By-Laws of the Belmont Democratic Town Committee

Accepted June 2012

Article I: Name

This organization shall be known as the Belmont Democratic Town Committee, hereafter referred to as the BDTC.

Article II: Purposes

This committee is organized and constituted under authority of and in accordance with the provisions of the statutes of the Commonwealth and shall have as its purposes the following: the fostering and advancement of the ideals and aims of the Democratic Party; to work in cooperation with the Democratic State and National committees to and in carrying out the planks of the platforms of the State and National Conventions of the Party; to work and organize for the success of the Democratic candidates in the State and the Nation; to do all things necessary and incidental to the building and strengthening of the Democratic Party in Belmont, among which are: the endorsement of registered Democratic candidates; the adoption of resolutions and platforms; the raising and disbursement of funds for political purposes; voter registration campaigns; and the calling of caucuses for the purpose of endorsing candidates, adopting resolutions, or conducting other Party business as provided for in the Call to Convention.

Article III:  Membership

Belmont residents who are registered Democrats shall be eligible for membership in the BDTC. The BDTC shall have thirty-five members hereafter referred to as full voting members. The BDTC shall be composed as follows:

  1. Full Voting Members: Voting members are elected by Democratic voters of the Town of Belmont at the Presidential primary election. Voting members shall have the right to vote on all DTC matters. When a voting membership becomes vacant, the BDTC shall choose one of its associate members to become a voting member. An election to fill a voting vacancy must be held at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the BDTC after the vacancy occurs, providing that it is possible to give the required one week’s notice of the intention of filling the vacancy. Nominations to fill the vacancy may be made by the Membership Committee and from the floor. Election of a new voting member shall require a majority vote of those present and voting.
  2. Associate Members: Associate members are to be voted in by a majority of the voting members present at a regular meeting, provided that such a person is an enrolled Democrat in the Town of Belmont, Massachusetts, and provided that the person is present at the meeting in which such a person is voted on. Associate members shall not be limited to a maximum figure.
  3. Life members:  Members automatically become life members after twenty years of continuous participation in the BDTC as full voting members.  Such life members’ elected positions on the BDTC shall be vacated after the member has served over 20 years.  He or she then remains a voting member by action of this section, and retains all the privileges and duties of full voting members.  These seats are not filled by the Committee when vacated for any reason.
  4. State Committee members residing in Belmont shall be ex-officio members of the BDTC.
  5. Vacancy and Removal: A membership in the BDTC shall be vacant upon the death of a member, upon changing one’s regular place of residence to outside the area of the Town of Belmont, changing one’s political party designation, or by resignation. Members and officers pledge themselves by accepting office to perform diligently and honorably their duties or resign. Members of the BDTC may be removed by procedures guaranteeing adequate notice and due process and by a two-thirds vote of the entire voting membership of the BDTC for any of the following causes:
    1. failure to attend at least half of the regularly scheduled committee meetings during any calendar year:
    2. public support for or financial contribution to an opponent of a nominee of the Democratic Party, provided that the  nominee publicly supports the platform of the Democratic Party as adopted at the most recent state and national Democratic conventions:
    3. unauthorized use of the Party name or resources;
    4. conviction after appeals are exhausted of a criminal offense other than a misdemeanor.

    The procedure for removal is as follows:   a. The formal process may be initiated by an officer of the BDTC on his or her own initiative, or at the request of another person. b. The affected member must be given at least 30 days notice of a meeting at which his or her removal will be discussed. Other members will be given at least one week’s notice of that meeting and given the opportunity to speak at that meeting.   A member must be given the opportunity to resign before notice of the hearing on the question of removal is given to the membership of the committee.   A member removed under these procedures shall have 30 days to appeal to the Judicial Council of the State Democratic Committee, and a vacancy may not be filled in such a case until a final decision of the Judicial Council Is made. Proxies: Neither a voting member nor an associate member may at any time delegate her or his rights under the BDTC to another, nor authorize by proxy another to vote for her or him.

