Sent to TNDP on 3/24/19
SHELBY COUNTY BYLAWS
Adopted March 30, 2019
ARTICLE I – NAME AND MISSION
Section 1: Name. The name of this organization shall be the Shelby County Democratic Party (SCDP).
Section 2: Mission. The mission of this organization shall be to promote the ideas and principles of the Democratic party and to aid in the election of Democrats for public office.
Section 3: Constituent Party. The Shelby County Democratic Party is a constituent party of the Tennessee Democratic Party. The SCDP Executive Committee is an organization created by the State Democratic Executive Committee, with the State Democratic Executive Committee having full authority in all matters over the SCDP Executive Committee. In any conflict between the county Bylaws and the Bylaws of the Tennessee Democratic Party, the Bylaws of the Tennessee Democratic Party prevail.
ARTICLE II – MEMBERSHIP
Section 1: Eligibility. All residents of Shelby County Tennessee who are registered to vote in this county, and who believe in the ideals, principles, and values of the Democratic party are eligible to become members of the SCDP. Membership dues may never be imposed.
Section 2: Nondiscrimination. Membership in the SCDP shall not be denied on the basis of sex, race, age, color, creed, national origin, religion, economic status, gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, ethnic origin or identity, or disability.
Section 3: SCDP Executive Committee and Democratic Grassroots Council Eligibility. All members shall be bona fide members of the Democratic Party. A bona fide Democrat is defined as an individual whose record of public service, actions, accomplishment, public writings and/or public statements affirmatively demonstrate that he or she is faithful to the interests, welfare, and success of the Democratic Party of the United States and of the state of Tennessee. The State Party or a county party may make exceptions to this rule for requesting individuals in the spirit of an inclusive and a growing Party.
ARTICLE III – POWERS AND RESPONSIBILITIES
Section 1: Governance. The governance and direction of the affairs of the Shelby County Democratic Party shall be vested in the Shelby County Democratic Party Executive Committee and in officers of the Shelby County Democratic Party, hereinafter as set forth in these Bylaws, subject to the laws of the state of Tennessee and such rules as may be established by the Tennessee State Democratic Executive Committee.
Section 2: Party Responsibilities. The Party shall have the following responsibilities:
- Planning and conducting all county meetings and conventions
- Keeping and maintaining records of all Party meetings and business
- Supporting the duly selected nominees of the Democratic Party in their elections and the education of their voters
ARTICLE IV – EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE AND DEMOCRATIC GRASSROOTS COUNCIL
Section 1: Composition.
- SCDP leadership will consist of 135 members plus a Chair and a Treasurer
- SCDP leadership will consist of 2 parts – the Executive Committee and the Democratic Grassroots Council pursuant to these Bylaws
- The Executive Committee shall demonstrate gender equity and shall be composed of 2 people of different gender per county commission district, plus those who become members pursuant to Article VII (Officers) and Article XV, Section 2 (Ex Officio members). To the greatest extent possible, the Executive Committee shall be balanced by gender, understanding that it may not always be possible based on Convention attendance.
- Executive Committee members are responsible for taking an active role in growth and outreach strategies aimed at aiding in the election of Democrats. These efforts are directed through committee work and organizing activities in their districts.
- Members may only hold one position on the Executive Committee.
- The Shelby County Democratic Grassroots Council consists of the Executive Committee as well as additional members from each County Commission District. The method of determining the number of Council members from each District shall be as follows:
- Each District is allocated 3 members
- The remaining 65 members will be allocated based on the total Democratic vote in Shelby County in the last gubernatorial Primary. See Appendix B.
- To summarize – each District will have
- 2 Executive Committee members
- 3 assigned Democratic Grassroots Council members
- The remaining 65 Democratic Grassroots Council members as allocated by Primary vote
- To the greatest extent possible, the Democratic Grassroots Council shall be balanced by gender, understanding that it may not always be possible based on Convention attendance.
- To the greatest extent possible, in order to ensure geographic diversity, no more than 2 members should come from any single Ward/Precinct, understanding that it may not always be possible based on Convention attendance.
- The Executive Committee as defined above in Article IV, Section 1, Point b shall be responsible for governance of the SCDP.
- Both the Executive Committee and the Democratic Grassroots Council as defined above in Article IV, Section 1, Points c & f will elect the Chairman of the SCDP.
Section 2: Manner of Acting. The act of a majority of the Executive Committee members present shall be the act of the entire Executive Committee, unless a greater number be required by law or these Bylaws. Under extraordinary or time-sensitive circumstances, when it is necessary to conduct a vote of the Executive Committee to take an action or make an obligation of funds, the Executive Committee may be polled via electronic methods as long as adequate notification is given, quorum/attendance is maintained, and final decisions/actions are included in the minutes for the next scheduled meeting.
Section 3: Manner of Election. The district representatives to serve on the Executive Committee and Democratic Grassroots Council shall be elected during the County Convention, in county commission district caucuses, called for the purpose of electing Executive Committee members, at a date determined by the Executive Committee as per instructed by the Tennessee Democratic Party Executive Committee.
Section 4: Resignations. The resignation of any member of the Executive Committee or Democratic Grassroots Council shall be made verbally or in writing and shall take effect at the time specified therein, or if no time is specified, then it shall take effect upon receipt of such resignation by the Chair or Secretary. All resignations must be verified and documented in meeting minutes whether by letter or verbal.
Section 5: Filling a Vacancy – Executive Committee. A vacancy on the Executive Committee from a District shall be filled by a person elected by and from the District’s Democratic Grassroots Council. Voting will follow the procedures specified in the Convention Rules, and the new Executive Committee member should be of the same gender as possible. The vote should take place within 30 days of the seat being declared vacant and be overseen by the remaining Executive Committee member. Documentation of the vote shall be given by that member to the Secretary at the next Executive Committee meeting and be included in the minutes.
