These bylaws were approved by a majority of the Local Chapter’s membership on Syracuse DSA Chapter Convention on February 5th, 2023.
Article I. Name
Syracuse NY Democratic Socialists of America (hereinafter “Syracuse DSA”) is a Local Chapter of the national organization Democratic Socialists of America. National Democratic Socialists of America (hereinafter National DSA) is a not-for-profit corporation.
Article II. Purpose
Vision. As a part of a new progressive socialist movement, our Syracuse DSA Local Chapter aims to create social change through an openly democratic socialist presence in Central New York.
At the root of our socialism is a profound commitment to democracy. Though we are unlikely to see an immediate end to capitalism tomorrow, Syracuse DSA fights for reforms today that weaken the power of corporations and increase the power of working people. We support reforms that empower ordinary people in their workplaces and in the economy. We also support reforms that restructure gender, race and cultural relationships to be more equitable.
We are Central New Yorkers committed to democracy not simply one of our political values, but as the means of restructuring society. Our vision is of a society in which people have a real voice in the choices and relationships that affect the entirety of our lives.
Democratic socialism is a vision of a more free, democratic and humane society.
Injustice is not a force of nature, but the logical outcome of the economic dominance of transnational corporations backed by the dominant capitalist governments.
We are socialists because we reject the dominant international economic order sustained by private profit and alienated labor. This economic and political system perpetuates discrimination by class, race, disability, sexuality, gender and gender identity, along with environmental destruction, brutality and violence in defense of the status quo.
We are socialists because we share a vision of a humane international social order based both on political and economic democracy that seeks to achieve equitable distribution of resources, meaningful work, a healthy environment, gender and racial equality and non-oppressive relationships.
We are a socialist feminist, anti-racist, anti-ableist, working class organization. We believe that capitalism must ultimately be abolished because it is inherently unjust and destructive to people and to the environment.
As members of the Central New York community, we recognize that we live in a rust belt region with some of the highest poverty rates in the country. These rates are the direct result of the government at all levels putting the interests of capitalists ahead of the interests of workers and ordinary people. We believe that poverty can be ended.
Poverty is inseparable from inequality. We cannot end poverty without socialism and we cannot substantially reduce poverty without also taking steps towards socialism with policies that transform the power structure of our society to increasingly favor ordinary people.
Even though pursuing individual issues may be expedient, if we are not building the organization and power needed to move towards an alternative world in the long run, all our advances will be rolled back and we will always be on the defensive. By creating time, space, and the structure to dream, we seek a fundamental change so that ordinary people will have far greater power over our lives than we do today.
Our Local Chapter works toward public policies that will redirect public investment to provide quality health care, education, food security, housing and infrastructure. We work toward public policies that increase the empowerment of workers. Such policies require the support of a coalition of all people committed to democratic change through strategically chosen campaigns. Our Local Chapter works through both non-electoral and electoral initiatives.
Our greatest contribution as American socialists to global social justice is to build that coalition. Once forged and active, this coalition will be key to transforming the power relations of global capitalism.
Mission. Syracuse DSA is a Local Chapter of the Democratic Socialists of America (DSA). DSA is an independent political activist organization with the goal of advancing socialist ideals, politics and causes at the local, state, and national level.
We work toward creating changes that reduce or eliminate capitalism as a social, economic and political system. We envision a world where everyone can enjoy more equitable relationships with our government, our workplaces, and our culture.
Activities we may decide to pursue include organizing, marching, lobbying, and canvassing for solutions like single-payer health care, higher minimum wage, immigrant sanctuary, union support, gender equality, and racial equality.
Syracuse DSA members assist one another in learning more about how socialism can improve the lives of workers and transform society.
Article III. Membership
Section 1. Membership
Members of the Syracuse DSA will be those individuals whose dues to National DSA are paid in full, who reside and/or work in the Central New York area in zip codes agreed upon by Syracuse DSA and National DSA.
It will be the responsibility of members to approve policies and guidelines for the operation of the Local Chapter, to elect the Local Chapter’s Steering Committee, to elect delegates to the national convention, to vote on matters related to local and national policy, to make recommendations on issues, policies, activities, and ongoing efforts pursuant to local or national political goals, and to contribute toward the Local Chapter’s goals as described in Article II.
