BYLAWS OF THE NEW KINGS DEMOCRATS POLITICAL CLUB
proposal for February 2017
I. MISSION STATEMENT
To foster accountability, accessibility, and representativeness in the Kings County Democratic Party.
II. ORGANIZATIONAL OBJECTIVES
A. To promote local civic engagement in the Kings County community
B. To increase the transparency of and participation in the Kings County Democratic Party
C. To shape public discourse about the political process in Kings County
D. To encourage and support the candidacies of progressive, reform-minded Democrats with the courage to run and the capacity to win
A. Responsibilities: General membership in the New Kings Democrats (NKD) requires a commitment to its mission statement and organizational goals through
1. frequent participation in the club’s activities;
2. advocacy for the work of the organization;
3. assurance of the competency of the organization’s management;
4. oversight of policy, operations, and business plans;
5. active participation in the development of the organization’s funding base; and
6. the exercise of fiduciary responsibility.
B. Eligibility: To be eligible to be a member of the NKD, one must reside, work, or have some other significant interest in the Kings County community.
C. Dues: Members are required to pay annual dues as determined by the Executive Committee. Special exemptions or reduced rates can be made for club participants with limited income.
D. Membership Suspension/Termination: Membership can be suspended or terminated only under special circumstances, including persistent non-payment of dues (in the event an exemption has not been offered) or persistent conduct detrimental to the goals of NKD. For membership to be suspended or terminated, a complaint must be issued by a fellow member. A subcommittee will be convened to investigate the complaint and to make a recommendation on a course of action for consideration by the general membership. The general membership may suspend or terminate membership by a two-thirds (⅔) affirmative vote.
IV. EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
A. Officers: The office of Treasurer is required by New York State law. Other officers will be outlined, in order of succession, in Article IV, Section D.
B. Eligibility for Office: Any member of NKD in good standing for the six months prior to an election is eligible to run for office. No person may hold more than one office at a time. No one who is elected or appointed at the level of District Leader or higher may be an officer.
C. Term of Office: Each officer will be elected for a one-year term, with the exception of officers elected at special elections to fill vacancies for the remainder of a term.
D. Duties of Office:
1. President: The President oversees NKD's strategy and speaks on behalf of the club to the general public. The President chairs all meetings of the general membership and all meetings of the Executive Committee. This duty includes developing an agenda for each meeting and communicating that agenda in a timely manner to the Chief of Operations prior to each meeting. In the absence of the President, Executive Committee members, in the order listed in Article IV, Section D, will preside over the meeting. The President may call special meetings of the general membership or of the Executive Committee as outlined elsewhere in the bylaws. The President will also be an ex-officio member of all NKD committees, other than the Executive Committee.
2. Chief of Operations: The Chief of Operations functions as the club’s manager, devising project implementation plans, assigning tasks to board members, and holding board members accountable for their commitments to the club. The Chief of Operations confirms meeting agenda items, times, and locations (in collaboration with the President) and schedules communication with the membership (in collaboration with the Secretary).
3. Vice President of Political Affairs: The Vice President of Political Affairs is responsible for fostering and maintaining relationships with elected officials and other political organizations. The Vice President of Political Affairs serves as the Chair of the Political Affairs Committee. Political Affairs Committee (standing) develops and implements the club’s strategies for nurturing relationships with political officials and organizations. This includes recruiting and supporting new candidates for public office, identifying opportunities for collaboration with other political groups and electeds, and building awareness and support for NKD’s policy platform.
4. Vice President of Policy: The Vice President of Policy is responsible for directing NKD's policy efforts. The Vice President of Policy serves as Chair of the Policy Committee. Policy Committee (standing) develops the club’s policy priorities and is a permanent committee of NKD governed by its own bylaws.
5. Vice President of Organizing: The Vice President of Organizing serves as the lead organizer for all major political and election campaign activity organized by NKD. The Vice President of Organizing serves as the Chair of the Organizing Committee. Organizing Committee (standing) develops and implements the club’s organizing strategy for all social action (e.g., rallies, protests, social campaigns), electoral campaigns, and county committee reform.
6. Director of Membership: The Director of Membership is responsible for promoting, coordinating, and overseeing NKD’s membership efforts and for broadening participation in NKD and the Kings County Democratic Party. The Director of Membership serves as the Chair of the Membership Committee. Membership Committee (standing) develops and implements strategies to make NKD more representative of the borough, to retain members and drive them towards action, and to encourage members to invest in the club’s growth.