Section 6: Filling a Vacancy – Democratic Grassroots Council. A vacancy on the Democratic Grassroots Council shall be filled to reflect the diversity of the district. To the greatest extent possible, the Democratic Grassroots Council shall be balanced by gender. The Executive Committee and Democratic Grassroots Council members from that District will select the member based on their participation and enthusiasm as a volunteer. Voting will shall be by simple majority of the District Commission. The vote should take place within 30 days of the seat being declared vacant and be overseen by the Executive Committee co-chairs. Documentation of the vote should be given to the Secretary at the next Executive Committee meeting and included in the minutes. The rules on geographic diversity covered in Article IV, Section 1 apply, but the replacement member does not have to come from the same Ward/Precinct as the person who resigned.
ARTICLE V – RESPONSIBILITIES
Section 1: Executive Committee member responsibilities
- Governance of the SCDP
- Participation in election of all officers
- Monthly meetings with entire Executive Committee
- Oversee Financial duties
- Approve financial expenditures greater than $250 per month
- Quarterly meeting with their peers from their Commission District
- Communicate regularly with Democratic Grassroots Council members
- Oversee fundraising efforts within the Commission District
- Serve as co-chairs directing the Democratic Grassroots Council of their Commission District
- Participation in SCDP Committees as needed
- When possible, ensure Commission District representation at local school, city, county public meetings on a rotating basis with other Commission Districts to be coordinated with the Secretary and included in the minutes
Section 2: Democratic Grassroots Council member responsibilities
- Participation in election of the Chair
- Quarterly meetings of the Executive Committee and the Democratic Grassroots Council
- Quarterly meeting with their constituents from Commission district
- Organizing their Commission District: building the grassroots effort by working directly with district community members for fundraising, candidate support, and GOTV efforts
- Participation in SCDP Committees as needed and “accept” or “reject with suggestions” reports of Committees
- Bringing forth constituent issues to the Grievance Committee
Section 3: Membership
- Members shall reside in the districts from which they are elected. A Member who no longer resides within his/her district must notify the Executive Committee within 30 days that a vacancy exists. If the Member fails to notify the Executive Committee, the Executive Committee must declare that a vacancy exists. The vacancy will be filled by the method set forth in these Bylaws.
- Residency for membership eligibility shall be presumed to be the address on file with the Shelby County Election Commission unless challenged. Should a challenge to the residency of a Member occur, the Member must provide proof of residence to the Chair in the form of utility bill, property tax statement, rent receipt, lease agreement, proof of mortgage or valid State of Tennessee identification.
- No Member shall show disloyalty to the Democratic Party by supporting candidates running against Democrats in General Elections, either in the form of a public announcement of support for a candidate of another party in a pending election, or by working in the campaign of, or giving direct, personal financial support to any such candidate. If a Member provides public and/or financial support to a candidate opposing a Democrat, that member shall be given the opportunity to resign. However, should that Member decide not to resign, after evidence is presented to the Executive Committee, that Member shall be expelled by a vote of the Executive Committee during a regular Party meeting without prejudice to the Member’s running to serve on the Executive Committee or Democratic Grassroots Council in the future.
- Any officer or member may be removed from office for malfeasance or incapacity by a 2/3 vote of the total membership of the Executive Committee, including the vote of the Chair, following due process.
- Officers and members are expected to act in the best interest of the Shelby County Democratic Party. In that regard, they shall not benefit financially from serving as a member of the Shelby County Democratic Party. They shall not appropriate for themselves or others the use of the name “Shelby County Democratic Party” or its logo, publication typefaces, etc., in such a manner as could cause others to incorrectly interpret a communication as having been officially sanctioned by the SCDP. Nor shall they appropriate any other deceptively similar name, logo, typeface, etc., for purposes of financial gain or for support of an election ballot endorsement not authorized by the Shelby County Democratic Party.
- Members should expect, but are not required, to donate a reasonable amount of time and other services to the Shelby County Democratic Party in advancing the Party's goals and purposes: approximately 20 hours of service in each quarter of a year from each member of the Democratic Grassroots Council and approximately 30 hours of service in each quarter of a year from each member of the Executive Committee. Officers are expected to volunteer sufficient time to fulfill their stated duties even if they exceed the expectations for members.
Section 4: Democratic Officeholders
- While the actions of elected Democratic officials are not governed by these Bylaws, the Shelby County Democratic Party will expect them to act in the best interest of the Democratic Party and to advance the Party’s goals and objectives.
- To the extent that Democratic elected officials act in a way that is deemed by the Shelby County Democratic Party to be detrimental to the Party in Shelby County or its goals and objectives, members of the Executive Committee and the Democratic Grassroots Council shall submit their grievances to the Grievance Committee for appropriate action by the Executive Committee.
- The Shelby County Democratic Party requires that candidates for public office in the Democratic Party in Shelby County be “bona fide” Democrats and shall exercise its right to take action to remove those candidates from the ballot who are not “bona fide” Democrats to the full extent allowed by law and the Rules of the Tennessee Democratic Party.
Section 5: Attendance. In order to be effective and productive, attendance at all meetings is expected by Executive Committee members. After three missed meetings, the Executive Committee member shall either step down into a Democratic Grassroots Council role or resign, and the remaining Democratic Grassroots Council members will elect a new Executive Committee member from the Democratic Grassroots Council. These changes must be submitted to the Chair and Secretary prior to the next monthly Executive Committee meeting and included in the minutes.
A Democratic Grassroots Council member who fails to attend 2 meetings of the Democratic Grassroots Council in one calendar year shall be removed from the position and the position shall be declared vacant. The vacancy will be filled by the method set forth in these Bylaws.
Section 6: Neutrality. The Party shall not endorse or campaign for any specific Democratic Primary Candidate prior to or during a contested local, state, or national Democratic Primary Election. With the exception of the Chair, County Party Officers, acting apart from their party office, may support and participate in campaigns for local, state, or national candidates of their choice in contested Democratic Primaries. All who seek to become Democratic National Convention Delegates must register in support of a specific Presidential Candidate prior to the delegate nominating procedure. Should the County Party Chair seek to become a delegate, the Chair may declare personal support for a specific Presidential candidate.
