FORTVILLE — A resolution concerning decorum and debate in Fortville Town Council public meetings and executive sessions was updated at the most recent meeting, Feb. 20.

At the meeting, town attorney Alex Intermill said that the last time they adopted rules and guidelines on decorum and debate was back in 2017, which pertains to how the council handles items among members, such as how they treat each other and the confidentiality of executive sessions.

Intermill said that those rules are still in place, but they would add two items to the list of guidelines.

The resolution states that the council desired to amend and restate rules to ensure that meetings are conducted in a “fair, open and civil manner that enhances the credibility and acceptance of the matter under consideration and avoids any legal or perceived conflicts of interest.”

Those two additions are labeled as E and F of the resolution and state that “No member shall make statements stating the position or policy of the Council without having a majority vote of the Council that establishes that position or policy” and “To avoid conflicts of interest or the appearance of a conflict of interest, members shall not make comments in their capacity as a member of the Council with respect to Town matters that directly impact that member’s business, or the business owned or operated by the member’s family. A member wishing to comment on a matter covered by this subsection shall do so from the podium and not from the member’s seat at the Council table.”

According to the official website of Robert’s Rules of Order, it serves as a set of parliamentary procedures and is used by more professional associations, fraternal organizations and local governments than any other authority.

Intermill said the original adoption of these rules predates his time as legal counsel for the town of Fortville, but the town adopted the default of those rules with the possibility for changes.

“Robert’s Rules are still there, but the town has adopted to allow these types of exceptions to these rules,” said Intermill at the meeting.

With no questions from the council, the changes to the resolution were approved, 4-0, with council member Fedrick Fentz absent.

Tonya Davis, town council president, said that the reasoning behind adopting these two additional items was due to the growth of Fortville and aims to achieve consistency and transparency.

“We felt it was necessary to ensure that messages from the council are consistent and transparent,” Davis said. “The town adopted these exceptions to Robert’s Rules of Order because Robert’s Rules do not always address the unique nature of small town government proceedings.”

The next Fortville Town Council meeting is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. Monday.