Rules & Regulations

RULES AND REGULATIONS for the Government of the Mayor and City Council of Cumberland

The following rules and regulations are hereby prescribed for the government of the Mayor and City Council:

RULE 1: Meanings; Rules of Interpretation

The following terms shall have the meanings and shall be interpreted as set forth below, but solely for the purposes of these Rules and Regulations:

 “Closed meeting” means a meeting of the Council which is closed to the public.

 “Council” means the Mayor and City Council collectively.

 “Majority vote” means a majority vote of the members of the Council that are present at a meeting.

 “Majority vote of all of the members of the Council” means a majority vote of all of the members of the Council; not just those present at a meeting.

 “Meeting” or “meeting of the Council” means a meeting of the Council that is open to the public.

 “Order” means an order passed by a majority of the members of the Council present at a meeting of the Council.

 “Poll” or “Polling” means a written determination on an “administrative function”, as defined by Section 3-101(b) of the General Provisions Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, made by all of the members of the Council outside of a meeting.

 “Quorum” or “Quorum of the Council” means a majority of the members of the Council. 

 “Rules and Regulations” means these Rules and Regulations for the Government of the Mayor and City Council of Cumberland.

 “Writing” includes electronically submitted documents.

RULE 2: Regular Meetings

The Council shall meet at least twice monthly on the first and third Tuesdays of the month unless a single meeting date is changed by majority vote of the members of Council as determined or unless the meeting dates are changed indefinitely by majority vote at such times as may be prescribed by order of the Council, unless the same be a public holiday, in which event they shall meet the next day at such time as may be prescribed by order of the Council; provided, however, that a semi-monthly meeting may, by a majority vote of the Council, be postponed to another day, at such time as the Council shall determine, when the Council considers a postponement to be necessary or appropriate. 

RULE 3: Meeting Place

 Meetings of the Council shall be held at the Council’s Chambers in City Hall. No meeting shall be held elsewhere except upon the approval of a majority of the City Council. Such approval may be obtained by polling the councilpersons outside of a meeting. A poll conducted outside of a meeting is an administrative function and, as such, is exempt from the terms of the Maryland Open Meetings Act. 

RULE 4: Call to Order

Precisely at the time designated by order, the President of the Council shall take the chair and call the Council to order.

RULE 5: Order of Business

As applicable, the order of business at the regular meetings of the Council shall be:

I. Recital of the Pledge of Allegiance

II. Roll Call

III. Statement of Closed Meeting

IV. Proclamations

V. Certificates and Awards 

VI. Presentations

VII. City Administrator’s Report

VIII. Directors’ Reports

IX. Approval of Minutes

X. Public Comment Exclusively on Agenda Items 

XI. Public Hearings

XII. Unfinished Business

XIII. New Business

XIV. Public Comments on Matters other than Agenda Items

XV. Adjournment

RULE 6: Special Meetings

Special meetings of the Council may be held at any time on the call of the President or two (2) members of the Council, as soon as practicable after the agenda has been determined, but no later than twenty-four (24) hours before the special meeting, unless it is scheduled in response to an emergency, a natural disaster, or any other unanticipated situation, in which event, advance notice as is practicable under the circumstances shall be given.

RULE 7: President of the Council

The Mayor of the City of Cumberland shall act as President of the Council. The President shall preside over and preserve order and decorum at all meetings and special meetings. However, in the absence of the Mayor or if he is present but unable to serve as President or wishes to cede his powers as such temporarily, the councilpersons who are present shall elect a president pro tem. The President may speak on all matters before the Council and shall have the right to vote upon all of such matters; provided, however, that the President shall not have the authority to move or second a matter for consideration or action by the Council. The President shall appoint all committees unless otherwise directed by the Council.

RULE 8: Motions – when reduced to writing

Every motion or proposition shall be reduced to writing on the call of any member, and a motion made and seconded shall be deemed in possession of the Council and shall be stated by the President or read by the City Clerk prior to debate, and may be withdrawn at any time by the movant prior to a vote being taken. The President shall afford the members of the Council the opportunity to comment or debate upon the subject matter of the motion before a vote is taken. The President may offer comments or participate in the debate.

RULE 9: Discussion of pending question

After a motion has been seconded, the members of Council, including the Mayor, shall have up to one-half (1/2) of an hour to discuss the subject matter the motion. Upon the conclusion of the discussion, if any, a vote shall be taken.

RULE 10: Appropriation or expenditure of monies

The passage of all ordinances, resolutions or orders appropriating money shall be by “yeas“ and “nays,” and the vote shall be recorded in the minutes; and any order, ordinance, resolution, or motion for the expenditure of any sum of money in excess of Twenty-five Thousand Dollars ($25,000.00) shall go to the next meeting before action can be taken thereon, except by unanimous consent. The City’s Purchasing Policy (Division 3, Article IV, Chapter 2) shall supersede any term of this Rule which is inconsistent therewith.

RULE 11: Readings of Ordinances / Charter Amendment Resolutions

Except as provided hereinafter, every ordinance and charter amendment resolution shall be read three (3) times by title before a vote is taken upon its passage; and no ordinance or charter amendment resolution shall be amended except upon its second reading, and the second reading can only be dispensed with by unanimous consent. Every ordinance and charter amendment resolution shall be read the first time at the meeting at which it shall be introduced. It shall then lie on the table until the next regular meeting, when it shall be read the second time. After the second reading, the President shall offer the Council and members of the public an opportunity to comment upon the measure. Thereafter, it may be read the third time, after which a vote shall be taken thereon. Such measures shall pass upon a majority vote. Upon the unanimous consent of the members of Council present, an ordinance or charter amendment resolution may be read all three (3) times and voted upon at the meeting of its first reading. After an ordinance or charter amendment resolution has been read a third time, the only business in order is the call of the role upon its final passage. 

