BYLAWS OF THE STAUNTON DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE
(Revised January 2008 and in 2009; adopted 8/11/09)
The Staunton Democratic Committee is organized under the authority of and in accordance with the Code of Virginia and the Virginia Democratic Party Plan. Nothing contained in these Bylaws is intended to conflict with either the Code of Virginia or the Virginia Democratic Party Plan. If any such conflict exists, then the Code of Virginia or the Virginia Democratic Party Plan, as the case may be, shall have precedence. Any provision declared invalid shall be stricken and the remaining provisions shall remain in full force and effect.
Within ninety (90) days of adoption, the Chair of the Staunton Democratic Committee shall submit these Bylaws to the State Party Headquarters.
The Committee exists to facilitate and encourage the full participation of all Virginians in choosing their elected officials and controlling their political destiny; to serve as the organizing body of the Democratic Party within the City of Staunton by encouraging voter registration; organizing and appointing election officials to work all general and special elections; offering qualified candidates for public office; encouraging the organization and participation of Young Democrats in the Democratic Party; and aiding in the victory of the Democratic Party’s nominees in all elections.
ARTICLE I MEMBERSHIP OF THE STAUNTON DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE
All persons registered to vote in the City of Staunton who are Democrats, who believe in the principles of the Democratic Party, and who do not intend to support any candidates opposing the Democratic candidate(s) in ensuing elections are eligible to join the Staunton Democratic Committee. Eligible persons present at the biennial reorganization meeting are automatically active members of the Committee upon submitting the completed application form to the Secretary. Other eligible persons can become active members by submitting the application form and being voted in by a simple majority of those active members present at any regular meeting.
The Secretary shall keep a roll of active and inactive members.. Members who have three consecutive unexcused absences will be placed on the inactive membership rolls, and will be ineligible to vote. An unexcused absence occurs when a member fails to notify the president or other officer (by phone, letter, e-mail or other form of communication) in advance of the meeting that the member will be unable to attend the meeting. This information will be passed on to the Secretary without delay. Such individuals who are placed on the inactive membership rolls may, however, reapply for active membership in the same manner as new or renewing members, as provided above.
Donations are requested of all Democrats of the City of Staunton and shall be determined annually by the Committee. No one will be denied membership to the Committee due to non-payment.
ARTICLE II ELECTION OF OFFICERS
At the October meeting preceding the biennial reorganization meeting, the Chair shall appoint a nominating committee. At the subsequent November meeting, the nominating committee shall recommend to the membership a slate of officers to form the Executive Board – Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary and Treasurer – to lead the organization for the next two years. The Chair shall advertise the reorganization meeting in a newspaper of general distribution serving Staunton, and shall state that the purpose of said meeting is to reorganize the committee and elect new officers. This meeting shall be scheduled to fall within the guidelines of the State Party Plan. All Democrats are to be encouraged to attend.
At the reorganization meeting in December or early January, a temporary chair will be elected. The temporary Chair shall ask if there are additional nominations from the floor. All nominees shall be asked if they are willing to serve before their names are presented for consideration by the membership. At this point, elections shall be by secret ballot.
Officers and shall assume their positions immediately upon their election at the reorganization meeting. Any officer, if duly nominated and elected, may succeed him or herself. The Secretary shall submit to the State and to the District VI Chair the names of all members, and of all officers, their titles, addresses, e-mail addresses and phone numbers. Officers are elected for a two (2) year term beginning in January of even years.
Chairs of standing committees shall be appointed or reappointed by the Chair of the Staunton Democratic Committee following each reorganization meeting.
ARTICLE III DUTIES OF THE ELECTED OFFICERS
The Chair shall preside at all meetings. In the event of the Chair’s absence, the Vice-Chair shall preside. If neither the Chair nor the Vice Chair is present, then the Secretary shall preside. A ten (10) minute delay is the limit to wait for a tardy officer. Meetings may proceed without a quorum. Any member may, however, request a quorum call before the vote on any issue. A quorum shall consist of thirty percent (30%) of the active (see Article I) Committee membership as has been recorded by the Secretary. The Chair shall carry out the duties required by the State Party.
The Vice-Chair shall perform such duties as may be assigned by the Chair. The Vice-Chair shall assume the duties of the Chair in the event of the Chair’s absence, and assume the duties of the Chair in the event of the Chair’s resignation or inability to perform the duties of the Chair until a new Chair is elected at the next regularly scheduled Committee meeting.
The Secretary shall keep minutes of every meeting of the Committee and send them electronically, or by mail if necessary, to the membership within ten (10) days. The Secretary shall also maintain attendance, keep all records organized in an orderly fashion, and have minutes of all previous meetings at each regular meeting.
The Treasurer shall be responsible for all monies of the Committee, and act on behalf of the Committee to collect all monies and pay all appropriate bills for which itemized receipts have been presented. All monies received shall be deposited within ten (10) working days. The Treasurer shall submit a written financial report at each meeting to the Secretary and make a verbal report to the Committee. An audit, conducted by the Executive Committee, may be held every two (2) years. The Treasurer shall submit to the Chair, no later than the 31st day of December of each year, a detailed written report of all receipts and expenditures of the Committee. Any funds received by any other member shall immediately be transferred to the Treasurer. If the Treasurer is incapacitated, the remaining officers shall appoint a fellow officer to perform this duty. All monies, checkbooks and ledgers belonging to the Committee must be given to the Chair in the event of the resignation of the Treasurer.