Section 7: Sanctions/Expulsions.
- Automatic Expulsion. Any member of the Executive Committee shall automatically forfeit their membership in said committee and the position shall be declared vacant for the following reasons:
- In the event a member qualifies for political office as representing any political party other than Democratic Party or qualifies for political office as an Independent and publicly opposes a duly qualified Democratic nominee.
- No person shall be an officer or member of the Executive Committee or Democratic Grassroots Council if they shall not support nominees of the Democratic Party. Party members cannot publically actively oppose a Democratic candidate nor can they support a candidate outside of the Democratic Party, including but not limited to financial donation, endorsement, or social media support.
- The Chair has the authority to enforce these provisions without a vote of the Executive Committee.
- Discretionary Sanctions or Expulsions: A member may be expelled at the discretion of the Executive Committee if a pattern of non-attendance is established, even if such absences are excused. Sanctions may be imposed against an officer or a member of the Executive Committee or Democratic Grassroots Council, or they may be expelled at the discretion of the Executive Committee for any conduct deemed detrimental to the Shelby County Democratic Party.
- Notice and Opportunity to be Heard. The Executive Committee may vote to impose sanctions on or expel a member, but only if written notice is given that the issue shall be taken up prior to the meeting at such action is voted. The member in question must be given written notice and an opportunity to be heard. The Executive Committee may not impose sanctions or expel a member unless 2/3 of the membership present and voting concur in such action. The Executive Committee can at its discretion set the term of the expulsion for up to 4 years.
ARTICLE VI- MEETINGS
Section 1: General. A calendar of all Executive Committee and Democratic Grassroots Council meeting dates will be generated, emailed, and publicized on the website quarterly. Meeting reminders will be emailed 7 days prior to the date of the meeting or 14 days prior if there is a meeting change. All meetings shall be held at convenient times and locations and shall be open to the general public and media representatives (except where legal counsel otherwise indicated based upon a legal need for a closed meeting or where 2/3 of the membership present and voting votes to discuss a particular item in a closed session).
Section 2: Publicizing of Meetings. Publicizing may consist of e-mail notices, social media posts, website postings, and text messages, as determined by the Executive Committee.
Section 3: Regular Meetings - County. Executive Committee Meetings will be held monthly in those months where there is no joint Executive Committee/Democratic Grassroots Council meeting. Democratic Grassroots Council meetings will be held quarterly in conjunction with the Executive Committee.
Section 4: Regular Meetings - District. The Democratic Grassroots Council members within their District should meet at least once a quarter in addition to the County Meeting.
Section 5: Cancellation. A monthly meeting can be cancelled by the Chair with at least 48 hours’ notice. In the event of inclement weather, the need for a 48-hour notice is waived. Under no circumstances should more than two months pass without a meeting.
Section 6: Special Meetings. The Chair may call a special meeting of either the Executive Committee or the Democratic Grassroots Council if 48 hours’ prior notice is provided via e-mail or phone to the members. If more than 45 days have passed and no regular meetings have been scheduled, the First Vice Chair may call for a meeting provided 48 hours’ prior notice is provided via e-mail to the members. A majority of the Officer Steering Committee may also call for a special meeting at any time provided 48 hours’ prior notice is provided via e-mail or phone to the members. Any notification of a meeting must include time and place.
Special meetings of the Executive Committee may, at the discretion of the Steering Committee, be held electronically. During such a special meeting, binding votes may be taken electronically, where regular quorum rules are applicable. Such meetings should only be used in extreme circumstances, and any decision made during such a special meeting must be communicated as soon as practical to the entire membership and must be officially ratified at the next regularly-scheduled meeting of the Executive Committee. Motions may be made, seconds taken, and official votes cast. A motion does not have to be recognized by the Chair. Meetings of the electronic meeting shall be published as if it were an in-person meeting.
Section 7: Minutes. The Secretary or Assistant Secretary will keep the minutes of all Regular and Special County Meetings. The quarterly District Level Meetings (Article VI, Section 4) do not need to be minuted. Minutes will be disseminated by the Secretary or Assistant Secretary to the full party membership at least seven (7) days prior to the next regularly-scheduled or specially-called meetings.
Section 8. Quorum. A quorum consists of 40% of the then current members excluding any vacancies.
Section 9. Convention Meeting. A regular meeting of the Executive Committee shall be held, without other notice than this bylaw, immediately after, and at the same place as, the Election of the Chair. Election of the Chair shall take place as immediately as feasible after the Convention where the Executive Committee is elected, and the time and place of the Election of the Chair (and the first meeting of the Executive Committee) shall be announced at the Convention.
BUSINESS AT MEETINGS
The order of Executive Committee Meetings shall generally be as follows:
- Call to Order
- Moment of silence
- Pledge of Allegiance
- Roll Call
- Reading and approval of the minutes of previous meetings. Reading can be waived.
- Treasurer’s Report
- Reports of Committees
- Unfinished business
- New business
- Elections (if needed)
The chair has the discretion to open the floor to public comment for a period of time not to exceed 15 minutes unless extended by the Executive Committee. The Chair sets the time limit for individuals to speak during this period of open public comment.
This order is not used at the Convention Meeting.
ARTICLE VII - OFFICERS
Section 1: Officers. The officers of the SCDP shall be Chair, First Vice-Chair, Second Vice-Chair, Secretary, Assistant Secretary, Treasurer and Assistant Treasurer, all of whom shall be elected by the County Executive Committee for a two (2) year term or until their successors are duly elected and qualified.
Section 2: Election of the Chair. The election of the Chair will occur within 3 weeks of the Reorganization Convention and will be independent of any other election(s). The Chair shall be elected by the Executive Committee and Democratic Grassroots Council members using Ranked Choice Voting. All ballots for this election shall be identified as to which member cast the ballot and shall be made available to the membership after the election to ensure fairness and accountability. The name of the Chair shall be sent to the TNDP within 5 days of their election.
