Party Fails to Make Finance Committee Open, Inclusive

On December 30, the Brooklyn Democratic Party announced that Chairman Frank Seddio appointed a new Finance Committee. New Kings Democrats (NKD) is troubled by the Party’s failure to consider members of the County Committee for membership on this Finance Committee — a committee that only exists after pressure from members who wanted more deserved oversight of the Party’s troubled finances. The Party has failed to follow a key aspect of a recently passed resolution, and has missed an opportunity to be a more inclusive and participatory body.

This late-December announcement, we should note, is nearly a month overdue. More problematically, though, the Finance Committee is comprised exclusively of members of the Executive Committee, who are all District Leaders — yet another choice the Party and its leaders have made to ignore a clear opportunity (and call from reformers) to include everyday County Committee members in this crucial process.

In response to an August 2019 report that the Party’s cash reserves had dropped from $505,000 in 2013 to just $32,800 by July 2019 and that the Party had engaged in questionable spending under Executive Committee Chair Frank Seddio’s leadership, NKD and several other clubs and individual County Committee members introduced a resolution at the September 2019 County Committee meeting. This resolution required the Party to establish a Finance Committee with the mandate of issuing oral and written reports at future County Committee meetings, and recommended that the Party hire a third party auditor to review past revenues and expenditures. All interested County Committee members were to be considered for membership on the Finance Committee. The full Committee passed the resolution unanimously following a motion by Chair Seddio. We took the initiative to collect the names and contact information of five interested members and submitted them to the Party to even make it easier for them to invite those members to join the Finance Committee.

The Party’s December 30 announcement named Hon. Rodneyse Bichotte as chair and 14 other District Leaders as members. We’re dismayed that of the five Brooklyn Democrats (four of whom are County Committee members) whose names we submitted to Party leadership for consideration — to say nothing of others that might have reached out independently — none appear to have been contacted by the Party to join the Finance Committee. For what it’s worth, all five people have significant qualifications relevant to the Committee’s functions.

We hope that the Finance Committee will act independently and that its Chair, Rodneyse Bichotte, will open up membership to other members of the County Committee. In fact, we hope to hear from her soon about how she plans to make the Committee more inclusive. We look forward to a timely report from the Committee on the Party’s finances and expect that all County Committee members will be given  the opportunity to question its findings - as the passed resolution requires.  

Party solvency is necessary for the Brooklyn Democratic Party to fulfil its core, State-law defined functions, and it is NKD’s hope that the Party will choose to invest its funds in efforts to educate and engage Brooklyn voters.

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