BYLAWS OF THE ARLINGTON DEMOCRATIC TOWN COMMITTEE
February 8, 1996
Amended April 24, 2003
Amended June 14, 2012
Amended May 17, 2016
Amended April 8, 2019
ARTICLE I – NAME
The name of this Committee shall be the Arlington Democratic Town Committee (“the Committee” or “the Town Committee”).
ARTICLE II – OBJECTIVES
This Committee is organized and constituted under authority of and in accordance with the provisions of Chapter 52 of the General Laws of Massachusetts, and shall have as its purposes: to foster and advance the ideals and aims of the Democratic Party; to do all things necessary and incidental to the building and strengthening of the Democratic Party in Massachusetts and specifically in Arlington; to organize and work for the election and appointment of members of the Democratic Party at the District, County, State and National levels.
All Members of the Town Committee shall work towards the advancement of the Democratic Party, including its platform and its nominated candidates. All Members of the Town Committee shall work to grow the Democratic Party. All Members of the Town Committee shall actively work to elect the nominees of the Democratic Party to office.
ARTICLE III – MEMBERSHIP
Section 1 – Number of Elected Members. The Town Committee shall consist of thirty five (35) registered Democrats in Arlington elected at the Presidential Primary for a period of four (4) years ending thirty (30) days following the day of the next Presidential Primary. Such members will be the Voting Members of the Town Committee. Voting Members shall also include any “20-Year” Members, Ex-officio Members, and those elected to membership by the members of said Committee in conformance with the provisions of law and these bylaws.
Section 2 – Organization of Committee. The Committee, following the election of its members, shall meet and organize, and from its members elect officers. At such meeting the Committee may add to its elected members provided it does not exceed the total allowed by law as found on file with the Secretary of State’s office.
Section 3 – Associate Members. Associate Members are non-voting members of the Town Committee. Any registered Democrat in the Town of Arlington is eligible to be an Associate Member of the Town Committee. Associate Members play an important role in the work of the Town Committee, and there is no limit to the number of Associate Members on the Town Committee. The principal difference between Associate Members and Voting Members is the ability to vote, which is reserved for Voting Members only.
The election of Associate Members must be accomplished by nominating an individual or individuals at one regularly scheduled meeting at which the nominee(s) is in attendance, and electing the nominee(s) at a subsequent regularly scheduled meeting at which the nominee(s) is in attendance.
The exception to this rule is the case of a Voting Member who requests to be moved to Associate Member status. Upon the Voting Member’s request in person or in writing, the Voting Member’s resignation may be followed by a vote to elect that person immediately as an Associate Member, whether that person is present or not.
Section 4 – Filling Vacancies in Membership. At a regularly scheduled meeting, any vacancies occurring in the Voting membership shall be filled by a vote of the remaining Voting Members. Associate Members shall be the only candidates considered to fill the vacancies. The individual being elected to fill a vacancy must be present at the meeting at which they are nominated and at a subsequent regularly scheduled meeting at which the vote is taken.
Section 5 – Ex-officio Members. Ex-officio Members of the Town Committee include any of the following, if they are registered Democrats who reside in Arlington: the Democratic State Senator(s); the Democratic State Representative(s); any Democratic county, state, or federal officeholder. Ex-officio members have all the rights, privileges, duties and responsibilities of elected members of the Town Committee, including full voting rights. Ex-officio Members do not need to run for election at the Presidential Primary, and they shall not be included in the thirty-five (35) member limitation on the Town Committee as per Article Two, Section II of the Charter of the Massachusetts Democratic Party. If at any time an Ex-officio Member ceases to hold an office that qualifies them for Ex-officio status, such Member shall cease to be an Ex-officio Member of the Town Committee.
Section 6 – “20-Year Members”. Any Voting Member of the Arlington Democratic Town Committee who has served as such for a total of twenty (20) or more years will become a “20-Year Member” of the Town Committee. Upon the designation of any such “20-Year Member” by the Town Committee, such member’s elected position shall be vacated. “20-Year Members” of the Town Committee have all the rights, privileges, duties and responsibilities of elected members of the Town Committee, including full voting rights. “20-Year Members” shall not be included in the thirty five (35) member limitation on the Town Committee as per Article Two, Section II of the Charter of the Democratic Party of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Section 7 – Voting Privileges. The privileges of holding office, initiating motions, and voting shall be limited to Voting Members, including “20-Year” and Ex-officio Members.