Section 3: Selection of the Treasurer. The Chair shall appoint a Treasurer who meets the requirements laid out in these Bylaws. The Treasurer must be approved by a majority vote of the Executive Committee at the first monthly meeting held after the Reorg Convention.
Section 4: Election of Remaining Officers. The remaining officers shall be elected by the Executive Committee at the first regularly-scheduled meeting after the Election of the Chair. The manner of election shall be the same as outlined in Article VII, Section 2, Election of the Chair. The names of the remaining officers shall be sent to the TNDP within 5 days of their election.
Section 5: Vacancies. The resignation of any officer shall be made in writing and shall take effect at the time specified therein; if no time is specified, then it shall take effect upon receipt of such resignation by the chair or secretary and documented in the minutes.
If the Chair resigns, the First Vice-Chair takes their place until a new Chair is elected. If the Treasurer resigns, the Assistant Treasurer will take their place until a new Treasurer is elected by the Executive Committee. Elections for a new Chair or a new Treasurer must occur within 60 days of the vacancy unless the biennial convention will be held within the next 90 days; in that case the First Vice Chair and/or the Assistant Treasurer may fill out the remainder of the term. Vacancies of any other positions shall be filled by the Executive Committee for the unexpired portion of the term.
The acting Chair (First Vice-Chair) oversees the Chair election. If the First Vice-Chair is running for election as Chair, the Secretary takes over to oversee the election. The election will be run under the rules set forth in Article VII, Section 2.
If the Treasurer resigns, the Assistant Treasurer takes over the duties until a new Treasurer is selected and approved.
Elections for all other officers will be overseen by the Chair. The election will be run under the rules set forth in Article VII, Section 2.
Section 6: Chair. The Chair shall preside over any convention which may be called, and over meetings of the Executive Committee and the Democratic Grassroots Council. The Chair is the official spokesman for the SCDP. The Chair shall perform all duties incident to the office of the Chair and such other duties as may be prescribed by the Executive Committee members from time to time. The Chair does not vote unless needed to break a tie. The Chair (or their delegate) serves on the State Chairs Association. The Chair (or their delegate) serves as the 9th District Congressional Chair on the County Chairs Association.
Section 7: First Vice-Chair. In the absence of the Chair or in the event of his/her death or inability or refusal to act, the First Vice-Chair shall perform the duties of the Chair, and, in so acting, shall have all the powers of, and be subject to all restrictions on the Chair. They must perform all duties incident to the office of the Vice-Chair and such other duties as may be assigned to him/her by the Chair or the Executive Committee.
Section 8: Second Vice-Chair. In the absence of a First Vice-Chair, the Second Vice-Chair shall perform the duties of the First Vice-Chair, and, in so acting, shall have all the powers of, and be subject to all restrictions. They must perform all duties incident to the office of the Vice-Chair and such other duties as may be assigned to him/her by the Chair or the Executive Committee.
Section 9: Secretary. The Secretary shall:
- shall receive all records from their predecessor within 14 days of election;
- keep the minutes of Executive Committee and Democratic Grassroots Council;
- document any personnel changes in the minutes
- distribute the minutes of each meeting to the full Executive Committee and Democratic Grassroots Council in order that they can be approved at the subsequent meeting;
- conduct a verbal roll call of all the Executive Committee at every business meeting,
- keep attendance records for every meetings of the Executive Committee,
- keep the minutes of any conventions which may be held;
- see that all notices are duly given in accordance with provisions of law and these Bylaws;
- be custodian of the records of the Executive Committee;
- keep membership records and have general charge of membership books of the Executive Committee;
- in general, perform all duties incident to the office of secretary and such other duties as from time to time may be assigned by the chair or by the Executive Committee, or which may be required by law;
- maintain all records related to the position for a period of 5 years;
- transfer all records to their successor within 14 days of election; and
- render to the chair or to any member of the Executive Committee whenever it may require or request it, the records of the activities of the executive committee and its subcommittees.
Section 10: Assistant Secretary. In the absence of the Secretary or in the event of his/her death or inability or refusal to act, the Assistant Secretary shall perform the duties of the Secretary, and, in so acting, shall have all the powers of, and be subject to all restrictions on, the Secretary. They must perform all duties incident to the office of the Assistant Secretary and such other duties as may be assigned to him/her by the Chair or the Executive Committee.
Section 11: Treasurer. The Treasurer shall:
- shall receive all records from their predecessor within 14 days of election;
- have charge and custody of and be responsible for all funds and securities of the Party from any source whatsoever, and shall deposit all such monies in the name of the Shelby County Democratic Party in such bank or other depositories as shall be selected in accordance with the provisions of these Bylaws;
- keep and maintain, open to inspection by any member of the Executive Committee at all reasonable times, adequate and correct accounts of the funds and transactions of the Executive Committee which shall include all matters required by law;
- disburse the funds of the Executive Committee as may be ordered by the Executive Committee through approved motions;
- present a monthly itemized statement of income and expenditures to Executive Committee;
- render to the chair and secretary, or to the Executive Committee, whenever it may require or request it, an account of all transactions as treasurer and a financial statement in form satisfactory to them, showing the condition of the County Party;
- register with the State Election Commission and file any and all reports required by the State Election Commission (SEC) and Federal Election Commission (FEC) should the Executive Committee choose to become a registered Political Action Committee (PAC);
- in general, perform all of the duties incident to the office of treasurer and such other duties as may be assigned by the chair or Executive Committee;
- if required by the Executive Committee, give a bond, to be paid for by the Executive Committee for the faithful discharge of the duties in such sum and with such corporate surety or sureties as the Executive Committee shall determine;
- oversee annual financial audit
- be listed on all SCDP financial accounts
- review and follow Financial Controls as listed in Appendix A
- maintain all records related to the position for a period of 5 years; and
- transfer all records to his/her successor within 14 days of election.
- The Treasurer has a vote on the Executive Committee.
