City of Cambridge
(ADOPTED ON JANUARY 29, 2018)
RULES OF THE CITY COUNCIL
These rules, after adoption by the City Council, shall be published and made available to the public.
Rule 1. At all meetings of the City Council five (5) Councillors shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.
DUTIES AND POWERS OF THE CHAIR
Rule 2. On the first Monday of January, following the regular municipal election, the City Council shall by a majority vote of all the members elected, elect a mayor from its own members who shall preside at all meetings of the City Council and perform such other duties as are prescribed in section one hundred (100) of Chapter 43 of the General Laws, and any acts in amendment thereof or supplementary thereto. The City Council shall, in like manner, elect a Vice-Chair who shall also be called Vice-Mayor.
Rule 3. The Mayor shall take the chair at the hour to which the City Council has adjourned and call the members to order. In the absence of the Mayor, the Vice-Chair of the City Council shall preside and, in the absence of both, the most senior member in length of service or if more than one have so served then the member senior in both age and length of service who is present shall serve as chair during the absence of both the Mayor and Vice-chair.
Rule 4. The Mayor shall preserve decorum and order, and may speak to points of order, in preference to other members. The Mayor shall decide all questions of order, subject to an appeal to the City Council. If the ruling of the chair is questioned, no other business shall be in order until the question on the appeal shall have been decided; the question shall be put as follows: "Shall the decision of the chair stand as the judgment of the City Council?" The vote shall be by roll call, and it shall be decided in the affirmative unless a majority of the votes are to the contrary.
Rule 5. The Mayor shall declare all votes. If any member doubts the vote, the chair without further debate upon the question, shall require the members voting in the affirmative and negative, respectively, to be counted; the Mayor shall declare the results, but no such declaration shall be made unless a quorum of the City Council has voted.
Rule 6. All final votes of the City Council on questions involving the expenditure of fifty dollars or more, or upon the request of any member, any vote of the City Council shall be by yeas and nays and shall be entered on the records.
Rule 7. All petitions, memorials, communications or any matter before the City Council may be referred as follows:
Any member offering a motion, order or resolution which is referred to a committee shall be given a hearing on the same by the committee before a report is made thereon, provided he or she so requests at the time of the communication, or before final action by the committee.
Rule 8. The chair shall put all questions in the order in which they are moved, unless the subsequent motion be previous in its nature, except that in naming sums and fixing times, the largest sum and the longest time shall be first put. After a motion has been put by the chair, it shall not be withdrawn except by unanimous consent.
Rule 9. When a question is under debate the chair shall receive no motion, but
To Lay on the Table.
To Postpone to a certain day.
For the Previous Question.
To Postpone indefinitely.
These motions shall have precedence in the above order. A motion to adjourn shall be in order at any time except upon immediate repetition. A motion to adjourn, to lay on the table, to take from the table, or for the previous question shall be decided without debate.
Rule 10. The previous question shall be put in the following form: "Shall the main question be put?" and all further amendments or debates of the main question shall be suspended until the previous question is decided.
Rule 11. When two or more members ask to be recognized at once, the chair shall name the member who is entitled to the floor.
RIGHTS AND DUTIES OF MEMBERS
Rule 12. Every member, when about to speak shall respectfully address the chair, and wait to be recognized. The member shall confine his or her remarks to the question under debate and avoid personalities.
Rule 13. No member speaking shall be interrupted by another except to make a point of order, request an explanation, or request a point of personal privilege.
Rule 14. No member shall vote on any question, or serve on any committee, where his or her private interest is immediately concerned distinct from that of the public. The City Council shall by ordinance establish and implement a code of ethics for its members and for all city employees.
Rule 15. When a question is put, every member present shall vote unless the City Council for special reasons excuses him or her. A vote of "Present" shall be accepted by the chair and so recorded. Application to be excused from voting must be made before the vote of the City Council has been decided. Such application shall be accompanied by a brief statement of the reasons and shall be decided without debate.
Rule 16. A question having been taken, it shall not be in order for any member to move a reconsideration thereof at the same meeting. A motion to reconsider may be made at the next meeting, provided written notice of such motion has been filed with the City Clerk within thirty-six hours of the day of the vote, Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays to be excluded in the computation of the thirty-six hours. No more than one motion for reconsideration of any vote shall be entertained. Any member may move reconsideration; if reconsideration is not moved prior to the adjournment of the next regular or special meeting called for that particular purpose, the action taken by the City Council stands.
