BYLAWS OF THE PINELLAS COUNTY DEMOCRATIC EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
As of 10/22/2015
The name of this organization shall be the Pinellas Democratic Party (PDP). The governing body of this organization shall be the Pinellas County Democratic Executive Committee, (PCDEC) hereinafter the County Committee.
The objective of this organization shall be to promote the ideals of the Democratic Party, and elect Democrats to public office.
Supremacy of Florida Law and State Party Charter and Bylaws
Any provision of these Bylaws contrary to any provisions of the Florida Constitution or Statutes, or the Florida Democratic Party (FDP) Charter or its Bylaws shall be null and void and the superseding entity’s provisions shall apply. When such a conflict is discovered, these Bylaws shall be amended to resolve the conflict per Article X Section 2.1 et. seq.
Section 1. Elected Members – All duly elected Pinellas County Democratic Precinct Committeepersons, as certified under Florida Statutes, and all persons elected by the County Committee to fill vacancies occurring in the position of Precinct Committeeperson constitute the elected membership of the County Committee.
Section 1.1. Procedure for Filling Vacancies – Any member of the Board of Directors may nominate a qualified person to fill a vacant Precinct Committee position, and such nominee shall become a member upon 1) approval by a majority vote of the Board of Directors and 2) approval by a majority vote of the general membership at a regularly scheduled meeting. However, members elected to fill vacancies, pursuant to this section of these Bylaws, shall not have the right to vote in any election, removal proceeding, or to amend the Bylaws during the first sixty (60) calendar days of their membership. The sixty days referred to in the preceding sentence shall begin with the date of approval at DEC general meeting.
Continuity of Membership Status – An elected member moving to another precinct shall continue to enjoy uninterrupted voting and other rights, and, if no vacancy exists in the new precinct of residence, shall enjoy a special At-Large status not to be counted against the total of allowable appointed members.
Section 1.2. Appointed Members
Provisions – The County Chair may appoint members to serve at-large from among registered Democrats residing in the County upon approval by a majority of the County Committee membership at a regular meeting. Appointed membership shall terminate after one year following the date of approval or at midnight before an election for County Chair, whichever comes first. If after such automatic termination a member is re-nominated and reapproved at the next regular meeting, the membership shall be deemed to not have lapsed and member immediately regains all rights and privileges previously accorded.
Number of Appointed Members – The number of appointed members shall not exceed ten percent (10%) of the total number of elected members to which the County Committee is entitled.
Rights and Responsibilities – Appointed members shall have all privileges and responsibilities of membership except those restricted to elected members, and except that within their first 60 calendar days of membership they may not vote in any election, in any removal proceeding, or to amend the bylaws.
Section 1.3. Automatic Members – All Democrats elected to partisan public office shall be automatic members of the County Committee. Automatic members who hold public office shall not be required to meet attendance requirements, shall not be counted in determining the presence of a quorum, and may not serve as officers of the County Committee.
Section 1.4. Associate Members – An associate member is a member who wishes to serve in a limited capacity. They may not vote, may serve on committees and do not need to meet the attendance requirements.
Section 2. Proxy Voting – see ARTICLE VI Section 5.4. Voting.
Section 3. Oath of Office – Before performing any duty as a member of the County Committee, each member shall file with the Secretary a notarized Oath of Office in the form prescribed by the FDP.
Section 4. Removal of Members
Section 4.1.1 Automatic Removal – Except as otherwise provided by law or the FDP bylaws, any member who has three (3) unexcused absences in any one (1) calendar year is automatically moved from voting member to Associate (nonvoting) member. Attendance by proxy shall not be considered fulfillment of the attendance requirement. Vacancies on a county Democratic Executive Committee shall be filled by action of the county Democratic Executive Committee within sixty (60) days in accordance with Florida Statutes. After a vacancy has existed for sixty (60) days, it may be filled by the County Chair.
Section 4.1.2. Reinstatement – A member removed pursuant to 4.1.1 above may re-apply for membership A member reinstated pursuant to this provision shall not be eligible to vote in any election for sixty days following the date of his/her reinstatement being approved.
Section 4.2. Removal For Cause – Except as otherwise provided bylaw or the FDP bylaws, any member may be removed from County Committee membership for violating his/her oath of office, in accordance with the procedures of the Grievance Committee, established in Article X, Section 1.3 et seq.
Section 5. Obligations of Members – All members shall have the obligation of promoting the philosophy and interests of the Democratic Party in every manner available to them. It shall be the duty of each and every member, to the best of his/her ability, to protect the County Committee, its officers and members, and all Democratic candidates against any fraud, misrepresentation, or unethical practices.