RULE 12: Amending Ordinances

It shall be the duty of the Council, in amending any part of an ordinance previously passed or of a code of ordinances, to ordain the same as the chapter, section, and subsection would read when amended. 

RULE 13: Consent Agenda/Orders

Every Council order shall be placed on a consent agenda; provided, however, that any member of the Council may request to have an order removed from the consent agenda and voted on separately. Orders may be passed or rescinded upon a majority vote.

RULE 14: Protests

A protest of a member against any action taken by the Council shall be entered in the minutes.

RULE 15: Reports

All reports to the Council shall be in writing and shall signed or submitted electronically by the person making the report. The individual submitting the report shall state his/her recommendations to the Council at the end of the report.

RULE 16: Charges

Charges against an officer of the City or member of the Council shall always be preferred in writing. Such proceedings shall be had thereon as are provided by the City Charter.

RULE 17: Destroying Quorum

No member shall retire from a meeting of the Council or remain away for the purpose of destroying a quorum. Abstention from voting shall only be permitted for cause. Any member violating this rule may be arraigned before the Council and, if found guilty by a majority vote of all of the members of the Council, may be fined or expelled from the Council. Proceedings for the violation of this rule shall be in the manner and form provided by the City Charter.

RULE 18: Public Comment

Any person desiring to address the Council shall first secure permission from the President. Upon securing said permission, such person must approach a microphone and state his or her name and address. Remarks must be directed to the matter being considered except during the portion of the agenda for public comments on matters other than agenda items. 

Each person desiring to address the Council shall be allotted five (5) minutes to do so as to each agenda item, as well as during the portion of a meeting devoted to public comments on matters other than agenda items. Persons present at a meeting may not cede their time to speak to any other person. If a member of the Council asks questions or otherwise comments on the speaker’s statements, the time the Council member spoke and that which the speaker devotes to answering the question shall not reduce the speaker’s five (5) minute allocation. Councilpersons should withhold their questions and comments until a speaker has concluded his/her comments.

RULE 19: Decorum

All persons shall preserve order and decorum at meetings of the Council. Ideally, meeting attendees shall comport themselves in a courteous manner. Any person who makes personal attacks or impertinent, slanderous, offensive or threatening remarks, or who refuses to abide by these Rules or who remains boisterous after being asked to stop doing so by the President, shall be barred from further attendance at the meeting by the President unless permission for continued attendance is granted by a majority vote of the Council.

Persons committing acts of violence or threatening violence at a meeting of the Council shall be permanently banned from City Hall unless accompanied by a member of the Cumberland Police Department for such matters the person must be present for except that such persons may not attend meetings of the Council.

The Chief of the Cumberland Police Department or the Chief’s designee shall, upon request of the President, designate one or more of the officers of the said Police Department to serve as sergeant(s)-at-arms at the meetings. Upon the direction of the President, the sergeant(s)-at-arms shall eject such persons who violate these Rules and Regulations, unless such person’s continued attendance is permitted by majority vote of the Council.

RULE 20: Presentation

Any presentation made to the Council under the presentations section of the Order of Business shall be made in writing and presented to the City Clerk at least five (5) days before the date of the meeting at which the presentation will be made. Exclusive of time spent answering questions, presentations shall be limited to twenty (20) minutes.

RULE 21: Closed Meetings

Meetings of the Council shall be open to the public; provided, however, that the Council may meet in closed session or may adjourn an open meeting into a closed session for any of those purposes enumerated in Section 3-305 of the General Provisions Article of the Annotated Code of Maryland, as amended from time to time. 

Before the Council meets in closed session, the President shall: (i) conduct a recorded vote on the closure of the session; and (ii) make a written statement of the reason for closing the meeting, including a citation of the authority for the closed session, and a listing of the topics to be discussed. If a person objects to the closure of a session, the public body shall send a copy of the written statement to the Board. 

Written minutes shall be kept of all closed meetings.. These minutes shall be prepared as soon as practicable under the circumstances and may not be open to public inspection except for the reasons provided in Section 3-306(c)(4) of the said General Provisions Article. 

A statement of the time, place, and purpose of any closed meeting, the record of the vote of each member by which any meeting was closed, a citation of the statutory authority for closing the meeting, and a listing of the topics of discussion, persons present, and each action taken during the closed meeting, shall be included in the minutes of the next regular meeting of the Council.

RULE 22: Suspension of Rules

Any of these Rules and Regulations, other than those prescribed by law, may be suspended at any time upon the consent of a majority of the members present at any meeting.

RULE 23: Robert’s Rules of Order

Meetings of the Council shall be conducted in accordance with the above-referenced provisions. “Robert’s Rules of Order” may serve as a guide for the conduct of said meetings, but compliance with its terms is not required. 


2007-01-09 Order 24,496

2007-09-04 Order 24,617

2013-03-13 Ordinance 3735 (Purchasing Policy)

2017-09-19 Order 26,189

2018-07-17 Order 26,320

2022-11-15 Order 27,135