SPECIAL EVENTS PRESENTATIONS AND REGULAR MEETINGS
Rule 17. Special Events Presentations.
Before any regular meetings there may be a SPECIAL EVENTS PRESENTATION. At this time special events will be presented and may be broadcast on cable television. Special Events Presentations will be scheduled through the Mayor’s Office. The Special Events Presentations will conclude at 5:30pm. No quorum of the City Council is required.
Rule 18. Regular Meetings.
All regular meetings of the City Council shall be held in the Sullivan Chamber, City Hall, or, if agreed to by a majority of the City Council, at any other suitable public building within the City of Cambridge, at 5:30pm on Monday of each week, from the first Monday in January to and including the last Monday in June, and from the second Monday in September to and including the last Monday in December.
When a meeting day falls on a holiday, the succeeding Monday shall be the meeting. The City Council may at any meeting, by a majority vote, decide to discontinue any future meeting previously scheduled. All City Council meetings shall end no later than 12:00 midnight.
Rule 19. The Mayor, or the Vice-Chair of the City Council, or any four members thereof, may at any time call a special meeting by causing written notices, stating the time of holding such meeting and signed by the person calling the same, to be delivered in hand to each member of the City Council, or left at his or her usual dwelling place, or delivered electronically with at least forty-eight hours’ notice (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays) to all members and with notice provided to the public by posting same at least forty-eight hours (excluding Saturdays, Sundays and legal holidays) prior to each meeting.
Rule 20. Any ordinance, order or resolution may be passed through all its stages of legislation at one session, provided that no member of the City Council objects thereto; but if any member of the City Council objects, the measure shall be postponed for that meeting (the “Charter Right”.) (Chapter 43, Section 22 of the General Laws.)
Any member may move the item, which has been subject to the Charter Right. If no action is taken at the next regular meeting by any member, then the item will be removed from the City Council Calendar.
Upon the objection of one Councillor, no action may be taken on any item not on the Calendar of the day and shall not be acted upon until the next regular meeting.
Rule 21. All matters of whatever description which require action by the City Council at its meeting shall be presented to the City Clerk by 3:00pm on the Thursday preceding the regular meeting. During a week in which a legal holiday falls on a Friday, said matters shall be presented to the City Clerk by 3:00pm on the Wednesday preceding the regular meeting. In the event of City Hall closure the City Clerk, after consultation with the City Manager, may change the deadline accordingly for when matters must be presented to the City Clerk for inclusion on the agenda. Communications submitted later will be held over for the next regular meeting, except that where the City Manager believes that emergency or exigent circumstances require him or her to present to the City Council a matter which was not presented to the City Clerk by the 3:00pm deadline, the City Manager may present such matters to the City Council at its meeting in writing as part of a Supplemental Agenda of the City Manager. The City Clerk shall include with the minutes of the meeting any Communications from the public that were received at the meeting during Public Comment.
Rule 22. The City Clerk shall prepare the minutes of the previous regular and/or special meetings and a calendar of all matters to come before the City Council at each meeting in accordance with the established order of business and shall deliver electronically or to the residence of each City Councillor a copy of the same not later than twenty-four hours prior to said meeting. On all matters on which there has been a roll-call vote, the minutes shall reflect the votes of the individual members.
Rule 23. The City Clerk is authorized by these rules to order and publish notice of hearings on petitions presented to him or her regarding public hearings before the Council.
ORDER OF BUSINESS
Rule 24A. At every regular meeting of this City Council, except for roundtable/working meetings, the order of business shall be as follows:
1. Public Comment.
2. Reading of the record, if requested by the City Council.
3. Motions for Reconsideration
4. Manager's Consent Agenda
5. Communications from the City Manager (Manager's non-Consent Agenda)
6. Unfinished business from preceding meetings
a. Charter Rights
b. On the Table
c. Unfinished Business
7. Consent Applications for permits or petitions which require City Council approval or referral.
a. Non-Consent applications and petitions.
8. Consent communications (petitions, memorials and other communications from individuals, employees and others, which do not require action by the City Council).
a. Non-Consent communications.