The officers of the County Committee shall be elected from among the elected membership of the County Committee and shall be the County Chair, Vice-chair (who shall be of the opposite gender from the Chair), State Committeeman, State Committeewoman, Secretary, Treasurer, and Sergeant-at-Arms. No officer shall hold more than one office in the County Committee, nor chair any committee whose chair sits on the Board of Directors. However, any officer, as an elected precinct Committeeperson, shall be eligible to serve as a member of the committee or committees of his/her choice, except for the Grievance Committee.
Section 1.1. Terms of Office – The Chair, Vice-Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer shall be elected in even-numbered years, and shall serve two-year terms from December 1st through November 30th, except that in Presidential election years the Chair and Secretary shall remain in office for the purpose of arranging and facilitating the election of the new Chair. All officers shall remain in office until the next scheduled election unless otherwise removed from office by the Grievance Committee per Article X, Section 2.3. The term of office of the State committeepersons shall be four years, commencing December 1st of each Presidential election year, and ending November 30th of the following Presidential election year.
Section 1.2. Bonds – Bonds for officers shall be paid each January by the County Committee and reported to the County Supervisor of Elections.
Section 1.3. Records – Each outgoing officer shall deliver to his/her respective successor all County Committee records, supplies, and equipment which are the responsibility of the office being vacated.
Section 2. Duties and Powers – All officers shall act solely in accordance with the policy and decisions of the County Committee, and within the provisions of these bylaws.
Section 2.1.1. Duties of the County Chair – The County Chair shall be the chief executive officer of the County Committee. The County Chair or his/her designee shall be the sole spokesperson of the County Committee.
The Chair shall preside at all meetings of the County Committee and it’s Board of Directors. In January of each year, he/she shall present a budget for the coming year to the Board of Directors for its approval, shall present the budget, as approved, to the membership, and shall report to the membership on the state of the Pinellas Democratic Party.
Section 2.1.2. Powers of the County Chair -He/she shall appoint from among the members of the County Committee chairs of Committees as provided elsewhere in these Bylaws; a Newsletter Editor, supervisor(s) of County Headquarters, and a Parliamentarian who shall serve at the pleasure of the Chair
Section 2.1.3. Ex Officio Rights and Responsibilities – The County Chair shall, ex officio, be a member of all Committees of the County Committee, except the Grievance Committee and the Credentials Committee, and of all Democratic Clubs within the County. Such membership shall include voting rights, but not the right to hold office, or the obligation to pay any dues, and shall not be counted in determining the presence of a quorum.
Section 2.2.1. Duties of the Vice Chair – The Vice Chair shall assume the duties of the Chair in the absence of the Chair, and shall assume the Office of the Chair, should it become vacant, until a special election is held to fill that office. The Vice Chair shall be responsible for maintaining the membership records of the Committee, based on the information provided by the Credentials Committee, and providing membership information in timely fashion to the Secretary. The Vice Chair shall ensure that the minutes of all meetings are forwarded to the FDP within twenty days of their approval. The Vice Chair shall also insure that timely notice is given to the membership of all meetings. Notice may be given, to members who request it in writing, by reliable electronic communication. The Vice Chair shall keep an orderly record of all resolutions passed by the membership, updating it as needed, so that it reflects at all times the current policy of the County Committee. The Vice Chair shall appoint, subject to approval by the Board, an Administrative Assistant, who shall assist the Vice Chair and the Secretary in their duties. The Vice Chair shall forward to the State Chair 1) a complete and updated membership list by January 31st of each year, and 2) any subsequent changes within ten days.
Section 2.4. Duties of the State Committeepersons
Section 2.4.1. – The State Committeepersons shall represent the interests of the County Committee at all meetings of the State Committee, in accordance with the instructions of the County Committee and/or the County Board of Directors.
Section 2.4.2. – The State Committeepersons shall report to the membership in writing each month on all substantive matters which have occurred in the FDP the previous months, and which are expected to occur in the following months. Each State Committeeperson shall be responsible for at least four of such reports annually, the remaining reports to be divided between them in such manner as they may agree upon.
Section 2.4.3. -The State Committeepersons shall notify the Chair, the Chair of the Rules and Bylaws Committee, and the Parliamentarian, and provide a written copy, of any changes or additions to the FDP Charter, Bylaws, rules, or regulations, and shall do likewise with reference to any rules published in connection with any event over which the FDP has jurisdiction, in which the County Committee may be involved.
Section 2.4.4. – State Committeepersons shall be ex-officio members of the Campaign Planning Committee, and shall, together with the County Chair, constitute the Club Liaison Committee. However, they shall not serve (because of their position as state committee person), on any other committees of the County Committee, although they are eligible to serve on other committees in their role as Precinct Committeepersons.
