Constitution

NOTE: THIS VERSION IS FOR REVIEW PURPOSES ONLY AND WILL BE CONSIDERED FOR RATIFICATION BY THE MEMBERSHIP AT THE FEBRUARY GENERAL MEETING. SECTIONS THAT HAVE BEEN UPDATED ARE HIGHLIGHTED AND HAVE EXPLANATORY FOOTNOTES


CONSTITUTION

of

CENTRAL BROOKLYN INDEPENDENT DEMOCRATS

 

PREAMBLE

To satisfy a need in this community for a Democratic political organization that will represent and be responsive to the needs of the people of the area, we have chosen to establish the Central Brooklyn Independent Democrats.

 

ARTICLE I 
The name of the Club shall be: CENTRAL BROOKLYN INDEPENDENT DEMOCRATS.

ARTICLE II
Purposes

The purposes of the Club shall be

A. to provide an independent, vigorous, liberal Democratic organization in the 44th, 51st, 52nd, and 57th Assembly Districts and their immediately adjacent neighborhoods in the County of Kings;[1]

B. to encourage the participation of all people in the affairs of the Democratic Party;

C. to seek and support candidates for public office and party office of ability and integrity who are dedicated to public service, to promote measures designed to serve all the people, and to encourage the appointment of qualified public officials and employees without regard to political sponsorship;

D. to further the interest and participation of all citizens in the political and civic affairs of our community

ARTICLE III
Membership

A. Any person 16 years or older who subscribes to and desires to further the purposes of the Club, as set forth in Article II hereof, shall be eligible for membership.[2]

B. Dues of members shall be determined from time to time by the Executive Committee and are subject to the approval of the membership. All dues shall be due and payable on the date of each Annual Meeting of the Club, provided, however, that any person first becoming a member after the first day of October in any year shall remain a member in good standing for the next succeeding calendar year without the payment of additional dues. Members in default of payment of dues on or after the first day of April of any year shall cease to be members in good standing until such default has been cured. Members should be given notice of their prospective loss of membership one month prior to their cut-off date.

 

 ARTICLE IV
Officers

A. The officers of the Club and their order of succession to the Presidency shall be:

  1. President;
  2. First Vice-President;
  3. Second Vice-President;
  4. Treasurer;
  5. Corresponding Secretary;
  6. Recording Secretary.

B. The First Vice-President shall, at the direction of the President, or the Executive Committee in the event the President fails to act, supervise the activities of the standing committees and special committees of the Club, and shall perform such other and additional duties as the President or the Executive Committee shall from time to time direct. Each office shall be elective.

C. Term of Office. The regular term of each office shall be one (1) year commencing with the Annual Meeting.

D. Vacancy. If the office of the President shall become vacant during the regular term, the next available officer in order of succession shall serve as acting President until an interim election is held to fill the vacancy pursuant to Article VIII. If there shall be a vacancy in any other elective office during the regular term of that office, it shall be filled by the Executive Committee until an interim election is held to fill the vacancy pursuant to Article VIII. Any officer so elected shall serve until the next Annual Meeting.

E. Re-Election of Officers. The President shall not serve more than two (2) consecutive regular terms nor be eligible for the office of Vice-President at the election held upon the expiration of two regular terms.

 

ARTICLE V
Committees

A. Committee Chairpersons. Chairpersons[3] of all committees shall be appointed by the President, and be subject to the disapproval of the Executive Committee.

B.Campaign Committee. There shall be a Campaign Committee that shall consist of Election District Captains and other personnel at the discretion of the Chairperson of the Campaign Committee. Election District Captains shall be appointed by the Chairperson of the Campaign Committee, subject to the disapproval of the Executive Committee.

C. Audit Committee. There shall be an Audit Committee which shall examine and audit the books of the account of the Club within thirty (30) days following the election of a Treasurer, and at such times as the President or the Executive Committee shall direct. A report shall be submitted to the Executive Committee at the first meeting following such audit.

D. Special Committees. The President, subject to the disapproval of the Executive Committee, or the Executive Committee, may create such special committees as may be deemed necessary.

 

ARTICLE VI
Executive Committee

A. Purpose and Powers of the Executive Committee. There shall be an Executive Committee that shall serve as the administrative and governing body of the Club. Any action of the Executive Committee may be rescinded by the membership and any power of the Executive Committee may be exercised by the membership.

