Montgomery County DSA Bylaws
Article I. Name and Purpose.
Section 1. Name: The name of this organization shall be the Montgomery County Democratic Socialists of America (“MoCo DSA”). Its jurisdiction shall be Montgomery County, Maryland. Its purposes shall be consistent with those of National DSA.
Section 2. Land Acknowledgement: The Montgomery County Democratic Socialists of America recognize that we meet and organize upon the occupied lands of the Piscataway Conoy Tribe. We affirm the need to share that history of the rightful past, present, and future inhabitants of the land, starting with an acknowledgement at all public meetings. We further acknowledge that this county, state, and country were built with the stolen labor of millions of enslaved human beings, including thousands in Montgomery county. As Socialists, we oppose oppression in all of its forms, and seek to repair past injustices as we organize for a just future for all.
Article II. Membership.
Any comrade who is a member of the Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America chapter (“MDC DSA”) shall be eligible to be a member of the MoCo DSA branch if they live or work within this branch’s territory and are not a member of any other branch.
Article III. Organizational Structure.
Section 1. MoCo DSA shall be a branch of the Metro DC Democratic Socialists of America. All bylaws and resolutions of the MDC DSA chapter shall apply to MoCo DSA.
Section 2. The leadership of MoCo DSA shall consist of a Branch Steering Committee and, within the Steering Committee, Branch Officers.
Section 3. The Branch Steering Committee.
A) The Branch Steering Committee (BSC) shall, at a minimum, consist of five (5) voting members elected on an At-Large basis. B) A standard term of office for members of the BSC shall consist of one (1) year.
C) In their first meeting after the commencement of a new term, the BSC shall elect the Chair, the Secretary, the Treasurer, and other officers they designate.
D) The BSC shall hold a General Body Meeting at least once per quarter. The BSC must create a mechanism for obtaining input from members for branch meeting agendas.
E) The BSC shall have the authority to make appropriate decisions on behalf of the branch, except where otherwise codified.
F) In the event of a tied vote on any business, any member of the BSC may refer to the issue to the Branch General Body.
G) The BSC shall have authority to appropriate branch funds of an amount at or below $500.00. Appropriations in excess of $500.00 must be authorized by the Branch General Body via electronic vote.
H) The BSC shall have the authority to remove any member from a Branch Officer position, from the BSC altogether, or from the Branch Election Committee [see: Article IV, Section 2], by a two-thirds vote.
I) The BSC shall hold meetings at least once per month. BSC meetings shall be open to observation by any member of MoCo DSA, unless two-thirds of the members of the BSC vote to close all or part of a meeting.
J) In order to vote on branch business, the BSC must meet quorum. Quorum for the BSC is three-fifths (3⁄5) of members.
K) Attendance Requirement for Steering Members: Any elected officer or member of the Steering Committee who misses three consecutive meetings or ten total meetings in a term without an acceptable reason, as determined by the other voting members, of steering shall be removed from the committee and their position declared vacant. Members of the Steering Committee may also be removed for malfeasance or gross incompetence.
Section 4. Branch Officers.
The Branch Steering Committee shall have the power to appoint the following officers:
A) The Branch Chair.
1. The Branch Chair shall serve as chief executive officer of the branch.
2. The Branch Chair shall ensure that all orders and resolutions of the branch members and of the Branch Steering Committee are carried out.
B) The Branch Secretary.
1. The Branch Secretary shall hold primary administrative duties.
2. The Branch Secretary shall ensure that the minutes are kept of the meetings of the Branch Steering Committee and of the branch’s General Body Meetings, and that these minutes are made available to all branch members within two weeks of the aforementioned meetings.
3. Any member in good standing of the MoCo DSA branch who is not already a BSC member may be elected by the BSC to serve as Branch Secretary. A Branch Secretary elected in this manner shall have no vote in the BSC, but shall be entitled to attend and participate in BSC meetings.
C) Branch Officers – Other.
1. The Branch Treasurer.
a) The Branch Treasurer shall keep track of the general funds of the branch, and shall ensure that funds are deposited by the MDC DSA Treasurer.
b) The Branch Treasurer shall keep a ledger detailing all branch deposits and expenditures, and shall make such ledger available to members upon request.
c) The Branch Treasurer must give a brief financial report, orally and/or in writing, at a membership body meeting at least once every calendar quarter.
d) Any member in good standing of the MoCo DSA branch who is not already a BSC member may be elected by the BSC to serve as Branch Treasurer. A Branch Treasurer elected in this manner shall have no vote in the BSC, but shall be entitled to attend and participate in BSC meetings.
2. The BSC shall have the authority to establish other officer positions at any time (e.g., “Vice Chair”).
3. Any officer may resign from their position but keep their position as a BSC member; or, resign from both positions simultaneously. In the case of a resignation, the BSC must notify the membership as soon as possible.