Section 2.5. Duties of the Secretary – The Secretary shall keep an accurate and permanent record of the proceedings of all meetings of the PCDEC and its Board of Directors. A synopsis of each record shall be made available at any general meeting which may occur after a Board meeting. A copy of the approved meeting and Board minutes shall be forwarded to the FDP within twenty days of the minute’s approval. The Secretary shall be responsible for handling the correspondence of the PCDEC.
Section 2.6. Duties of the Treasurer
Section 2.6.1. – The Treasurer shall deposit any and all County Committee funds in a federally insured account at a financial institution approved annually by a majority vote of the Board of Directors at its January meeting. An accurate and permanent record shall be kept of all receipts and disbursements, and a current financial report shall be submitted at each Board of Directors’ and Membership meeting. The Treasurer shall deposit and disburse District funds entrusted to the County Committee as provided in these Bylaws. The Treasurer shall be an ex-officio member of any committee or task force, which is authorized to engage in fund-raising for the PDP.
Section 2.7. Duties of the Sergeant-at-Arms – The Sergeant-at-Arms shall ensure that the meeting place of the PCDEC membership or Board of Directors is adequate to the needs of the meeting, and accessible to the handicapped. The Sergeant-at-Arms shall ensure that the order required for deliberative discussion is maintained at all such meetings.
Section 3 Resignation of Officers
An officer may resign by submitting to the County Chair or Secretary a statement in writing of his or her intent to resign, stating whether effective immediately upon acceptance or for a future date, and if not stated, effective immediately upon acceptance. The officer resigning shall forthwith submit to the Board all official records which he or she is charged by the Bylaws to maintain. The County Chair or Secretary shall acknowledge in writing the statement of the resigning officer, and the resignation shall be effective as of the date stated in the acknowledgment.
Section 4. Removal of Officers – Officers may be removed from office for violation of their oath of office, violation of the provisions of these Bylaws, including failure to perform their duties, and conviction of a felony. See Article X. Section 2.3. Grievance Committee.
Section 5. Vacancies
Section 5.1. – When the office of the Chair becomes vacant, the Vice Chair shall temporarily assume the duties of that office, and send notice of the vacancy to the State Chair , within ten (10) calendar days), by certified mail. Within 45 days of the occurrence of the vacancy, a meeting shall be held, upon written notice to the members of at least 15 calendar days, and the vacancy filled by the election of a new Chair.
Section 5.2. – A vacancy in the office of State Committeeperson shall be filled within thirty calendar days, by a special election, upon ten (10) calendar days notice to the members. The Chair may appoint an interim State Committeeperson(s) to serve for a period of not more than thirty days.
Section 5.3 A vacancy in any other office must be filled within thirty (30) calendar days by a qualified County Committee member for the unexpired term. The County Chair may fill the vacancy if approved by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of the Board at a regular or special meeting. If such approval is not achieved, the position shall be filled by majority vote of the members at a regular or special meeting provided ten (10) days notice is given to the members.
Section 1. Schedule of Elections
Section 1.1. – The election of Officers shall take place in December of each Presidential election year, at the organizational meeting.
Section 1.2. – The term of office for elected officers, other than the State Committeepersons, being two years, an election of all other officers shall also be scheduled in December of even-numbered non-presidential election years.
Section 1.3. – Election of Delegates to Conventions. Election of delegates to State and National Conventions shall be governed by FDP rules. Whenever possible, the election of delegates shall be held at a regularly scheduled meeting of the County Committee.
Section 2. Eligibility of Voters
Section 2.1. – The Credentials Committee shall have sole authority to determine eligibility of members to vote, in accordance with the provisions of these by-laws.
Section 2.2. – All members elected as provided in the Florida Statutes whose four-year term of office begins on December 1st of a Presidential election year are eligible to vote in all elections, unless they have been removed from office as provided for in these By-laws.
Section 2.3. – Automatic members who are elected public officials shall be eligible to vote in all elections.
Section 2.4. – Other categories of membership (including elected to fill vacancies, special at-large, and appointed) shall be eligible to vote in elections subject to the provisions of Article IV Membership.
Section 3. Order of Elections
Section 3.1. Organizational Meeting – The organizational meeting shall be held in 2000 and every two years thereafter for the purpose of electing the new PCDEC officers. The order of the organizational meeting shall be as set forth in the FDP bylaws, and be in conformity with any provisions of the Florida Statutes. A copy of the relevant portions of the FDP Bylaws and State Statutes shall be included in the notice sent to all those entitled to vote at the organizational meeting.
Section 3.2. Election of Officers – The order of the election of officers in non-Presidential election years shall be: 1) Chair 2) Vice Chair, who shall be of the opposite gender from the Chair 3) Secretary 4) Treasurer 5) Sergeant-at-Arms
Section 4. Nominations
Section 4.1. – Any person nominated for any PCDEC office must be qualified to hold that position, and agree to serve if elected.