9. Consent resolutions.
a. Non-Consent resolutions
10. Consent policy orders and resolutions.
a. Non-Consent policy orders and resolutions
11. Committee Reports
12. Roundtable/working meeting minutes
13. Communications and Reports from City Officers
Requests to the City Manager for information regarding matters that have previously been referred to him or her and for repair or replacement of items or attention to or implementation of matters which do not require City Council action shall not be placed on the agenda but shall be referred directly to the City Manager by the member making the request.
RULE 24B. At least six, but not limited to twelve meetings per year may be roundtable/working meetings; three of which will be with the School Committee. The date for a particular roundtable/working meeting shall be set by majority vote at a prior regular business meeting or at a special meeting. At a roundtable/working meeting, no votes shall be taken except upon a motion to adjourn. The roundtable/working meeting shall be broadcast on cable television and live streamed. The Mayor shall determine the agenda for the roundtable/working meeting in consultation with the City Manager and other members of the City Council.
RULE 24C. Public Comment.
1. Regular business meetings
a. Under the provisions of Chapter 43, Section 98 of the General Laws, Tercentenary Edition, individuals and employees of the city shall have reasonable opportunity to be heard at any meeting of the City Council in regard to any matter considered thereat. Opportunities for individuals and employees of the City to be heard at all regular meetings, except for roundtable/working meetings, shall be provided directly after the reading of the record, if requested by the City Council (submission of the record of the previous meeting). Members of the public may comment upon items in the following categories of business: Motions for reconsideration, City Manager’s consent agenda, Unfinished business from preceding meetings, Applications and Petitions requiring approval or referral by the City Council, Consent resolutions, Consent Policy orders and resolutions relating to policy analysis or development, Committee Reports, Roundtable/Working Meeting Minutes, Communications and Reports from other City Officers and Late Policy Orders and Resolutions. Each speaker shall limit his or her comments to no more than three minutes.
b. Procedure: An individual may sign up to speak before the City Council via telephone to the City Council office on Mondays from 9:00am to 3:00pm, or online via the City's website, starting at 9:00am on the Friday before the meeting. On Mondays, between 5:00pm and 6:00pm a computer terminal will be available to the public in the City Council Office for online signup. The individual must indicate on the sign up sheet which item(s) he or she is planning to address.
2. Roundtable/working meetings.
Public comment shall not take place at roundtable/working meetings of the City Council, where no matter being discussed may be finally considered, in that no votes may be taken. Written comments will be accepted and made part of the record of the roundtable/working meeting. The opportunity for the public to make oral comments on items discussed at roundtable/working meetings shall be at the regular meeting at which the item may be considered for action by the City Council.
Rule 24D. Each consent agenda is voted on in its entirety, with no discussion. By request of a single City Councillor, item(s) may be removed for separate vote. Upon such request, the item will be moved to the appropriate section of the agenda. Placement of items on the City Manager's Consent Agenda shall be determined by the City Manager. Placement of items on the Communications Consent Agenda shall be at the discretion of the City Clerk.
Rule 24E. The City Clerk shall include the written statement of the mission and goals or priorities of the City Council and the City Manager with the materials prepared for the agenda of the City Council for its weekly meeting.
Rule 25. The seats of the members of the City Council shall be determined by the City Clerk in consultation with the members; no member shall change his seat but by permission of the Chair.
COMMUNICATIONS AND COMMITTEES
Rule 26. All communications, petitions, or resolutions addressed to the City Council, which require action by the City Council at its meeting shall be filed with the City Clerk. The City Clerk shall place all new communications on the agenda for the next regular City Council meeting. Upon receipt of a communication that is a substantially unchanged copy of a previously submitted communication, the City Clerk shall not place the communication on the agenda and shall transmit said communication to the Mayor. Any communication, petition, or resolution that does not meet the agenda deadline specified in Rule Twenty-One shall be held over for the subsequent City Council agenda unless it is of an emergency nature.
Rule 27. The Mayor shall appoint the standing committees of the City Council. The Mayor shall appoint a chair for each committee and may at his or her discretion appoint co-chairs for the committees that consist of at least five members. In the absence of the chair and co-chair of the committee the most senior member in length of service or if more than one have so served then the member senior in both age and length of service who is present shall chair. The City Clerk or his or her designee shall staff each committee and where deemed appropriate, the chair may request additional staff help through the City Manager.
