DDWC By-Laws

These by-laws were revised from the approved 2014 version and are subject to approval at the 2019 annual meeting. These are the significant changes:

  • Terms for executive committee members will be extended from two years to three years.
  • The number of at-large positions will no longer be set at three. The nominating committee may bring forward for election at the annual meeting as many positions as needed.
  • The Executive Committee has the discretion to appoint any Democratic woman elected to a County-wide position to be an ex-officio member of the Executive Committee.
  • The requirement for a least two full membership meetings per year was eliminated. The practice has been one full membership meeting in January.
  • DDWC will have the discretion to make endorsements of qualified candidates in primary elections. The previous by-laws only allowed endorsements of candidates in general elections.
  • The names and amounts associated with the membership types were revised.
DUTCHESS DEMOCRATIC WOMEN’S CAUCUS BYLAWS 
 
ARTICLE I:  Name
 
The name of this organization shall be the Dutchess Democratic Women’s Caucus,  hereinafter referred to as DDWC.
 
The address of DDWC shall be the registered PO Box, or as may be designated from time to time by the Executive Committee.
 
ARTICLE II:  Purposes & Activities
 
DDWC shall be an independent, grassroots organization devoted to bringing more Dutchess County Democratic women into the political process and electing well-qualified Democratic women to public office at every level.
 
DDWC will function as a network and a resource for politically active Democratic women in the county.  It will provide a forum for the exchange of information, ideas and support.  It will encourage Democratic candidates and activists by providing mentors, training and financial and other support.
 
DDWC may conduct research on public policy issues and provide information to the public, candidates for office, and elected officials.
 
DDWC welcomes as members Democratic women and men from every part of Dutchess County and beyond, from every walk of life and every constituency.
 
DDWC will support and liaise with the Dutchess County Democratic Committee, the Democratic Party’s official organization in the county, as well as the town and city-level Democratic Committees throughout the County.
 
DDWC shall endorse qualified Democratic candidates in general elections running on the Democratic line in Dutchess County, and may endorse other candidates running on the Democratic line in Dutchess County.  DDWC has the discretion to make endorsements of such qualified candidates in primary elections.
 
In addition to an endorsement, DDWC has the discretion to offer financial support to qualified Democratic women running for elective office in Dutchess County..
 
DDWC’s fiscal year shall be the calendar year.
 
DDWC will maintain a website which will include the list of members of the executive committee and the current by-laws.
 
ARTICLE III:  Membership
 
Membership shall be open to any enrolled Democrat who supports the purposes and activities of DDWC. 

A member is defined as a person whose dues are up to date
           
Members shall pay annual dues.  There shall be six membership categories:  Eleanor Roosevelt Member; Sojourner Truth Member; Susan B. Anthony Member; Ruth Bader Ginsberg Member; and Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez Member:  amounts to set by the Executive Committee on an annual basis. 

Dues may be waived or lowered in cases of need at the discretion of the Executive Committee. 

Dues are payable when the member joins and once a year thereafter in the month of January. The membership year runs from January 1 to December 31st.  Only members whose dues are paid up to date may vote on DDWC matters.  Dues paid after November 15th will include membership for the subsequent year.
 
ARTICLE IV:  Officers
 
The officers of DDWC shall be: 
            President
            1st Vice President
            2nd Vice President
            Secretary
            Treasurer
 
Officers’ terms shall be for three years.  No officer shall serve more than two consecutive terms in the same office unless a third consecutive term is approved by a majority vote of the membership.
 
Any member who wishes to be a candidate for office shall submit their intention to the Chair of the Nominating Committee no fewer than 30 days before the next Annual Meeting.
 
The PRESIDENT shall preside at Executive Committee meetings and membership meetings.  The President, with the assistance of the Vice Presidents, shall be responsible for the administration of DDWC business.  The President, in consultation with the Executive Committee, shall appoint Committee Chairs or Members-at-Large to work on special projects.  The President or her designee shall be an ex-officio, non-voting member of all standing committees; however she or her designee may cast a vote in standing committee in order to break a tie.  The President shall present a report to each membership meeting on all matters concerning DDWC.  The President or her designee shall represent DDWC in public and to the media and at meetings and conferences of other organizations, including official Democratic Party organizations. The President or her designee shall be the official spokeswoman for DDWC.
 
The 1st VICE PRESIDENT shall perform all the duties of President whenever the President is unable to do so.  She and the 2nd VICE PRESIDENT shall perform such duties as assigned by the President. 
 
The SECRETARY shall perform all the customary duties of the office. These duties shall include keeping an accurate and complete record of DDWC proceedings and reports, taking minutes and attendance at every meeting, and disseminating reports to the appropriate parties.With the approval of the Executive Committee, the Secretary may appoint one or more assistants who shall not be considered officers of DDWC.
 