Section 2. “Good Standing”
Members are considered in good standing provided that they pay annual dues as prescribed in the Bylaws of the Democratic Socialists of America (“National DSA”). See https://www.dsausa.org/about-us/constitution/
Section 3. Resignation and Expulsion
Any member may resign from the Local Chapter and become an at-large member of National DSA by sending an email or letter of resignation to both the Secretary of the Local Chapter and to National DSA.
Furthermore, if a member in good standing is found to be consistently engaging in undemocratic, disruptive behavior, if they are found to have violated the Local Chapter’s Code of Conduct, or if they are found to be under the discipline of any self-defined democratic centralist organization, the Local Chapter may vote to suspend (as defined in the Code of Conduct) or expel them from the Local Chapter.
In order for such a finding to be made, another DSA member must formally prefer written charges against the member in question to the Local Chapter Steering Committee, which shall set the date of a Local Chapter meeting for deliberations on the charges. The member in question must receive a copy of the written charges and notice of the meeting a minimum of two (2) weeks before that meeting takes place, as well as an opportunity to speak before members prior to a determining vote. Suspension or expulsion of a member shall require a two-thirds (2/3) vote at a Meeting. A suspended or expelled member may appeal to the National Political Committee of DSA.
Section 4. Privacy concerns
Care will be taken to protect the privacy of each member’s contact information. Public information includes the names of Steering Committee members. Protected information includes member email addresses, phone numbers, and mailing or physical addresses. Protected information may only be shared to members outside the Steering Committee on a need-to-know basis to facilitate communication to members. Anyone with access to protected information must agree to use it only to further goals of the Local Chapter. Each member of Syracuse DSA, by providing information, recognizes that our Chapter will endeavor to protect each members’ privacy.
Article IV. Local Meetings
Section 1. Local Chapter Convention/Annual Meeting
The Local Chapter will hold a minimum of one (1) Local Chapter Convention/Annual Meeting every year, and all members of the Local Chapter will receive three (3) weeks written (or electronic mail) notice and an agenda of the Local Chapter Convention/Annual Meeting. The Local Chapter Convention/Annual Meeting will elect Local Chapter officers and may adopt an annual budget. In general, it is the highest legislative body of the Local Chapter.
No less than thirty (30) days before a Local Chapter Convention/Annual Meeting, the Steering Committee must via email solicit bylaw amendment proposals from the general membership. Proposed amendments to these Bylaws must be made by written resolution, endorsed by five (5) members of the Local Chapter of DSA, and submitted to the Steering Committee no less than fifteen (15) days in advance of the Local Chapter Convention/Annual Meeting. The amendment must be approved by a majority vote of the Local Chapter Convention/Annual Meeting.
The Local Chapter Steering Committee will set agenda for the Local Chapter Convention/Annual Meeting.
Section 2. General Meetings
The Local Chapter will hold General Meetings at least six (6) times annually, the time and place of which shall be set in a schedule published and distributed by the Local Chapter Steering Committee. The General Meetings will set Local Chapter policy and work priorities, and will include political education sessions.
The Local Chapter Steering Committee will set the agenda for the General Meetings. Members may propose agenda items to Steering Committee members or in person at meetings.
Section 3. Special Meetings
The Local Chapter Steering Committee may call a Special Meeting of the Local Chapter on five (5) days’ notice when an urgent and important matter requires deliberation.
Section 4. Quorum
A quorum of ten percent (10%) of the members but not fewer than five (5) persons) is required for General or Special Meetings to transact business.
Section 5. Accessibility
Members may participate in Meetings by, or through the use of, any means of communication allowing all participants to simultaneously or sequentially communicate with one other, such as teleconference, video-conference, or other available technology.
This includes voice votes. Any participant in a Meeting by such means shall be deemed present in person at such meeting.
