Queens County Young Democrats Constitution
In order to promote a better borough – with equality, opportunity, and freedom – within a just and strong society, we dedicate ourselves to organizing the participation of Democratic young people in the Borough of Queens. Our mission as a youth organization is to help elect Democrats from the grassroots level up, train and engage new generations of Democratic activists, shape the Democratic Party with voices from Queens' youth, and to become a potent political voice on the issues that impact the youth population. In this mission, we call for full participation of all Queens Democrats, regardless of gender, race, ethnicity, national origin, religion, physical handicap, socioeconomic status, sexual orientation or gender identity.
Understanding the importance of participation in the Democratic Party to the preservation of our values and principles, we, Democratic young people, do hereby associate ourselves and adopt this Constitution as the Queens County Young Democrats. The Queens County Young Democrats is the official youth outreach arm of the Democratic Organization of Queens County and is part of the Young Democrats of America.
Article 1: Name, Purpose, and Membership
Section I. Name: The name of this organization shall be the " Queens County Young Democrats," hereinafter referred to in the document as QCYD.
Section II. Purpose: QCYD, as the youth arm of the Democratic Party, pledge to support the philosophy and purpose of the Democratic Party. Furthermore, QCYD declares their intention to support efforts to increase the participation of young people in Democratic Party affairs. To these ends, QCYD shall educate and train their members so that they may be better able to:
A. Educate young people about the philosophy of the Democratic Party;
B. Assist in the election of local, state, and national Democratic candidates;
C. Work to bring more people into the political process.
D. Overall, to achieve the goals of QCYD and the Democratic Party
Section III. Members:
Members of QCYD organization shall consist of the following entities:
A. The Executive Board;
B. Membership at large
Section IV. Structure: The overall structure of QCYD shall be as follows:
A. The Executive Board, which shall define and carry out the direction of goals of QCYD.
B. The membership at large shall be composed of all those individuals between the ages of 16 and 35 that reside or work in Queens County and have paid their dues. These individuals must have the best interests of the Democratic Party, Young Democrats of America, and QCYD at heart, regardless of sex, race, ethnic origin, religion, physical handicap, socioeconomic status, or sexual orientation.
Article II: Executive Board
Section I. Authority and Responsibility:
The responsibilities of the Executive Board shall be as follows:
A. Determine the agenda and policy of QCYD
B. Coordinate all activities and events
Section II. Executive Board Composition.
The Executive Board shall consist of: The President, the Executive Vice-President, the Vice President of Political Affairs, the Vice President of Membership, the Vice President of Outreach & Diversity, the Communications Director, the Secretary, and the Treasurer.
The positions of President and Executive Vice President will be elected once every two years at the February meeting. All other Executive Board positions will be elected once yearly at the February Meeting. The procedure for Executive Board elections is stated in Article IV, Section IV.
Section III. Duties of the President:
The President shall:
A. Attend and preside over meetings of the Executive Board and general body;
B. Shall, in consultation with the rest of the Executive Board, call all meetings of the Executive Board and general membership.
C. With the assistance of the Vice Presidents, will be responsible for the implementation of the goals of the QCYD as set by the Executive Board;
D. Reaching out to and maintaining ties with Democratic elected officials, Democratic campaigns, and Democratic-leaning organizations in the State;
E. Appoint ex-officio members of the Executive Board with the advice and consent of the Executive Board;
F. Have the power of discretionary funding in amounts not to exceed $50. All expenditures of greater than $50 must be approved via majority vote by the Executive Board present at the vote.
G. Establish committees to facilitate QCYD’s goals as needed and appoint members to them with the advice and consent of the Executive Board;
H. Appoint all committee Chairs, subject to the approval of the Executive Board.
a. Such approval requires an affirmative majority vote by the Executive Board.
I. Appoint the Election Chair to proceed over QCYD elections.
a. The Election Chair must be a member in good standing of QCYD and cannot be a candidate for any office.
J. In consultation with the Executive Board, shall have the ability to create additional non-voting position, and appoint individuals to fill those positions.