B. The Executive Committee shall consist of all the officers of the Club and a number of members-at-large equal to ten (10)% of the membership, but not less than ten (10) nor more than thirty (30) members-at-large, who shall be elected by the general membership at the Annual Meeting. In addition, any past elected President of the Club shall automatically become a member of the Executive Committee and shall have all powers and rights of the members of the Executive Committee for one year following completion of the term of office. In addition any Club member elected to the State Committee in the 44th, 51st, 52nd or 57th Assembly Districts as an endorsed candidate of the Club shall be a member of the Executive Committee for the duration of their term so long as they remain a member in good standing. National Committee persons who are members of the Club at the time of their election to the National Committee shall be members of the Executive Committee so long as they remain a member in good standing.

C. Political Action Questions. The Executive Committee shall study and recommend questions involving political action. Such questions shall include but not be limited to the Club position on legislation and on controversial public questions. All recommendations of the Executive Committee on political action questions as defined above shall be referred to the general membership. The Club shall take a position on a political action question only by a majority vote of the members of the Club voting in a general membership meeting. However, when in the opinion of the Executive Committee it becomes necessary to take immediate political action and it is not feasible to await until a general membership meeting before taking such action, the Executive Committee shall have the power to take such action, but in no instance shall the Executive Committee delegate to another group or to any person the power to take such action. For the purposes of this paragraph endorsement of candidates for political and/or party office shall never be deemed an emergency.

D. The Executive Committee shall maintain a record of Club decisions and photocopies of political correspondence sent for at least five (5) years. Members have a right to review the Club’s records within a month of making a request.

E. If there is a vacancy on the Executive Committee during the regular term, the Executive Committee shall have the power to fill the vacancy until an interim election is held pursuant to Article VII, and persons elected to the Executive Committee to fill such vacancy shall have the power to vote as Executive Committee members.

F. No expenditure, other than an ordinary and necessary expenditure for rent, postage, or utilities, in excess of twenty dollars ($20.00) or such other figure as the Executive Committee shall from time to time establish shall be made without the prior approval of the Executive Committee. The Treasurer shall render periodic reports to the membership. The membership at its Annual Meeting shall receive a financial report of the last year’s activities.

E. Reports to the Membership. All actions of the Executive Committee shall be reported to the general membership at the succeeding meeting of the general membership.

 

ARTICLE VII
General Membership Meetings

A. Annual Meetings. There shall be an Annual Meeting of the Club to be held in January, at which the membership-at-large shall elect the officers of the Club and the membership-at-large of the Executive Committee.

B. Other Meetings. Meetings of the general membership may be called at any time by the President, the Executive Committee, or upon the written request of ten (10) members in good standing or ten (10)% of the membership as at the time of the last Annual Membership Meeting, whichever is greater. There shall be at least ten (10) meetings of the general membership including the Annual Meeting, throughout the year, and there shall be at least one (1) such meeting called every second (2nd) month.

C. All members shall be given at least five (5) days written notice of all meetings of the general membership. Notices shall state time, place and proposed agenda of meeting.

D. Twenty five (25) members-in-good-standing or 25%[4] of the general membership, whichever is less, shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

E. Except as otherwise provided in this constitution, all questions shall be decided by a majority of those voting. All votes must be cast in person and not by proxy. Each member in good standing who has been a member for forty-five (45) days prior to the meeting shall be entitled to vote.

F. The President shall arrange to have present at each meeting a parliamentarian to advise the presiding officer of the meeting.

 

ARTICLE VIII
Executive Committee Meetings

A. Schedule of Meetings. There shall be at least one regularly scheduled meeting a month with five (5) days written notice on dates to be determined by the Executive Committee and there will be an agenda on all scheduled meetings. The President may call special meetings of the Executive Committee. The President must call such meetings upon the receipt of a petition for a meeting signed by at least ten (10) members of the Executive Committee.

B.Open Meetings. All meetings of the Executive Committee for the purpose of transacting business shall be open to the general membership.

C. One-third (1/3) of the membership of the Executive Committee shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business.

E. All questions, except as otherwise provided for in this Constitution, shall be decided by a majority of those voting. Every member of the Executive Committee shall be entitled to one (1) vote, which must be cast in person and not by proxy.

F. Automatic Loss of Membership. Members of the Executive Committee who miss four (4) consecutive, regularly scheduled meetings of the Executive Committee, without excuse of the Executive Committee, shall forfeit membership on the Executive Committee.

 

ARTICLE IX 
Regular Elections

A. Schedule of Elections. Officers of the Club and members-at-large of the Executive Committee shall be elected at the Annual Meeting.