The TREASURER shall perform all the customary duties of the office.  These duties shall include keeping DDWC bank accounts in order, filing financial reports as required by New York State Election Law and filing tax documents as appropriate.  The Treasurer shall submit a quarterly report to the Executive Committee.  With the approval of the Executive Committee, the Treasurer may appoint one or more assistants who shall not be considered officers of DDWC. 
 
ARTICLE V:  Executive Committee
The Executive Committee shall consist of the President, the 1st Vice President, the 2nd Vice President, the Secretary, the Treasurer, the immediate past President, all other past Presidents to the extent that they are willing to serve, Members-at-Large, and appointed ex-officio members.  The Executive Committee has the discretion to appoint any Democratic woman elected to a County-wide position to be an ex-officio member of the Executive Committee.

Members-at-Large shall be nominated by the Nominating Committee and elected by the membership at the Annual Meeting.  Members-at-Large shall serve three-year terms on a staggered rotation, so that only some of the Members-at-Large are up for election every year.  Members-at-Large are limited to two consecutive three-year terms.  Any member who wishes to be a candidate for Member-at-Large shall submit a letter of intention to the Chair of the Nominating Committee no fewer than thirty days before the next Annual Meeting.  The Members-at-Large will assist the Executive Committee by taking on special projects and otherwise assisting the Executive Committee members in fulfilling their duties.
 
A vacancy in any Executive Committee position except that of President shall be filled by appointment of the President after consultation with the Executive Committee.  A vacancy in the position of President shall be filled by a vote of the Executive Committee. These interim appointments shall remain in effect until the next annual meeting.
 
A quorum shall consist of five members of the Executive Committee present or on speakerphone.  Ex-officio members are non-voting and shall not be considered part of the quorum requirement.
 
The Executive Committee may vote on matters on behalf of the full membership.
 
The Executive Committee shall administer the activities of DDWC. 
 
The Treasurer shall prepare the annual budget in November and present it to the Executive Committee for approval in December. 
 
The Executive Committee shall approve all expenditures over $500.00 that are not already included in the budget.
 
Special meetings of the Executive Committee may be called on the written petition of at least two-thirds of the Committee, with seven days notice to the members of the time, place and reason for calling the meeting
 
In the event that time is of the essence, at the President’s request, matters can be voted on via email or text.  A quorum must vote and a simple majority will rule.
 
The secretary shall distribute minutes of each meeting via email to Executive Committee members. The minutes are approved at the next meeting of the Executive Committee. The minutes represent the public record of the meeting. All discussions at the meeting that are not documented in the minutes shall be considered confidential.
Committee chairs are invited to attend Executive Committee Meetings
 
ARTICLE VI:  Meetings
The annual full membership meeting shall be held as early in the year as practical.

Additional full membership meetings can be held at the discretion of the executive committee.
 
Members shall be notified of meetings at least seven days in advance, except for the Annual Meeting as noted below.
 
At each meeting, the President shall report on the activities of DDWC and shall call for discussion and voting on appropriate matters.
 
Each member shall have one vote at DDWC meetings.  The Treasurer will provide a list of members who are eligible to vote.
 
A quorum shall consist of 10% of the membership or 10 members in good standing, whichever is more.  Votes shall be carried by a simple majority of the members present.  There shall be no voting by proxy.
 
All meetings shall be conducted in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order, the Modern Edition.  The chair of the meeting will appoint a parliamentarian for each meeting who will rule on any disputes.
 
ANNUAL MEETING
 
There shall be an Annual Meeting each year at which elections shall take place for officers and Members-at-Large whose terms have expired or who have resigned.  Newly elected officers and Members-at-Large shall assume office immediately following the Annual Meeting.
 
The date, time and place of said meeting shall be communicated to the membership at least 21 days in advance.
 
The agenda of the Annual Meeting shall be set by the Executive Committee.  If any member of DDWC wishes to have an item placed on the agenda she/he shall notify the President in writing at least two weeks before the meeting.  Such notification shall include a brief description of the matter to be considered.  The item shall then be placed on the agenda, or it may be brought up at the meeting as New Business.
 
The following shall be available to the membership seven days in advance of the Annual Meeting:  (1) the agenda, (2) the Nominating Committee’s slate of officers and Members-at-Large, (3) any proposed amendments to the bylaws, and 4) and any other materials or business to be voted on by the membership.
 
Nominations for officers and Members-at-Large may be made from the floor. 
 
The President, the Treasurer, and the Committee Chairs, if any, shall present reports at the Annual Meeting which will be recorded in the minutes.
 