Section IV. Duties of the Executive Vice President:
The Executive Vice President shall:
A. Assist the President in the performance of his or her duties;
B. Act as President when the President is unavailable or unable to perform his or her duties;
C. Assume the office, powers and duties of the President upon the President’s death, resignation, removal, or inability to perform duties;
D. Oversee current projects of the Executive Board in QCYD in consult with the President;
E. Have the authority to communicate and coordinate directly with leaders of other County Organizations, the New York State Young Democrats, and Young Democrats of America with consent of the President;
F. Perform such duties as the President may assign and take on projects of his or her choosing with consent of the President. his or her activities at each meeting of the Executive Board and general membership.
Section V. Duties of the Vice President of Political Affairs:
The Vice President of Political Affairs shall:
A. Attend Executive Board meetings and assist in determining the goals of the QCYD;
B. Along with the President, be responsible for the implementation of the Legislative and Campaign goals of QCYD, as set by the Executive Board.
C. Identify political issues on the state and local levels that affect young and organize QCYD lobbying efforts.
D. Organize and Execute all political activities of QCYD
E. Act as the liaison between QCYD and other organizations – including but not limited to – New York State Young Democrats, The Democratic Lawyers Council, Unions, and other Progressive organizations.
F. Perform such duties as the President may assign and take on projects of his or her choosing with consent of the President.
Section VI. Vice President of Diversity & Outreach
The Vice President of Diversity & Outreach shall:
A. Serve as Chair of the Outreach Committee.
B. Serve as the QCYD representative to various under represented or protected political or community groups, including, but not limited to, those dealing with disability, gender, race, and sexual orientation.
C. Suggest to the President nominees to NYSYD caucus representatives to the Executive Board for the purpose of representing the QCYD at such meetings at the state level.
a. Nominations require the approval of the Executive Board. Such approval requires a simple majority vote of affirmation by the Executive Board.
b. Only Active QCYD members in good standing are eligible for nomination.
i. Active shall be defined as dues paid and having attended at least three of the last five general body meeting and/or QCYD sponsored events
c. One QCYD member will be nominated, and subsequently appointed by the Executive Board upon approval, to each of the five (5) NYSYD caucuses.
i. Such caucuses are as follows:
1. Caucus of Color (COC);
2. Disability Issues Caucus;
3. Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, and Transgender Caucus;
4. Labor Caucus;
5. Woman's Caucus.
d. All NYSYD caucus representative will report to the Vice President of Diversity & Outreach
D. Supervise all NYSYD caucus representatives from the QCYD.
E. Work with the Vice President of Political Affairs regarding community parades.
F. Perform such duties as the President may assign and take on projects of his or her choosing with consent of the President.
Section VII. Duties of the Vice President of Membership:
The Vice President of Membership shall:
A. Attend Executive Board meetings and assist in determining the directions and goals of QCYD;
B. Along with the President, be responsible for the implementation of the membership goals of the QCYD as set by the Executive Board;
C. Coordinate activities between QCYD and other Young Democrats chapters with consent from the President
D. Perform such duties as the President may assign and take on projects of his or her choosing with consent of the President.
Section VIII. Duties of the Communications Director:
The Director of Communications Shall:
A. Attend Executive Board meetings and assist in determining the direction and goals of the QCYD;
B. Along with the President, be responsible for the implementation of the communications goals of the QCYD as set by the Executive Board;
C. Maintain the QCYD press list, listserv, and public relations.
D. Notify media of all events of QCYD in an attempt to ensure media coverage;
E. Organize and execute all of QCYD’s communications, electronic and otherwise, both within the QCYD membership and to outside organizations.
F. Perform such duties as the President may assign and take on projects of his or her choosing with consent of the President.