Section 8 – Removal of Members. Any Voting Member (including Ex-officio and “20-Year”) or Associate Member of the Committee who moves from Arlington during their term shall cease to be a member of the Committee at that time. Any Voting or Associate Member of the Committee who changes their Party registration to any designation other than Democratic shall cease to be a member of the Committee at that time. In addition, members may be removed after a hearing by a vote of the majority of the Voting Members, including Ex-officio and “20-Year” Members, of the Town Committee, using procedures guaranteeing adequate notice and due process, for one or more of the following reasons:
- failure to attend at least half of the regularly scheduled Committee meetings during any calendar year (attendance will be reviewed annually);
- public support for or financial contribution to a candidate from any political party other than Democratic who opposes a nominee of the Democratic party, which nominee publicly supports the platform of the Democratic Party as adopted at the most recent state and national Democratic convention;
- unauthorized use of the Party name or resources; and/or
- conviction after appeals are exhausted of a criminal offense other than a misdemeanor.
A member must be given an 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 this section shall have thirty (30) days to appeal to the Judicial Council of the Democratic State Committee and the vacancy may not be filled in such case until the final decision of the Judicial Council is made.
Section 9 – Dues. The amount of the dues shall be set by the Voting Members annually. Dues will be waived or reduced in case of hardship.
ARTICLE IV – ELECTION OF OFFICERS
Section 1 – The Town Committee shall elect a Chair and one Vice Chair, or, if voted by a majority of the Town Committee, two Co-Chairs and no Vice Chair. The offices of the Town Committee shall also include the following: Secretary, Treasurer, and Affirmative Action and Outreach Advisor. All officers shall be elected at the Committee organizational meeting and shall serve for a term of two years, at the end of which new elections for officers shall be held.
Section 2 – The organizational meeting is to be held no later than April 15 in non presidential years and as defined in state law in presidential years. Officers assume their official duties at the close of the organizational meeting. All officers shall serve the duration of their term or until their successors are elected. Until the officers are elected at the organizational meeting, the meeting will be chaired by one of the following individuals (in order of preference): the Democratic State Senator (if the Senator resides in Arlington and is present at the meeting); the most senior Democratic State Representative who resides in Arlington and is present at the meeting; the most senior Democratic State Committee Member who resides in Arlington and is present at the meeting; or the longest-serving Voting Member of the Town Committee who is present at the meeting.
Section 3 – At the organizational meeting but prior to the election of officers, the Town Committee may decide by majority vote to have Co-Chairs and no Vice Chair, rather than a Chair and a Vice Chair. For all officer positions, an opportunity shall be given for nominations from the floor.
Section 4 – With respect to the Affirmative Action and Outreach Advisor, if no Voting Member is nominated for the position, Associate Members are eligible to be nominated and to be elected to that position. An Associate Member who serves as Affirmative Action and Outreach Advisor shall not be a Voting Member of the Town Committee.
Section 5 – In the event of the death, resignation or the permanent removal from the Town Committee of any of the above-named officers, their places shall be declared vacant and be filled by a vote of the Voting Members at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Committee. A statement of such changes in the officers of the Committee shall be sent within 10 days by the Secretary of the Committee to the Secretary of the Commonwealth, to the Secretary of the Democratic State Committee and to the Town Clerk.
ARTICLE V – DUTIES OF OFFICERS
Section 1 – The Chair(s) shall preside and preserve order at all meetings of the Town Committee and all caucuses called by the Town Committee; shall perform such other duties as may be prescribed by these bylaws or assigned to them by the Town Committee; and shall be a member ex-officio of all committees. If Co-Chairs are elected, the division of duties between them shall be decided by mutual agreement.
Section 2 – The Vice Chair (if any) shall act as an aide to the Chair and shall perform any duties assigned by the Chair or by vote of the Committee. The Vice Chair also shall perform the duties of the Chair in the absence of that officer.
Section 3 – The Secretary shall keep an accurate record of all meetings of the Town Committee including attendance; shall file the list of officers and members as required by law; shall furnish written notice of all meetings to members and the media; shall receive, read and safely keep all papers and documents of the Town Committee; shall conduct all the correspondence of the Town Committee and shall ensure that a copy of these bylaws is available, either electronically or in printed format, to each Voting Member and Associate Member. In addition, the Secretary shall, within ten (10) days after the organization of the Town Committee, file with the Secretary of the Commonwealth, the Secretary of the Democratic State Committee and the Town Clerk, a list of the officers and members of the Committee; and shall immediately file with the same officials a statement of the changes in the organization or membership of the Committee thereafter. With respect to this section, written notice may be by e-mail.
