Bylaws (Before 2013 review)

Bylaws of the Suffolk Democratic Committee

I: NAME

1: Name.

The name of this organization shall be the Suffolk Democratic Committee (hereafter referred to as the Committee or SDC) .

II: PURPOSE AND POLICY

1: General Principles.

The Suffolk Democratic Committee endorses the principles contained in the Charter of the Democratic Party of the United States of America and the Virginia Democratic Party Plan, bound always by the United States Constitution and the Constitution of the Commonwealth of Virginia, and is dedicated to representing the Democratic Party in the City of Suffolk in the spirit of the founders of the Democratic Party.

2: Purposes.

Every resident of the City of Suffolk who believes in the principles of the Democratic Party is hereby declared to be a member of the Democratic Party of Suffolk. The Committee is the representative leadership body of the Democratic Party of Suffolk organized for the following purposes:

(a) To do all within its power to aid in the victory of the Democratic Party’s nominee in all elections.

(b) To promote the growth and success of the Democratic Party at the local, state and national levels.

(c) To promote efforts to register all qualified Democratic voters in the City of Suffolk and to encourage such voters to participate in the political process.

(d) To promote harmonious relationships among all members of the Committee and to cooperate wholeheartedly with local, state and national Democratic committees.

(e) To promote participation in the delegate selection process and in all Democratic Party organizations at all levels, with particular concern for young people, women, African-Americans and other minority groups.

(f) To encourage competent members of the Democratic Party to offer themselves for elective office.

(g) Such other legal purposes that may, from time to time, be determined by the members of the SDC.

III: MEMBERSHIP

1: Borough Members.

(a) The SDC shall consist of members representing each of the seven boroughs in the City of Suffolk. Borough members are voting members and shall be considered in the count for a quorum.

(b) Members of the SDC must be registered voters in the City of Suffolk.

(c) Borough members shall be responsible for the organization of the activities of the SDC in their borough. In all boroughs, the members from that borough shall elect among themselves a borough captain who shall bear the primary responsibility for the oversight of such activities in that borough.

(c) There shall be no more than twelve (12) borough members from each Borough.

2: Ex-Officio Members.

Any person representing the City of Suffolk by holding any national, state or local elective office, who at the time of his or her most recent election to the office shall have been elected as an officially designated candidate of the Democratic Party or was endorsed by the Suffolk Democratic Committee or was elected as a non-partisan candidate, shall be a voting ex-officio member of the SDC. Any resident of the City of Suffolk who serves as a member of the Democratic State Central Committee shall also be an ex-officio member of the SDC during the term of that person’s membership on the State Central Committee. Ex-officio members shall not be subject to removal from the SDC by reason of their absences from meetings of the SDC.

Each ex-officio member shall be deemed to be an additional borough member from the borough in which he or she resides. In the event that during the term of any ex-officio member on the SDC, such member ceases to hold the elective office or seat on the Democratic State Central Committee that shall have entitled such person to ex-officio membership, such person shall nevertheless continue to be a borough member of the SDC until the induction of new members of the SDC that shall occur following the next organizational meeting of the SDC.

3: At-large Members.

Additional members may be elected and serve as at-large members of the SDC. At-large members will be non-voting and will not be counted for determining a quorum. At-large members will be exempt from attendance requirements.

4: Non-Voting Business Sponsors.

The SDC shall also have a class of affiliates designated as Business Sponsors who support the principles and ideals of the SDC. The Executive Committee of the SDC shall designate levels of sponsorship and assessments shall be on an annual basis. This is a non-voting class and will not be counted for determining a quorum.

5: Election of Borough and At-Large Members; Eligibility.

Membership of the SDC shall be elected by Caucus the second Tuesday in December in odd-numbered years.

6: Term of Membership.

The term of any member shall begin upon announcement of the appointment or the results of the election for such position and shall end on the date chosen for the election of succeeding borough members.

7: Election to the SDC after Re-organization.

Applications for membership shall be submitted to the Membership Committee, which shall review the application to determine if that person is deemed qualified for membership. If they are deemed to be qualified for membership, the name or names of such persons shall thereupon be submitted to the entire SDC at the next regular meeting of the SDC (or at the next special meeting of the SDC if called for such a purpose) for comment. All candidates shall be required to tender payment of one year’s annual dues with submission of the application. The election, by vote of the SDC, shall take place at the next meeting, and the candidate named on more than fifty (50) percent of the votes cast at such meeting shall be deemed to have been elected to the Suffolk Democratic Committee.

8: Committee Dues.

Each member of the SDC, including all ex-officio members, shall be obligated for the payment of annual dues in the amount of $20. 00. Such dues shall be payable no later than the regular meeting of the SDC conducted in February of each year. Any member who shall not have paid such dues in full by April 1st of any year may be removed from membership in the SDC as provided in Section 9 below.