Section IX. Secretary
The Secretary shall:
A. Shall record and distribute minutes of all Executive Board meetings to officers of the Executive Board.
B. Shall record and distribute minutes of all general membership meetings to all members of QCYD.
C. Shall maintain organizational files and records in a safe and orderly manner.
D. Shall maintain a list of attendees at each meeting and QCYD event.
E. Shall work with the Treasurer to keep a roll of all active, passive and inactive members.
F. Shall keep a historical record of all QCYD activities.
G. Shall be responsible for some of the Executive Board's correspondence.
H. Shall notify members of QCYD meetings and events.
I. Shall assist the Communications Director with the maintenance of the QCYD’s electronic listserv and serve as Co-Moderator of such listserv.
J. Shall inform the Executive Board of petitions to form a Regional Branch and review for accuracy that the petition meets the requirements of Section V of the Constitution and provide a copy, electronic or other, to the Executive Board of such petition.
K. Perform such duties as the President may assign and take on projects of his or her choosing with consent of the President.
Section X: Treasurer
The Treasurer Shall:
A. Shall maintain records of all receipts and disbursements of funds for the QCYD in accordance with local, state, and federal laws and regulations.
B. Shall manage the daily activities with respect to all monetary transactions.
C. Shall prepare and submit the required expenditure reports for the state and county Board of Elections.
D. Shall report all financial activity, specifically expenditures and income, at each meeting of the Executive Board and general membership.
E. Shall prepare the annual chapter budget and present it to the Executive Board for approval.
F. Shall co-sign all checks with the President and disburse funds in excess of $50.
G. Perform such duties as the President may assign and take on projects of his or her choosing with consent of the President.
H. Shall review all receipts and expenses of regional branch(es) on no less frequent a basis than every month.
I. Shall question and bring all concerns to the Executive Board receipts, records, or expenses that are not in line with the mission, or Constitution of the Queens County Young Democrats or the campaign finance laws and regulations of New York State.
Section X. Quorum: A quorum of the Executive Board shall be a majority of the elected officers of the Executive Board members present, in person, by conference calls, or by electronic communication.
Section XI. Vacancies: A vacancy shall be declared when a member of the Executive Board dies, resigns, or is removed from office. If the vacancy is in any position other than the President, the President shall nominate a successor who shall take office upon confirmation by a majority vote of the remaining Executive Board.
Section XII. Removal: Executive Board members may be removed in the following manner:
A. Cause for Removal: Cause for removal shall be defined as malfeasance, misfeasance, or nonfeasance of constitutionally-assigned duties, being convicted of a felony, or upon other grounds found by all of the other members of the Executive Board to constitute good and sufficient cause;
B. Process for Removal: To begin the process for removal, a member of the Executive Board must make a motion for removal. After the motion is seconded, it will automatically be laid on the table with no vote. The officer being removed must be contacted that a motion for removal has been made and that it will be voted on at the next meeting. Motion will come to a vote at the next schedule meeting. The motion for removal needs two-thirds majority of the Executive Board.
C. If an officer is absent at more than three General Meetings over the course of a year, that individual is immediately removed from their position on the Executive Board. If the officer being removed has due cause for being absent they may submit a petition to the Secretary within one week of their fourth absence explaining the reason for their absence and their plan to attend future meetings. The Executive Board will have 30 days to vote on the petition to excuse or disapprove the petition. A 2/3 majority vote will be required to approve a petition of absence.
D. Line of Succession: In case of the removal of the President from office or of his death or resignation, the line of succession is as follows: the Executive Vice President, the Vice President of Political Affairs, the Vice President of Diversity & Outreach, the Vice President of Membership, the Communications Director, the Secretary, and the Treasurer.
Article III: Finances
Section 1: The Executive Board shall approve all expenditures exceeding $50, through majority vote, in a manner consistent with the goals and principles stated in the Constitution and By-laws of the QCYD.
Section 2: The President and the Treasurer shall establish such bank and/or investment accounts as deemed necessary by vote of the Executive Board.
Sections 3: Any check issued by the QCYD shall bear the signature of the President and/or the Treasurer.
Section 4: In the event that the QCYD is disbanded or dissolved, all assets and real property of the QCYD, and its committees, shall revert to the benefit of the Democratic Organization of Queens County.
Article IV: Meetings and Voting
Section I: Executive Board Meetings: The Executive Board shall meet on a regular basis determined by the President or the majority of the Executive Board. Three (3) days notice of said meeting must be given to all E-board members.
