BYD Constitution and Bylaw Amendment Proposals 2017

Proposal 1

Change Article IX to read:

  1. Amendments to this constitution must be submitted in writing to the chapter President and chapter Secretary at least two (2) weeks (14 days) prior to the February officer election meeting, pursuant to Article VI, Section 1 of this Constitution by an eligible voting member in good standing; should the date of the February officer election meeting be announced before two (2) weeks (14 days) prior to the stated date, amendments may be proposed up to two (2) days (48 hours) prior to the February officer election meeting. The President shall, then, place the amendment on the agenda for the February officer election meeting. The amendment will be considered approved if three-fourths (3/4) of the voting membership (in attendance) vote in favor of the amendment.
  2. Amendments to this constitution may also be proposed via approval of a simple majority of the Executive Board and two-thirds (2/3) of the voting membership (in attendance) at the February officer election meeting.
  3. BYD members must be informed of all proposed amendments no less than two (2) weeks (14 days) prior to the February officer election meeting.
  4. Only eligible voting BYD members in good standing may propose changes to this constitution.

Proposed by:  Seamus Campbell

Justification: Gives more power to change the governing document to the membership as a check on Executive Board and standardizes when changes can be made. Also, ensures non-members cannot make changes to BYD governing documents

Proposal 2

Add to in Bylaw V new section reading: 

“Only eligible voting BYD members in good standing may propose changes to these Bylaws.”

Proposed by:  Seamus Campbell

Justification: Keeps in line with Proposal 1.

Proposal 3

Amend Bylaw V to begin “Amendments to these bylaws”

Have all references to “executive board” be changed to “Executive Board,” “constitution” to Constitution” and “bylaws” to “Bylaws.”

Proposed by:  Seamus Campbell

Justification: Copyediting.

Proposal 4

Add in the following subsections to Article IV, Section 7.3:

“Failure to submit any and all financial activities, as required by law, to the appropriate agencies within ten (10) business days after being due to said agencies on the date each agency has prescribed shall be grounds for impeachment pursuant to Article XI of this constitution.”

“Should the Treasurer submit the financial activities by or on the required date to the appropriate agencies with the most accurate data he or she has at the time of the filing deadline, the previous subsection shall not take effect provided that the Treasurer amends any and all previous filings with the necessary and proper data as it comes to his or her attention with him or her actively seeking said data and that the Treasurer provides weekly reports to the Executive Board on his or her progress of the pursuit of keeping BYD in full compliance with the appropriate agencies until such time as any and all previous filings are fully up-to-date. These weekly reports to the Executive Board shall be available to any BYD member upon request”

Proposed by:  Seamus Campbell

Justification: It has been widely reported that Risa Sugarman, NYS BOE ‎Chief Enforcement Counsel, has been actively looking for campaigns/committees that have been lax on filing on time and has been referring cases to local DAs for investigation (rumored to be over 100 within a 6 month time span). This is an incentive to ensure BOE filings are on time as to avoid legal problems. If filing amendments are being put into the BOE system as new data comes in, it shows a good faith effort to the BOE that BYD is trying to stay in full compliance. Further, with new proposed ethics laws in Albany more scrutiny may come to PACs; much scrutiny has already come from good government groups about the activities of young democrats chapters. Additionally, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman recently prosecuted a campaign treasurer for filing innaccurate campaign finance reports (see: http://www.citizensunion.org/www/cu/site/hosting/Reports/Citizens_Union_Hidden%20from%20View_The_Undisclosed_Campaign_Activity_of_Political_Clubs.pdf, http://oag.state.ny.us/press-release/ag-schneiderman-and-nys-board-elections-chief-enforcement-counsel-sugarman-announce).

Proposal 5

Add to Constitution the following Article:

Credentials Committee

Section 1

No less than two (2) months prior to the February officer elections meeting, the President shall choose 4 members of the general membership to serve on a credentials committee.

Section 2

The credentials committee shall be charged with determining the voting eligibility of BYD members and executive board candidates pursuant to Article II, Section II of this constitution and Bylaw III, Section 3, respectively, using such documents and tools including, but not limited to, meeting sign-in sheets, Treasurer reports, and voter registration records from the New York State Board of Elections.

Section 3

The credentials committee shall be chaired by the Secretary.

Section 4

All reports, findings, and rulings of the Credentials Committee shall be subject to audit and appeal by the BYD membership.