  6. Dues: Voting members and associate members shall be assessed annual dues in an amount set by the Treasurer and approved by the Executive Committee. Dues must be paid to the Treasurer of the BDTC within one month of assuming membership or by 1 May, whichever comes first.  No elected officials or ex officio member shall be required to pay dues in order to vote or participate in Committee business. The Treasurer will provide written notice to members in advance of the May 1 due date.  The Treasurer will provide an additional written notice concerning payment of dues to those members that have not paid dues by July 1.  At the discretion of the Executive Committee, the voting right of members who have not paid dues by September 1 may be curtailed. Any such curtailment shall be communicated in writing to those members. In addition, the Treasurer, with the approval of the Executive Committee, may recommend the assessment of a specific sum for the purpose of carrying out all things necessary for supporting the objectives of the Democratic Party. The decision to make such an assessment may be made by a majority vote of those members present and voting at a special meeting of the BDTC called for the purpose of raising funds.

    Article IV: Officers

    The BDTC shall have five officers: a chairperson and a vice-chairperson (not both of the same sex), a treasurer, a secretary, and an affirmative action and outreach advisor.  Officers shall be elected every two years at the BDTC’s organizational meeting which shall be held no later than April 15.  Only voting members may become officers.  Nominations shall be taken from the floor. Election of officers shall be by secret ballot and require a majority vote of those members present and voting.

    Article V: Duties of Officers

    1. Chairperson- The chairperson shall be the principal executive officer of the BDTC with primary responsibility for enforcement of the provisions of the State Charter and local by-laws and for communications between the BDTC and the State Committee. The chairperson shall preside at all meetings of the BDTC, at executive committee meetings , and at caucuses called by it.
    2. Vice-Chairperson- In the absence of the Chairperson, the Vice-Chairperson shall have all the powers and duties of the Chairperson. The Vice-Chairperson shall preside at all meetings of the Finance Committee.
    3. Treasurer-
      1. The treasurer shall comply with Gen. Laws, c 55, s. 55 by filing written acceptance with the director of campaign and political finance
      2. The treasurer shall receive incoming funds on behalf of the BDTC, shall pay routine bills as authorized by the BDTC or by the Executive Committee, and shall keep an accurate record of all receipts and expenditures.
      3. The Treasurer shall maintain an account in a bank in the name of the BDTC and deposit  all cash and checks received in that account.
      4. The Treasurer’s report shall be read at each meeting and must include all income and disbursements since the last meeting.
      5. The Treasurer shall sign all checks on behalf of the BDTC. All disbursements shall be by check made payable only to the person or organization to whom or which the money is due.
      6. All checks issued In the amount of $100.00 or over must be countersigned by the Chairperson or Vice-Chairperson acting as Chairperson. To this end, the Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, and Treasurer are authorized to execute signature cards for the records of the bank used as depository.
      7. The treasurer shall deliver up the books of the BDTC for auditing any time on five days written notice from the chairperson.
      8. The Executive Committee shall appoint a committee of three voting members to audit the books of the BDTC annually before the meeting in May. i. In case of the inability or incapacity of the Treasurer to serve for any extended period of time, the BDTC shall designate a voting member to serve in his or her place until she or he returns.
    4. Secretary
      1. The Secretary shall keep a correct record of all the proceedings of the BDTC and of the Executive Committee, file the list of officers and members as required by the General laws chapter 52, file all papers, notify members of their appointment to committees, send out notices of meetings, receive, read and keep all papers and documents of the BDTC, conduct correspondence of the BDTC, and perform all other duties appropriate and consistent with the office.
      2. The Secretary’s report shall be read at each meeting. It shall consist of a report of the previous meeting and a report of any executive meetings that have occurred in the interim.
    5. Affirmative Action and Outreach Advisor- In order to encourage full participation by all segments of the population, the State Democratic Committee conducts affirmative action and outreach programs on behalf of target groups: Blacks, Hispanics, Asian-Americans, Native Americans and Cape Verdeans; the handicapped, youth, low and moderate income people, senior citizens, women and others. The Affirmative Action and Outreach Advisor shall advise the BDTC on the nature and implementation of the State Democratic Committees affirmative action and outreach programs, and what the BDTC can do in support of them.
    6. Within two weeks of the expiration of the term of office of an officer, by termination or otherwise, he/she shall turn over to his/her successor all money, papers, records, books, or other property of the BDTC that may be in her/his possession.