Section II: General Board Meetings
A. The QCYD shall hold at least eight (8) meetings per year, which shall be chaired by the President.
a. Should the President be unable to chair a meeting, the Executive Vice President shall serve as Interim Chair.
i. If both the President and Executive Vice President are absent or unable to chair such meeting, the highest-ranking Executive Board members, as per the line of succession, shall chair the meeting.
B. At least seven (7) days notice of any QCYD general meeting shall be given to each member, including date, time, and location. The Secretary, through means deemed viable by the President, must distribute such notice.
C. The President shall set the agenda for each general meeting.
a. Part of that agenda must contain a members report, where any member will be able to bring up projects for consideration that have not been otherwise considered by the President or Executive Board.
Sections III: Membership and Dues
A. Only members in good standing are permitted to vote at meetings of the QCYD.
a. Members in good standing shall be those members who have paid their annual dues in full to the Treasurer.
i. As of the February 2011 meeting, only members who have paid their dues no less than one (1) day prior to the meeting shall be considered members in good standing.
b. Dues shall be set via majority vote by the Executive Board, and voted on at the February general membership meeting.
B. The Treasurer shall keep lists of which members have paid their dues and shall determine which members are in good standing.
a. In the event that the Treasurer is unable to make such a determination or in the event a dispute arises over whether a member is in good standing, the President shall determine the respective member's status.
Section IV: Executive Board Elections
A. Elections schedule: The Election for President and Executive Vice President shall occur next at the February 2012 meeting, and once every twenty four (24) months after that. The election of every other office shall occur next at the February 2011 meeting, and once every year after that.
a. To be clear, elections are to be held during the February meeting.
B. Eligibility to be a Candidate: All candidates must be members in good standing as defined by Article IV, Section III of the QCYD Constitution.
C. Eligibility to Vote: Each QCYD member in good standing shall be considered a voting delegate.
D. Nominations: Candidates shall have the opportunity to declare their intention to run for an Executive Board position by filing a statement of candidacy with the Election Chair prior to the meeting. Candidates may also be nominated by any two or more delegates on the floor, directly before their election.
E. Speeches & Questions: Each candidate shall be allowed the opportunity to give a speech prior to voting. The maximum time that a candidate may speak shall be 5 minutes for Presidential Candidates, 4 minutes for Vice Presidential Candidates, and 3 minutes for each other office. Following all the speeches for a given office, delegates shall be allowed to ask questions of all the candidates. No more than 10 minutes will be allowed for questions for each candidate.
F. Election Chair: The President shall appoint a member of QCYD to chair the elections.
a. The Election Chair shall preside over all elections.
b. Elections for each office shall take place directly following the speeches and questions of the candidates for that office.
c. The order offices shall be elected in shall be: the President, the Executive Vice President, the Vice President of Political Affairs, the Vice President of Diversity and Outreach, the Vice President of Membership, the Communications Director, the Secretary, and the Treasurer.
d. In order to win, a candidate must receive more than half of all votes cast, shall no candidate receive this many votes, there shall be a runoff between the two candidates receiving the most votes.
Section V: Formation of Regional Branches
Regional Branch – a part of the larger Queens County Young Democrats that exists to empower that region, engage and educate young adults, carry out the mission of the Queens County Young Democrats and connect that region to the broader Queens County Young Democrats organization.
Active Member in Good Standing – a dues paying member who has attended at least 3 General Meetings of the Queens County Young Democrats in the last year.
A. Demonstrated Interest
a. A regional branch of Queens County Young Democrats will be formed if 15 active members in good standing, who currently reside in that region, sign a petition to form a regional branch of the Queens County Young Democrats.
B. Executive Board Approval
a. Upon receiving at least 15 signatures, the petition will be submitted to the Queens County Young Democrats Secretary. Upon receiving the petition, the Secretary will examine it to determine if it meets the criterion set up in Section V(A) of the Constitution and inform the Executive Board within 7 days of its receipt. The Executive Board will schedule a meeting or conference call to vote on the approval of the Regional Board within 30 days of receiving notification.
