Bylaws

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The Bylaws of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party

(As amended December 14, 2015)

Table of Contents

Article I                       Name, Powers, General Policies

                                    --- Section 1. Name

                                    --- Section 2. Powers

                                    --- Section 3. General Policies

Article II                      Party Organization

                                    --- Section 1. County Executive Committee

                                    --- Section 2. Officers

                                    --- Section 3. Meetings

                                    --- Section 4. Steering Committee

                                    --- Section 5. Committees

Article III                     Party Finances

                                    --- Section 1. Authority

                                    --- Section 2. Expenses

                                    --- Section 3. Accounts and Audits

                                    --- Section 4. Duties and Responsibilities

Article IV                     Procedure and Operation

                                    --- Section 1. Duties of the Chair

                                    --- Section 2. Minutes of Meetings

                                    --- Section 3. Vacancies

                                    --- Section 4. Rules and Procedure

                                    --- Section 5. Proxies

                                    --- Section 6. Accessibility

                                    --- Section 7. Voting                         

Article V                      Definition, Status, Effect, and Amendment of Bylaws

Article VI                     Special Rules Governing Loyalty Oaths

                                    --- Section 1. Introduction

                                    --- Section 2. Violations

                                    --- Section 3. Emergency Procedures

                                    --- Section 4. Decision

Article VII                   Candidate Endorsement/ Rating Process

                                    --- Section 1. Policy and Procedure  

PREAMBLE

We, the Democrats of Miami-Dade, united in common purpose, hereby dedicate ourselves to the principles which have historically sustained our Party. We recognize that political party which wishes to lead must listen to those it would lead, that a party which asks for the people’s trust must prove that it trusts the people, and that a party which hopes to call forth the best the state and nation can achieve must embody the best of the state’s and nation’s heritage and traditions. 

The Miami-Dade Democratic Party, at all levels, shall encourage voter registration without discrimination on grounds of race, color, creed, sex, age, national origin, physical disability or sexual orientation.

What we seek for our state and nation we hope for all people: individual freedom in the framework of a just society; political freedom in the framework of meaningful participation by all citizens.

ARTICLE I.  NAME, POWERS, GENERAL POLICIES

Section 1.  Name: The name of the governing body of the Democratic Party in Miami-Dade County is the Democratic Executive Committee of Miami-Dade which may also be called the County Executive Committee, the Miami-Dade Democratic Party, Miami-Dade County Democratic Executive Committee or the Miami-Dade DEC.

Section 2.  Powers: The County Executive Committee, except as otherwise provided by law or by the Charter and Bylaws of the Florida Democratic Party, has supervisory power and jurisdiction in all Democratic Party matters throughout Miami-Dade county, each congressional district within the county, and any other subdivision thereof. The County Executive Committee may set policy and prescribe and enforce sanctions for violation of Party loyalty which includes removing or disbarring from Party office, Party nomination, Party privilege, or committee membership, anyone within its jurisdiction who violates such loyalty, or its rules of other lawful mandate. Sanctions must be imposed in a manner which assures a fair hearing.

Section 3.  General Policies: the following shall be general provisions of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party:

3.1 Notice: All notifications by the Miami-Dade Democratic Party shall be done by electronic mail, unless otherwise specified in these bylaws. Members may request additional written or telephonic notification.

ARTICLE II.  PARTY ORGANIZATION

Section 1.  County Executive Committee: The County Executive Committee shall be composed of Elected Members, the Appointed At-Large Members, the Special At-Large Members, and the Automatic Members.

1.1  Elected Membership shall be composed of one (1) man and one (1) woman who shall be elected from each of the election precincts at the first Primary election in a Presidential election year.  Should the Democratic registration of any precinct total more than one-thousand (1,000) as of January 1 of a year in which qualifying for election to the County Executive Committee occurs, an additional one (1) man and one (1) woman are entitled to be elected to represent all such precincts.  The term of the office for Elected Members shall commence on December 1st immediately following the Presidential election and shall continue for four (4) years.  The Elected Members shall be qualified electors and shall retain residency and the right to vote within the precinct from which they are elected.