Proposed by:  Seamus Campbell

Justification: Ensures that there is oversight as to whom is eligible to vote and/or be an elected officer. Suggestion to create a credentials committee was first suggested in February 2013 by former BYD and NYSYD President Greg Atkins.

Proposal 6

Change Article II, Section 6.6 to “Alongside the Credentials Committee, validate the voting eligibility of members.”

Proposed by:  Seamus Campbell

Justification: Keeps in line with Proposal 4.

Proposal 7

Add to Article II, Section 3: “gender identity.”

Change all gender-specific pronouns to also include gender non-specific pronouns

Proposed by:  Seamus Campbell

Justification: Inclusiveness for those not identifying with the gender associated with his or her sex, multiple genders, and/or no gender whatsoever.

Proposal 8

Add to Article II, Section 6 “Maintain the most up-to-date copy of this Constitution and the Bylaws, making them readily available to the membership, especially on the BYD website, and properly updating all copies when amendments to this constitution are made.”

Proposed by:  Seamus Campbell

Justification: Keeping members up-to-date with BYD’s governing documents

Proposal 9

Add to Article IV new section reading:

Contact information for each officer, as enumerated in Article III, Section 4 of this constitution, shall be publically available. This requirement may be fulfilled by each officer using a publically available designated email address for any and all BYD activities assuming that said officer regularly surveys any and all correspondence received at said email address.

Proposed by:  Seamus Campbell

Justification: Allowing members to contact officers regarding any and all issues. This is especially important when proposing amendments.

Proposal 10

Change Article IV, Section 1.3 to read: 

“Attend all meetings of the New York State Young Democrats. When the attendance of the President is not possible he/she will appoint a suitable replacement to represent him/her in his/her stead.”

Proposed by:  Seamus Campbell

Justification: The President of a chapter does not have a vote on the NYSYD Executive Board.

Proposal 11

Add subsection to Article IV, Section 1: 

“Ensure the proper announcement and publicity of any and all meetings and/or events conducted by and/or sponsored or co-sponsored by BYD to the BYD membership and general public at least one (1) week (7 days) prior to the stated date for the meeting/event.”

Proposed by:  Seamus Campbell

Justification: Ensure that people have ample notice of meetings and as a way to spread as much attention to events as possible.

Proposal 12

Change Article IV, Section 1.2 to read
“Act for and on behalf of BYD in all necessary and proper manners.”

Proposed by:  Seamus Campbell

Justification: Change from generic constitution template provided by NYSYD in 2010.

Proposal 13

Change Article II, Section 2 to read:

Voting members shall have the privilege of casting votes for officers, changes to this Constitution, and changes to the Bylaws.

  1. A voting Member is a member who, beginning in 2018, has attended at least three general body meetings or events hosted or co-hosted by BYD within the previous calendar year following and including the first meeting in February 2017; and
  2. If, of eligible age and citizenry, is registered to vote and is a registered voter within the Democratic Party in Kings County of New York State; and
  3. Fulfills the membership requirements as prescribed by Article II, Section 1 of this Constitution.
  4. Membership shall be extended to college, graduate, and post-graduate students currently seeking a course of study at an accredited school within Kings County whose primary residence and/or voting registration is outside Kings County for such time that he or she matriculates.
  5. The Executive Board may, by a majority vote, issue up to one (1) excused absence per member for reasonable cause.

Proposed by:  Michael Twomey

Justification: Make voting membership requirements fall in-line with those of NYSYD in order to streamline biannual credentials submissions.

Proposal 14

Add to Article III, Section 4 new subsection reading:

“The Legal Director shall serve as a non-voting, ex-officio member”

Add to Article IV, new section reading:

Section 8: Legal Director

  1. The Legal Director shall serve the internal investigator, legal counsel, and parliamentarian for the Brooklyn Young Democrats.
  2. The Legal Director must be licensed attorney in the State of New York in good standing, as defined by the New York State Bar Association.

Remove Article IV, Section 6.7

Change Article XI to read:

Section 2

Removal of elected and voting members of the Executive Board shall proceed as follows:

  1. Any eligible voting BYD member in good standing may submit a complaint and/or allegation of malfeasance, of any kind, by one or more members of the Executive Board to the Legal Director to investigate.
  2. The Legal Director shall have no more than two (2) weeks (14 days) to investigate complaint and/or allegation and submit a report to the Executive Board and general body detailing his or her findings and recommendation of the appropriate measures to be taken.
  3. If the Legal Director recommends that a member of the Executive Board, due to his or her actions, be removed from office, the Executive Board must commence a vote to remove the officer(s) within five (5) days of the report by the Legal Director being published.
  4. The officer(s) will be removed from office upon a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Executive Board. If the officer(s) is/are appointed, he/she/they will be removed upon a simple majority vote of the Executive Board.