A Member in good standing (Proxy) who is present at a Meeting may hold up to two (2) signed proxy cards from other non-present Members in good standing. The Proxy must vote in line with each non-present Member’s directions as written on their proxy card. Any member who requests an accessibility accommodation and is not present at a Meeting shall not be counted toward the two (2) proxy-vote limit. Despite being deemed present by attending electronically, non-physically present members may avail themselves of proxies for purposes of voting (for example, by secret ballot).
Section 6. Online Voting
The Steering Committee may decide, or shall decide at the request of five (5) or more members making a proposal, to hold an online vote on any issue. Members shall be eligible to vote so long as they are members in good standing as of the start of the online voting period following close of debate.
The Steering Committee shall announce all online votes to the membership by email and all other reasonable means. There shall be a seven (7)-day period for debate following the announcement. At the close of debate, there shall be a seven (7)-day voting period during which any eligible member may vote. The Steering Committee may propose a shorter time-frame for discussion or voting, but if any member objects to the shortened time frame, it may not be shortened. No motions to call the question or extend debate will be allowed, and no amendments will be allowed. However, at any time after the start of debate, any eligible member may motion to table the proposal, either temporarily or permanently, with a simple majority vote.
All voting thresholds for a passing vote shall be the same as if the vote were held at an in-person meeting. Votes to abstain will count toward the quorum. A vote can become binding before the close of the forty-eight (48)-hour voting period if the number of votes in favor or against has surpassed the threshold that would be required if all eligible votes were cast.
Section 7. Decision-Making Authority
The membership, meeting in an Annual, General or Special Meeting, shall constitute the highest decision-making body of the Local Chapter. All decisions, policies, agendas, statements, and other items of business decided at these Meetings are binding over any other body of the Local Chapter. The membership may overturn the decisions of prior Meetings, but no other body may.
Article V. Local Officers: Powers and Duties
Section 1. Officers and Terms
The officers of the Local Chapter will be the two (2) Co-Chairs, the treasurer, the secretary, the member organizer, the communications organizer, the labor officer, and up to seven (7) additional at-large members who form the Local Chapter Steering Committee. The term of office will be one (1) year, and shall run from February through January or until successors are elected.
Section 2. Vacancies
In the event of a vacancy of any of the officers, the Steering Committee may vote to elect a new officer in replacement for the remainder of the term.
Section 3. Personal Leave
Members of the Steering Committee may request a temporary leave of absence of one to three (1-3) months, not to exceed three (3) months cumulatively. The Steering Committee must be notified in writing about the reasons for the leave of absences and the estimated length of the absence. The Steering Committee will vote to accept the leave of absence, with a simple majority necessary to pass. The Steering Committee will appoint a replacement who will serve while the officer is absent. The individual appointed by the Steering Committee must consent to the roles of such specified position.For branch representatives, the replacement will be chosen by their branch Organizing Committee. If an officer would like to take more than three (3) cumulative months during a one (1) year term, the Steering Committee may request the officer’s resignation.
Section 4. Diversity
At least two-fifths (2/5) of the officers must not be cishet white men. At least one
(1) of the two (2) Co-Chairs must not be a cisgender and heterosexual white man. At least three of seven (3/7) Steering Committee members must not be cisgender and heterosexual white men. See specific criteria in Section 5. Self-identification will be the only acceptable means of determining a member’s gender and sexual orientation.
Section 5. Candidacy
Candidates for officer positions must be active members in good standing with the Local and not under the discipline of any self-defined democratic-centralist organization. Candidates may run for no more than one (1) officer position. Candidates must be nominated by two (2) members in good standing. Voters may cast one (1) vote for each of the candidate positions listed below.
- Co-Chair A will be open to any member in good standing who does not identify as a cis-man.
- Co-Chair B will be open to any member in good standing
- Member Organizer
- Communications Organizer
- Labor Officer
Section 6. Co-Chairs
The Co-Chairs will be the chief Steering officers of the Local Chapter. They will preside over Local Chapter and Steering Committee meetings or will appoint a substitute to assume the powers and duties of the presiding officers as specified in Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, 11th Edition. The Co-Chairs will be the official public spokespersons for the Local Chapter, and will initiate such actions and policies as the Local Chapter’s general welfare may demand.
The Co-Chairs will be responsible also for coordinating the day-to-day operations and political work of the Local Chapter’s branches and committees.