1.2  Appointed At-Large Membership shall consist of members, up to an additional ten percent (10%) of the total membership to which the county is entitled, appointed by the Chair of the County Executive Committee and approved by a majority of the membership of the County Executive Committee present and voting.  Appointed At-Large Members shall be registered Democrats residing in Miami-Dade County and shall serve at-large and enjoy all privileges of membership, including the right to vote on County Executive Committee business except that Appointed At-Large Members shall not be eligible to serve as officers of the County Executive Committee.

Appointed At-Large Members shall be eligible for election as committee or caucus officers and for appointment as Parliamentarian, the Sergeant-at-Arms, and the General Counsel.  The selection of Appointed At-Large Members shall be made in such a manner as to achieve political, minority, economic, or other necessary representation within Miami-Dade County. The term of office for Appointed At-Large Members shall commence on the date of appointment and shall continue for one year, but shall expire immediately prior to the commencement of the organizational meeting of the next County Executive Committee.  Appointed At-Large Members may be reappointed by the Chair at the expiration of their term with the approval of a majority of the members of the County Executive Committee present and voting.

1.3  Automatic Membership shall consist of those persons who are automatic members by virtue of State law and the presidents of duly chartered Democratic clubs, chartered local Democratic caucus chapters, and the Miami-Dade County Young Democrats, all of whom must reside in said County.  Automatic Members shall enjoy all privileges and responsibilities of membership, including the right to vote on County Executive Committee business, but shall not be required to comply with attendance requirements, shall not be computed in determining quorums, and shall not be eligible for party office within the County Executive Committee.

1.4  Special At-Large Membership consists of those Democratic Party officers at the County, State or National Party level who request, at any time after the election of officers, to be granted Special At-Large status.  If the granting of Special At Large Membership creates a vacancy in the precinct which the officer resides, said vacancy shall be filled in accordance with these Bylaws. Once a person is elected in a precinct, even if that person should move out of that precinct and be appointed at-large or to fill a vacancy in the precinct into which that person moved, for purposes of eligibility to seek office such person shall be classified an Elected Member for the duration of that term. If a vacancy does not exist in the precinct into which the member moves, Special At-Large status shall be created for that member, not to be counted against the total number of Appointed At-Large Members available.

1.5  Elected Official Membership consists of all Miami-Dade County county-wide elected officials who are members of the Democratic Party and hold a non-judicial office. Elected Official Membership, also includes Municipal Elected Officials in Miami-Dade County who are registered Democrats, are nominated by the Chair and are approved by the membership. Elected Official Membership is equivalent to Automatic Membership, as set forth in Article II, Section 1.3.

1.6  Associate Membership shall consist of those registered Democrats or organizations recognized by the County Executive Committee, the Florida Democratic Party, or the National Democratic Party, and who are invited by the County Executive Committee to affiliate themselves with the County Executive Committee under any of the following categories:

1.6.1  Affiliated Member: Any association or organization of individuals duly authorized by the Florida Democratic Party to use the name “Democrat” or any derivative thereof. The Steering Committee of the County Executive Committee may determine and impose an annual fee to be paid by Affiliated Members.

1.6.2  Organizing Member: Any individual who accept appointment by the County Executive Committee as a volunteer organizer or worker.

1.6.3  Contributing Member: Any individual or organization who makes a financial contribution to the County Executive Committee in a calendar year.

1.7  The term “Membership” when used in these Bylaws and unless otherwise specified, includes only the Elected Membership, Appointed Membership, Automatic Membership, Special At-Large Membership, and Elected Official Membership.

