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December 16, 2004
Mr. Raymond Ferguson
1301 West Main
P.O. Box 488
Re: (1) Enacting ordinances
(2) Overriding vetoes
Dear Mr. Ferguson:
You have asked MTAS to advise the City of Decherd as to the number of votes needed to pass an ordinance and to override a Mayoral veto.
The Charter of the City of Decherd provides for a Board of Aldermen of four members. Section 9 of the charter provides that a majority of the members to which the Board of Mayor and Aldermen is entitled shall be a quorum to do business. A majority of four is three. A minimum of three members is therefore required to constitute a quorum. Once a quorum is established, a majority of the quorum is required to enact an ordinance, resolution, or motion. That means that if three aldermen are present, two votes are required to enact an ordinance, resolution, or motion. If all four members are present, three votes are required (a majority) to enact an ordinance, resolution, or motion.
Section 10 of the Charter of the City of Decherd provides that the Board of Aldermen may override the Mayor’s veto with a 2/3 vote. The charter does not say 2/3 of the members to which the board is entitled. In the absence of such a provision, a vote of 2/3 of the quorum is required to override a mayoral veto. If three members are present, a vote of two members is sufficient to override a veto. If four members are present, a vote of three members is required to override a veto.
Your charter is somewhat unusual in that a ¾ vote is required to enact an ordinance, resolution, or motion, if all members are present, and that means three of four votes. That is an extra-ordinary majority to simply conduct the city’s business.
Please advise me if I may provide further assistance.
Don Darden, UT (MTAS)