Bylaws

Bylaws

TOWN OF NEW PALTZ DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE BYLAWS

 

PREAMBLE

We, the duly elected members of the Ulster County Democratic Committee representing the Town of New Paltz, together with our duly appointed associate members, do hereby form the Town of New Paltz Democratic Committee pursuant to Article I of the Rules and Regulations of the Democratic Party of the County of Ulster (Revised as of 2010). We have joined together to aid in the election of Democratic candidates for public office, and to assist the Democratic County, State, and National Committees when and where possible. The New Paltz, New York Democratic County Committee (hereby referred to as the Town Committee) does hereby adopt the following rules and regulations for its organization and government.

ARTICLE ONE – GENERAL PROVISIONS

Section 1. The Town Committee shall consist of registered democrats residing in the Town of New Paltz, New York and who have duly enrolled as required by law in the Democratic Party. 

Section 2.  All Town Committee Members shall be voting members of the County Democratic Committee. 

ARTICLE II

COMPOSITION

Section 1. Membership. The Town Committee shall consist of two Members representing each Election District in New Paltz, New York. 

Section 2. Election of Committee Members/Vacancies. Any registered New Paltz Democrat may be elected  by a majority vote of those present to vote, provided a quorum is present to fill a vacant committee seat. Upon election, said member shall serve as an acting Committee person. Candidates to fill Committee seat vacancies shall be nominated by an elected member at a meeting of the Town Committee; however, the vote shall be held at the next meeting. The acting Committee person will be confirmed as a full committee member after either: the County Committee meets and officially fills the seat or until an election is held. 

Section 3. Election of Associate Committee Persons. Any registered New Paltz Democrat may be elected to serve as an Associate Member at a regular meeting by a majority vote of those elected Members present.  Candidates for Associate membership shall be nominated by an elected member at a meeting of the Town Committee; however, the vote shall be held at the next meeting. No more than two Associate Committee persons can be elected and assigned per Election District.

Section 4. Ex-Officio Membership. The President of the New Paltz Democratic Club shall be an ex-officio member of the Town Committee, if she/he is not already a member of the Town Committee.

Section 5. Executive Committee/Officers.

(a) The officers of the Town Committee shall be the Chairperson, Vice Chairperson of Operations, Vice Chairperson of Organization, Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary and Treasurer.

(b) The Chairperson shall preside at all Town Committee meetings. He/She shall serve on the County Executive Committee and shall attend and report on meetings of the Democratic County Committee. He/She will serve as a liaison for the Town Committee with the County Democratic Committee and other Town Committees. The Chairperson shall be responsible for submitting a list of the Democratic Election Inspectors and Clerks to the Town Board. Additionally, the Chairperson shall be an ex-officio member of all Committee subcommittees.

(c) The Vice Chairperson of Operations shall assist the Chairperson in his/her duties, and shall serve as the Acting Co-Chairperson in the event of the Chairperson’s temporary absence or disability. In addition, the Vice Chairperson of Operations shall: lead in creating and maintaining technical and operational systems for the committee; work with treasurer to create and maintain fundraising systems; work with corresponding secretary to create and maintain communication systems; oversee events operations; and serve as an ex officio member of all subcommittees. The Vice Chair of Organizing shall: work with VC of Ops to assist the Chairperson in his/her duties, lead in executing cycle and long-term organizing priorities for the Committee; work with search committee to identify and vet prospective members of the Committee and candidates; and serve as an ex officio member of all subcommittees.

(d) The Recording Secretary will be responsible for accurately recording the minutes of all monthly, special, and Executive Committee meetings. All such minutes will be made available to committee members and associates within five days of the next scheduled full committee meeting. The Recording Secretary shall file and preserve all written reports of the Town Committee, and make them available for inspection by any member of the Committee.

(e) The Corresponding Secretary shall respond to such inquiries and letters deemed needed by the Chairperson or the Executive Committee. Copies of all correspondence will be kept on file. The Corresponding Secretary will be responsible for notifying members of regular, special, or executive committee meetings.