Section 2.  Officers: The Officers of the County Executive Committee shall be the Chair, First Vice Chair (who shall be the opposite sex as the Chair), Program Vice Chair, Outreach Vice Chair, State Committeewoman, State Committeeman, Secretary, and Treasurer.  The officers shall be elected from the Elected Membership at the Organization Meeting. The Chair, State Committeeman, and State Committeewoman shall serve for a term of four years or until their respective successors are elected at the next Organizational Meeting. The First Vice Chair, Program Vice Chair, Outreach Vice Chair, Secretary, and Treasurer shall serve for a term of two years or until their respective successors are elected at the next Organizational Meeting.

2.1  The Chair shall be the chief executive and presiding officer of the County Executive Committee and shall have all the authority to make decisions for the County Executive Committee between meetings of the Steering Committee and County Executive Committee that are not inconsistent with statute, established policy, or these Bylaws.

2.1.1  The Chair shall appoint a Parliamentarian, a General Counsel, and a Sergeant-at-Arms.  These officers serve at the pleasure of the Chair, and enjoy all privileges and responsibilities of Appointed At-Large Membership, and need not otherwise be Elected Members.

2.1.2  The Chair shall appoint and has the authority to remove all committee chairs and members.

2.1.3  The Chair shall hire as many staff members as deemed necessary or as finances will allow, with the consent of the Steering Committee.

2.1.4  The Chair shall perform such other duties as prescribed by law, or which are usual to such office.

2.2  The First Vice Chair shall assist the Chair and shall have the duties and authority implied by that title, assigned by the Chair, or specified by these Bylaws.  The First Vice Chair shall preside over the meetings of the County Executive Committee in the absence of the Chair.

2.3  The Program Vice Chair shall assist the Chair and the First Vice Chair in matters relating to programming and the other Committee activities that enhance the effectiveness of the Democratic Party.

2.4  The Outreach Vice Chair shall assist the Chair and the First Vice Chair in matters relating to outreach and other Committee activities that promote and improve the impact of the Democratic Party in the community, among elected officials, and within the Democratic Party.

2.5  The Secretary shall keep records of attendance at all meetings of the County Executive Committee and the Steering Committee, take minutes at these meetings, and transcribe such minutes for presentation to the Committees.  The Secretary shall have the duties and authority implied by such title, assigned by the Chair, or specified by these Bylaws.

2.6  The Treasurer shall be responsible for keeping accurate financial records of the County Executive Committee and the Steering Committee; shall keep an accurate, complete, and permanent record of all receipts and disbursements; shall issue all checks for the disbursing of funds; and shall prepare and file all financial reports required by law.

2.7  The State Committeewoman and State Committeeman shall serve as liaison between the State of Florida Democratic Party and the county DEC; liaison between the county DEC and the clubs; members of the State Executive Committee and county DEC Steering Committee; members of the county DEC Campaign Committee; and members of other committees as designated by the DEC Charter and Bylaws.

2.8  All officers shall be subjected to the same privileges and obligations of other committee members and other committee officers.

2.9  Vacancy. In the event of a vacancy in the office of County Executive Committee Chair, the First Vice Chair shall assume the duties of the Chair and shall, within forty-five (45) days from said vacancy and after not less than fifteen (15) days’ notice to the membership, convene a meeting of the County Executive Committee to elect a new Chair who shall serve for the unexpired part of the term.  Notice of vacancy shall be sent by certified mail to the State Chair within ten (10) days of said vacancy.  Vacancies on the County Executive Committee shall not be filled by action of the County Executive Committee within the period from the time the County Executive Committee Chair position is declared vacant until the election of a new County Executive Committee Chair to replace the previous chair.  In the event a vacancy in the office of County Executive Committee Chair is filled by a person of the same sex as the First Vice Chair, or vice versa, the requirement that they be of the opposite sex, shall be waived for the unexpired term.  In the event of a vacancy in any other elected office, the same shall be filled by election at the next meeting of the County Executive Committee for the unexpired part of the term.