The Co-Chairs will report to Local Chapter General Meetings on the business of the Steering Committee Meetings, at which time a copy of the minutes of those meetings will be available for inspection.
The Co-Chairs will be responsible to communicate with the National DSA, including filing amendments to the bylaws, and with the assistance of the Secretary, assuring that corporate records are maintained for legal status, and with the assistance of the Treasurer, the required information about financials.
The Co-Chairs will be responsible for answering all correspondence and queries of the Local Chapter.
The Co-Chairs may delegate coordinating tasks, including communication and correspondence to at-large officers or other members. This can and should include developing specific ongoing roles for distributing the work load among members.
Section 7. Secretary
The Secretary will be responsible for recording minutes of the General and Steering Committee meetings, distributing copies of minutes and agendas to each Steering Committee member.
The Secretary will be responsible for maintaining an up-to-date membership list of the Local Chapter. Management of the membership database may be delegated to a member or a committee developed to coordinate chapter communications including social media.
The Secretary will temporarily assume the responsibilities of the Co-Chair if neither Co-Chair is able to do so.
The Secretary will be responsible also for the taking of minutes of all Local Chapter and Steering Committee Meetings, the collection and maintenance of Committee charters, notes, and meeting minutes, and making copies available to members promptly. They shall have custody of these documents, and of the resolutions, reports and other official records of the Local Chapter, and shall transfer official records in good condition to their successor.
Section 8. Treasurer
The Treasurer will be responsible for the funds and financial records of the Local Chapter. All funds collected by the Local Chapter will be turned over to the Treasurer, who shall deposit them in a bank account under the name of the Local Chapter.
The Treasurer will be responsible for ensuring that membership dues are paid up-to-date. The Treasurer will prepare the annual Local Chapter budget, and deliver the Local Chapter financial report to the General Meeting of the Local Chapter, as well as periodic progress reports as requested by the Steering Committee of the Local Chapter.
Section 9. Member Organizer
The Membership Organizer will coordinate with Committee Co-Chairs, interested members, and Steering Committee members to:
- Convene an “Onboarding Committee” to welcome and orient new members;
- Coordinate with other Steering Committee members and Committee Co-Chairs in the
production of a regular Chapter Newsletter which may take electronic and/or print forms at a frequency to be determined by the Steering Committee and consistent with available resources;
- Coordinate with the Steering Committee and Co-Chairs on the frequency and quality of the communications directed at the membership including but not limited to phone and text banking, mailings, and tabling;
- Coordinate with the Chapter Secretary and DSA National to ensure that the chapter has a complete and accurate list of members and their current status at all times;
- Coordinate with all chapter formations to ensure that new member leads, sign-up sheets, and lists are integrated into a single, regularly updated membership list;
- Encourage non-members active in DSA work to join the organization and/or address questions and concerns that they may have;
- Better understand member needs and concerns including especially those from
historically and currently discriminated-against and under-represented communities;
- Coordinate with the Steering Committee and Committee Co-Chairs to encourage all
members to renew their membership in DSA (National);
- Serve as an advertised, known, and available point of contact for members and interested parties to communicate their concerns to the chapter and its steering committee.
Section 10. Communications Organizer
The Communications Organizer will coordinate with Committee Co-Chairs, interested members, and Steering Committee members to:
- Establish and maintain an up-to-date media and communications database of local and regional journalists, media communicators and influencers, and social media sites that is accessible to all chapter officers, committee co-chairs, and chapter members trained and designated by the officers and/or committees to use the database;
- Coordinate and/or initiate communications with broadcast and social media to ensure a high quality and steady, but not over-saturated, volume of communications consistent with building socialism and the working class across all our channels of communication, including but not limited to our website, press releases, op-eds, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, ActionNetwork, Twitch, and Discord;
- Work with the Steering Committee and Committee Co-Chairs to train and assist members in working with the media on matters of concern to the chapter.
Section 11. Labor Organizer
The Labor Organizer will be a voting member of the steering committee who will be responsible for engaging the chapter in deciding and executing a labor strategy.