C. Election of the Regional Branch Chair
Upon the approval of the Executive Board forming the branch, a meeting will be scheduled to elect the Chairperson. See above for procedures on voting.
D. Duties of the Chair
The Chair shall:
a. Represent the Branch as a voting member of the Executive Board and shall update the Executive Board about all activities and events of the Branch and Region.
b. Shall call and preside over meetings of the branch;
c. With the assistance of its members and support of the Executive Board, shall be responsible for the implementation of the goals of the branch as determined by its members;
d. Have the power of discretionary funding in amounts not to exceed $50. All expenditures of greater than $50 must be approved via majority vote by the Queens County Young Democrats Executive Board present at the vote. All expenses of $50 or higher must have the signature of an Executive Board Member of Queens County Young Democrats as well as the Chairperson of the Regional Branch.
e. The Chair shall track all expenditures made by the Regional Branch and submit to the Treasurer all receipts for record keeping within 7 days of said expenditures.
f. The Executive Board and President shall work with the Branch Chair to form issue based committees to support the fulfillment of the goals of QCYD and the Branch.
E. Regional Funding
a. The Regional branch will receive 50% of money raised from dues paying members who are residents of the region. This account will exist as a sub-account of the QCYD account. The Treasurer and President of QCYD shall have viewing access to this account.
b. Any non-dues funds raised by the regional branch will be kept and used by the regional branch.
c. In the case that the regional branch is dissolved, all funds of the regional branch reverts back to QCYD.
F. General Regional Requirements
a. The Regional Branch sets its own internal organizational procedures within the bounds of the QCYD Constitution. This includes the appointment or election of a Vice Chair and or neighborhood ambassadors. All committees shall remain at the discretion of the QCYD President and Executive Board. Communication with the Press shall remain the responsibility of the Communications Director.
b. All events and committees shall be open to members borough wide, regardless of geography.
c. Any individual or Branch found in violation of the Constitution of QCYD or the New York State Young Democrats, including, but not limited to the use of one's title, or organizational resources to support a Democratic candidate in ａprimary will lose their membership and affiliation with the branch or Queens County Young Democrats. The Executive Board of QCYD shall be the judge of whether such a violation took place.
d. A regional branch will be dissolved if it falls below 5 active members in good standing. The QCYD Executive Board will conduct an annual review (based on when regional branch has been approved) to ensure that said regional branch maintains 5 active members in good standing.
Article V: Parliamentary Authority
Section I. The rules contained in the current edition of Roberts Rules of Order Newly Revised shall govern the QCYD in all cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these bylaws and any special rules of order the QCYD may adopt.
Article VI: Amendments and Resolutions
Section 1: An amendment to these By-laws shall be adopted by a majority affirmative vote of the membership at the meeting designated for the election of officers, or at a special meeting as designated by majority affirmative vote of the Executive Board which occurs during an Executive Board Meeting.
Section 2: Amendments shall become effective after adjournment of the meeting at which they were adopted.
Section 3: All amendments to the constitution and the by-laws proposed for adoption must be presented in writing to the Executive Board at least ten (10) days prior to the Executive Board meeting at which such amendments will be considered.
Section 4: When all Executive Board members are given the agenda of the Executive Board meeting, they must be informed that an amendment is on the agenda in order for an amendment to be considered for a vote at that meeting.
Section 5: The Executive Board, by a two-thirds (3/4) majority vote, may adopt such provisional rules as it deems necessary in order to facilitate the running of the QCYD. Such provisional rules cannot be in conflict with, or in contravention of, the Constitution and the By-laws of the QCYD.
Adopted on January 25, 2011 by the 2010-2011 Executive Board of Queens County Young Democrats:
Costa Constantinides, President
Matthew Bishop, Executive Vice President
Jessica Ramos, Vice President of Outreach and Diversity
Ian Rivera, Vice President of Political Affairs
Lydon Sleeper, Communications Director
Hersh Parekh, Secretary
Steven Beard, Treasurer