2.10  Leave of Absence. Any officer of the County Executive Committee seeking the Democratic nomination for public office shall take a leave of absence from the County Executive Committee office commencing at the time of opening a campaign account for said public office and extending for the· duration of the campaign.  The vacancy created shall be filled by the County Executive Committee for the interim period.

Section 3.  Meetings.

3.1  Organizational Meetings.

3.1.1  Not later than thirty (30) days after the Presidential election, a meeting shall be called by the Chair of the preceding County Executive Committee for the purpose of organization and to consider any business which may properly come before the Committee.  The Chair shall proceed with the following order of business: (1) Invocation; (2) Pledge of Allegiance; (3) Roll Call; (4) Report of the Credentials Committee; and (5) Election of Officers.

3.1.2  The order of election of officers shall be:  Chair, State Committeewoman, State Committeeman, First Vice Chair, Secretary, Treasurer, and any other officers of the Committee.  Voting for officers shall be on the basis of one (1) vote for each Member.  A majority vote of those present and voting shall determine the elections.

3.1.3  The retiring Chair shall preside over the election of the Chair, whereupon the newly elected Chair shall take over the Chair and proceed with the election of the other officers of the Committee.

3.2  Regular Meetings.

3.2.1  The County Executive Committee shall hold a regular meeting at a place, time, and date designated by the Chair upon electronic notice to the Membership of not less than ten (10) days at least every three (3) months.

3.2.2  In the event the Chair fails to call a regular meeting within a three (3) month period, the Chair of any Congressional District primarily located within Miami-Dade County, the Congressional District Vice Chair at the direction of the Congressional District Chair, or the First Vice Chair of the County Executive Committee shall call a meeting for the purpose of reorganization at a place, time, and date designated by the Congressional District Chair or First Vice Chair upon notice to the Membership of not less than fourteen (14) days. The State Chair shall be notified by certified mail.

3.3  Special Meetings.

3.3.1  The County Executive Committee shall hold a special meeting at a place, time, and date designated by the Chair upon notice to the Membership of not less than fourteen (14) days.

3.3.2  The County Executive Committee shall hold a special meeting at a place, time, and date designated in a written petition signed by not less than twenty-five percent (25%) of the Elected Membership.  Upon presentation of such a petition, the Secretary shall give notice of such a meeting to the Membership of not less than fourteen (14) days.

3.4  Presiding Officer at Meetings. The Chair, or in the Chair’s absence the First Vice Chair, shall preside over regular and special meetings of the County Executive Committee, call the Membership to order and, upon appearance of a quorum, proceed to business.

3.5  Quorum. Thirty percent (30%) of the total membership if total membership of 300 or more; forty percent (40%) of the total membership if total membership is 299 or less.

Section 4.  Steering Committee.

4.1  Composition. There shall be a Steering Committee composed of the officers of the County Executive Committee, the Parliamentarian, the Sergeant-at-Arms, the General Counsel, the Chairs of Standing Committees, a representative from each Caucus chartered in Miami-Dade, and a representative from each Club chartered in Miami-Dade that has satisfied the requirements in Article II, Section 5.9.

4.2  Duties. The Steering Committee shall supervise, administer, and control the policies and affairs of the County Executive Committee and make decisions between meetings not inconsistent with these Bylaws and policies set by the County Executive Committee.  It shall set salaries.

4.3  Management of Affairs. The Steering Committee shall be the operating and management committee of the County Executive Committee.

4.4  Officers.  The officers of the County Executive Committee shall be the officers of the Steering Committee.

4.5  Operate According to Bylaws. The Steering Committee shall operate in accordance with the Bylaws of the County Executive Committee.

4.6  Meetings.  The Steering Committee shall meet at the call of the Chair, or within fifteen (15) days after petition of a majority of the members of the Steering Committee, provided the Steering Committee shall meet at least once every three (3) months.

4.7  Approval of Actions.  All actions of the Steering Committee shall be subject to approval by the County Executive Committee as to all matters where authority has not been delegated to the Steering Committee.