Section 4.2. – Nominations shall be made from the floor.
Section 4.3. – A nomination must be made by a member of the PCDEC, and seconded by two (2) other members of the PCDEC. Nominating and seconding speeches for any candidate shall not exceed a total time of five (5) minutes, said five minutes to be shared as the candidate may wish. The secretary shall serve as the official timekeeper in implementation of the foregoing provision.
Section 5. Voting – The following rules shall apply to all County Committee elections.
Section 5.1. – A majority vote is required for election to office.
Section 5.2. – If there be more than one candidate for a given office, voting may be by written ballot upon successful motion of same. Ballots are not secret; each ballot must have the printed and signed name of the voter to be valid.
Section 5.3. – If there be only one candidate for any given office, the Chair shall instruct the Secretary to cast a single ballot for that candidate on behalf of the voting membership.
Section 5.4. Proxy Voting – Eligible members unable to attend a meeting may vote by proxy.
Section 5.4.1. – All proxies must be submitted to the Chair (or his/her designee) before the beginning of the meeting at which they are to be exercised.
Section 5.4.2. – A holder of any proxy must be a registered Democrat, who is not a member of the County Committee. A proxy holder for a precinct committee person must reside in the committee person’s precinct. A proxy holder for an At-large member may reside anywhere in Pinellas County. A proxy holder for an automatic member must reside within the geographic area (within Pinellas County) represented by the automatic member.
Section 5.4.3. – A written proxy must be either notarized or validated by the signatures of two registered Democrats signing as witnesses. A qualified elector may only possess one (1) proxy vote.
Section 6. Retention of Records
Section 6.1. – The Secretary shall retain all reports and records of an election for forty (40) working days following the election or, in the event of a challenge to the results of the election, until such dispute shall have been resolved. Except as otherwise provided in these Bylaws, no one shall have access to these records.
Section 7. Right of Challenge
Section 7.1. – Any member of the PCDEC may challenge the results of an election by reporting the reason for the challenge to the Credentials Committee, and requesting an inspection of the reports and records within five working days of the election The records and reports shall then be inspected by the challenger and at least two members of the Credentials Committee, to be chosen by the Chair of that Committee, in the presence of the Secretary at a time mutually agreed upon within five working days of the date of the challenge being reported to the Credentials Committee. The results of the inspection shall be reported within three working days to the County Chair, the Chair of the Credentials Committee, and the Chair of the Grievance Committee.
Section 7.2. – Should an irregularity be found to have occurred which may have affected the outcome of the challenged election, a joint meeting of the Credentials and Grievance Committees shall be held as soon as possible and no later than five working days after the report to the County Chair, for the purpose of deciding whether or not the irregularity did, in fact, affect the outcome of the election. The decision shall be by a majority vote of those present and voting from both Committees, a quorum of each being present. If it is determined that the outcome of the election was in fact affected, and adversely so, the County Chair shall schedule another election immediately upon ten working days notice to the members, and the results of that election shall supersede those of the challenged election. The new election shall apply only to those offices affected by the irregularity.
Section 7.3. – A person or persons elected in a challenged election shall remain in office until the new election is held.
Board of Directors
Section 1. – The Board of Directors shall act for the County Committee between regular meetings of the Committee and make recommendations to the membership about matters presented for its consideration.
Section 2. Quorum Requirements – Twenty-five percent (25%) of the members of the Board shall constitute a quorum. Proxies may not account for more than ten percent (10%) of those counted in the quorum.
Section 3. Membership – The Board of Directors shall consist of the officers of the County Committee, the seven (7) District Leaders, the Chair of the Campaign Planning Committee, the Chair of the Outreach Committee, the Chair of the Credentials Committee, the Chair of the Finance Committee, the Chair of the Bylaws Committee, the Parliamentarian, three (3) members appointed by the County Chair, and one (1) representative elected by and from the Club Presidents’ Committee, and the immediate past County Chair, if he/she remains a PCDEC elected member.
Section 3.1. – Removal of any member shall follow due process. Article IV, Section 4.2.
Section 4. Voting – No member of the Board of Directors shall have more than one (1) vote.
Section 5. Meetings – The Board of Directors shall meet at least seven working days and not more than fourteen working days before each general membership meeting, and at other appropriate times at the call of the County Chair
Section 1. General Provisions
Section 1.1. – All meetings of the County Committee shall be open to the public, and shall be held in facilities accessible to the handicapped.
Section 1.2. – Speeches during debate shall be limited to two (2) minutes per speaker.
Section 2. Quorum – Forty (40%) percent of the membership of the County Committee excluding automatic members -shall constitute a quorum. Proxies shall not account for more than ten percent (10%) of the number used in computing the quorum.