7. Treasurer: The Treasurer manages all funds received by and paid by NKD. The Treasurer keeps an accurate account of all funds and provides a report on NKD's finances to the club at least one general membership meeting per year and every Executive Committee meeting. The Treasurer works with the Director of Communications to monitor members’ dues and membership status. With approval from the President and Executive Committee, the Treasurer is responsible for paying all bills owed by NKD and generating invoices for funds owed to NKD. At the expiration of his or her office, whether by resignation, removal, or term expiration, the Treasurer relinquishes all financial records, information and materials including but not limited to books, papers, vouchers, and any property belonging to NKD, to the Executive Committee, who passes them to the next Treasurer. The Treasurer may convene Treasury Committee meetings, which they chair, at their discretion.
8. Director of Communications: The Director of Communications is responsible for directing NKD's external messaging. This includes (a) managing NKD's website to ensure its content is current and attracting new members, (b) maintaining a regular presence for NKD on social media, (c) managing NKD's distribution lists, (d) devising and implementing digital advocacy and campaign tactics, (e) managing and enforcing NKD’s visual and brand identity and (f) creating and executing a press strategy to maximize NKD's media exposure in NYC. The Director of Communications may convene Communications Committee meetings, which they chair, at their discretion.
E. Secretary: The Secretary is an appointed position (with the rank of subcommittee chair), responsible for all internal and external communications and record keeping. This includes (a) sending notice of general membership meetings to NKD members at least one week prior to that meeting in collaboration or consultation with the President and Chief of Operations; (b) sending other regular communications to the general membership keeping them informed of NKD activity; (c) sending notice of regular Executive Committee meetings to all Executive Committee members at least one week prior to that meeting in collaboration or consultation with the President and Chief of Operations; (d) recording minutes of Executive Committee meetings; (e) recording any key decisions made by the NKD membership, including endorsements, officer elections and bylaws changes.
F. Past Presidents: Past presidents are entitled to participate in an ex-officio capacity on the Executive Committee. They serve at the pleasure of the NKD membership. A majority vote of the membership may remove any past president from the Executive Committee.
G. Standing Committee Chairs: Elected Committee Chairs of standing committees are members of the Executive Committee.
H. Vacancies: If the office of President becomes vacant, Executive Committee members, in the order listed in Article IV Section D will assume the office. For all other officer vacancies, a majority of the Executive Committee may appoint any member in good standing to serve as an interim officer until the next general membership meeting, at which time a special election will be held to elect someone to fill the position for the remainder of the term.
I. Standard of Conduct: Officers are representatives of NKD and should conduct themselves in a manner consistent with the organization's values as laid out in the mission statement and organizational objectives. Officers should carry out all duties with the best interest of NKD in mind.
J. Regular Meetings: The Executive Committee must meet at least once per quarter. Notice of regular meetings must be sent to each member of the Executive Committee at least one week prior to the meeting by the Secretary. At regular meetings, each member of the Executive Committee must give a report on her or his area of responsibility. Any member of the Executive Committee may request the addition of an agenda item.
K. Special Meetings: A special meeting of the Executive Committee may be called by the President, as long as notice of the meeting is given at least 24 hours in advance of the meeting by telephone, or at least 48 hours in advance of the meeting by e-mail. A majority of the Executive Committee may submit a written request for a special meeting of the Executive Committee to the President, and the President must call a special meeting to be held no more than one week and no less than 24 hours from the time the request was received.
A. Purpose: Committees are created to complete work on specific objectives of importance to NKD’s mission and goals. The committees are an opportunity to involve the broader NKD membership in NKD’s work.
B. Policy Committee: Policy Committee develops the club’s policy priorities and is a permanent committee of NKD governed by its own bylaws. The Vice President of Political Affairs and Policy serves as the Chair of the Policy Committee.
C. Committee Creation: Any NKD member may propose the creation of a committee by submitting a written request to the NKD Executive Committee indicating the committee’s mission and objectives. Ratification of the committee requires approval by a majority vote of the NKD Executive Committee.
D. Membership: Unless otherwise stated by the Executive Committee, any NKD member can join a committee.
E. Eligibility of Chairs: Any member of NKD in good standing for the past six months is eligible to be a committee chair. No person may be chair of more than one committee simultaneously.
F. Selection of Committee Chairs: Chairs of standing committees are chosen by the Executive Committee in consultation with the committee membership, and are voting members of the Executive Committee. Chairs of ad hoc committees are appointed by the Executive Committee, but are not voting members of the Executive Committee.