4.8  Oversee Budgeted Funds.  It shall be the responsibility of the Steering Committee to oversee the expenditure of all budgeted funds.  The Steering Committee shall also be empowered to spend a maximum of $1,000.00 per expenditure without prior approval of the County Executive Committee for non-budgeted emergency items.

4.9  Privileges and Obligations of Steering Committee.  All members of the Steering Committee shall have all the same privileges and shall be subject to the same obligations as all other County Executive Committee members.  Steering Committee members who are not otherwise within the Membership of the County Executive Committee shall not be counted against the number of Appointed At-Large Members.

Section 5.  Committees: The following shall be the standing committees of the County Executive Committee:

5.1  A Finance Committee consisting of the Chair, First Vice Chair, and Treasurer as ex-officio members, and not less than three other persons shall be appointed by the Chair.  The Finance Committee shall advise the Chair in the raising of funds, and in other official matters as requested by the Chair from time to time.

5.2  A Credentials Committee consisting at least one person from each Caucus and Club chartered in Miami-Dade and any other persons shall be appointed by the Chair. The Credentials Committee shall make recommendations concerning the legality of all members present at meetings, shall investigate the qualifications of all members serving on the County Executive Committee, and shall determine that all applicants for appointment to the County Executive Committee are registered Democrats qualified by law to serve and who have knowledge of their responsibilities as committee members.

5.3  A Rules and Bylaws Committee consisting of not less than five (5) persons shall be appointed by the Chair. The Rules and Bylaws Committee shall suggest and review amendments to the Bylaws of the County Executive Committee, suggest and review motions concerning the operating procedure of the County Executive Committee, review and monitor State and National Democratic Party rules and other procedures to ascertain compliance therewith by the County Executive Committee and, when requested by the Chair of the County Executive Committee, draft and propose special rules and procedures which may be required for the various activities of the County Executive Committee.

5.4  An Affirmative Action Committee shall be appointed by the Chair.  The Affirmative Action Committee shall work in conjunction with the Florida Democratic Party Affirmative Action Committee to further the goals and policies of the Democratic Party.

5.5  A Voter Registration Committee consisting of at least one member from each Caucus and Club chartered in Miami-Dade and any other persons shall be appointed by the Chair. The Voter Registration Committee shall coordinate a community drive on a continual basis with the objective of encouraging all qualified persons to register to vote as Democrats.

5.6  An Issues Committee consisting of at least one member from each Caucus and Club chartered in Miami-Dade and any other persons shall be appointed by the Chair.  The Issues Committee shall make recommendations to the Democratic Executive Committee regarding action on local, state, and national issues.

5.7  A Campaign Committee consisting of the Chair, First Vice Chair, Treasurer, State Committeewoman, State Committeeman, and any other persons shall be appointed by the Chair. The Campaign Committee shall organize, coordinate, supervise, and direct all political election efforts undertaken by the County Executive Committee.

5.8  A Legislative Liaison Committee consisting of not less than three (3) persons shall be appointed by the Chair. The Legislative Liaison Committee shall coordinate all activities between members and Democratic elected officials in Miami-Dade County and shall develop procedures to monitor member compliance with such activities.

5.9  The Interclub Council shall consist of the Presidents of every duly chartered Democratic Club within Miami-Dade County.  The Chair shall appoint the Chair of the Interclub Council. The Interclub Council shall review, recommend, and coordinate all activities between the Democratic Clubs and the County Executive Committee and shall develop procedures to monitor Democratic Club compliance with state and local Democratic Party Bylaws and regulations.

5.9.1  Each January, the Interclub Council Chair will certify whether a club has met the requirements to have a voting seat on the Steering Committee according to Article II Section 5.9.2.

5.9.2  In order for a Club to have a voting seat on the Steering Committee, the Club must be chartered in Miami-Dade for at least two (2) years and have at least twenty (20) dues-paying members to their respective Club.