B. Nominating Committee. At a general membership meeting in November of each year a Nominating Committee of nine (9) voting members in good standing, at least four (4) of whom shall be neither officers of the Club nor members of the Executive Committee, shall be elected by secret ballot following nominations for such committee from the floor. The nine (9) nominees who receive the highest number of votes shall be elected except where the result does not include at least four (4) nominees who are neither officers of the Club nor members of the Executive Committee. In such event, those officers of the Club or members of the Executive Committee in excess of five (5) who receive the lowest number of votes shall be declared defeated, and the four (4) members who are neither officers of the Club nor members of the Executive Committee and who receive the next highest number of votes shall be declared elected. Upon at least five (5) days written notice to the membership, the Nominating Committee shall hold one or more meetings open to the membership at which candidates may be recommended. Nominees for each office and for members-at-large of the Executive Committee shall be nominated by majority vote. A written report listing the nominees shall be mailed to each member at least thirty-one (31) days prior to the Annual Meeting. At a request of at least three (3) members of the Nominating Committee the report shall include a minority report that may contain additional nominations for any office or offices. Nominations of the minority shall also be deemed to have been nominated. The report also shall state that each nominee has accepted such nomination.

C. Nomination by Petition. Nomination of officers of the Club or members-at-large of the Executive Committee may be made by written petition signed by ten (10) members in good standing and filed with the Corresponding Secretary at least two (2) weeks prior to the Annual Meeting. Unless such petition shall contain a statement by one of the signatories that the nominee has accepted such nomination, the Corresponding Secretary shall ascertain whether such nominee has accepted the nomination. The Corresponding Secretary shall mail to each member a notice listing all nominees whose acceptance has been indicated at least one (1) week prior to the Annual Meeting.

D. Nominations from the Floor. Nominations with a second may be made from the floor at the meeting before the Annual Meeting.  At the Annual Meeting, nominations of officers of the Club may be made from the floor only (i) if no eligible candidate has been otherwise nominated, or (ii) if any nominee for officer shall withdraw their acceptance of the nomination after the notice to all nominees has been mailed to the membership in which event nominations may be made from the floor for such office only. If the number of candidates nominated for the Executive Committee by the Nominating Committee, by petition and Paragraph 1(d) is less than 20% more than the number of positions open, nominations from the floor shall be open for the Executive Committee.

E. Automatic Nominations. Any person nominated for the office of President who is defeated shall be automatically a nominee for First Vice-President. Any person nominated for any Club Office who is defeated shall be automatically a nominee for member-at large of the Executive Committee.

F. Members Entitled to Vote. All members in good standing who shall have been members in good standing as of sixty (60) days preceding an election shall be entitled to vote.

G. Voting Procedure. Voting shall be by secret ballot cast in person and not by proxy. Each voter shall have one vote for each officer and each member-at-large of the Executive Committee. A majority of all ballots cast for any office shall be necessary for the election to such office. Where a majority is required and there is no majority on the first ballot, there shall be a second ballot between the two nominees who receive the highest vote. The requisite number of nominees for member-at-large receiving the highest number of votes shall be elected.

ARTICLE X
Interim Elections

A. Schedule. Interim elections may be held at any regularly scheduled meeting of the general membership to fill any permanent vacancies then existing in the elective officers of the Club or in the Executive Committee provided that prior written notice of the holding of such interim election at such meeting shall have been given to the membership. It shall be the duty of the President to call such an election within sixty (60) days of the occurrence of any vacancy in an elective office of the Club. Any vacancy in the Executive Committee shall be filled by election at the next regular membership meeting of the Club.

B. All nominations for any elective position to be filled at an interim election shall be made from the floor at the meeting at which the election is to be held.

 

ARTICLE XI
Endorsement of Candidates

A. Submission of Candidates by Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall prepare a ballot consisting of all likely candidates, for nomination as Democratic Candidate for public office, or for election to public office, to be considered for endorsement by the Club.

B. Submission of Candidates by Petition. Candidates may also be proposed by written petition of ten (10) members entitled to vote thereon delivered to the Corresponding Secretary at least two (2) weeks prior to any meeting of the membership.

C. Submission of Candidates From the Floor. Additional candidates may be proposed from the floor by any member entitled to vote thereon, and the notice of the meeting shall so state.

D. Voting Procedure. For any endorsement a vote by secret ballot shall be taken, and a vote for “no endorsement” shall be one of the choices permitted on such ballot. If more than one candidate is running the ballot shall provide a method for each voting member to express their numerical preference among the candidates and no endorsement by writing the numbers 1, 2, 3, etc. on the ballot alongside the name of each candidate and no endorsement. In the event neither any candidate nor no endorsement receives a majority of the first place votes on the first canvass of ballots, the ballots shall be re-canvassed, using the following method, until a candidate or no endorsement receives a majority of the first place votes: upon the second canvass and any required canvass thereafter the candidate or no endorsement receiving the fewest first place votes during the previous canvass shall be eliminated from the contest and their votes shall be allocated among the remaining candidates and no endorsement according to the to the numerical preference expressed on the subject ballot. Such reallocated ballots shall be deemed first place votes for the candidate or no endorsement to which they are thus assigned. The process shall be repeated until a candidate or no endorsements receives a majority of the first place votes.[5]

E. Open ballot voting. The requirement for a secret ballot may be waived at the meeting at which the endorsements are made by a 2/3 vote by the members voting.