(f) The Treasurer shall keep all funds of the organization, collecting and disbursing the same as directed. All accounts shall be deposited in a local banking institution in the name of the Town Committee. All withdrawals are to be made on the signature of the Chairperson or Treasurer for any amount up to $50.00; expenditures of more than $50.00 require the approval of the Committee. The Treasurer shall present an up-to-date financial report at each monthly meeting, or when requested to do so by the Executive committee. The Treasurer shall file all reports required under New York State Election Law or Board of Elections Regulations.

 (g) Election of Officers shall be pursuant to Article VIII, Section 2 of the Rules and Regulations of the Democratic Party of the County of Ulster, except that an officer must be a member of the County Committee and a resident of New Paltz. Officers shall be eligible for reelection pursuant to Article VIII, Section 3 of the County Rules and Regulations, and shall serve until their term expires, or the resignation, or removal pursuant to Article XIII of the County Rules and Regulations.

(h) Within three (3) days after the official primary, the Chairperson shall designate the time and place of such organizational meeting. Within twenty days after the primary at which the Town Committee persons are elected, they shall meet and elect by majority vote their officers for two-year terms. Notice of the officer election meeting must be made to all Committee Members and Associates no less than seven (7) days prior to the meeting. At the office election meeting, a temporary chair and temporary secretary shall be elected by the Members by majority vote of attending members if a quorum is present. The elections shall be by secret ballot; the candidate receiving a majority of the vote for each office shall be declared elected. Each candidate shall be entitled to appoint one teller to canvass the ballots. The presiding chair and secretary of the election shall execute a certificate of election of the new officers upon forms provided by the Ulster County Democratic Committee. This certificate shall be filed with the Ulster County Democratic Committee and the Ulster County Board of Elections within three days after the election meeting.

(i) Upon the expiration of the term of office, or upon removal from office, or inability to act, the Secretary or Treasurer, as applicable, shall deliver books, papers, vouchers, and any other property belonging to the Town Committee to his or her successor, or in the event a successor is not in place, to the Committee Chair until a successor is in place.

(j) If a vacancy occurs in the office of chairperson of the Town Committee at any time between biennial organizational meetings, the Vice Chairperson shall automatically become Acting Chairperson of the Town Committee. In the event of such vacancy, it shall be the duty of the Acting Chairperson within thirty (30) days after the vacancy occurs to convene a meeting of the Committee for the purpose of electing a new permanent Chairperson for the unexpired term unless the next biennial meeting is scheduled to be held within 60 days of the occurrence of the vacancy.

 (k) Notification of all officer vacancies must be delivered in writing and provided to all members and associates as due notice thereof, within forty-eight (48) hours.

ARTICLE III

CONDUCT OF MEETINGS

Section 1. Voting. On all questions presented at any meeting of the Committee, each Committee member present shall have one vote. There shall be no voting by proxy. 

Section 2. Call of General Meetings. A set day and time for monthly Town Committee meetings will be established and voted upon biannually, in advance; the set date will be subject to change only for unforeseen circumstances. Written notice of meetings shall be made by the Chair or Corresponding Secretary. Written notice of change to the date, time, or location of a regular meeting will be provided to all Members and Associates no less than twenty-four (24) hours of such meeting unless circumstances made such notice impossible. 

Section 3. Call of Special Meetings. Special meetings may be held by majority vote of the membership at a previous meeting, or by direction of the Town Chair, or upon the petition of five Committee Members and filed with the Corresponding Secretary of the Committee. The Secretary shall thereupon and within forty-eight (48) hours after the filing of such request, give written notice to each member of such committee of the time, place, and purpose of such meeting, which time shall not be less than seven (7) days after the mailing of such notice.

Section 4. Conduct of Meetings. The Chairperson of the Committee, or in his or her absence, the Vice-Chair, or in his or her absence, the Chair’s designee, shall preside at meetings thereof.

Section 5. Procedure. Except as otherwise provided herein, Robert’s Rules of Order shall apply. Wherever the foregoing rules may be inconsistent with the Rules and Regulations of the County Committee, the latter shall prevail. A Parliamentarian may be elected by the Committee members by majority vote of those present to fulfill the duties of that office provided for under Robert’s Rules of Order.