9: Removal from Membership.

(a) An officer may be removed from office if guilty of willful neglect or any duty imposed upon him. In such event, the Committee shall afford such officer the protection of due process as described in Section (c) below.

(b) Revocation of Membership, Grounds.

1. Absenteeism. If a borough member shall miss three consecutive regular meetings of the SDC without having been so excused, then such member’s membership on the Committee may be revoked or changed to another category.

2. Breach of Loyalty. Any borough member or at-large member who publicly supports, endorses or assists any candidate opposed to a Democratic nominee shall be removed

3. Neglect of Duty. Any borough member or at-large member who shall be guilty of willful neglect of duty imposed upon him may have his membership revoked.

(c) Procedure. An officer shall be removed from office or a member’s membership shall be revoked only by the following procedures:

1. Written notice to all members of the Committee of the proposed action, including the date, time and address of the meeting at which the action will be taken;

2. Not less than ten days written notice by registered or certified mail, return receipt requested, to the officer or member threatened with sanction, specifying the grounds for the proposed action and the date, time and address of the meeting at which the action will be considered.

3. Opportunity for the member threatened with the proposed action to appear and refute the charges against him or her, and;

4. Approval of the proposed action by two-thirds of the members of the Committee present and voting.

IV: OFFICERS.

1: Officers.

The SDC shall elect the following officers:

(a) Chair

(b) First Vice-Chair

(c) Second Vice-Chair

(d) Third Vice-Chair

(e) Recording Secretary

(f) Corresponding Secretary

(g) Treasurer

(h) Sergeant-at-Arms

All officers shall be Borough Members of the SDC.

2: Nominations and Elections.

(a) Nominations. Nominations for officers shall be taken from the floor at the next regular meeting after the organizational meeting of the SDC. In the event of a vacancy in an office during the term of the Committee, the Membership Committee shall search for and nominate a suitable candidate for the vacant position.

(b) Elections. Elections for officers shall be conducted at the same meeting as nominations and shall be decided by a majority of those present and voting. If a vacancy occurs in the office during the term of the office, nominations and the election thereof shall take place at the next regular meeting for which due notice of such vacancy has been given. If no candidate receives a majority on the first ballot for an office, there shall be a run-off between the two candidates receiving the highest number of votes.

3: Terms of Office.

The term of an officer shall be for a time period commencing upon the announcement of the results of the election held for such office and shall end upon the election for officers following the next bi-annual organizational meeting of the SDC.

4: Duties of Officers.

(a) Chair. The Chair shall have the following duties:

1. To preside over all meetings of the SDC

2. To serve as chair of the Executive Committee

3. To appoint the chair and membership of all committees

4. To appoint a parliamentarian to advise the Chair on proper procedure under Roberts Rules of Order, Newly Revised, and the Virginia Democratic Party Plan.

5. Subject to prior approval by the members, to sign all contracts, notes and leases in the name of the SDC. The Chair may also sign drafts, checks or orders for the payment of money.

6. To be an ex-officio voting member of all committees.

7. To represent the SDC at state and local conventions, meetings, and social functions to which Democratic Party officials are customarily invited.

8. To enforce these Bylaws, perform all the duties of the office required herein by the Virginia Democratic Party Plan or by statute, and generally to supervise and conduct the business and affairs of the SDC.

(b) First Vice-Chair. The First Vice-Chair shall have the following duties:

1. To perform the duties incumbent upon the Chair when the Chair is absent or unable to perform such duties, in which case the powers and responsibilities of the Chair shall also rest with the First Chair.

2. To serve as Chair of the Membership Committee.

3. To perform such other duties and accept such other powers and responsibilities as the Chair or the SDC may from time to time prescribe.

(c) Second Vice-Chair. The Second Vice-Chair shall have the following duties:

1. To perform the duties incumbent upon the Chair when both the Chair and the First Vice-Chair are absent or unable to perform such duties, in which case the powers and responsibilities of the Chair shall also rest with the Second Vice-Chair.

2. To perform such other duties and accept such other powers and responsibilities as the Chair or the SDC may from time to time prescribe.

3. To serve as a member of the Voter Participation Committee.

(d) Third Vice-Chair. The Third Vice-Chair shall have the following duties:

1. To perform the duties incumbent upon the Chair when the Chair, First Vice-Chair and Second Vice-Chair are absent or unable to perform such duties, in which case the powers and responsibilities of the Chair shall also rest with the Third Vice-Chair.

2. To perform such other duties and accept such other powers and responsibilities as the Chair or the SDC may from time to time prescribe.