Section 12: Assistant Treasurer. In the absence of the Treasurer or in the event of his/her death or inability or refusal to act, the Assistant Treasurer shall perform the duties of the Treasurer, and, in so acting, shall have all the powers of, and be subject to all restrictions on, the Treasurer. They must perform all duties incident to the office of the Assistant Treasurer and such other duties as may be assigned to him/her by the Chair or the Executive Committee. The Assistant Treasurer will also be listed on all SCDP financial accounts.
Section 13: Sergeant at Arms. The Chair shall appoint a Sergeant at Arms. The Sergeant at Arms will maintain order at all SCDP sanctioned meetings. The Sergeant at Arms is not a voting member of the Executive Committee unless they were selected from within the Executive Committee.
Section 14: Chair and Treasurer. It is not required that persons nominated for Chair or Treasurer be members of the Executive Committee or Democratic Grassroots Council. If the Chair or the Treasurer was a member of the Executive Committee or Democratic Grassroots Council, that seat is declared vacant and filled under the procedures laid out in Article IV, Section 5/6.
Section 15: Terms of Office. Officers are elected until the next Reorganization Convention. A 2/3 vote of the then current members of the Executive Committee and Democratic Grassroots Council excluding any vacancies can call for the expulsion of a Chair or any other Officer and the election of a replacement.
ARTICLE VIII – OFFICER STEERING COMMITTEE
Section 1: Duties of the Officer Steering Committee (Steering Committee). The Steering Committee should meet at least once a month to advise the Chair on agenda items, topics, and Committee Status. The time for such meetings must be announced to the Executive Committee. The Steering Committee can make decisions for the Executive Committee, but must notify the Executive Committee if a decision has been made. Meetings of the Steering Committee are open to interested Executive Committee members, but are not generally open to the public unless invited by the Chair.
Section 2: Composition. The Steering Committee consists of the officers of the SCDP as well as 2 members elected from the body of the Executive Committee. The 2 elected members serve on a 6-month basis. After 6 months, these elected members may be reelected for additional terms.
Section 3: Elections to Steering Committee. The Non-Officer members will be elected at the first meeting of the SCDP following the biennial convention. There will be 2 elections – the first for Position 1; the second for Position 2. These members shall be elected by the Executive Committee using Ranked Choice Voting.
Section 4: Special Called meetings. There may be times where the Steering Committee must meet to deal with a time critical situation. Such meetings can be held via conference call. Advance notice is waived in this situation.
ARTICLE IX – COMMITTEES
Section 1: Standing Committees. The Executive Committee shall establish committees to facilitate the business of the party. Committee membership and leadership may include any Democrat from the Party and is not limited to members of the Executive Committee or Democratic Grassroots Council. The Chair shall appoint Chair(s) for the following committees (with the exception of Finance):
- Finance (Standing): Treasurer serves as Chair of the Finance Committee
- Community Outreach Committee (Standing)
- Marketing & Communications Committee (Standing)
- Grievances (Standing)
- Fundraising (Strategic)
- Candidate Support Committee (Strategic)
- Voter Support Committee (Strategic)
- Election Day Committee (Strategic)
- Legislative Research Committee (Strategic)
- Youth Engagement Committee (Strategic)
Standing Committees are required; Strategic Committees are recommended
See Appendix C for a description of possible responsibilities for each of these Committees.
Section 2: Special Purpose Committees. From time to time, the Chair may establish additional Committees to deal with a particular need. For example, a Kennedy Day Committee or a Bylaws Committee.
Section 3: Terms of Office. A chair of any Committee shall serve at the pleasure of the Chair, but no longer than until the next Reorganization Convention or until the Committee is terminated. Each member of any Committee shall serve at the pleasure of the Committee chair, but no longer than until the next Reorganization Convention or until the Committee is terminated.
Section 4: Removal of any Member of the Committee. Any member of any Committee may be removed by the person or persons authorized to appoint such members whenever, in their judgment, the best interest of the SCDP shall be served by that removal.
Section 5: Publicizing of Committees. All Committees, chairs, and email contact information should be included on the SCDP website for any interested participants.
ARTICLE X – RESOLUTIONS
Section 1: Resolutions. Resolutions may be submitted by members of the Executive Committee and Democratic Grassroots Council. All proposed resolutions must be submitted to the Secretary and distributed to the Executive Committee in a time to be included on the next meeting agenda. Emergency resolutions may be brought before the body by consent of a 2/3 majority of those present at a meeting or electronically. Resolutions may be adopted by a majority vote of the Executive Committee present and voting in favor.
ARTICLE XI – CONTRACTS AND EXPENDITURES
Section 1: Contracts; Expenditures; Bill Retention. All Executive Committees are urged to operate under an approved budget. No expenditures or bills shall be made or contracts entered into which purport to obligate the Executive Committee unless such expenditures or contracts are authorized by a majority vote of those present at a duly called meeting at which a quorum is present. Unexpected expenditures for less than $250 total per month (which does not carry over), obligating the Executive Committee, may be authorized by the Chair. The treasurer shall present a monthly-itemized statement of income and expenditures to Executive Committee members. All paid bills shall be retained by the treasurer for a period of five (5) years. Any violation of this policy is subject to the Grievance Committee.
Section 2: Budgets. Expenditures for special events such as fundraisers or social events must be preauthorized by Executive Committee. A planning budget must be presented to the Executive Committee by the Second Vice Chair. The Executive Committee may authorize a not-to-exceed budget which can be refined as more information is available. Within 60 days after an event, a financial statement detailing the revenue and costs associated with such an event must be presented to the Executive Committee by the Treasurer.
Section 3: Competitive Bid Requests. For all expenditures over $500 related to the Party, three competitive bids should be requested. The Executive Committee will review all bids and vote for the most appropriate bid.
Section 4: Conflict of Interest. Party members who are also business owners should not profit from Party business. However, these Party members may donate their services as “in-kind contributions” or at a discounted cost. This bid must still go through the competitive bidding process. Executive Committee members with financial interests in the bid proposal may not vote.