Each committee shall meet regularly to review matters referred to it by the City Council or to take up other matters within its domain. To the extent possible, matters of policy shall be referred to the appropriate committee, so that careful study and consideration can be given to the subject matter. Where appropriate, the committee shall work with other committees of the City Council to assure the coordination of related aspects within the purview of those committees. The committee shall make policy and other recommendations to the City Council as a whole for discussion, consideration and adoption. The committee may monitor implementation of City Council policies related to the subject matter within its purview as authorized by the City Council. If so authorized by the City Council, the committee may represent policy interests related to its subject matter at committees of the General Court of Massachusetts.
It is the goal of the City Council to involve individuals actively in the work of city government through these committees. All committees shall work with community and neighborhood groups and committees on issues that relate to these groups' mandates and interests. The committee staff shall keep lists of interested parties and shall keep individuals informed of the meetings and deliberations of the committees.
The standing committees of the City Council shall be as follows:
ORDINANCE COMMITTEE – A committee of the whole consisting of the Mayor and eight City Councillors – the quorum shall be three members.
- To consider the merit of any ordinance presented to the City Council and to consider the form and legality thereof;
- To consider all legal matters for which no other provision is made; and
- To represent general interests of the city before committees of the General Court when so authorized by a vote of the City Council.
FINANCE COMMITTEE – A committee of the whole consisting of the mayor and eight City Councillors – the quorum shall be three five members.
- To consider all matters relating to the financial interests of the city, including the city budget, sources of city revenue, appropriations and loans, and city bonding capacity;
- To work with the City Manager and other officers of the city for the financial benefit the city; and
- To work with groups and committees that might be formed from time to time to consider the financial health of the city.
GOVERNMENT OPERATIONS, RULES AND CLAIMS COMMITTEE - A committee of five City Councillors – the quorum shall be two members.
- To consider matters relating to the effective delivery of city services, the functions and operation of city government and city departments; and to consider the rules of the City Council and its committees and to recommend amendments and changes thereto;
- To consider matters relating to the hiring and evaluation of employees who report to the City Council;
- To consider claims that have been filed against the city.
ECONOMIC DEVELOPMENT AND UNIVERSITY RELATIONS COMMITTEE – A committee of five City Councillors – the quorum shall be two members.
- To consider all issues regarding the relationship between the city, educational institutions, and other partners within the city, to develop policies and programs that will enhance economic development in the city and expand employment opportunities for Cambridge residents;
- To develop policies that will facilitate the regular and timely exchange of information between institutions, partners in the community, and the city administration and City Council, and monitor implementation;
- To review and evaluate agreements between the city and institutions for payments made by institutions in lieu of property taxes, develop policies to ensure that the agreements are fair and equitable, and monitor implementation;
- To monitor and improve existing employment programs.
HOUSING COMMITTEE - A committee of five City Councillors – the quorum shall be two members.
- To develop policies for the maintenance and development of housing, with an emphasis on the needs of low income and working people;
- To coordinate with city and other agencies as necessary toward this goal;
- To monitor implementation.
CIVIC UNITY COMMITTEE - A committee of five City Councillors – the quorum shall be two members.
- To promote civic unity
- To consider matters relating to the civil rights, human rights, race and class relations, and other aspects of civic unity in the City of Cambridge;
- To work with city and other agencies that deal with these issues;
- To respond to incidents or concerns that are brought to the attention of the City Council relating to civil and human rights, race and class relations and other aspects of civic unity and to bring in the appropriate agencies, departments or legal services to assist in responding to such incidents; and
- To develop needed policies and legislation in this area.
HEALTH AND ENVIRONMENT COMMITTEE - A committee of five City Councillors – the quorum shall be two members.
- To consider and monitor matters relating to the health of the people of Cambridge and to improve city policies relating to health programs;
- To consider matters relating to the physical environment of the city including without limitation issues relating to air and water quality, solid and hazardous waste, climate change, visual quality and the environmental impact of development and the sustainability of our physical environment.
HUMAN SERVICES COMMITTEE AND VETERANS' COMMITTEE - A committee of five City Councillors – the quorum shall be two members.
- To develop and support policies assuring a broad human service delivery system to be provided by the city, other levels of government, and non-profit and private agencies for children, youth, families, single adults and seniors of all backgrounds;
- To study policies, overall planning, and the delivery of human services to Cambridge people;
- To make recommendations to the City Council to improve the scope and quality of these services and to locate new sources of funding;
- To consider all matters affecting veteran services and benefits of the City.