G. Chair Term of Office: Each committee chair is elected for a one-year term.
VI. VOTING RULES
A. General Membership Procedure for Voting
1. Eligibility to Vote: All NKD members are eligible to vote, provided they have attended at least two NKD meetings (one of which must be a general membership meeting) within the previous twelve months and have paid dues prior to the vote. Each member is entitled to one vote, except as hereinafter described.
2. Notice of Vote: All general membership meetings in which a vote will take place must be announced to the public at least one week in advance.
3. Proxy Voting: Any member of NKD may authorize as his or her proxy another member of NKD. The proxy may be general or limited and must be communicated in writing by the member authorizing it, and filed with the meeting chair before the vote. A proxy is authorized to act notwithstanding the presence of the person authorizing him/her to act as such proxy, but said person may, before any vote is taken, declare to the meeting chair that said proxy is revoked. No member of NKD may act proxy for more than one other member at any time.
B. Endorsement Voting
1. Candidates: All Democratic candidates running for office in Kings County are welcome to seek endorsement for public or party office. The Executive Committee will invite all candidates of interest to the membership to an endorsement meeting to be held before the election.
2. Voting Procedure: NKD endorsement ballots include all candidates who NKD is aware to be preparing to petition for, actively petitioning for, or already qualified for a ballot line in the relevant election, as well as a "No Endorsement" option. A candidate must receive two-thirds (⅔) of the vote, excluding blanks or abstentions, to receive NKD endorsement.
3. Instant Run-off Voting: In endorsement votes that include more than two options, NKD will use a system of ranked choice voting.
a) Each eligible and participating voter may rank all candidates (including “No Endorsement”) acceptable him or her in the order of his or her preference on a single ballot.
b) The highest ranked choice on each ballot will be counted as one vote.
c) If no candidate (including “No Endorsement”) has received two-thirds (⅔) of the total vote, excluding blanks, abstentions, or ballots with no qualified votes, the lowest vote-getter will be disqualified from the ballot.
d) The ballots will be recounted, and if a voter's highest ranked option has been disqualified from the ballot, the voter’s highest-ranked qualified option will receive one vote.
e) Steps (c) through (d) will be repeated until one candidate receives two-thirds (⅔) of the vote or until only two candidates remain.
f) If a candidate (including “No Endorsement”) achieves the support of two-thirds (⅔) of the vote, excluding blanks or abstentions, that candidate (including “No Endorsement”) will be announced as the choice of NKD.
g) If only two candidates remain, and no candidate (including “No Endorsement”) achieves the support of two-thirds (⅔) of the votes, that ballot’s outcome will be announced as “No Consensus.”
4. Implementation: At the time of vote, the Executive Committee will determine the best available technology for administering the election.
C. Election of NKD Executive Committee Officers: Officers are elected by eligible voting members at meetings of the general membership. Whichever candidate receives the most votes wins that office.
D. Executive Committee Voting: Each member of the Executive Committee is entitled to one vote in matters pertaining to the Executive Committee.
1. E-Voting: When the Executive Committee cannot feasibly convene for a vote, the President or a majority of the Executive Committee may call for an electronic vote. For each matter that is voted on electronically, the person(s) who called for the vote must send each member of the Executive Committee a comprehensive brief of the matter in question, as well as the reason that the vote is being conducted electronically. These pieces of information will be provided to each member of the Executive Committee either at her verified e-mail address or using an electronic voting process that is established by the Executive Committee.
2. Quorum: Quorum at all meetings of the Executive Committee is 100% of Executive Committee members present in person or by phone. No proxy votes are allowed at regular meetings.
3. Financial Decisions: The Executive Committee must approve by unanimous vote all financial transactions greater than $500.
E. Election Monitors: Two NKD members, chosen at random, who are not members of the Executive Committee must be present to observe vote tallying for all endorsement and executive committee elections.
A. Procedure to Amend These Bylaws: Amendments to these bylaws may be proposed by the Executive Committee or any voting member in good standing at any time. The Executive committee must formally review these bylaws annually to recommend any needed changes to the body. Proposed amendments must include a written rationale for the proposed changes. All proposed changes must be submitted to the Executive Committee for review three weeks in advance of the following general membership meeting for inclusion in the agenda.
B. Notice of Vote: All members must receive a written or electronic notice that details proposed changes and their rationale at least ten days prior to the general membership meeting.
C. Approval of the Amendment: All proposed amendments are voted on at the following general membership meeting. Amendments must be adopted by two-thirds (⅔) of the vote of the membership present at the meeting. Changes are effective immediately unless otherwise stipulated prior to voting.