Section 3. Number – The County Committee shall hold a minimum of four (4) meetings per calendar year. Notice of each meeting of the County Committee shall be given to each member of the Committee at least five (5) and not more than ten (10) working days prior to the meeting stating the date, time, and place of the meeting, and, if a special meeting, the purpose thereof.
Section 4. Special Meetings – A special meeting may be called by the Chair at any time and for any purpose. The Chair is required to call a special meeting upon a request by signed petition of at least twenty-five percent (25%) of the members of the County Committee. The petition shall state the specific purpose for the required meeting.
Section 1. General provisions
Section 1.1. – Districts shall correspond to the boundaries within the county of State House of Representative Districts.
Section 1.2. – Membership. All County Committee members who are residents of a District are members of the District Organization.
Section 1.3. – Meetings. Each District Organization shall meet at least once each calendar quarter at the call of its Chair.
Section 1.4. – Responsibilities. Each District Organization shall, within its District, implement the policies of the County Committee, strengthen the precinct organization, and carry out campaign activities within the parameters of the Campaign plan developed by the Campaign Planning Committee.
Section 2. District Leaders
Section 2.1. – Each District Organization shall elect, in January of odd-numbered years, a Chair, a Vice-Chair, and a Secretary -Treasurer. Associate members are ineligible to serve as Chair or Vice- Chair. Their terms shall expire after two (2) years, except expiring prior to Presidential election year organizational meetings pursuant to FDP Charter and Bylaws.
Section 2.1.1. Vacancies – Should a vacancy occur in the District Leadership, it shall be filled within thirty days, by a special election upon ten (10) working days notice to the members of the District Organization.
Section 2.2. Duties of District Leaders
Section 2.2.1. – Duties of the District Chair -The Chair shall ensure that all District Organization responsibilities are met within the District and shall preside at all meetings of the District Organization.
Section 2.2.2. Duties of the District Vice Chair – The Vice Chair shall assume the duties of the Chair in the absence of the Chair, or, should that office become vacant, until an election is held to fill the vacancy. The Vice Chair shall ensure that the voter records of the District are current at all times.
Section 2.2.3. – Duties of the District Secretary-Treasurer. The Secretary-Treasurer shall keep a permanent record of the meetings of the District organization and of all District funds as provided elsewhere in these Bylaws.
Section 3. District Finances – Each District may maintain a petty cash account not exceeding one hundred fifty dollars ($150). All monies in excess of that amount collected in the District by the District Organization shall be deposited with the County Treasurer, who shall maintain them in the County financial records as a separate entry. District funds shall be spent only by the District for carrying out its responsibilities, provided that the District Organization may make a gift of any or all of its funds to the County Committee for use for a specified purpose.
Every PCDEC committee shall make a good faith effort to reflect the diversity of the membership of the PCDEC.
Section 1. General Provisions
Section 1.1. – All Committee Chairs must be members of the County Committee before being elected or appointed as a committee chair.
Section 1.2. – No committees shall be established whose duties conflict with or duplicate the activities of the Standing Committees.
Section 1.3. – There shall be the following Standing Committees: Rules and Bylaws, Credentials, Grievance, Finance, Club Presidents, Issues, Affirmative Action, and Young Democrats. Such other committees as may be recommended and approved by the board of directors shall be established as needed, with the motion establishing the committee also specifying its purpose, duration, membership, and reporting requirements.
Section 1.4. Quorum Requirements – The quorum for any committee shall be forty percent (40%) of its members.
Section 1.5. Annual Reports – Each Standing Committee shall submit a written report covering the previous year’s activities to the November meeting of the Board of Directors.
Section 1.6. Board Access – Any Committee Chair may request – and shall be given – time on the agenda of the general membership meeting or the Board of Directors’ meeting, provided that such a request shall have been made at least 24 hours before the scheduled beginning of the meeting in question. Such request may be made to any member of the Board of Directors.
Section 2. Committee Functions
Section 2.1. Rules and Bylaws Committee
Section 2.1.1. Membership – The Chair shall be appointed by the County Chair. The Parliamentarian shall be a member of this Committee, as shall one PCDEC member selected by the Club Presidents Committee to represent the interests of Democratic Clubs and Caucuses. Each House District Organization will elect one member to this committee from among its PCDEC members.
Section 2.1.2. Meetings – The Committee shall meet at least annually at the call of the Chair, and as needed when an amendment to the Bylaws or a change to the Rules is directed by the PCDEC in the form of a resolution.
Section 2.1.3. Duties – The Committee shall keep current a copy of these Bylaws, and any Rules which are established by the PCDEC, ensuring that there is no conflict between the two or between these Bylaws and Florida Statutes, the FDP Charter or the FDP Bylaws. The Committee shall develop Rules as needed for the PCDEC, except for Rules reserved to the jurisdiction of the Credentials Committee, and propose them for approval by the PCDEC.
