDMENTS TO BYLAWS
SECTION 1. PROCEDURE
These Bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Council at a regularly-scheduled monthly Executive Session meeting held subsequent to a regular monthly meeting at which a resolution in writing providing for such amendment shall have been read. Notice of the proposed amendment shall be given to the Council at least ten (10) days prior to the second meeting.
APPENDIX I. MAP
APPENDIX II. ELECTION PLAN
For the purposes of continuity and working knowledge based on experience, the number of persons being elected annually, for a two-year term, will be staggered so that six (6) persons will be elected one (1) year and six (6) persons the following year.
The Council will conduct its own election with the assistance of those Council members who are not seeking election that day and staff members of the City’s Neighborhood Services Department, along with voting lists and equipment from the City’s Election Department.
The Council may avail itself of all pro bono forms of notification, i.e., neighborhood papers, local publications, blogs, bulletins in store windows, house drops, etc. to publicize both the election and the Candidates’ Night.
2. Schedule of Election Events
A. Full Council Meeting in April
i. Date of Election to be chosen (See Article IV, Section 1).
ii. Date for Candidates’ Night to be set (ideally the Monday before the election).
iii. Select the Council member to head the Election Team. The Council member heading the election committee shall not be a candidate for re-election.
iv. Appoint an Election Committee for both the Election and the Candidates’ Night. Its duties are as follows:
3. Nomination Papers
A. Distribution of nomination papers will be handled under the direction of the Election Committee at the April NEWNC meeting.
B. Forty (40) valid signatures of current North End residents will be due the first Monday of May at 6:00 pm at the Nazzaro Center.
C. When nominations are closed, the ballot is prepared. The order of how the names will appear on the ballot is done by random drawings at the May meeting.
D. Candidates are emailed by the Election Committee that their nomination papers are in order.
4. Candidates’ Night
A. The Candidates’ Night will be held during the regularly scheduled May Meeting.
5. Who May Vote?
A. Residents of the North End/Waterfront community who are 18 years or older as of the election date.
6. Who is a Resident?
A. Anyone who appears on the City of Boston’s most recent census list or;
B. Anyone who does not appear on the most recent census list but can produce adequate proof of residency.
7. What is Adequate Proof of Residency?
A. At a minimum, individuals who do not appear on the most recent census must produce at least one form of identification with a photograph that has a date of birth (unless age is not a question) and a utility bill, bank statement or lease in that person’s name that reflects a North End residency. More than one election official at the polling location shall decide the sufficiency of the proof of residency.
8. What is Included in the North End/Waterfront Community?
A. The area within Precincts 1, 2, 3, 4 of Ward III
9. Voting Procedures
A. The election shall take place at the Nazzaro Center on the 3rd Saturday of May from 10:00 am – 2:00 pm. The election is open to the general public. The Ballots will list all officially nominated candidates and include space for write-in candidates.
10. Counting of Ballots
A. The counting will take place immediately following the close of the voting. The counting of the ballots is open to the general public. A minimum of two (2) NEWNC members from the election committee are required to count the ballots.
B. NEWNC will adhere to the Massachusetts Secretary of State guidelines with regard to the validity of write-in votes:
- From the Massachusetts Secretary of State’s website:
“All write-in or sticker votes should include the correct name and address of the candidates. Courts have ruled that a vote should be counted whenever the intent of the voter can reasonably be determined, even if a voter omits the candidate’s address or makes a mistake in the name or address. In O'Brien v. Board of Election Commissioners, 257 Mass. 332, 338-339, 153 N.E. 553, 556 (1926) the court said "that if the intent of the voter can be determined with reasonable certainty from an inspection of the ballot, in the light of the generally known conditions attendant upon the election, effect must be given to that intent... The omission of the residence ... on some ballots on which the name had been written by the voters rightly was found not to invalidate such votes." Maiewski v. Board of Registrars of Voters, 347 Mass. 681, 199 N.E. 2d 680 (1964). This includes where a voter fails to complete the vote indicator next to the write-in space—thewrite-in or sticker vote will still be counted.”
APPENDIX III. STANDING COMMITTEES
1. PUBLIC SAFETY
The Public Safety Committee shall be comprised of one committee chair. This chair shall serve as liaison between the police, the community, and NEWNC.
The Committee chair shall attend the monthly Public Safety Meetings, where the police can be held accountable through the posing of public safety and quality of life-related questions, and sharing residents' concerns with the police that have been communicated to the Chair of the Committee;
The Committee chair shall also provide attendees of NEWNC Meetings a report on the most recent Public Safety Meeting
The Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway Committee shall be comprised of one committee chair. This chair shall serve as a liaison between NEWNC and RFKGC on matters which concern both groups including, but not limited to issues directly related to the North End Parks (Greenway Parcels 8 and 10); substantive issues and concerns related to Parcels 6, 7, 9, 11, and 12; and, any other Greenway matters which would influence the quality of life for residents of the North End. Additionally, the chair shall sit on the Board of Directors for the RFKGC as that seat remains available and as applicable to NEWNC.
3. RESIDENT PARKING & TRAFFIC
The Resident Parking and Traffic Committee shall be comprised of one committee chair. This chair shall serves as liaison between the NEWNC and the Boston Transportation Department “BTD”.
The Resident Parking and Traffic Committee shall work with the BTD on issues relating to street signage, resident parking enforcement, preserving resident parking spots, street sweeping schedules, and traffic concerns.
The Committee chair shall also provide attendees of NEWNC meetings a report on current happenings with regard to North End resident parking and traffic.
4. ELECTION COMMITTEE
The Election Committee shall be comprised of all NEWNC members who are not up for re-lection in that particular calendar year. The Election Committee’s duties include advertising the NEWNC election in all relevant North End publications. Further, the Election Committee shall be in charge of running the voting polls at the Nazarro Center on the day of the election. Running the voting polls includes, but is not limited to, validating the voters are in fact North End residents as well as counting the votes at the conclusion of the election.