 

Section 7. Order of Business. The following shall be the order of business insofar as applicable, at all meetings of the Committee except insofar as the first order of business at the organizational meeting shall be the election of a permanent Chair.

  1. Call to Order
    2. Call of Roll
    3. Election of Temporary Chairperson (if applicable)
    4. Adoption of rules pertaining to the conduct of the election of officers
    5. Election of Officers
    6. Filling of Vacancies
    7. Old Business
    8. Report of Officers
    9. Report of Committees
    10. New Business
    11. Adjournment

Section 8. Attendance by Non-Elected Democrats. Any registered Democrat will be allowed to attend Town Committee meetings. The Chair may recognize a registered Democrat to speak for no more than two (2) minutes, unless the Committee, by a majority of those present, votes to let the person speak for an extended period. Exceptions to this rule may be affected by a two-third (2/3) majority of eligible Committee voters present.

 

Section 9. Executive Session. The Committee may go into Executive Session (closed to all but Committee members and Associates) when deemed appropriate. Executive session may be proposed by any member of the Committee or any Associate Committee person eligible to vote at that particular meeting, and must be approved by a majority vote of those present who are eligible to vote.

 

Section 10. Rights of Associate Members. An Associate Committee person shall bear all of the rights and responsibilities of Committee persons, except that they may only vote on Committee matters when one or both of the two Committee members from their Election District is absent from the meeting. If only one Committee Member is absent and two Associates from that District are present, the senior Associate shall be eligible to vote. Associates may be counted in a quorum only if they are voting.

 

Section 11. Virtual Meetings. As an alternative to any regular, special, or sub-committee meeting, when an item is so urgent that waiting for action would likely lose strategic advantage or cause financial loss, or if environmental factors prevent in-person meetings, a virtual meeting may be held. Such meetings shall be announced as far in advance as possible to the voting group by phone or other electronic means. They shall also be announced to all members by web page, social media and email if advisable depending on the issue. Actions taken in this way shall be just as valid and of equal effect as a vote done in person. A roll call of all votes shall be reported at the next scheduled Committee meeting.

ARTICLE IV

SUBCOMMITTEES

Section 1. Executive Committee. The Executive Committee shall consist of the elected officers of the Town Committee and one member at large elected by a majority of those present by the Town Committee.

Section 2. Ad Hoc Subcommittees. Ad Hoc subcommittee may be formed by a majority vote of the Town Committee. Membership on ad hoc subcommittees shall be by volunteer. The chair for each ad-hoc committee shall be determined by members of said ad hoc committee.

 

ARTICLE V

OBLIGATIONS OF COMMITTEE MEMBERS

Section 1. Meeting Attendance. All members must attend a minimum of fifty percent (50%) of the Town Committee Meetings. 

Section 2. Additional Obligations. All members must serve on at least one ad-hoc committee or serve as a liaison to a political campaign organization; participate in fundraising activities of the Town Committee including making an annual contribution totaling at least $25 to the Committee; participate in Get Out The Vote (GOTV) activities including but not limited to phone banking and distribution of literature; carry nominating petitions for candidates endorsed by the Town and County Committees; attend the annual meeting of the Ulster County Democratic Committee.

ARTICLE VI

FUNDS AND BORROWING

The funds of the Committee shall be deposited from time to time in such financial institution authorized to do business in the State of New York as may be determined by resolution of the County Committee or the Executive Committee. All funds shall be deposited in the name of the Town Committee, unless authorized by the Executive Committee to be deposited in such other account as may further the purposes and policies of the Committee. Unless otherwise authorized by resolution of the Executive Committee, all checks, drafts, withdrawals or other orders for the payment of money issued in the name of the Committee shall require the signature of any two of the following: the Chairperson, the Treasurer, and any other person(s) designated by the Executive Committee; expenditures of more than $250 require the approval of the Committee Members. It is prohibited for anyone to deposit funds raised or borrowed purportedly for the benefit of the Town Committee without prior Executive Committee approval.

ARTICLE VII ETHICS CODE

Section 1: Statement of Principles. Rules of ethical guidance for the conduct of members will help earn the public trust.

(a) It is essential that party position not be used for private gain.