The Committee may from time to time, or as directed by the PCDEC, propose to the membership changes to the Rules or Bylaws of the PCDEC.
Section 2.1.4. Powers – Should an ambiguity arise in these Bylaws, this Committee shall decide, by majority vote, the exact meaning of the ambiguous passage, in accordance with the provisions of the Parliamentary authority, and shall propose forthwith an amendment to these Bylaws which will remove the ambiguity. The Committee may issue an impact statement and/or a recommendation for or against any proposed change to the Rules or Bylaws.
Section 2.2. Credentials Committee
Section 2.2.1. Membership – The members of the Committee shall be 2 members of the Rules and Bylaws Committee (the Bylaws Committee Chair and one appointed by the Bylaws Chair), the County Vice Chair, the County Secretary, the immediate past County Chair, and two persons elected annually at the January meeting from among County Committee members who are not officers per Article V Officers. The members shall elect a Chair, who shall be a member of the Board of Directors.
Section 2.2.2. Meetings – The Committee shall meet prior to each general membership meeting for the purpose of updating the membership rolls. The Committee shall meet within ten working days prior to an election, other than the elections at the organizational meeting, in order to develop the rules of procedure for the election in accordance with these Bylaws, the provisions of the County Committee’s Standing Rules, and its parliamentary authority.
Section 2.2.3. Duties – The Credentials Committee shall report to the County Chair and the Sergeant-at-Arms at the beginning of each meeting the names of current members. Prior to any election (other than those held at the organizational meeting), the Committee shall certify the list of those eligible to vote in that election, and provide a copy of the certified list to the County Chair and the Secretary.
Section 2.2.4. Powers – At each election (except those held at the organizational meeting), the Credentials Committee shall present to the members the format for the election and the rules for conducting it and shall be the sole judge of the members eligibility to vote.
Section 2.3. Grievance Committee – The Grievance Committee shall have jurisdiction over any disputes arising within the County Committee from alleged violation of these Bylaws, the FDP Charter or Bylaws.
Section 2.3.1. Membership – The Grievance Committee shall consist of one member elected from among the County Committee members in each of the Districts. These members shall then elect the Chair of their Committee from amongst its members.
Section 2.3.2. Procedures – Upon receipt of a complaint, the Grievance Committee Chair shall, within 5 (five) working days, 1) schedule a meeting of the Committee to take place within 25 (twenty- five) working days of the receipt of the complaint; 2) mail a copy of the complaint to each member of the Committee, including the Party Chair; and 3) notify the complainant and the respondent of the date of the meeting and of the right of the respondent to challenge the allegations of the complaint either in person or in writing. The respondent shall have 10 (ten) working days within which to respond in writing to the complaint and/or request, also in writing, a hearing at the meeting of the Committee with the opportunity to challenge the complainant’s allegations in person.
Section 2.3.3. – The foregoing sentence shall be quoted, with the appropriate reference to this part of the Bylaws, in the notification to members of the committee, the complainant, the respondent (if there be such) and such other parties the committee deems should make an appearance at its hearings. Should more time be required to reach a decision, one (1) further meeting may be scheduled, and this meeting shall take place within 10 (ten) working days of the date of the first meeting. When the Committee reaches a decision as to the validity of the complaint and the appropriate course of action to be recommended, that decision and recommendation shall be forwarded in writing to the members of the Board of Directors, the complainant, and the respondent within 10 (ten) working days of the date of the meeting at which the decision was reached. At the same time, both the complainant and the respondent shall be advised of the right to and method of appeal. The Chair (of the Grievance committee) shall report the decision of the Grievance Committee to the next general meeting of the County Committee.
Appeal Procedure: Any decision of the Grievance Committee may be appealed by either party to the general membership of the County Committee at the next general meeting of the County Committee which occurs not less than ten working days after the date on which notice of the decision was postmarked. Notice of intent to appeal must be given to any one of the elected officers of the County Committee at least 3 (three) calendar days before the meeting is called to order, and shall be placed on the agenda as the first item of business following Committee Reports. A decision of the Grievance Committee may be reversed by a 2/3 (two-thirds) vote of the total membership or a 3/4 (three-quarters) vote of those present and voting.
Section 2.4. Campaign Planning Committee (if appointed) – The Campaign Planning Committee shall develop and execute the PDP campaign plan in general election years. The Committee shall be responsible for the recruitment of candidates within Pinellas County.
Section 2.4.1. Membership – The Chair of the Campaign Committee shall be appointed by the County Chair, shall be a member of the Board of Directors, and shall choose the members of the Campaign Committee from among the members of the PCDEC. The State Committeeman and State Committeewoman shall be ex-officio members of the Committee. The Committee may have Associate members, who shall not be counted in determining the presence of a quorum.