Section 4 – The Treasurer shall receive all monies of the Town Committee; shall keep an accurate record of the receipts and expenditures and shall pay out money only in such manner as authorized by the Town Committee; shall pay out money for political activities only upon the majority vote of all of the Voting Members present and voting at a regularly scheduled meeting with a quorum present, except in cases where bills have been presented to the Treasurer in the amount of less than $200; shall prepare any campaign finance reports required by federal or state laws; and shall deliver up the books of the Town Committee for auditing any time on five (5) days’ notice from the Chair. An audit shall be conducted by at least three members of the Town Committee appointed by the Chair at least once every four years or at the time of transfer of office to a new Treasurer, whichever is the lesser. In addition, the Treasurer shall provide a report of the financial condition and transactions of the Committee at all regular meetings. The Treasurer shall provide notice to the Committee upon filing of required reports to the Office of Campaign and Political Finance. The Treasurer shall be responsible for sending dues notices to members no more than 30 days after the annual or organizational meeting. The Treasurer also will file reports as required with regard to fundraising.
Section 5 – The Affirmative Action and Outreach Advisor shall be responsible for developing strategies and activities to expand participation in the Committee of the Party’s Affirmative Action target groups and to recruit and retain new members.
Section 6 – At the expiration of the term of office of any officer, by termination or otherwise, they shall turn over to their successor all monies, properties, papers, records and books of the Town Committee that may be in their possession.
ARTICLE VI – OTHER COMMITTEES
Committees and/or subcommittees may be created as required to promote the objectives and interests of the Town Committee. Unless otherwise determined in these bylaws, the Chair(s) and the members of all committees shall be appointed by the Chair(s) from amongst the Voting Membership and/or Associate Membership.
The terms of all committees shall be co-terminous with the term of the Chair(s) of the Town Committee.
ARTICLE VII – MEETINGS
Section 1 – Number of Regular Meetings. The Town Committee shall meet at least four times each year, in public session, at least once each quarter, at the call of the Chair. The Chair may also call meetings that are open only to Voting and Associate Members for the purpose of discussing strategy.
Section 2 – Special Meetings. Special Meetings may be called by the Secretary on receipt of a signed petition from at least 20% of the membership of the Committee.
Section 3 – Notice of Meetings. There shall be at least seven (7) calendar days written notice of meetings to all Voting and Associate Members. Written notice may be by e-mail. Notices of all public meetings will be posted electronically on the Town Committee website and will be sent by the Secretary to the local media in time for publication at least two days prior to the scheduled meeting date.
Section 4 – Quorum Requirements. One-third of the Voting Members shall constitute a quorum for the transaction of business at any meeting of the Town Committee.
ARTICLE VIII – PARLIAMENTARY AUTHORITY
In the absence of other provisions, Robert’s Rules of Order, as most recently revised, shall govern the conduct of all Town Committee meetings.
ARTICLE IX – VOTING
Any vote of the Town Committee, including election of officers, Voting Members, and Associate Members, shall be open to the public, and shall be governed by Article 8, Section 2 of the Charter of the Massachusetts Democratic Party.
ARTICLE X – ENDORSEMENTS
Section 1 – The Town Committee shall not endorse any Democratic candidate prior to the completion of the Democratic Primary.
Section 2 – The Town Committee may issue an endorsement of any local, state, or federal legislation, and the Town Committee may issue an endorsement of any town or state ballot question, provided that any such endorsement is consistent with the values of the Massachusetts Democratic Party. Such endorsements require a majority vote of Voting Members, including Ex-officio and “20-Year” Members, of the Town Committee.
ARTICLE XI – CHANGES IN THE BYLAWS
Section 1 – These bylaws may be amended at a regularly scheduled meeting of the Town Committee by a majority of the Voting Members. Proposed amendments shall be distributed by the Secretary to all Voting Members at least fourteen (14) days prior to the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Committee at which the review of the proposed amendments shall occur. The proposed amendments shall not be voted upon, however, until the following regularly scheduled Committee meeting.
Section 2 – At least once every four years, the Chair(s) shall appoint three (3) Voting Members of the Town Committee to serve as an ad hoc Bylaws Committee. The ad hoc Bylaws Committee shall review the bylaws of the Town Committee and report back to the Town Committee as to whether any amendments to the bylaws are recommended. If the ad hoc Bylaws Committee determines that amendments are in order, it shall offer proposed amendments per Article XI, Section 1 of these bylaws.
ARTICLE XII – EFFECTIVE DATE
These bylaws have been adopted by the Town Committee and are effective as of April 8, 2019.