F. Endorsement by Supermajority. By a 2 /3 vote at an endorsement meeting the Club may require a majority larger than 50% + 1 for action on an endorsement. The Executive Committee may recommend specific endorsements to the membership if it chooses to do so.

G. The preceding paragraphs shall not apply to candidates for election as members of the Democratic County Committee, or persons designated as members of a Committee to Fill Vacancies. Candidates for the Democratic County Committee and persons designated as Members of the Committee to Fill Vacancies for candidates for the Democratic County Committee shall be designated by the Executive Committee. The Campaign Committee shall submit recommendations for these positions.

H. Material Support of Non-Endorsed Candidates. The facilities of the Club shall not be used on behalf of any candidate not endorsed in accordance with this Article, except upon a vote of the membership in a case in which the Club has voted no endorsement.

 

ARTICLE XII
Patronage

A.Members of the State Committee. The Club shall not endorse any person for Member of the State Committee unless such person has pledged not to accept patronage while serving in such capacity.

B. Officers of the Club. No person shall be eligible for election or to serve as President or Treasurer of the Club who holds a patronage appointment.

C. Definition of Patronage. Patronage shall mean any discretionary appointment, except for career managerial and career professional appointments, terminal at the discretion of the appointing authority made by any arm of government, or any function performed for compensation from an elected official, or service rendered to a legislative body, or any court appointment made on the basis of a political recommendation. In the event of any dispute regarding whether a position is to be considered a patronage position under this article, such dispute shall be resolved by the general membership by considering, among other things, (1) the tenure of the appointee, (2) the means by which the appointment was made, (3) the identity of the appointing authority, (4) the function performed by the appointee and (5) the pre-appointment relationship of the appointee, or immediate family members of the employee, with the appointing authority.

 

ARTICLE XIII
Expulsion

A.Method of Expulsion. The Executive Committee, by a vote of two-thirds (2/3) of its full membership, may expel a Member for conduct contrary to the interests or purposes of the Club. Expulsion shall be proposed by a petition stating reasons, signed by at least five (5) Executive Committee members or twenty-five (25) voting members, and submitted to the Corresponding Secretary. The Secretary shall present the petition to the next meeting of the Executive Committee and shall give the member at least one (1) week’s notice by registered or certified mail of the time and place of such meeting.

B. Should the Executive Committee vote to expel a member, the member within ten (10) days after the mailing to the member by registered or certified mail of the Executive Committee’s decision, may notify the Corresponding Secretary or President of the member’s intent to appeal. Such appeal shall be voted upon at the next meeting of the Club for which the notice shall list the appeal as an item on the agenda. If appealed, the decision of the Executive Committee shall not be operative unless ratified by a majority of the voting members present and voting at the meeting.

 

ARTICLE XIV
Amendments

A. Proposal of Amendments. Amendments to the Constitution may be proposed by the Executive Committee or by written petition signed by thirty (30) members or twenty-five (25)% of the membership, whichever is less, and submitted to the Corresponding Secretary.

B. Adoption of Amendments. To become effective, any amendment so proposed must be approved and adopted thereafter by a majority of the members present at two (2) consecutive meetings of the Club which shall be at least one (1) week apart. The text of such proposed amendment or amendments must be included in the notice of each of the aforesaid consecutive meetings and the notice of the second (2nd) meeting shall further state that final action will be taken upon amendment or amendments to this Constitution. Said amendment or amendments shall become effective as part of this Constitution upon the date of final approval and adoption or on such other date as the amendment or amendments shall specify. All approved or adopted amendments shall be included with the notice of the next general meeting.

 

ARTICLE XV
Robert’s Rules of Order

Robert’s Rules of Order shall govern the parliamentary procedure, the duties of the officers and other matters not specifically provided for in this Constitution. Motions to table shall require a two-thirds (2/3) majority of the members voting.

 

 

ARTICLE XVI

Membership List

 

Every member shall be entitled to a complete and current membership list showing names and addresses in order to contact other members for political purposes consistent with the aims of the Club. A membership list furnished under this provision should not be released to third parties.

 

[1] Added 57th District a per amendment

[2] Removed reference to residency requirement as that was never an accepted amendment

[3] All language has been changed to be gender neutral

[4] Number was restored to 25 members or 25% from previous version indicating 20 members or 20% since no amendment had been made to approve such change

[5] This method for run-off voting was adopted as an amendment and is being incorporated here