Section 12. At-Large Members
The Local Steering Committee may elect up to seven (7) At-Large Members to the Local Chapter Steering Committee as representatives of the Local Chapter.
At-Large Members will be responsible for any additional duties and responsibilities that the Local Chapter Steering Committee determines are necessary, including participating in Local Chapter Committees, fundraising, developing campaigns, planning educational programming, acting as representatives of the Local Chapter, networking with other organizations or activists in the region, etc.
Article VI. Steering Committee
Section 1. Composition
The Local Chapter Steering Committee will be composed of the two (2) Co-Chairs, the secretary, the treasurer, and up to seven (7) At-Large Members.
Section 2. Duties
The Steering Committee administers the affairs of the Local Chapter and oversees the implementation of the decisions of the General Meetings; it may also create policy in-between Local Chapter Convention/Annual Meetings. It shall have the power to receive reports of any Committee and advises thereon, to call emergency meetings of the Local Chapter, and to act on any matter that requires immediate and urgent action.
The Local Chapter Steering Committee will be responsible for establishing program activities for the Local Chapter, for proposing guidelines and policies that will subsequently be voted on by members of DSA, and for acting on the organization’s behalf between Local meetings.
Section 3. Meetings
The meetings of the Steering Committee will be held at the call of the Co-Chairs at such intervals as may be determined by a prior Steering Committee Meeting or by consultation with any three (3) members of the Steering Committee. All members of the Steering Committee must (ordinarily) be given four (4) days oral or written notice of regular Steering Committee Meetings; a twenty-four (24)-hour notice may be given under special emergency circumstances.
The Steering Committee may govern itself through any reasonable decision-making process, including development of meeting rules and norms or decisions by consensus. When there is a dispute over how decisions shall be made, Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised 11th Edition will govern.
Section 4. Quorum
There is no quorum for Steering Committee decisions. However, no Steering Committee decision shall be valid without a majority of the total number of Steering Committee members, including at least two (2) of the four (4) officers, voting in assent, and notice as specified in Section 1.
Section 5. Confirmation
A GM will be scheduled in February. The newly elected officers may nominate up to
seven (7) at-large Steering Committee members to serve until next February. The
proposed Steering Committee members must be announced in writing to the
membership at least seven (7) days in advance of this meeting in February. The at-large members must be confirmed by a sixty percent (60%) vote in a General Meeting.
If the Steering Committee votes to add at-large members and/or fill any vacancy during the course of their term, these votes must also be confirmed by a sixty percent (60%) vote at a General Meeting no more than thirty (30) days after their appointment.
Article VII. Treasury
The treasury must be deposited in a local credit union; corporate banking institutions are forbidden unless no credit union is available. Local Chapter expenditures out of the treasury must prefer contracts with union labor.
Article VIII. Branches
Section 1. Definition
A Branch is a subgroup of the Local Chapter formed to facilitate participation in the Local Chapter in a logistically convenient way. Branches may be defined by geography, membership in an institution, or language. It is expected that Branches be able to carry out as much of as many of the pillar functions of the Local Chapter for their members as necessary for their logistical purposes. The chair of each Branch shall send a representative to the Steering Committee. Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) chapters within the geographic area defined by a DSA Local Chapter may affiliate as a Branch of that Local Chapter, in which case the local YDSA chapter may send a representative to the Local Chapter Steering Committee.
Section 2. Formation
Any group of at least five (5) Members of the Local Chapter, in good standing, may request to be recognized as a Branch. They must apply to the Steering Committee in writing. Their application must include the names of its members; a description of purposes, functions, and membership criteria; and any other information deemed necessary by the Steering Committee. A majority vote of the general membership at a Meeting shall be required to establish a Branch.
YDSA chapters need only show proof of being an officially recognized chapter of YDSA as part of a generic request to be recognized as a Branch of the Local Chapter, subject to approval by a majority vote of the general membership at a Meeting. Sections 3 and 4 below shall not be required of YDSA chapter-Branches.