MEMBERSHIP MEETINGS
 
Other meetings, programs, and events for the full membership shall be scheduled by the Executive Committee.
 
Special meetings of the full membership may be called on the written petition of 10% of the membership, with seven days notice to the full membership of the time, place and reason for calling the meeting.
 
ARTICLE VII:  Committees
 
All Committee Chairs are invited to attend Executive Committee meetings and present a report if requested.
 
The activities of all committees except the Nominating Committee must be approved by the Executive Committee.
 
Committee Chairs shall get approval from the President, or in the President’s absence, the 1st Vice President, or 2nd Vice President before communicating with the public or the media in the name of DDWC.
 
All committees shall have a minimum of three and a maximum of sevent members.
 
The DDWC President shall be an ex-officio member of all committees.
 
A.        EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
See ARTICLE V.
 
B.        NOMINATING COMMITTEE
A Nominating Committee shall be appointed three months  prior to each Annual Meeting by the President, with the approval of the Executive Committee.  In appointing the Nominating Committee, the Executive Committee shall strive for balance and diversity (geographical and otherwise), and the Nominating Committee shall do the same in forming its slate of officers.
 
The Nominating Committee shall each year prepare a slate of nominees to fill upcoming vacancies in the officers and Members-at-Large.  It shall present its slate to the Executive Committee at least 15 days before the Annual Meeting. 
             
C.        RESOURCES & TRAINING  COMMITTEE (R&T) 
The R&T Committee shall seek to recruit female Democratic candidates and train and support such candidates, their campaign staff and volunteers.  The R&T Committee shall work in close coordination with the Dutchess County Democratic Committee.
 
D.        MEMBERSHIP COMMITTEE 
The Membership Committee shall actively seek to expand the membership of the DDWC.  
 
The Treasurer shall be a member of the Membership Committee. The Membership Committee shall keep all membership lists up to date. 
 
The Membership Committee should coordinate with the Events and Fundraising Committee to attract potential new members to attend planned events..

E.         CANDIDATE REVIEW COMMITTEE
In each election cycle, the Candidate Review Committee shall review ten applications from candidates who wish to receive a DDWC endorsement and/or financial support.  The Committee shall present (in person, if possible) its list of candidates recommended for endorsement and/or financial support to the Executive Committee, which may, after discussion with members of the Candidate Review Committee present at the Executive Committee meeting, approve or reject any recommendation from the Candidate Review Committee. 

F.         EVENTS AND FUNDRAISING COMMITTEE  
The Events and Fundraising Committee shall plan and organize all DDWC events with the approval of Executive Committee.     
 
An ad hoc sub-committee may be appointed for each event, with the approval of the Executive Committee.
 
The Events and Fundraising Committee should coordinate with the Membership Committee when planning events to attract potential new members to such events.

G.        AD HOC COMMITTEES 
Ad hoc committees may be created by the Executive Committee as needed.
 
ARTICLE VIII:  Removal of Officers or Members
 
Any member or officer who directly or indirectly acts in a manner inconsistent with the goals and bylaws of DDWC shall be asked to resign by the Executive Committee in a written letter outlining the reasons for the request.  If the member or officer declines, the Executive Committee shall appoint an ad hoc Hearing Committee to hear in person from the Executive Committee and the member.  Such hearing shall take place within 21 days of the appointment of the Hearing Committee.  The Hearing Committee shall report its findings to the Executive Committee, which must consider the report of the Hearing Committee before taking final action.
 
ARTICLE IX:  Amendments
 
The Executive Committee should periodically  initiate a review of the bylaws.
 
These bylaws may be amended by a two-thirds vote of members present at the DDWC Annual Meeting or a full DDWC membership meeting, provided the amendment(s) have  been available to the membership at least 7 days prior to said meeting. 
 
Amendments may be proposed by a two-thirds vote of the full Executive Committee, or by a written petition to the Executive Committee signed by at least ten DDWC members or 10% of the membership, whichever is less, and submitted to the Executive Committee 15 days before the Annual Meeting.
 
ARTICLE X:  Assets and Property
 
In the event that DDWC is disbanded or dissolved, all assets and real property of DDWC and its committees shall revert to the benefit of the Eleanor Roosevelt Legacy Committee or, if that Committee no longer exists, to the Dutchess County Democratic Committee.
 
ARTICLE XI:  Indemnification
 
DDWC may, to the fullest extent now or hereafter permitted by law, indemnify any person made, or threatened to be made, a party to any action or proceeding by reason of the fact that she was a member of the Executive Committee of DDWC, against any judgments, fines, amounts paid in settlement and the expenses, including counsel fees and disbursements, incurred in connection with any such claim, action, proceeding or payment, except where such claim is based upon, in whole or in part, such Officer’s willful misconduct or fraud.