Section 2.4.2. Meetings – The Committee shall meet at the call of the Chair. The Chair shall have sole discretion as to who, other than the members of the Committee, shall attend the Committee meetings.
Section 2.5. Outreach Committee (if appointed) – The Outreach Committee shall maintain contact between the County Committee, other elements of the PCDEC, and the larger community of Pinellas County and its various political entities, and shall develop in January of each year a coordinated plan for the activities of its members’ Committees.
Section 2.5.1. Membership – The members of the Outreach Committee shall be the Chairs of the District Organization, Public Relations, Issues, Affirmative Action, and Young Democrats Committees. The County Chair shall appoint a Chair of the Committee who shall not be one of the above members, and who shall be a member of the Board of Directors.
Section 2.5.2. Meetings – The Committee shall meet at least once each calendar quarter at the call of the Chair.
Section 2.6. Administrative Committee (if needed) – The Administrative Committee shall oversee the internal affairs of the County Committee.
Section 2.6.1. Membership – The members of the Committee shall be the Vice Chair, who shall chair the Committee, the Secretary, the Administrative Assistant, the supervisor(s) of County Committee Headquarters(s), the Newsletter Editor, and a representative from the Club Presidents’ Committee.
Section 2.6.2. Meetings – The Committee shall meet in the first month of each quarter at the call of the committee Chair, and shall report to the membership at the next monthly meeting on the matters within its purview.
Section 2.7. Finance Committee – The Treasurer may appoint a chair the Finance Committee, and choose its members from among the PDP, provided that at least half the members shall be members of the County Committee.
Section 2.7.1. Duties – The Committee shall develop, in each odd-numbered year, a financial plan for the County Committee for the ensuing two years, which shall be the basis for the annual budget. The biennial financial plan shall be presented to the County Chairman in October of each odd-numbered year.
Section 2.7.2. Powers – The Committee shall provide oversight for any other committee involved in fund-raising, and shall coordinate all fundraising and other financial activities by entities under the jurisdiction of the County Committee.
Section 2.8. District Chairs Organization Committee – The District Chairs Organization Committee shall consist of the District Chairs, who shall elect the Chair of the Committee.
Section 2.8.1. Duties – The Committee shall help train new Precinct Committeepersons in the District, and work to fill vacant precinct Committeepersons positions.
Section 2.9. Club Presidents’ Committee – The Club Presidents’ Committee shall consist of the Presidents or Chairs of all duly chartered Democratic Clubs and Caucuses within Pinellas County without regard to the origin of their charters. The members shall elect the Chair of the Committee.
Section 2.9.1. Duties – The Committee shall ensure that Club activities implement the objectives of the PCDEC, and shall coordinate the activities of the Clubs so as to achieve maximum use of their resources.
Section 2.10. Issues Committee – The Issues Committee shall consist of members chosen by its Chair from the PDP, at least half of whom shall be members of the County Committee and who shall include, where possible, representatives from the major political subdivisions in the County. The Chair shall be appointed by the county chair.
Section 2.10.1. Duties – The Issues Committee shall track those issues that affect Pinellas County (and the political entities that lie within its boundaries) on the local, state, and national level. The Committee shall then develop a plan for appropriate action on those issues which are of primary interest to the County Committee.
Section 2.11. Public Relations Committee – The Public Relations Committee shall be chosen by the County Chair in consultation with the Executive Board. Members chosen by the County Chair shall elect from their number the Chair of the PR Committee. Article V Section 2.1.1
Section 2.11.1. Duties – The Public Relations Committee shall oversee the development of and maintain a current a list of all media contacts available to the County Committee, including those in Pinellas and neighboring counties as well as state and national contacts. The Committee shall maintain a list of those civic groups in the County which invite speakers to their meetings, shall develop a list of trained speakers within the PDP, and shall ensure that all appropriate civic groups are informed that speakers are available from the PCDEC. The Committee shall develop a plan, to be submitted to the Board of Directors each March, to ensure that the objectives and activities of the PCDEC are reported regularly in the local media and shared with local civic groups.
Section 2.12. Affirmative Action Committee – The Chair of this Committee shall choose its members from among the PDP, provided that at least one quarter of the members shall be members of the County Committee. The County Chair shall appoint the Committee Chair.
Section 2.12.1. Duties – The Affirmative Action Committee shall develop and implement plans to carry out the affirmative action policies of the FDP in Pinellas County.
Section 2.13. PCDEC Young Democrats Committee – Pursuant to the State Bylaws, Article 5, Section 5.12, The PCDEC Young Democrats Committee shall consist of not more than ten persons (10), three (3) appointed by and from the Pinellas County Young Democrats Club/Organization, and up to seven (7) under the age of 40 appointed by the PCDEC chair from the PCDEC. All appointees shall be approved by the PCDEC Board of Directors, and shall serve at the pleasure of the PCDEC Board of Directors. All committee members shall be PCDEC members prior to appointment to this committee. The committee chair shall be elected by the members of the committee.