The Parliamentarian shall be appointed by the Chair and shall advise the Chair and the Committee with respect to matters of Committee organization such as parliamentary procedure, rules, meeting calls and these Bylaws.
The records of all officers will be available for inspection by any member of the executive board. A request to inspect records shall be given in writing and shall be honored by all officers within ten (10) days of the receipt of such request.
ARTICLE IV EXPENDITURES
The Chairperson may spend up to $100 for purchases necessary for carrying out Committee events or functions. If expenditures exceeding this amount are deemed necessary, then all members of the Executive Board shall be polled, and a majority of the Board must approve the expenditures up to $250. If expenditures above this amount are anticipated, approval by a majority of members present and voting is required.
ARTICLE V. VACANCIES
Vacancies on the executive board shall be filled at any regular meeting of the Committee after the vacancy has been announced. Nominations will be accepted from the floor and voted on by a simple majority of members present.
The Chair of the Staunton Democratic Committee shall fill vacancies of chairs of standing committees as soon as practicable after they occur.
ARTICLE VI. AMENDING BYLAWS
These Bylaws may be amended by an absolute majority (more than 50% of the Committee’s active members) at any time, or may be amended by a majority of the Committee members present and voting, if the proposed amendment is mailed and/or emailed to the membership at least fifteen (15) days before the vote on the amendment. Proposed amendments shall be clearly so designated in the mailing to the Committee.
ARTICLE VII. STANDING COMMITTEES
All committee chairs will serve a two (2) year term, or until the next reorganization, whichever comes first, unless they resign or are removed.
- Publicity – This committee shall gather and present information on Democratic activities and events to the Committee and the public, maintain a list of media contacts and issue press releases as authorized by the Chair.
- Outreach – This committee shall encourage membership from groups and individuals within the community to broaden community participation in Democratic activities and support Democratic candidates, seeking as much diversity as possible, enabling growth of the Committee and serve as liaison with various community groups such as civic associations, charitable organizations, and Young Democrats.
- Precinct/Ward – This committee shall supervise all precinct operations and precinct captains and undertake the development of a grassroots campaign organization at the precinct level to help all Democratic candidates and those endorsed by the Committee in all elections. It shall organize poll workers and coordinate the distribution of campaign literature in a timely manner.
- Finance and Fundraising – This committee shall budget funds for the activities of the Committee, initiate fundraising activities in coordination with other committee chairs, and enlist the support of individuals and organizations that are potentially able to contribute to the Staunton Democratic Committee’s financial support. The Treasurer shall be a member of the finance committee.
- Nominating – This committee shall seek out and recommend to the Committee qualified Democrats for vacancies on the executive board, standing committees, politically appointed positions, advisory commissions and boards at all levels of government and candidates to run for political office.
- Bylaws – This committee shall periodically review these Bylaws and suggest such changes as will facilitate the orderly working of the Staunton Democratic Committee. Any member may suggest changes for consideration by the Bylaws Committee. The Parliamentarian shall chair this committee.
ARTICLE VIII MEETINGS
The regular monthly meeting schedule shall be established at the reorganization meeting as to day, time and place. The day and time may be changed by the Committee to suit the situation, giving members at least two (2) weeks’ notice. However, a phone call or e-mail will suffice to notify members in case of inclement weather or emergencies.
Special meetings to address a single issue may be called at the request of three (3) active members of the Committee including one (1) member of the executive board. A three-day waiting period is required for setting the said meeting. Members shall be notified before any special meeting by e-mail or telephone. Notification shall consist of the date, time, location and subject matter of said meeting.
Provided a quorum, if requested, is met, a simple majority of those active members present and voting shall be necessary for the passage of all motions or resolutions by the Committee, except where stated otherwise.
Robert’s Rules of Order shall govern all Staunton Democratic Committee meetings, executive board meetings, and/or special meetings, except where they are contrary to any provision of these Bylaws.
All regular meetings are public. However, the Committee may adjourn to closed session upon a simple majority vote of those active Committee members present.
Visitors are assumed to be Democrats or persons supporting the Democratic Party. Visitors who disrupt meetings or who are clearly not favorable to the Committee and/or the Democratic Party may be asked to leave.
ARTICLE IX RESIGNATION AND/OR REMOVAL
Any officer may resign by giving written notice to the Secretary, or in the case of the Secretary, by giving notice to the Chair. The officer must submit all manuals, documents and funds to another member of the executive board within ten (10) days.
The absence without justification of an officer from three (3) meetings during the officer’s two-year term shall constitute grounds for removal.
Notice of any standing committee member resignation shall be given to the Chair in writing. All reports and other materials belonging to the committee shall be given to the Chair within ten (10) days.
No member of the Committee shall publicly support, endorse, or assist a candidate who is opposing a Democratic candidate. The Committee may remove from both office and/or membership, by a two-thirds (2/3) majority of those eligible active members, present and voting, any person found guilty of the aforementioned act or of neglect of any duty. Such action shall not be taken without ten (10) days’ written notice to the accused officer or member and an opportunity for him or her to refute such charge(s) in a hearing before the Committee. The decision of the Committee may be appealed to the Sixth District Committee.