Section 3. Structure, Membership, and Elections
Each Branch shall have its own bylaws explicitly defining its purpose, functions, and membership criteria in detail. Such bylaws may establish the Branch’s methods and structures as long as they do not violate these bylaws. Each Branch shall be responsible for electing its leadership and Steering Committee representation. Branch leaders shall be responsible for scheduling and organizing meetings and actions of their Branch. In the event of a vacancy of a Branch leader or Steering Committee representative, the Branch may vote to elect new leadership or Steering Committee representation. Each Branch shall maintain an official membership list.
Section 4. Dissolution
A Branch may have its status revoked by a majority vote of the Local Chapter membership at a meeting. A Branch may also choose to dissolve itself by means specified in its Branch Bylaws. In the event that a Branch chooses to split into several new Branches, each new Branch must apply for membership through the same method as creating any Branch, although the Steering Committee may choose to waive requirements for certain documentation if it is identical to the prior or parent Branch.
Section 5. Organizing Committee and Organizing Structure
- The Organizing Committee (OC) of Syracuse DSA (composed of Steering Committee members and co-chairs of all chartered committees) may elect, with a simple majority, to organize chapter committees under the structure of the OC. The OC and Steering Committee (SC) will convene regular meetings in which the work of standard committee meetings takes place, for all committees that are organized under this structure. Committee members may share their work and provide updates as necessary to the entire OC in order to facilitate greater connection between committees and reduce the overall burden of scheduling for committee members.
- All chapter members in good standing are encouraged and welcome to attend and participate in OC meetings, and all chapter members in good standing in attendance at a given meeting will be considered voting members of the OC.
- The chapter Co-Chairs are responsible for convening and facilitating OC meetings but may delegate roles as needed.
- Regular minutes should be taken for all OC meetings, as well as for any breakout sessions that may occur. The chapter Secretary is responsible for recording minutes but may delegate responsibilities as needed.
- The OC may, by simply majority, empower chapter members to form Working Groups under the guidance of the OC. Working Groups must be composed of at least 2 chapter members in good standing, and may engage in organizing work similar to a full committee. Working Groups will adhere to the same duties and responsibilities of a full committee, except for leadership roles. Working Groups will not have formal or elected leadership positions and must adhere to any guidelines laid out by the OC. Working Groups should be considered temporary structures, with a goal of either disbanding at a given date or event, or converting into a full committee. Working Groups are obligated to regularly report their work and provide updates to the OC.
Article IX. Committees
Section 1. Committee Formation
The Local Chapter may establish committees to organize around specific functions for the chapter or external campaigns. Members who wish to form a committee must submit a proposed written charter to the Steering Committee that includes a group name; a mission statement and objectives; If necessary, a proposed budget that shall include any planned donation drives; a list of at least five (5) prospective members signed or affirmed by those members; a statement of whether the proposed committee is to be a standing committee of indefinite duration or a temporary committee to expire at a time certain or upon the occurrence of a specified event; whether membership in the committee is to be open to all members in good standing or limited, and if membership is to be limited, the number of members the committee shall have and the means by which members will be selected.
A proposed committee shall be chartered and created with the approval of a majority of the votes cast at a General or Special Meeting. Charters for proposed committees must be distributed to the membership by email or other electronic means at least two (2) weeks prior to the meeting, and may not conflict with these Bylaws or with the charters of other active committees.
Section 2. Membership and Election of Committee Leadership
Membership in a committee shall be open to all Local Chapter members in good standing unless the committee’s charter limits membership, in which case the terms of the charter shall control. Committees shall maintain an official membership list. After the committee is created, but by no later than the committee’s second meeting, the committee shall hold elections for two (2) committee Co-Chairs and, if the committee chooses, one (1) Vice-Chair, using Ranked-Choice Voting. Terms shall be for either six (6) months or one (1) year at the committee members’ choosing, and incumbents may stand for reelection. At least one (1) of the elected Co-Chairs must not be cis men. Should only cis men be nominated for Co-Chair, one (1) of the positions will be held open, and may be filled by a special election of an eligible member.
As of March 2022, half year terms will begin at the first committee meeting held in March and the first committee meeting held in August, and whole year terms will begin at the first committee meeting held in August. Elections will be scheduled two to three weeks prior to the start of the next term.