Section 2.13.1. Duties – The PCDEC Young Democrats Committee shall serve as liaison between the PCDEC County Committee and the Pinellas County Young Democrats organization.
Section 2.14. Club Liaison Committee (if appointed) – The Club Liaison Committee shall consist of the County Chair and the State Committeepersons. It shall assist new clubs in obtaining charter certification from the FDP, and shall ensure that all existing clubs meet re-certification requirements in timely fashion.
Clubs, Organizations, & Caucuses
Section 1. General Provisions – Pinellas County Democratic Clubs, organizations, and caucuses come under the jurisdiction of the County Committee and shall be chartered by the FDP in the manner prescribed in FDP Bylaws. Charters must be renewed in July of each odd-numbered year, as provided in the FDP Bylaws.
Section 2. Finances
Section 2.1. Annual Audit – An audit shall be made each January of each entity’s financial condition, and a copy of the audit forwarded forthwith to the County Treasurer.
Section 2.2. Annual Assessment – Clubs shall pay an annual assessment to the County Committee, based on membership as of December 31,in accordance with the provisions of the FDP Bylaws.
Section 2.3. Fundraising – All Clubs, organizations, and Caucuses shall advise the Finance Committee Chair of the date, time, and place of proposed fundraising activities in order to avoid conflict with other Democratic fundraising activities.
Section 2.4. Expenditures – Club funds may be expended only for Club expenses or for Democratic political purposes. Democratic Clubs spending funds in general elections shall do so only within the parameters of the campaign plan developed by the Campaign Planning Committee.
Section 2.5. Dissolution – Upon dissolution of a Club, organization, or caucus, it shall pay its debts and remit, within thirty (30) days, any remaining assets and funds to the County Committee, which shall become the sole proprietor thereof.
Section 1. Expenditures
Section 1.1. Authorization – The County Chair shall authorize, in writing, the expenditure of funds consistent with the provisions of the budget as approved.
Section 1.2. Signatures – All checks disbursing County Committee funds require two signatures and there will be three authorized signers. The County Chair and the Treasurer are authorized signers. The other authorized signer will be one of the following elected PCDEC officers (Vice Chair, Secretary, State Committeewoman, State Committeeman, or Sergeant-at-Arms). This person will be designated by the PCDEC Treasurer and approved by the PCDEC Board of Directors.
Section 2. Reserve Fund – Each January and at other times as appropriate, the members shall decide on the amount required for a reserve fund, if a fund is established.
Section 3. District Funds – Any funds in excess of one hundred fifty dollars ($150) raised by a District shall be deposited in the County Committee account and held separately on the books from the general treasury monies. District funds shall be disbursed to the District which raised them upon the written request of the District Chair, co-signed by the District Secretary-Treasurer. District funds may be used by the County Committee only for a specific purpose, and upon approval by a two- thirds (2/3) vote of the Board of Directors.
Section 4. Audits
Section 4.1. Annual Audit – There shall be an annual audit of the financial condition of the County Committee for the period ending December 31st. The audit shall be conducted by a qualified person, not a member of the County Committee, who shall be appointed by the Chair with the approval of the Board of Directors. A copy of the annual audit shall be filed with the County Supervisor of Elections and the FDP prior to April 1st of the ensuing year.
Section 4.2. Special Audit – When the office of the Treasurer becomes vacant, a similar audit shall be conducted within sixty (60) days.
Section 5. Debts – The County Committee shall not be responsible for, and is prohibited from assuming, the debts of any candidate, group, club, or other organization, except for those that are totally within the jurisdiction of the Committee.
Endorsement of Candidates
The endorsement of candidates in Primary elections is prohibited to the County Committee, the Chair of the PCDEC, and all groups within its jurisdiction, except as otherwise provided by the FDP Bylaws.
The rules contained in the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised shall govern the County Committee in all cases not covered by these bylaws or such standing rules as may be developed and approved by the Committee.
Amendment of Bylaws
Section 1. General Provisions – These Bylaws may be amended at any regular meeting of the PCDEC by a 2/3 vote of those in attendance who are eligible to vote, provided that notice shall have been given both at the previous meeting and in writing to all members at least 14 days before the date of the scheduled vote.
Section 2. Amendment Process – Only amendments which have been processed by the Rules and Bylaws Committee may be advanced for approval. The PCDEC shall approve or disapprove any proposed amendment without amendment thereto. The PCDEC or the PCDEC Board of Directors may, in the form of a resolution, direct the Rules and Bylaws Committee to develop amendment language to implement the intent indicated in the resolution.