Section 5: Audits. Auditors shall be designated by the Executive Committee, who shall audit and examine the books of accounts of the Party and shall certify to the Executive Committee the annual balances of the books, which shall be prepared at the close of the fiscal year (December 31) by or under the direction of the treasurer.
ARTICLE XII – PARLIAMENTARY PROCEDURES
Section 1: Governance. The current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order shall govern meeting of the Executive Committee/Democratic Grassroots Council in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with the Bylaws and any special rules of order which may be adopted. All members of the Executive Committee/Democratic Grassroots Council are expected to be familiar with Parliamentary procedures.
Section 2: Parliamentarian. The Chair shall appoint a Parliamentarian for purposes of advising the Chair on Parliamentary Procedure. If the person selected is from the Executive Committee, that member forfeits his voting rights while Parliamentarian.
Section 3: Interpretation. The Executive Committee has by majority rule the authority to interpret these Bylaws.
ARTICLE XIII – AMENDMENTS
Section 1: Changes. These Bylaws may be amended or substituted by a 2/3 affirmative vote of the total elected membership of the Executive Committee. This action must only take place at any meeting of the Executive Committee called for the purpose of amending these Bylaws. Bylaws changes voted on by the elected membership of the Executive Committee must then be submitted to the chair of the TNDP County Party Development Committee for review and approval.
ARTICLE XIV – CONDUCT OF BIENNIAL COUNTY REORGANIZATION CONVENTION
Section 1: Biennial County Reorganization.
- A Biennial Reorganization Convention of the membership of the County Democratic Party shall be held at the time and date specified by the Executive Committee as per instructed by the Tennessee Democratic Party. The purpose of the Reorganization Convention is to elect Executive Committee members, Democratic Grassroots Council members, and Officers and adopt the Standard County Bylaws as prescribed by the Tennessee Democratic Party.
- The Reorganization Convention shall have ultimate authority and absolute power over all affairs of the Party pursuant to the Constitution and Bylaws.
- All members of the SCDP who are registered voters in the County and who attest they are bona fide Democrats by execution of affidavits or affirmations to that effect are eligible to be Voting Delegates at the Reorganization Convention and to be candidates for the Executive Committee/Democratic Grassroots Council.
- The number of properly authorized Voting Delegates in attendance at the Convention shall constitute a quorum.
Section 2: Prepare for the Reorganization Convention.
- Prior to the calling of the Biennial Convention, the Chair, in cooperation with the Executive Committee, shall appoint the following Committees:
- Convention Committee: Secure a location, recruit volunteers, and oversee the Convention. The First Vice Chair is the Head of the Convention Committee.
- Sergeant at Arms Committee
- Credentials and Rules Committee: Committee to present rules for approval to be used in conducting the Reorganization Convention and to settle grievances. The rules are based on guidance provided by the TNDP.
- Bylaws Committee: Committee to review the Bylaws and recommend changes and adoption at the Reorganization Convention following existing Bylaws.
- The Reorganization Convention shall be well publicized in the local news media, social media, email, radio and other methods available to the County Party seven (7) to fourteen (14) days prior to the convention.
Section 3: Holding Reorganization Convention. The provisions for the holding of the Biennial County Reorganization Convention shall be as follows:
- The Reorganization Convention shall be called to order by the incumbent Chair of the Shelby County Democratic Party Executive Committee.
- The Convention will first vote on the adoption or re-adoption of the standardized Bylaws.
- The Reorganization Convention shall then divide into caucuses by district. The Convention Committee will determine the chair of the caucus. The chair shall then call for nominations for each of the District Representative Executive Committee positions, as defined in Article IV, Section 1. Separate elections shall be held for each position, ensuring that each district is represented by people of different gender. After the nominations cease, the ballot is closed and the elections shall commence. A plurality shall prevail for each election. In the case of a tie, a runoff between those tied shall be held to decide the winner. Upon the completion of the election of the District Representative Executive Committee members, the convention shall reassemble and each district shall report the Executive Committee members who have been elected from that district.
- The Reorganization Convention shall then adjourn, as its business has been completed. A meeting of the newly elected Executive Committee will occur for the purposes of electing officers.
- Following the Election of Officers, the full Executive Committee will take the OATH OF OFFICE, and sign the forms notifying the TNDP of Shelby County Party Executive Committee election results.
OATH OF OFFICE
I (name) do hereby solemnly promise, before my fellow Democrats, to fulfill the duties of the office to which I have been elected, to the best of my ability. I also promise to support the nominees of the Democratic Party. I further promise that if for any reason I cannot perform these duties I shall resign so that a replacement may be obtained. I also understand that a violation of this oath can result in removal from office.
Adopted on ____________________________
ARTICLE XV - MISCELLANEOUS
Section 1: Political Action Committee (PAC) Status. A 2/3 vote of the entire Executive Committee (excluding vacancies) must approve starting any PAC.
Section 2: Ex Officio Members. SCDP confers voting rights and other Executive Committee Membership privileges to the following groups and persons, each to be elected from among the members of the respective groups by the members of the respective group:
- A single member from the Democratic Women of Shelby County organization as recognized by the State
- A single member from the Shelby County Young Democrats
- A single member from the Shelby County College Democrats Chapters
- A single member (or their delegate) from the Shelby County Democratic Legislative Caucus
- An elected Democratic official
Nothing in these Bylaws shall be construed to indicate that members of these affiliated organizations may not serve as regularly-elected members of the Democratic Grassroots Council or Executive Committee, or as officers of the SCDP. SCDP encourages members of these affiliate groups to become involved in the Party.
These members are not elected during the convention. They will be presented to the Convention prior to the Chair election in order to participate in the Chair election.
To the greatest extent possible, Ex Officio members must be members for at least a year before being changed.
Section 3: No Proxies Allowed. No proxy shall be allowed at any meeting of the Executive Committee.
Section 4: Unit Rule. No voting by the unit rule shall be allowed at any meeting of the Executive Committee.