      Article VI: Vacant Offices

      In the event of a vacancy occurring in the office of Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Treasurer, Secretary, or Affirmative Action and Outreach Advisor due to death, resignation or inability to continue to serve for any reason, or if a person is removed from office by two-thirds vote of the members present and voting, the office shall be filled according to the procedures described in article IV.

      Article VII: Committees

      The following committees shall be considered as standing committees with the Chairperson or Vice-Chairperson as members ex-officio:

      1. Executive Committee- There shall be an Executive Committee composed of all the officers of the BDTC and the Chairpersons of the Standing Committees. Between meetings of the BDTC, the Executive Committee shall be empowered to act on behalf of the BDTC on all matters except membership, voting rights, changes in procedures for adopting, amending, or suspending these by-laws, and endorsements.
      2. Publicity Committee- There shall be a Publicity appointed by Committee whose members are to be appointed by the Chairperson.
      3. Finance Committee- There shall be a Finance Committee whose members are to be appointed by the Chairperson. The Vice-Chairperson of the BDTC shall act as chairperson of the Finance Committee.
      4. Membership Committee- There shall be a Membership Committee whose members and chairperson are to be appointed Chairperson. The Membership Committee is to work  on the admission of associate members, augmenting the number of registered Democrats in the Town of Belmont, and all other duties assigned to them by the Chairperson regarding the qualification, election, or appointment of members. The Affirmative Action and Outreach Advisor shall be a member of the Membership Committee.
      5. Program Committee- There shall be a Program Committee whose members and chairperson are to be appointed by the Chairperson. The Program Committee is to develop monthly programs on issues relevant to the Democratic Party for the agendas of the BDTC meetings.   With the approval of the Executive Committee, the Chairperson of the BDTC may form additional temporary committees as necessary.  Members of all committees are to be selected from among the voting and associate membership.

      Article VIII: Meetings

      1. The BDTC shall meet at least four times each year, at least once each quarter, at the call of the chairperson. A special meetingshall be called by the secretary upon receipt of a signed petition from no fewer than 20% of the voting membership of the committee. The special meeting shall be held within two weeks of the date on which the secretary receives the petition.
      2. A quorum shall consist of at least one third of the voting membership of the BDTC, which includes life members.
      3. All voting members must receive at least one week’s notice of the date, time, place, and purpose of all duly authorized meetings.
      4. Meetings shall be conducted on accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order.
      5. The chair may call upon any member present for parliamentary advice during a meeting.  Any decision by the chair may be overruled by two-thirds of members present and voting.
      1. The DTC may endorse a Democratic candidate in a primary election campaign by a two-thirds vote of those present and voting at a DTC meeting. Voting members shall be given at least two week’s notice of the intention to make such an endorsement.
      2. If a candidate who was endorsed by the DTC in a primary campaign does not receive the Democratic nomination, the DTC shall not support or endorse the candidate in the corresponding final election campaign.
      3. The first section, however, shall not affect the right of an officer or member of the DTC to work for the success of any candidate in a Democratic primary campaign as a private citizen.

      Article X:  Changes In By-Laws

      1. Proposed changes to these By-Laws shall be signed by a voting member and submitted in writing in time for the next meeting.
      2. A two-thirds vote of the members present and voting shall be necessary to approve a proposed change in the By-Laws or to repeal them.
      3. These By-Laws shall continue to be in effect from year to year, unless and until they are amended or repealed by the voting members. No formal motion shall be necessary at any meeting of the BDTC in order that they continue to be in force.

        Article XI: Suspension of the By-Laws

        By-laws relating to the transaction of business may be temporarily suspended at a meeting by three-fourths vote of those members present and voting; however, by-laws affecting membership, voting rights, adoption, amendment, or suspension of by-laws, and endorsements may not be suspended.22