3. To serve as a member of the Voter Participation Committee.

(e) Recording Secretary. The Recording Secretary shall have the following duties:

1. To keep an accurate and permanent records of all the proceedings of the SDC.

2. To serve as custodian of the records of the SDC, except those financial records retained by the Treasurer.

3. To keep a roster of the names, addresses, phone numbers and voting boroughs of the members and a list of the SDC’s officers, which shall be forwarded within ten days of the election to the state headquarters of the Democratic Party of Virginia.

4. To call and maintain the roll at all meetings.

5. To notify each member when attendance requirements have not been met.

6. To perform all other duties incident to the Office of Recording Secretary as the Chair or the SDC may from time to time prescribe.

(f) Corresponding Secretary. The Corresponding Secretary shall have the following duties:

1. To give notice of SDC meetings as required in Article VI.

2. To conduct and retain copies of all correspondence and to advise the Chair of official communications received.

3. To cause to be issued press releases and other public notices of the activities and meetings of the SDC and to place such public advertisements and notices as may be required to be published from time to time.

4. To perform all other duties incident to the office of Corresponding Secretary as the Chair or the SDC may from time to time prescribe.

(g) Treasurer. The Treasurer shall have the following duties:

1. To have charge of and be responsible for all the funds of the SDC and to deposit said funds in the name of the SDC in such banks or savings and loan companies as the officers of the SDC shall direct.

2. To pay all bills incurred in the ordinary course of business and, upon the approval of a majority of the members present and voting at any meeting, to pay any other expense incurred.

3. To make, sign and endorse in the name of the SDC all checks, notes, drafts or other orders for the payment of money as authorized in the preceding two paragraphs.

4. To endeavor to promptly bill all members of the SDC for their annual dues, if unpaid, prior to February 1st of each year.

5. To keep accurate books of account of all business and transactions of the SDC, and to report thereon to each regular meeting of the membership and to the Chair upon his or her request.

6. To cooperate fully in all audits.

7. To serve as Chair of the Finance Committee.

8. To perform all other duties incident to the office of Treasurer as the Chair or the SDC may from time to time prescribe.

(h) Sergeant-at-Arms. The Sergeant-at-Arms shall have the following duties:

1. To maintain order all meetings and functions of the SDC.

2. To perform all other duties incident to the office of Sergeant-at-Arms as the Chair or the SDC may from time to time prescribe.

5: Removal from Office.

Any officer of the SDC may be removed from his or her office for neglect of his or her duties as an officer or member in like manner and for like cause as provided for the removal of members in Article III above. In addition, the un-excused absence of any officer from more than three (3) regular meetings of the Executive Committee during any twelve (12) month period shall constitute neglect of the officer’s duties as an officer of the SDC. Such an officer shall be afforded the procedural protection provided for in the case of removal of members. In its discretion, the SDC may determine that an officer removed from his or her office shall not be removed as a member of the SDC.

V: COMMITTEES.

1: Executive Committee.

(a) There shall be an Executive Committee, comprised of the officers and the chair of each standing committee, which shall have the following responsibilities:

1. To plan the regular meetings of the SDC.

2. To draft the call for the bi-annual organizational meeting of the SDC.

3. To supervise an annual audit of the books of the SDC.

4. To handle other matters which may come before the SDC, provided that final approval shall rest with the full SDC.

(b) The Executive Committee shall meet as needed upon the call of the Chair or any three other members of the committee. Notice of a meeting shall be given by actual telephone, mail or e-mail notice not less than ten (10) days prior to any meeting.

(c) A quorum for meetings of the Executive Committee shall consist of at least fifty percent of the members of the committee.

2: Standing Committees.

(a) Membership Committee. The Membership Committee, which shall be chaired by the First Vice-Chair, shall have the responsibility to recruit and recommend qualified persons to serve on the SDC, to determine in advance of the bi-annual organizational meeting the number of borough members who may be elected from each voting borough, and to recommend to the SDC persons to fill vacancies that may occur on the SDC from time to time.

(b) Voter Participation Committee. The Voter Participation Committee, which shall be chaired by the Second Vice-Chair, shall have the responsibility to encourage eligible persons to register and vote in primary and general elections in the City of Suffolk, and to take all actions appropriate to pursue that purpose.

(c) Finance Committee. The Finance Committee, which shall be chaired by the Treasurer, shall have the following responsibilities:

1. To raise funds for such purposes as may be approved by the members of the SDC.

2. To prepare an annual budget for the SDC.

3. To conduct an annual audit of the books of the SDC, the results of which audit shall be made available to any member so requesting.

4. To organize at least one major fund-raising event each year.

5. To perform such other duties as normally incident to a Finance Committee.

(d) Borough Committees. The Borough Committee, the chair of which shall be appointed by the Chair, shall have the responsibility to coordinate the borough organization of the SDC and oversee the participation by all members of the Committee and other Democrats in the duty of serving as workers, on behalf of Democratic candidates for local, state and national office, at polling places on the day of general elections.

3: Additional Committees.