Section 5: Open Voting. All votes shall be public and shall not be by secret ballot.
Section 6: Electronic Voting. Votes shall be allowed electronically as long as there is 1) reasonable notice of the substance of the vote, 2) a reasonable and practical advanced notice, and 3) a quorum of 40% and votes are recorded and submitted to record.
Section 7: No Weapons. No weapons are allowed at any Executive Committee or Democratic Grassroots Council event unless carried by a law enforcement official.
Section 8: Spokesperson. The Chair speaks for the SCDP to the media and the Public; no other Committee Member can speak for the party unless designated as a surrogate by the Chair. An example of this would be a Committee Member speaking at a function when the Chair cannot attend. However, the surrogate may not set policy for the SCDP.
- Record Retention: All shall be retained for a period of 5 years.
- Improved Controls over Collections: Suggest that the party obtain an endorsement stamp “SHELBY COUNTY DEMOCRATIC PARTY FOR DEPOSIT ONLY”, and that this stamp be held by the Treasurer. When checks are collected either at meetings or at fundraising events, they should be stamped before the end of the event, and should be deposited in the bank within 7 days, according to state law. The Treasurer (or Assistant Treasurer) must be present at every fundraising event. In addition to the Treasurer, another officer of the party (other than the party chair) should be present and should verify and tally all receipts. The total amount collected should be reported to the organization secretary via email, and this information should be disseminated to the entire executive committee, and the cash should be deposited in the bank without offset, so that there is a record of the deposit that agrees exactly with the amount reported as being collected. Although collections of cash are to be discouraged, there may be rare circumstances where cash may be acceptable. These circumstances should be approved in advance by the Treasurer, and the procedure for collecting cash should be the same as above – i.e., two separate individuals verifying and tallying the collections, and one of them reporting to the secretary, who disseminates the information to the executive committee. Again, the cash should be promptly deposited in the bank, without offset, and the amount deposited should agree exactly to the amount reported as collected. (Note: State law prohibits cash contributions in excess of $50 per person in any election cycle; under no circumstances should cash be collected without proper tracking to ensure compliance with this law. If the party is unable or unprepared to track these contributions, then it is best to avoid accepting cash altogether.)
- Cash Transactions Strongly Discouraged: As a rule, the committee should not conduct business in cash. On those rare occasions when cash payment is required, a certified check should be obtained from the bank. In the case where tips are required, or poll workers are paid in cash, a receipt book should be maintained and utilized. In no case should cash collected on the night of an event ever be used to pay tips or to pay off other service providers. If payment is required on the night of an event, the Treasurer should be available with the checkbook in hand and a foreknowledge of at least the approximate amounts due, to whom, and for what service. If a cashbox is to be brought to an event, the Treasurer should have the other party accepting collections sign a receipt for any cash withdrawn. The remaining cashbox amount after the event should be deposited into the bank and any deficit should be substantiated with corresponding receipts from payees. There should be two receipt books maintained for cash transactions – one book for disbursements and one for receipts.
- ATM Transactions to be Pre-Authorized and Debit Card to be Controlled: While recognizing that a Debit card provides flexibility, there should be controls around who holds the Debit card and who is authorized to use the Debit card, and it should only be used when authorized by the Treasurer. The authorized person should either be the Chair or another designated officer of the committee, and the card should be returned to the Treasurer within a reasonable time (no longer than 48 hours) after it has been used. (Note: The State Registry of Election Finance strongly urges State Parties to abandon the use of Debit cards entirely). Under no circumstances should cash ever be taken from an ATM machine.
- Audit Committee: There should be a financial audit committee consisting of 3 individuals. It is recommended that at least 1 member of the oversight committee be a professional familiar with business protocols, to be appointed by the Steering Committee, not necessarily a member of the Executive Committee. This oversight committee should receive all bank statements and review them. The oversight committee should also be given access to all of the Treasurer’s documentation upon request. The Treasurer should respond promptly to all inquiries by the oversight committee. The oversight committee is responsible for conducting periodic (at least once per year) audits and reporting the results to the Steering Committee.
- Authority of Treasurer: In terms of the documentation of financial transactions, the Chair and all other officers and members of the Executive Committee should be answerable to the Treasurer. If the Treasurer requests compliance with specific instructions, that request should not be overridden by any other member of the committee.
- Obligation of Treasurer to Report Unauthorized Activity: In the case of any unauthorized activity on the part of any member of the executive committee, or failure to cooperate with the Treasurer’s reasonable requests for compliance with standard business protocols, the Treasurer is obligated to report this information to the committee along with the Treasurer’s report. Unauthorized activity is defined as engaging in financial transactions, or incurring liabilities on behalf of the party that have not been approved and authorized by the executive committee or steering committee. It is further defined to include repeated failure to provide substantiation of financial transactions.
- Consequences of Failure to Comply with Reasonable Requests: Repeated and willful failure to comply with reasonable requests for documentation of financial transactions should be grounds for removal from the Executive Committee, whether the request be made by the Treasurer or by the audit committee.
- Requirement for Regular Treasurer’s Reports: There should be a Treasurer’s report given once per month, whether there is a meeting or not. If there is no meeting, or if circumstances prevent the Treasurer’s report from being given at a meeting, the report should be emailed to the secretary and should be disseminated by the secretary via email. If no Treasurer is in place, the Assistant Treasurer should provide a report.
- Allocation of the 65 members. (Votes in District) * 65/Total Votes = the Number of Additional Seats earned (rounded to the nearest whole number with the exception noted below)
- Examples –
o Assume there were 78757 Democratic votes in the gubernatorial primary (total votes, not just the votes cast for Governor)
o A District cast 3933 votes in the 2014 primary. That would mean this District is apportioned 3.245 based on the Primary vote. The District would receive an additional 3 members for a total of 8 members
o A District cast 3186 votes in the 2014 primary. That would mean this District is apportioned 2.629 based on the Primary vote. The District would receive an additional 3 members for a total of 8 members
o A District cast 12288 votes in the 2014 primary. That would mean this District is apportioned 10.139 based on the Primary vote. The District would receive an additional 10 members for a total of 15 members
- However, in order to keep the allocated number to 65, it is possible that one District may be shorted a member. For example – a District is apportioned 2.67079 additional members based on the Primary vote and another District is apportioned 4.58993 additional members based on the Primary vote. Because the first District’s percentage is higher than the second District’s percentage, the first District would receive the additional member and the second District would not. Conversely, a District could receive an additional member if the seats allocated did not total to 65.
