CUMBERLAND COUNTY DEMOCRATIC COMMITTEE BYLAWS
As amended, August 2011
This organization shall be known as the Cumberland County Democratic Committee, hereinafter referred to as the Committee.
The Committee shall be the authoritative body of the Democratic Party in Cumberland County. It shall have full power to act for the Cumberland County Democratic Party wherever not prohibited by law or by these rules. It may delegate such power to committees or representative Democratic voters of the county. The Committee is a not-for-profit, civic, and political organization.
Section 1. The County Committee shall have as its members two County Committee Persons elected from each precinct every four years beginning in 1990. One Committee Person shall be a male and one shall be a female, except as follows: in the event that a vacancy occurs for any reason in the office of Committee Person, the County Chair shall make a diligent effort to identify a suitable person to fill the vacancy who is of the opposite sex of the other Committee Person from that precinct. If the County Chair is unable to identify such a suitable person, he or he shall announce this fact to the Executive Committee, together with a full report as to the diligent effort that was made to achieve this objective. If the Executive Committee agrees that there is no suitable candidate of the opposite sex of the other Committee Person from that precinct, then the County Chair may fill the vacancy as provided by these bylaws without regard to gender.
Section 2. The County Committee Persons, the State Committee Persons elected or appointed from Cumberland County, and the four officers of the County Committee shall constitute the County Committee.
Section 3. No person shall be eligible to serve as a member or officer of the Committee who is found to be in violation of Rule 1, Section 2, of the Rules Of The Democratic Party Of The Commonwealth Of Pennsylvania. Complaints that a person is in violation are submitted to the Executive Committee for a hearing, at which the accused person is entitled to present a defense, followed by action by a majority vote of a quorum of the Executive Committee. If a violation is found, the accused person can appeal further as provided in Rule 1, Section 3, of the Rules Of The Democratic Party Of The Commonwealth Of Pennsylvania.
The Officers of the Committee shall be chairperson, a vice chairperson, a secretary and a treasurer. They need not be County Committee members at the time of their nomination and election. Of the chair and vice chair, one shall be a male and the other a female.
Section 1 – Elections. Officers shall be elected at the County Committee reorganization meeting, and serve until the conclusion of the next following reorganization meeting. Except in the case of the chairperson, vacancies shall be filled by the executive Committee for the balance of the term within 45 days after the occurrence of the vacancy. The officers shall move up in rank until a successor is qualified. A vacancy in the office of chairperson shall be filled by the vice chair moving up in rank until the office is filled by the County Committee. The vacancy must be filled by the County Committee within 120 days of the occurrence of the vacancy. Should the vacancy occur within 120 days before a general election, the rule may be suspended by a majority vote of the committee provided it sets a date for the election of the chair no more than 30 days following the November election.
Section 2. Duties of Officers.
A. The chairperson is the official spokesperson for the Democratic Party of Cumberland County. Duties include appointment of committees, filling vacancies in the County Committee, presiding at meetings of the County Committee, and serving on the State Democratic Committee. The chairperson is an ex officio member of every subcommittee of the Committee and of all Democratic clubs established in the County. The following guidelines shall exist for expenditure of Committee funds:
1.expenditures of $1.00 to $100 may be approved by the Chair alone, either before or after they are incurred;
2. expenditures of $101.00 to $1,000.00 must be approved, in advance, by the Officers;
3. expenditures of $1,001.00 to $5,000.00 must be approved, in advance, by the Executive Committee;
4. expenditures of more than $5,001 must be approved, in advance by the entire Committee;
5. all expenditures, either proposed or already incurred must be substantiated by an invoice, receipt or other writing. At least three written estimates shall be solicited for all expenditures above $1,000.00.
B. The vice chairperson shall carry out such duties as the chairperson shall designate. In the event of the chairperson’s absence, the vice chairperson shall conduct the duties of the office.
C. The secretary shall be responsible for distribution of the minutes of the previous meeting, and shall conduct the Committee’s business in the absence of the chairperson and vice chairperson. The secretary shall aid the chairperson in maintaining the official rolls of the County Committee.
D. The treasurer shall distribute a financial report at each meeting of the Executive Committee and shall be responsible for preparing and timely filing all campaign finance reports, as require by state law. The treasurer shall be bonded in the amount of $10,000.00 or such larger amount as the Executive Committee may determine. The treasurer shall receive all funds paid into the Committee and pay all accounts in timely fashion. The treasurer shall move up in order of rank if called upon to do so. All checks must be signed by at least two of the following three officers: Chairperson, Vice Chairperson and Treasurer.
E. All officers, before assuming office, shall sign an agreement that they will within two weeks after leaving office, turn over to their successors all books, papers, records, equipment, and monies received by them for their use while in office.