There may be established from time to time other committees as appointed by the Chair.

4: Meetings of Committees.

The committees of the SDC shall endeavor to meet on a regular basis, and the chairs thereof shall have the responsibility to adequately notify their committee members of planned meetings of their committees. A quorum of the meeting of any committee other than the Executive Committee shall consist of three members of such committee.

VI: MEETINGS OF THE SDC.

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All members shall be expected to attend all meetings and other functions of the SDC.

1: Regular Meetings.

Regular meetings of the SDC shall occur on the second Tuesday of each month. The scheduled time of each meeting shall be 7:00 p. m. Time and place may be determined by the Committee. Regular meetings may be canceled by vote of the Committee.

2: Special Meetings.

Special meetings of the SDC may be called as follows:

(a) Upon the call of the Chair;

(b) By at least three (3) officers of the SDC;

(c) By at least ten percent (10%) of the members of the SDC if the signed call is filed with the Chair at least fifteen (15) days before the proposed meeting date; or

(d) By a vote of the SDC at a properly convened meeting of the SDC.

3: Notice of Meetings.

Notice of meetings shall be given as follows:

(a) Regular meetings. Notice shall be given to all members. The notice shall state the date, time, and location for the meetings. This notice can be give at a preceding meeting, via newspaper, email, written mailed notice, telephonically or on the website www. suffolkvademocrats. org.

(b) Special meetings.

1. When called by the Chair, notice shall be considered given upon the making of a good faith effort to notify (by any reasonable means) all members, at the earliest practicable moment, of the special meeting’s date, time, location and agenda.

2. When called by other officers or by ten percent (10%) of members. Ten days written notice of the special meeting shall be given to all members. A notice of special meeting shall set forth the purpose of the meeting.

(c) Written Notice. Written notice shall be deemed given upon the deposit in the United States mails of notice addressed to the members of the SDC at the addresses for the members appearing in the records of the Corresponding Secretary; or upon actual notice. If notice is mailed, the date of notice shall be the date postmarked thereon.

4: Quorum at a meeting.

A quorum at a meeting of the SDC shall be thirty percent (30%) of the borough members.

5: Voting by Proxy not Permitted.

No member shall be entitled to vote by proxy at any regular or special meeting of the SDC.

VII: PARTICIPATION IN ELECTORAL PROCESS.

1: Endorsement of Candidates in Non-Partisan Elections.

At a meeting of the SDC prior to any general or special election the SDC may consider for endorsement any candidate who is seeking public office in such election. The Corresponding Secretary shall invite every candidate for such office, by written notice ten (10) days prior to such meeting, to appear at such meeting for the purpose of seeking the endorsement of the SDC.

The members of the SDC shall have the opportunity to question candidates regarding their adherence to the principles of the Democratic Party. Any candidate for such office shall receive the endorsement of the SDC if he or she receives the affirmative approval of at least two-thirds (2/3) of the members of the SDC present and voting at such meeting. No candidate shall receive any campaign contribution from the SDC, nor shall the SDC procure any political advertising on a candidate’s behalf, unless the candidate has received the endorsement of the SDC.

The SDC shall have the power to endorse, with respect to any non-partisan election in which more than one elective position is to be filled, a number of candidates equal to the number of elective positions to be filled in such election.

2: Responsibility of Individual Committee Members to Support

Democrats Seeking Public Office.

It is the duty of the SDC, as well as of each officer, borough member, and at-large member of the SDC, to seek the registration of voters, to perfect the Democratic organization within the City of Suffolk, and to do all within their power to aid in the victory of the Suffolk Democratic Committee’s nominees and indorsed candidates, and other Democratic candidates in all elections.

VIII: RULES.

1: Inspection of Records.

Minutes of all meetings of the SDC, records and statements of the financial affairs of the SDC, the By-Laws of the SDC, and a roster of the names, addresses, and phone numbers of all members of the SDC and the records of attendance of the members of the SDC shall be made available for inspection to any member of the SDC at any reasonable time upon five (5) days written notice to either the Recording Secretary or the Treasurer depending upon which records are being requested.

2: Rules of Order.

The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised shall govern the SDC in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these By-laws or any special rules of order the SDC may adopt.

3: Effective Date.

These By-laws shall become effective immediately upon their adoption, subject to any required review pursuant to the Virginia Democratic Party Plan or otherwise under law; provided, however, that these By-laws shall not have retroactive application to any member or officer of the SDC as of the date of adoption.

IX: AMENDMENTS

1: Notice of Amendments.

Prior to the consideration of any amendments to these Bylaws, written notice of the amendments shall be mailed or emailed to all members to arrive at least seven days prior to the meeting at which the amendments are to be considered.

2: Approval of Amendments.

Provided the required notice has been given, these Bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds vote of the members present of and voting at a meeting of the District Committee.