NEIGHBORHOOD AND LONG TERM PLANNING, PUBLIC FACILITIES, ART AND CELEBRATIONS COMMITTEE - A committee of five City Councillors – the quorum shall be two members.
- To enhance the quality of life in Cambridge as it relates to the livability of neighborhoods, public art and art projects, and public celebrations;
- To consider all matters relating to land use planning, sustainability, open space, public facilities and public buildings, industrial and commercial development, especially as they relate to linkage and neighborhood protection, and other long-range planning;
- To consider matters related to the appearance of squares and neighborhoods of the city and their upkeep, and public planting.
PUBLIC SAFETY - A committee of five City Councillors – the quorum shall be two members.
- To consider all matter affecting the public safety of Cambridge; and
- To review matters relating to the performance, organization, and effectiveness of the police and fire departments, the Inspectional Services Department as it relates to public safety issues, and the Police Review Board.
TRANSPORTATION AND PUBLIC UTILITIES COMMITTEE - A committee of five City Councillors – the quorum shall be two members.
- To consider and recommend to the City Council policies on matters affecting transportation, traffic and parking;
- To monitor transportation proposals and services of all kinds which affect Cambridge;
- To develop policies which promote a multi-model and environmentally friendly traffic and transportation program which will balance the needs of residents and employees at a minimal cost to the environment.
- To consider issues relating to utilities and telecommunications, and consumer protection issues related therein.
Rule 28. Every committee of the City Council to which any subject may be referred shall report on the subject within a reasonable time from the time of referral. Any committee report that has not been signed by the chair of the committee within seven days after submission of the committee report by the City Clerk will be placed on the City Council agenda unsigned. In the case that the chair of any committee shall fail for thirty (30) days from the time any subject has been referred to it to call a hearing of the committee, a quorum of the committee may call a hearing of said committee. Notice of all committee hearings must be given at least forty-eight (48) hours before the time of the hearing.
Rule 29. Minutes shall be kept of all committee proceedings. All minutes, reports, and papers shall be submitted to the City Council by the City Clerk or his or her designee. Recommendations of each committee shall be made to the City Council for consideration and adoption.
Rule 30. The Councillor first named thereto shall be the chair of any committee of which he or she is a member, and in case of his or her resignation or inability to serve, another member of the committee shall be named by the Mayor.
Rule 31. No person will be admitted within the rail in the Sullivan Chamber or in Members' Lobby connected with said chamber at any meeting of the City Council except upon permission of the chair.
Rule 32A. Public hearings may be requested for matters of public interest or of legislative requirement. Public hearings may be held during regular business meetings of the City Council. The City Council shall refer such requests to a committee of the City Council. If the City Council deems it advisable, it may direct that the hearing be televised.
Rule 32B. The time devoted to public hearings shall not be more than two (2) hours at any one sitting. Any hearing not completed within the specified time may be continued to another meeting.
Any individual appearing before the City Council at a public hearing and claiming to represent another as agent or otherwise in the matter of being heard shall file with the City Council a written authorization signed by the individual, organization or corporation whose interests such individual represents.
There shall be a three (3) to five (5) minute time limit for each speaker or, at the discretion of the chair where because the number of speakers or other circumstances would cause difficulty in completing the agenda for the hearing for each speaker to express her or his views on the matter being heard by the City Council. Speakers will be required to address themselves solely to the issue which is before the City Council for discussion and shall not engage in personal or rude remarks.
In all hearings before the City Council, the case of the petitioner shall be submitted first, except in matters affecting acceptance of highways or taking by right of eminent domain.
Rule 32C. The Housing Committee will hold a public hearing to review the City Manager’s appointments to the Cambridge Housing Authority prior to the City Council confirmation on the appointments.
The Neighborhood and Long Term Planning, Public Facilities, Arts and Celebration Committee, or other suitable committee, will hold a public hearing to review the City Manager’s appointments to the Cambridge Redevelopment Authority prior to the City Council confirmation of the appointments.
ORDINANCES AND ORDERS
Rule 33. All by-laws passed by the City Council shall be termed ordinances, and the enacting style shall be "Be it ordained by the City Council of the City of Cambridge." In all votes by which the City Council expresses anything by order or command the form of expression shall by "Ordered," and in all votes by which the City Council expresses opinions, principles, facts or purposes, the form shall be "Resolved."