Section 3. Duties and Responsibilities
The members of a committee are responsible for executing their respective body’s strategy in fulfillment of its objectives. Co-Chairs and the Vice-Chair, if elected, are responsible for organizing their respective body’s members, running meetings, acting as liaisons to the Steering Committee, and serving as the committee’s points of contact to the membership. Committees must keep official records of meeting dates, attendance, and meeting notes, which must be made available to the membership.
When a committee’s proposed activities relate to the mission of another committee, the co-chairs of that committee shall be notified. Should a dispute arise between two (2) or more committees that cannot be resolved between them, it shall be resolved at a Steering Committee Meeting.
A committee’s activities shall be reviewed by the Steering Committee at its meetings, and meeting minutes and other committee documentation, as well as all financial receipts and statements, shall be kept up to date with the Local Chapter’s Secretary and Treasurer respectively. Committees shall report on their activities to the membership at the Annual Meeting or more frequently at General or Special Meetings as deemed necessary by the Committee Co-Chairs or the Local Chapter Co-Chairs.
Section 4. Modification and Dissolution
- Committees may be dissolved or may amend their charters, including changes to the committee’s budget, with the approval of a majority of the votes cast at a General or Special Meeting. Notice of a proposed committee dissolution or an amendment to a committee’s charter must be given to the membership by email or other electronic means at least at least two (2) weeks prior to the meeting.
- Additionally, committees that are chartered as temporary committees for a limited time or particular purpose shall dissolve automatically upon the expiration of the certain time or the occurrence of the particular event specified in their charter.
- Upon dissolution, the member(s) maintaining custody of the committee’s records shall provide copies of those records to the Secretary.
- Unless otherwise specified in a committee’s charter, a committee will be dissolved if its active membership falls below five for a period of three months, as determined by the attendance of chapter members listed in meeting minutes.
Section 5. Convention
Article X. Delegates and Nominees to National, Regional, and State Bodies
Section 1. Convention
Local Chapter delegates and alternates to the National Convention will be elected by members in good standing of the Local Chapter of DSA. Elections for the National Convention delegation shall be held on the schedule announced by the national organization.
Section 2. National Committees
In the event that a national committee is being formed and the National DSA asks Local Chapters for nominees to serve on that committee, the Local Chapter Steering Committee shall notify all members in good standing and request volunteers. The names of all those who volunteer shall be forwarded to the National DSA for consideration, or if a limited number of nominees are requested, an election shall be held.
Article XI. Elections, Nominations and Recalls
Section 1. Nominations Committee
The Steering Committee will assign three (3) members to establish a Nominations Committee at least one (1) month prior to every election by vote of a General Meeting. It shall solicit and receive nominations for the positions to be elected.
Section 2. Nominations Process
Nominations for Local Chapter officers and delegates to the National Convention shall be opened at least thirty (30) days before an election. The call for nominations shall be announced to all Local Chapter members in good standing as soon as nominations are open.
Applications for nominees that must be submitted to the Nominations Committee no less than five (5) days prior to the Local Chapter Convention/Annual Meeting for candidates to be eligible for the election. A member must receive at least two (2) nominations in order to run for office.
If a position is uncontested, the nominee will be declared elected by acclamation.
Section 3. Elections Process
Elections shall be held in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised 11th Edition.
Section 4. Recall
Any officer of the Local Chapter of DSA may be recalled for malfeasance or failure to fulfill their duties or obligations as an officer. A majority vote by the Local Chapter members is sufficient for removal, whether initiated by the Steering Committee or a petition from members. The vote may be called forth by a motion of no confidence by any Steering Committee member. Alternately, members may petition for the removal an elected official by collecting signatures of ten percent (10%) of the membership.
Membership must be given at least two (2) weeks’ notice of any upcoming removal vote. The officer in question must receive written documentation of the specific reasons for the removal request and notice of the meeting a minimum of two weeks before the meeting takes place. Any officer who wishes to oppose their own removal shall be entitled to speak to the members at such removal vote meeting and/or have a representative of their choosing speak for them. They may appeal the decision at a meeting of the full Local Chapter.