(b) Members and Officers of the Town Committee shall not engage in corrupt practices nor engage in conduct that creates the appearance of conflict of interest with their party office. All procedures of this Committee shall be held in accordance with the Election Law of New York State.

(c) No Committee Members may make a public written statement defining themselves as representing the thoughts or actions of the Town Committee as a whole, unless said statement has been approved in advance by the Town Committee. 

(d) After the Democratic Party has caucused and chosen their candidates or the Democratic candidate has been selected after a primary vote, any member or associate member publicly supporting the candidacy of a member of another party who does not have the endorsement of the Democratic Party shall be considered “disloyal” and subject to removal from the Committee pursuant to Article XII of the Rules and Regulations of the Democratic Committee of the County of Ulster.

Section 3. Hierarchy of Law. All procedures of the Town Committee shall be held in accordance with the Election Law of New York State. Whenever the foregoing rules of the Town Committee may be inconsistent with the Rules and Regulations of the County Committee, the latter shall prevail.

Section 4. Complaints. Any enrolled Democrat may submit to the Chair or the Secretary of the Executive Committee (privately and without any public release or announcement with respect thereto) a written complaint alleging a specific violation of the Rules and Regulations of the Town Committee by any person holding or seeking to hold a Party office.

 

ARTICLE VIII  REMOVAL OF A COMMITTEE MEMBER

Section 1. Grounds for Removal. A member of the Town Committee may be removed by the County Committee for any of the grounds specified in Election Law, Section 2-116 and for violations of the Ethics Code of these By Laws, pursuant to Article VII.

Section 2. Petition for Removal. Removal proceedings against a member of the Town Committee shall be initiated either by the filing of a written determination by the Executive Committee of a violation of the Ethics Code, as set forth in Article VII, or by the filing of a removal petition signed either (1) by no less than one-third (1/3) of the Town Committee members. The petition shall state the ground or grounds for which removal is being sought and shall identify the specific action which constitutes the ethics violation, disloyalty and/or corruption in office. Petitions for removal of a Town committee member shall be filed with the Secretary or Chair of the County Committee.

ARTICLE IX REMOVAL OF AN OFFICER

Section 1. Removal Proceedings. 

 

(a) An Officer may be removed by a no confidence vote of two-thirds (2/3) of the Town Committee. Such proceedings shall be commenced by the filing of a removal petition signed by no less than one-third (1/3) of the members of the Town Committee.

(b) Petitions for removal of an Officer shall be filed with the Secretary of the Town Committee.

(c)The petitioners shall have the right to fix a meeting of the Town Committee at which a vote will be taken on the requested removal. The time and place of the meeting shall be set in a written notice of meeting accompanying the petition. The notice shall also identify the purpose of the meeting. The meeting shall be scheduled no less than eight (8) days nor more than thirty (30) days after the filing of the petition; and a copy of the petition and notice of meeting shall be mailed to each member and Officer by certified mail, return receipt requested at the expense of the petitioners, no later than two (2) days after the filing of the petition with the Secretary.

(d) The meeting shall be called to order by the Chairperson of the Town Committee, or by the next succeeding officer if it is the Chairperson whose removal is being sought.

(e)The officer whose removal is being sought shall have a full opportunity to present his or her position, after which a vote of the Town Committee shall be taken. A two-thirds (2/3) vote of the voting strength of the committee shall be required for removal.

(f) The removal of an individual as a Town Committee officer shall not affect his or her separate status as a member of the New Paltz Democratic Committee.

ARTICLE X MISCELLANEOUS

Section 1. The current County Committee Rules and Regulations are hereby repealed.

Section 2. These rules may be amended as provided in Section 2-114 of the Election Law of the State of New York.

Section 3. These rules become effective immediately upon adoption.

Section 4. Any amendment to these bylaws shall be proposed and submitted in written form to the Town Committee. Proposed amendments shall be discussed at least one regular monthly meeting prior to being voted upon and must be adopted by a 2/3 vote of those present of the New Paltz Democratic Committee. A proposed Bylaws amendment shall be mailed to all Committee members and Associate members with the notice sent in accordance with Article One of the bylaws, of both the meeting at which such amendments will be discussed and the meeting at which it will be voted upon. 

 

Adopted March 2020