Committee chairs can build their respective Committees at their discretion. Recommendations that require a vote should be submitted to the Secretary prior to the setting of the agenda.
- Finance – Responsible for creating the budget as it relates to financial goals and concerns within the organization. Monitors important filing deadlines for organization forms and fees at the state and/or national level. Submits a financial report at each Executive Committee meeting. Chaired by the SCDP Treasurer.
- Community Outreach Committee – Responsible for developing Get Out The Vote (GOTV) strategies for candidates and agendas supported by the SCDP. Also responsible for communicating those strategies to SCDP members and organizational partners. Must work in conjunction with the Marketing & Communications committee to implement strategies effectively. Submits a 90-Day Agenda at each SCDP meeting.
- Marketing & Communications Committee – Responsible for ensuring the SCDP maintains effective communication between the Executive Committee, Council, committees, and Shelby County constituents. Responsible for developing the strategy and identifying volunteers to communicate SCDP messages via website, email, traditional mail, phone scripts, recorded messages, text messages, social media, advertorial/editorial, graphic messages, advertisements, and other communications mediums when appropriate. Responsible for identifying third party marketing, print and design vendors who are qualified and Democratic or nonpartisan. Must submit marketing and communications strategies, timelines, volunteers, and budgets to the Executive Committee in accordance with the Executive Committee’s desired timeline. Must work in conjunction with the Finance, Fundraising, Candidate, and Voter support committees to develop strategies and budget. Co-chairs will serve as the points-of-contact for communications needs.
- Grievances – Serves as an impartial board of members to review questions, complaints, and concerns brought forth by members of the Council or Executive Committee on a weekly basis. (Concerns may originate from members of the Executive Committee or Council; Council members may submit complaints on behalf of constituents in their districts, but the Council member is considered the concerned party and is solely responsible for communicating to their constituent as appropriate.) Makes a recommendation on course of action for any issues requiring resolution and submits both the issue and recommendation to the board in writing for inclusion on the following month’s Executive Committee agenda. All questions, complaints, and concerns should be documented according to the Executive Committee’s requirements. Final action should be communicated to the concerned party via electronic communication or letter by the Chair of the Grievances committee within 90 days of the concern and with the SCDP Chairperson CC’d on any communications.
- Fundraising – Responsible for developing fundraising opportunities on behalf of the SCDP in support of candidate, voter, or organizational business. Opportunities may include sponsorships, online crowdfunding, social activities, formal events, educational trainings, etc. Must work in conjunction with the Finance committee to ensure an understanding of organizational goals, needs, and limitations prior to developing any fundraising plans. Must communicate with Marketing & Communications team for any SCDP-branded needs. Must communicate plans with proper notice to the Executive Committee for final approval before going forth with any strategies.
- Candidate Support Committee – Responsible for recruiting and supporting qualified candidates in upcoming elections that involve Shelby County. Develops a candidate recruitment system for each election that considers each potential candidate’s Democratic values, ability to serve effectively, electability, and long-term strategic value to the SCDP. Creates or identifies a political leadership development curriculum that encompasses the key needs of candidates in upcoming races. Communicates the recruitment strategy(ies) and training plan to the Executive Committee in accordance with Executive Committee’s desired timeline.
- Voter Support Committee – Responsible for developing strategies and identifying opportunities to help new Democratic voters get registered to vote, including education to enable online voter registration. Responsible for identifying opportunities to educate voters (may include town hall meetings, debates, meet & greets, online candidate profiles, etc.) about candidates and election dates. Must communicate strategies to the Executive Committee in accordance with the Executive Committee’s desired timeline.
- Election Day Committee – Must be activated at least 120 days prior to any primary or general election and 30 days before any special election. Responsible for serving as a day-of advocate for Democratic voters – assisting with transportation, voter disenfranchisement concerns and procedural matters before, during, and after the polls close. Must recruit or serve as Election Day volunteers, as needed. Must communicate Election Day plans and assigned volunteers to the Executive Committee at least two weeks prior to the relevant election.
- Bylaws - Responsible for identifying opportunities to clarify, strengthen, or update the SCDP Bylaws and Convention Rules as appropriate. Recommendations must be submitted to the Executive Committee for a majority vote before implementation.
- Legislative Research Committee - Responsible for monitoring online legislative trackers for elected representatives’ actions taken for or against Democratic or Republican measures at the state and national level. Responsible for reviewing publicly-accessible information about Democratic leaders at the city and county level. Must also review non-legislative action (endorsements, fundraising, etc.) related to elected Democratic leaders, potential Democratic leaders, and members of the Executive Committee or Council. Shall flag relevant information and submit for consideration at the following month’s Executive Committee meeting or submit to the grievances committee if a special meeting may be required to discuss a particular action or inaction that doesn’t align with the SCDP expectations of area Democrats. All flagged findings must be documented and maintained in an internal and confidential database owned by the Shelby County Democratic Party.
- Youth Engagement Committee - Serves as a liaison between the SCDP and Shelby County-area Democratic or progressive clubs and organizations that demonstrate an ability to engage voters under 35. Also provides volunteers for speaking, educational, and mentorship engagements at local schools (grade and post-secondary institutions) upon request. Develops creative solutions for advancing the Democratic platform and grooming the next generation of young voters and leaders for the SCDP. Collaborates with the TNDP Youth Engagement Caucus to oversee statewide youth-focused GOTV campaigns that involve constituents
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