4. In the event of an officer vacancy, the Branch Steering Committee shall elect a new officer for the remainder of the vacated term.
Section 5. Sub-divisions within MoCo DSA.
A) In order to encourage organizing in neighborhoods and schools, MoCo DSA members may establish sub-divisions.
1. MoCo DSA members are encouraged to organize geographic sub-divisions, where they live (“Branch Region”); and institutional groups, where they work or attend school (“Affiliated Organization”, e.g., YDSA).
2. A Branch Region or Affiliated Organization shall be recognized by resolution of the Branch Steering Committee when:
a) Prospective Branch Region or Affiliated Organization members have clearly defined their prospective division’s geographic or institutional boundaries.
b) Prospective Branch Region or Affiliated Organization members have established regular monthly meetings for at least three (3) consecutive months, and such meetings have been attended by at least seven (7) dues-paying Branch members from within the boundaries of that prospective division.
3. The Branch Steering Committee cannot deny a Branch Region or Affiliated Organization application if the above criteria are met.
4. To be eligible to elect a member onto the Branch Steering Committee, the recognized Branch Region or Affiliated Organization must have established regular monthly meetings for at least three (3) consecutive months, and such meetings have been attended by at least ten (10) dues-paying Branch members from within the boundaries of that prospective division.
5. If the Branch Region or Affiliated Organization fails to maintain these membership and meeting requirements, the BSC may vote to retract its recognition.
B) The first BSC member of a recognized Branch Region or Affiliated Organization shall serve a term of office which ends simultaneously with the terms of office of all other current members of the BSC.
C) The BSC shall be the arbiter of jurisdictional issues with regards to Branch Regions and Affiliated Organizations.
Section 6. The Branch General Body shall have supreme authority over the branch.
A) The Branch General Body shall have the authority to override decisions of the Branch Steering Committee by a two-thirds vote, if a quorum casts votes.
B) The Branch General Body shall have the authority to remove any BSC Member, Branch Officer, or BEC member. This first requires a proposal that passes by a two-thirds vote, if a quorum votes. A vote to remove will then occur at the subsequent General Body Meeting. Removal requires a two-thirds vote, and a quorum must cast votes.
Section 7. Quorum
A) Quorum is defined as 5%of the eligible voting membership.
Section 8. Voting
A) Voting shall be conducted by an electronic ballot, unless otherwise requested by eligible membership.
Article IV. Elections.
Section 1. Election administration.
A) The dates of all elections shall be determined by resolution of the Branch Steering Committee.
B) The Branch Steering Committee shall establish by resolution a Branch Election Committee (BEC) of at minimum 3 members. The BEC shall receive, review, and verify all submissions for election to the Branch Steering Committee, and shall administer all elections save to their own committee.
C) Members must be given at least two weeks notice of any branch election.
D) Candidates for branch office shall be given equal access to branch media, including but not limited to email and website space, and equal time to speak at general body meetings.
Section 2. Qualifications for BSC and Branch Officer positions.
A) Any branch member may qualify to serve as a member of the Branch Steering Committee if they submit to the BEC a signed declaration of intent to run, at least two weeks prior to the election. B) A member may indicate in their declaration of intent to run for the BSC that they also wish to be elected to be a specific Branch Officer by the BSC.
Section 3. Voting
A) All Voting Members of the Branch Steering Committee shall be elected by secret ballot by members of the branch.
B) Elections to the Branch Steering Committee, for Branch Officer positions, and for the BEC shall utilize approval voting.
C) All branch members shall be eligible to vote for the At-Large Members of the Branch Steering Committee.
D) All branch members residing within a Branch Region shall be eligible to vote for that Branch Region’s member of the Branch Steering Committee.
E) All members of an Affiliated Organization shall be eligible to vote for that Affiliated Organization’s member of the Branch Steering Committee.
F) Only Branch Steering Committee members may vote for Branch Officer Positions.
G) In the case of a vacant seat on the BSC, the Branch Steering Committee shall call for a special election as soon as is practical to fill the seat, and the BEC shall administer the special election. a) Winners of special elections shall serve for the remainder of the vacated term of office, and such terms shall expire with the BSC’s term of office.
Article V. Communication.
Unless otherwise resolved by the general body membership, all communication required in these bylaws, including meeting notices, will be sent electronically unless otherwise requested.
Article VI. Amendments to the Bylaws.
Section 1: Proposals.
A) Any member may propose an amendment to these bylaws. Upon the receipt of three member co-sponsors, the amendment shall be considered by the steering committee for ratification. The Secretary shall notify the membership electronically, allowing no fewer than two weeks for comments by the membership.
Section 2: Ratification.
A) Changes may be adopted by a vote of two-thirds of the branch members, with a quorum of 5 percent of branch members voting or a unanimous vote of the Steering Committee.
B) Upon a petition of 20 members of the organization, ratification of a bylaws amendment by the steering committee may be reversed and referred to the general membership.