Section 3. An officer may be removed from office by a two-thirds majority of those present and voting at any meeting of the Committee, provided that at least ten days’ written notice of the proposed removal has been given to all members of the Committee, or provided that such notice was given at the last preceding meeting of the Committee.
Section 1. The Committee shall meet on a weekday evening or a Saturday following the primary election at which County Committeepersons are elected, no later than the sixth Wednesday following the primary, at such time and place within the County as the Chairperson shall designate by at least ten day’s written notice to all of the members. This meeting shall be the designated reorganization meeting of the Committee.
Section 2. The Committee shall meet also at other times and at least once each year, at such time and place within the County as shall be designated by at least ten days’ written notice to all of the members. All County Committee meetings including but not limited to those for the purpose of endorsement may be called by the Chairperson, by a majority of the Executive Committee, or by twenty-five percent of the members of the Committee.
Section 3. All meeting of the Committee shall be open to all Democrats, except as otherwise provided in these bylaws. Any member of the Committee may appoint by proxy a Democratic elector resident in the same election district and not already a member of the Committee, any of the four officers of the Committee or the members of the Democratic State Committee elected or appointed from Cumberland County may appoint by proxy a Democratic elector resident in the County and not already a member of the Committee as a representative of such member. Any such proxy shall be in writing, dated, signed by the Committee member designating the proxy, and attested by the signature of a witness. No person shall cast more than one vote on any one question placed before the Committee.
Section 4. A majority of sitting Committee members shall constitute a quorum at endorsement and reorganization meetings. One-third shall constitute a quorum at all other meetings.
Section 5. The following shall be the order of business at all meetings of the Committee, to the extent applicable:
Pledge of Allegiance
Roll Call of Members
Reading of Call to Meeting
Reading of Minutes of Previous Meeting
Election and Installation of Officers
Reports of Committees
Endorsements and Vacancies
Section 1. Endorsements in the name of the Committee, and the decision whether or not to endorse, shall be made only by the members of the Committee eligible to vote at the election for the office in question. Endorsements shall require a majority vote of all sitting Committee members eligible to vote for the office in question and shall be by secret ballot if there is more than one candidate for the office.
Section 2. Meetings to consider endorsements shall operate under the same provision as to call, location, notice, openness, and proxies as do other meetings of the Committee, except that the members of the Committee eligible to participate may, by majority vote of those present, decide to close the proceedings, or any portion thereof, to all except members of the Committee and members of the Executive Committee. A quorum for an endorsement meeting shall be a majority of those eligible to vote at the meeting.
Section 3. No office shall be considered for endorsement unless all of the duly filed or publicly announced candidates have been notified of the meeting in the same manner as members of the Committee. All such candidates shall have the right to offer brief remarks to the meeting.
Section 4. An endorsement shall mean that the Committee favors the nomination and election of a particular candidate but shall not be binding on any Democrat; notwithstanding the foregoing, however, none of the officers of the Committee shall by voice, vote, financial support or otherwise support any candidate for Representative in Congress, Representative in the General Assembly, Senator in the General Assembly or County or local public office who is running against a candidate endorsed by the Committee. No money may be expended or lent by the Committee or by the Executive Committee to influence the outcome of a primary election except a primary election for judge of the Court of Common Pleas, Ninth Judicial District, at which only one registered Democratic is seeking nomination, but the Committee or Executive Committee may authorize the formation of separate of campaign committees to raise and expend money on behalf of any endorsed candidate.
Section 5. Meetings to fill vacancies shall operate under the same provisions as to call, locations, notice, openness, secret ballot, and proxies as do other meetings of the Committee, except that in cases in which the legal deadline for filling a vacancy does not permit ten day’s notice to be given for the meeting, shorter notice will be sufficient. Those members of Committee present and eligible to vote at the meting shall constitute a quorum.
Section 6. All persons desiring to be considered as candidates to fill a vacancy shall have the right to offer brief remarks at the meeting.
Section 7. When any vacancy occurs in the Democratic nomination for any office affecting all or part of the County which is to be filled by State Committee or State Executive Committee, the Chairperson shall call a meeting to make a recommendation as to that office. The meeting shall follow the requirements of Article VI, above, with the following exception; when procedural deadlines make ten days’ notice impossible, shorter notice may be permitted; a majority of those votes cast at the meeting shall be sufficient to constitute a recommendation; one third of those eligible to vote shall constitute a quorum; and a quorum shall be deemed to continue once established.
Section 8. When any vacancy happens in public office affecting all or part of Cumberland County which is to be filled by appointment, the Chairperson shall call a meeting of the Committee to make a recommendation as to that office. That meeting shall follow the requirements of Article VI, Section 4 above.