Rule 34. The City Clerk shall determine the newspaper of the city in which shall be published any loan order or any ordinance and said publication shall be made in each newspaper in regular order, beginning with the oldest publication.
Rule 35. Every ordinance and every order, resolution or vote shall after its passage remain in the possession of the City Clerk for thirty-six (36) hours after the day of the meeting for the purpose of giving any Councillor among those whose votes prevailed an opportunity to file notice of his or her intention to move reconsideration.
AMENDMENT AND SUSPENSION
Rule 36A. Any of the foregoing rules with the exception of Rule 20 may be suspended at any meeting by a two-thirds yea and nay vote of the entire membership of the City Council, provided that suspension of the rules to take up an item of business out of order may be moved only one time per meeting by each member. This limitation does not apply to motions to suspend the rules to move reconsideration hoping the same does not prevail. No suspension of the rules shall be required to allow consideration of ceremonial resolutions (which appear on the agenda as Resolutions) filed after the meeting agenda is closed or before resolutions are voted on at the meeting. A roll call vote for suspension of the rules to consider late policy orders shall be required to allow consideration of policy orders at the end of the regular business meeting, after the regular order of business has been concluded. Late policy orders shall only be considered in an emergency or if action is required before the next regular meeting.
Rule 36B. No amendments or additions to the rules may be enacted until at least seven days have elapsed from the date of the submission of the proposed changes or additions and require a majority vote of the entire membership of the City Council.
ROBERTS' RULES OF ORDER
Rule 37. The City Council shall be governed by "Roberts' Rules of Order" in all questions of parliamentary practice not provided for by these rules.
RULES OF COURTESY
1. No one shall delay or interrupt the proceedings, or refuse to obey the orders of the presiding officer.
2. All persons shall refrain from any private conversation, which would interfere with the proper conduct of the meeting or hearing.
3. No food or beverages of any kind except water is permitted in the public section of the Sullivan Chamber.
4. Signs, posters and placards must remain outside the Sullivan Chamber.
5. People are admitted to the Sullivan Chamber up to the fire safety capacity of the room which includes the balcony. Overflow crowds may listen to the proceedings on loud speakers and television provided in the hallway.
6. All persons shall confine their remarks to the question under debate and avoid personalities. The following will not be tolerated: uttering fighting words, slander, speeches invasive of the privacy of individuals, unreasonably loud or repetitive speech, and/or speech so disruptive of City Council proceedings that the legislative process is substantially interrupted. Any person engaging in behavior that disrupts the proceedings such that the legislative process is substantially interrupted will be warned once by the chair that if his or her disruptive behavior continues he or she will be requested to withdraw from the meeting, and if the behavior continues, the speaker will be asked to withdraw from the meeting. If the speaker does not withdraw from the meeting as requested by the chair, the chair may authorize a constable or other officer to remove the person from the meeting.
7. All rules of decorum and conduct for comment established by these rules shall be applicable to all individuals attending a meeting or hearing.
8. Every person addressing the City Council shall speak into the microphone and shall state the person’s name and address in an audible tone of voice for the record. All remarks shall be addressed to the City Council as a body through the chair, and not to any individual member thereof.
9. While in the Sullivan Chamber, all persons with cell phones, pagers or other devices emitting audible signals shall either set the device to a non-audible signal mode or turn off the device.
RULES OF TRAVEL
Rule 39. The City Council’s travel and incidental expenses thereto shall be approved by five members of the City Council through the budget process. All individual expenses will be substantiated by receipts and requests for payments will be approved by the City Auditor prior to reimbursement. The City Auditor shall be required to keep copies of Travel Expense Reports for all City Council travel expenditures reimbursed by the City and make the same available on request to all interested persons. The City Council may adopt a Travel Policy consistent with this rule to specify acceptable travel arrangements and limitations on reimbursable expenses. (RULE 39 AMENDED SEPTEMBER 8, 2014 – TRAVEL POLICY IS APPENDED TO THE RULES)
Cambridge City Council
Travel Policy as Amended
ADOPTED SEPTEMBER 8, 2014
AMENDED JANUARY 29, 2018
The City Council recognizes the value of travel for purposes clearly related to the overall improvement of the City and travel for the purpose of assisting the individual City Councillor in performing his or her official duties. City Council travel should be as economical as possible.
