BROOKLYN, Sept. 11, 2019 — At Monday night’s Kings County Democratic Committee (KCDC) meeting at the Ford Amphitheater in Coney Island, KCDC members at large successfully passed a resolution calling for the Party to convene its Finance Committee and for an audit of the Party’s finances. These wins enabled us to propose a path by which KCDC members (rather than just leadership) can oversee the Party’s problematic finances, and have paved the way for financial accountability of Party leadership to everyday Brooklynites.
So, yes -- we’re cautiously thrilled. We’re so thankful to our partners at Lambda Independent Democrats, Independent Neighborhood Democrats, Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats, and other groups, who worked with members of New Kings Democrats to put the resolution together. We are also grateful to the KCDC members at large who signed onto the resolution. And while the resolution passed unanimously on a motion by Chair Seddio, it appeared that the majority of voters may have supported the resolution if there had been a contested vote.
But hey, we’re skeptical. Will Chair Seddio actually convene the Finance Committee? Will he and the rest of the Executive Committee -- that is, the 42 District Leaders across Brooklyn -- prioritize filling the Finance Committee’s 15 seats with a diverse array of KCDC members? Will he give them the power to weigh in on how the Party raises and spends money, ensuring that it reflects the priorities of everyday Brooklynites?
Our skepticism has been reinforced by what we learned today about the KCDC Rules Committee. District Leader Josh Skaller was appointed as Chair of the Committee after District Leader Lew Fidler’s passing -- an appointment not communicated to KCDC members -- and, this week, Executive Committee Chair Seddio instructed Rules Committee Chair Skaller to remove NKD President Brandon West from the Rules Committee. We reached out to Chair Skaller to explain that KCDC members want to see transparency around who is on the standing committees as well as a public process by which members may join them. He was supportive of these asks, and we look forward to working with him in his new role to put these reforms into action.
What is problematic is not the fact that NKD no longer has a member of our leadership team on the Rules Committee, but rather that there is absolutely no proactive communication from the Party about who leads and who is a member of the Rules Committee, or any of the other standing committees, or about how KCDC members can join these committees.
Moreover, everyday KCDC members should have a presence on important committees like Rules and Finance. The process by which they are appointed should not be a secret. KCDC members deserve to know who represents them and to feel they are represented, especially on the committees in which key decisions about the Party’s governance are made.
District Leaders are in many ways the only oversight we have over the Party, and we expect them to speak truth to power and advocate for reforms that will benefit their constituents. But the voices of everyday Brooklynites should be heard as well.
Maybe more KCDC members would donate to the flailing Party if they feel they have a seat at the table.
Thanks for sticking with us. Let’s continue to work together -- and with our neighbors, the ADC’s, and Party leaders -- to build a Party that’s accountable and responsive to everyday Brooklynites. Most of this work happens outside of KCDC meetings, anyway. (In the meantime, have you signed up to run for KCDC in 2020? Get at #RepYourBlock.)