Section 1. The County shall be divided into at least ten areas by the Chairperson, who shall notify the Committeepersons in writing of this apportionment within one month following the reorganization meeting of the Committee. Each area shall consist of one or more contiguous boroughs or townships, or both, except that non-contiguous municipalities may be combined into one area provided that they share a common school district and that a majority of the members of the Committee in each of the contiguous portions of the area consent. A single borough or township may be divided into two or more area. In no case, however, shall an area contain fewer than five hundred registered Democrats.
Section 2. The Chairperson shall appoint a registered Democratic resident in each area to serve as Area Leader or co-Area Leader, with the total appointed not to exceed 20. Each Area Leader will have one vote on the Executive Committee. The term of office of each Area Leader shall begin upon the consent of a majority of the members of the Committee resident in the area to his selection. The term shall extend until the conclusion of the next following reorganization meeting of the Committee, unless sooner removed from office by the Chairperson, with the consent of a majority of the members of the Committee resident in the area. Vacancies in the office of Area Leader shall be filled by the Chairperson, with the consent of a majority of the members of the Committee resident in the area.
Section 3. The duties of the Area Leaders shall be to coordinate and promote Democratic voter registration and campaign activities in their areas. They shall keep the Democratic Club and Committeepersons in their areas informed of the actions of the Executive Committee and shall report monthly to the Executive Committee on the programs and projects being conducted in their areas.
The plenary power of the Committee shall be vested in an Executive Committee, except in those instances in which these bylaws specifically reserve the power to another body, and as long as the actions of the Executive Committee are not inconsistent with those of the Committee.
Section 1. The officers of the County Committee shall hold those same offices on the Executive Committee.
Section 2. Members of the Executive Committee shall be the members of the Democratic State Committee elected or appointed from Cumberland County, the Area Leaders, all elected Democratic officials resident in the County whose nominating petitions are filed with the Secretary of the Commonwealth, and no more than ten other registered Democrats resident in the County and chosen by the Chairperson, with the consent of the Executive Committee, with regard to broadening the representative nature of the Executive Committee.
Section 3. No person shall be eligible to serve as a member of the Executive Committee who is found to be in violation of Rule 1, Section 2, of the Rules Of The Democratic Party Of The Commonwealth Of Pennsylvania. Complaints that a person is in violation are submitted to the Executive Committee for a hearing, at which the accused person is entitled to present a defense, followed by action by a majority vote of a quorum of the remaining Executive Committee members. If a violation is found, the accused person can appeal further as provided in Rule 1, Section 3, of the Rules Of The Democratic Party Of The Commonwealth Of Pennsylvania.
Section 4. The Executive Committee shall meet at least once a month during at least nine months of each year, at the call of the Chairperson or of twenty-five percent of its members, at a regular time and place or, upon at least one week’s written notice to all members of the Executive Committee, at such time and place within the County as may be designated. All meetings of the Executive Committee shall be open to committee members. A quorum of the Executive Committee shall consist of one-third of its members. Duties of the Executive Committee shall include the preparation and approval of an annual budget and program for the Democratic Party, which shall be made available to all members of the Committee.
Section 5. Members of the Executive Committee are expected to attend all Executive Committee meetings, unless prevented from doing so by illness, work or family obligation, or weather conditions, which shall be communicated to the Secretary in writing, including email notification. An Executive Committee member chosen by the Chairperson, other than an Area Leader or a State Committee member, may be removed by majority vote of the Executive Committee for missing three Executive Committee meetings in a 12-month period without communicating an excuse as provided above.
The Chairperson shall appoint, with the consent of the Executive Committee, and shall be ex officio of, standing committees on campaign, finance and registration and such other standing and special committees as needed. Members of these committees need not be members of the Committee.
To comply with existing statutory requirements for property held by Unincorporated Associations, a Board of Trustees is hereby established. The Board of Trustees of the Committee shall consist of seven persons, including the four officers and the Members of State Committee elected in the primary. Committee property shall not be pledged or mortgaged except to obtain funds which to purchase the property or reduce or retire the mortgage.
The Executive Committee may not expend money beyond its current liquid assets, borrow money, or assume debt in order to fund any campaign.
For the purpose of these bylaws, any personal pronouns shall encompass both the masculine and the feminine. For the purpose of these bylaws, the term “Area Leader” will apply to Area Leaders and co-Area Leaders.
The rules contained in Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, shall govern the Committee in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are non inconsistent with these bylaws.
These bylaws may be amended by a majority vote of the sitting Committee members at any meeting of the Committee, provided that at least one week’s written notice has been given to all of them that an amendment to these bylaws is to be considered and specifying by number and title the Article sought to be amended, or provided that such notice was given at last preceding meeting of the Committee.