2. City Council Travel Budget
The City Council will set a total amount for annual travel expenses, based on the amount it considers reasonable for each member to expend each year for travel which relates to city business. The Executive Assistant to the City Council shall keep individual travel budgets for each City Councillor, to which an equal allocation of the total travel budget shall be made.
a. Travel plans for which the individual City Councillor expects reimbursement up to the amount budgeted for an individual Councillor do not require pre-approval by the City Council. except that there will be no reimbursement for travel outside the continental United States without prior approval of the City Council.
b. A member of the City Council who anticipates utilizing more than the total annual amount budgeted for his or her travel must request approval from the City Council for funding for additional travel relating to the member’s duties or official capacity as a City Councillor. Said request shall be made by submission of a proposed order for the City Council’s consideration and vote at a regular business meeting.
c. The Mayor’s travel budget is approved separately, and mayoral expenses are not included in the City Council travel budget. In all other respects, the travel policy applies to the entire City Council, including the Mayor.
3. Travel Arrangements
All arrangements for air travel, lodging and rental cars will be made by the Executive Assistant to the City Council and the Assistant to the Mayor, and not by individual City Councillors, except in unusual or unforeseen circumstance, or where the individual City Councillor is able to make a less expensive travel arrangement. Sound business practices should be followed at all times.
Councillors should provide as much advance notice of travel requirements as possible to enable the staff to obtain advantageous rates for airfares, conference registration and lodging.
Travel arrangements should be made by government or convention rates whenever possible. Care should be taken to make cost effective arrangements, such as utilizing super-saver rates. The City will pay only for standard hotel rooms, standard or “coach” A (no premium or First Class) airfare and midsize rental cars. The City will not pay for flight insurance. All additional costs caused by family members or other persons traveling with the City Council member will be the obligation of the City Councillor.
Economical travel is favored. If by extending travel through Saturday, airfare savings exceed additional hotel, meals, car rental and other expenses, then such an extension is allowed.
4. Travel Expense Reimbursement
All payments to City Councillor for their City Council travel expenses shall be by reimbursement. No expenses will be reimbursed without proper documentation and an expense report. City Councillors shall utilize the City of Cambridge Travel Expense Report required by the City Manager for all City Employee travel.
Proper documentation must include itemized receipts, except for the food category when an alternative reimbursement allowance is requested. The expense report must clearly state the purpose of the travel. Allowance amounts are as follows:
Transportation: Air or Rail
Standard or economy fare.
Related ground travel: Actual cost of trips between home – airport/train station, airport/train station – lodging and returns.
Transportation: Personal Automobile
Travel by personal automobile will be reimbursed per mile up to 450 miles one way at the City’s per mile reimbursement rate in effect at the time of the trip. The City will also reimburse toll expenses upon production of the relevant receipts. The City will only reimburse one day’s worth of per diem expenses for each leg of a trip except in cases of extraordinary and unforeseen events such as extreme weather that cause an unexpected delay in travel.
Standard single occupancy. If travel is part of a convention, choose either the convention hotels or alternative hotels with rates within the range of the convention hotels. If not part of a convention, choose by informal quote procedure. Short-term rental, internet and access fees are allowable.
Actual expenses based on detailed and reasonable itemized receipts for each City Councillor or $100.00 per diem without itemized receipts. The City will not pay for alcohol. Where bill includes reimbursable food expenses and non-reimbursable alcohol expenses, the receipt should clearly identify what portion of the bill is reimbursable.
Taxis and Ride Hail Services
Reimbursement will be for actual expenses. Taxi and ride hail service receipts must be properly completed and signed by the individual City Councillor.
Reimbursement for non-luxury midsize automobiles. Any upgrades must be paid by the individual City Councillors.
Miscellaneous Business Expenses
This category includes tips, telephone calls, parking, etc. Any individual expense over $15 must be documented.
The auditor shall reject or adjust any receipts that he or she deems excessive or not properly documented.
Reimbursement shall not be approved under any circumstances for the following:
Laundry & Dry Cleaning
Barber, Hairdresser, Manicure or Bootblack
Newspapers or Magazines
Articles of Apparel
Pay Per View Television
Conference events not related to the business travel