Proposed by:  Veronica Aveis

Justification: Recommendation was given by NYSYD Legal Director, Dusan Lakic for its creation in order to streamline impeachment process.

Proposal 15

Change Article IV, Section 1.10 to read:

Remove anyone from any appointed position with the approval of the Executive Board.”

Proposed by:  Veronica Aveis

Justification: Streamlines the removal of officers and holds them accountable to the President and Executive Board.

Proposal 16

Add a section to Article III reading:

Beginning in 2018, all Executive Board members, appointed officers, and committee or caucus chairs must be voting members in good standing as defined by Article II, Section 2.

Proposed by:  Veronica Aveis

Justification: Fixes loophole wherein non-eligible BYD members could still serve as officers.

Proposal 17

Repeal Bylaw II and add a new Bylaw II, as follows:

BYLAW II

Section 1:

No member of Brooklyn Young Democrats shall, in their official capacity as members of Brooklyn Young Democrats, support any political candidate who is in the process of trying to obtain a Democratic nomination, or who is running a contested primary unless said candidate has been endorsed by Brooklyn Young Democrats. This section should not be read to preclude any BYD member from supporting a candidate in his or her own

individual, personal capacity.

Section 2:

Endorsements of candidates and campaigns shall be approved by a majority of

voting Executive Board members.

Proposed by:  Michael Twomey

Justification: Streamline and simplify chapter endorsement process

Proposal 18

Remove all mentions of Northern Brooklyn Regional Vice-President, Central Brooklyn Regional Vice-President, Southern Brooklyn Regional Vice-President”

Replace all usage of “officer” with “director”.

Repeal Article IV, Sections 3, 4, and 5.

Retitle Article IV, Section 6 as Article IV, Section 3

Retitle Article IV, Section 7 as Article IV, Section 4

Adopt a new Article IV, Section 5 to read as follows:

Section 5:  Directors

The President shall have the power to appoint Directors to assist the Executive Board in club operations.  Directors shall serve as ex-officio, non-voting members of the Executive Board.  The President may appoint as many Directors as necessary to satisfactorily carry out the duties of Brooklyn Young Democrats, but shall appoint no fewer than the following:

  1. Political Director:  The Political Director shall be responsible for tracking elections, candidates, appointments, and any legislative issues of interest to Brooklyn Young Democrats.  The Political Director shall develop and manage campaign strategy and mobilization for Brooklyn Young Democrats, including volunteer recruitment and deployment.  The Political Director shall report to the President in developing strategy around these issues, and the execution of all duties. The Political Director shall perform such other duties as assigned by the President or a majority of the Executive Board.
  2. Communications Director:  The Communications Director shall be responsible for regular media outreach and communications on all mediums, including social media outreach and strategy.  The Communications Director shall be responsible for Brooklyn Young Democrats’ messaging, in consultation with the Secretary.  The Communications Director shall maintain consistent branding across all Brooklyn Young Democrats’ communications and resources.  Anything produced for public consumption, with the exception of standard documents on letterhead, must be done in consult with the Communications Director.  The Communications Director shall report to the Secretary on all matters in order to ensure consistent and adequate messaging.  The Communications Director shall perform such other duties as assigned by the President, Secretary or a majority of the Executive Board.
  3. County Liaison:  The County Liaison shall serve as point of contact between Brooklyn Young Democrats and the Kings County Democratic Committee.  The County Liaison shall attend and represent Brooklyn Young Democrats at general meetings of the Kings County Democratic Committee.  The County Liaison shall perform such other duties as assigned by the President or a majority of the Executive Board.

The proposed changes shall take effect with the beginning of the 2018 Executive Board term.

Proposed by:  Michael Twomey

Justification:  Replace antiquated regional VP positions with directorships to improve Board efficiency.

Proposal 19

Change Article VI, Section 1 to read:

Beginning in November 2017 and for every officer election thereafter, elections of officers will be held at the first meeting in November of each calendar year. All terms are for one (1) year. Terms of the incoming Executive Board shall begin on January 11 of the following year.

Change all pertinent references to the February meeting to the November meeting.

Proposed by:  Michael Twomey

Justification: Establish a transition period between the outgoing and incoming Executive Boards