The Steering Committee may vote no confidence in a member and send to the membership a proposal to remove the member from the committee in the event that the member is unable or unwilling to perform their duties. Grounds for a vote of no confidence include: missing more than two (2) Steering Committee meetings in a row, failure to participate in at least one (1) additional Local Chapter ad hoc committee, mismanagement of funds, or other significant failures or acts that do not reflect DSA leadership values.
Reinstatement of a terminated Steering Committee member requires a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Local Chapter meeting.
Article XII. Amendments
Proposed amendments to these Bylaws must be made by written resolution, endorsed by five (5) members of the Local Chapter of DSA, and submitted to the Steering Committee a month in advance of a General Meeting. The Steering Committee is required to provide the Local Chapter membership with two (2) weeks’ written notice of the proposed amendments. The amendment must be approved by a two-thirds (2/3) majority vote at a General Meeting.
Article XIII. Voluntary Local Chapter Donations
As mandated by the national Constitution and Bylaws, the Local Chapter may establish a Local Chapter pledge system of voluntary donations for its members. The payment of a Local Chapter donation may not be a requirement for voting or for holding Local Chapter office.
Article XIV. Code of Conduct
The Local Chapter will establish, by vote of a Meeting, a code of conduct (Code of Conduct) that outlines the boundaries of acceptable behavior by members of the Local Chapter and describes options for censure of members, including suspension. The Code of Conduct shall be made available to all members of the Local Chapter. Amendments to the Code of Conduct must be approved at a General or Special Meeting.
Article XV. Prohibited Activity
The Syracuse DSA shall not engage in activity prohibited by the IRS guidelines established for 501(c)(4) organizations or similar rules established by the state of New York; nor shall the Local Chapter engage in any activity prohibited by resolutions adopted by DSA’s National Convention or DSA’s National Political Committee.
Article XVI. Electoral endorsements
Section 1. Voting
Candidates running for local, state, and national political office may be endorsed by Syracuse DSA as a whole at Regular Meetings. The endorsement vote must be published on the agenda or announced to the membership at least fifteen (15) days prior to the meeting. A sixty percent majority of the votes cast will be required for Syracuse DSA to endorse any candidate.
Local candidates, as defined as candidates whose election district is smaller than New York state (therefore excluding candidates for NYS governor, US Senate, or president, etc.), must attend a chapter GM and be available to answer questions regarding their candidacy posed by chapter members prior to any vote to endorse.
Article XVII. Rules of the Local Chapter
Section 1. Rules
The Rules contained in Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised 11th Edition, shall
govern this Local Chapter in cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these Bylaws. This includes all decisions made at General Meetings. A committee may determine its own rules, but must submit to Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised 11th Edition upon the request of a member.”
Section 2. Action Out of Order
Any action taken by an officer or member of the Local Chapter in contravention of these Bylaws is null and void.
Section 3. Harassment Policy
The chapter will follow the Harassment Grievance Policy it voted to adopt in June, 2020. The Harassment Grievance Policy must be made accessible to members at all times.
Article XVIII. Provisions for Conducting Business Prior to the Election of a Steering Committee
Should the Steering Committee be for any reason vacant, including in the time period before the founding convention of Syracuse DSA, the following clauses go into effect:
The Organizing Committee, open to all members as defined in ARTICLE III, shall conduct itself according to The Rules contained in Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised 11th Edition. The Organizing Committee shall seek to carry out any necessary functions enumerated for the Steering Committee in these bylaws, but may be overridden in all cases by a simple majority vote of attendees of a General Meeting.
Within thirty (30) days of the approval of Syracuse DSA as a Local Chapter, a date for a Local Chapter convention, including the election of officers and the bylaw amendment process spelled out in Article IV, must be set.
Article XIX. Dissolution
In the event of the dissolution of this Local Chapter, all remaining funds and assets are to be released to National DSA. If both this Local Chapter and National DSA are being dissolved, then all remaining funds and assets are to be released to such other organizations that are organized exclusively for the promotion of social welfare and that will operate to further the common good and general welfare of the community included in this Local Chapter’s stated boundaries.
These bylaws were approved by a majority of the Local Chapter’s membership on March 17, 2019 and amended at the Syracuse DSA Chapter Convention, January 9, 2022.