5.10  A Young Democrats Committee shall be appointed by the Chair.  The Young Democrats Committee shall work in conjunction with the Florida Young Democrats and the Miami-Dade Young Democrats to further the goal of youth involvement in the Democratic Party.

5.11  A Labor Committee consisting of representatives of organized labor shall be appointed by the Chair.

5.12  A Communications Committee shall be appointed by the Chair.  The Chair shall appoint the Chair of the Communications Committee. The Communications Committee shall publicize regularly the activities of the Democratic Party in press releases, local newspapers, on radio and television, both broadcast and cable, social networking, and publish a website, blog, and any other publications of general interest.

5.13  Composition of Standing Committees. Not less than seventy-five percent (75%) of the members appointed by the Chair to a standing committee, with the exception of the Finance and Voter Registration Committee, shall be selected from the Membership of the County Executive Committee.  The remaining members of the standing committees may be selected from the Associate Membership and from outside the membership of the County Executive Committee as long as the individual(s) appointed shall be a registered Democrat residing within Miami-Dade County.

5.14  Other Committees.  The following shall be other committees of the County Executive Committee:

5.14.1  A Budget Committee consisting of the Chair and First Vice Chair as ex-officio members and the Treasurer as committee chair, and not less than three (3) other members, a majority of whom shall constitute a quorum shall be appointed by the Chair.  It shall advise the Chair in the creation and expenditures of a budget and other official matters as requested by the Chair from time to time.

5.14.2  Ad Hoc Committees and Caucuses.  The Chair shall have the power and authority to create and appoint special ad hoc committees, commissions, or caucuses to perform such functions as shall be designated by the Chair.  The Chair shall be an ex-officio member of all such committees, commissions, and caucuses.

5.14.3  Composition of other Committees.  Not less than fifty percent (50%) of the membership of all other committees, commissions, and caucuses shall be selected from the Membership of the County Executive Committee.  The remaining members of all such committees, commissions, and caucuses may be selected from the Associate Membership and from outside the Membership of the County Executive Committee as long as the individuals selected shall be registered as Democrats residing in Miami-Dade County.

5.15  Procedures

5.15.1  Quorum.  The quorum requirement for any meeting of a Standing Committee, other committee, commission, caucus, or division within the County Executive Committee is thirty-five percent (35%) of the membership thereof.

5.15.2  Call of Meetings.  Meetings of Standing Committees, other committees, commissions, caucuses, and divisions within the County Executive Committee may be called by the chair thereof at any time and shall be called upon written request of twenty-five percent (25%) of the membership thereof presented to its chair, or in the absence or failure of the chair to act, presented to the Secretary of the County Executive Committee.  Ten (10) days’ notice of all meetings shall be given to each member; provided, however, that any member may waive such notice for any particular meeting.

ARTICLE III.  PARTY FINANCES

Section 1.  Authority.  The County Executive Committee shall have the authority to raise, receive, accept, solicit, borrow, maintain, and expend such funds as may be provided from any source not prohibited by law.  The Chair shall not borrow any funds on behalf of the County Executive Committee without prior approval or ratification of the Steering Committee.  Monies payable by candidates shall be required in such amount as is provided by resolution of the County Executive Committee.

Section 2.  Expenses.  Expenses of the County Executive Committee, or of any of its officers, agents, employees, or members may be paid or reimbursed from the Committee’s general funds subject to the limitation of the approved budget and the prior authorization of the County Chair.

Section 3.  Accounts and Audits. 

3.1  Funds of the County Executive Committee shall be kept on deposit in the name of the County Executive Committee or in the name of a committee or campaign or special fund as the case may be.  The Chair of the County Executive Committee may place funds with the bank for the credit of a committee or special fund from time to time as convenience may suggest.  Funds may be reimbursed by bank draft or check drawn by the Treasurer and countersigned by the Chair.  Accounts of the County Executive Committee, its officers, committees, and agents, shall be subject to biennial independent audit.  The Chair shall appoint a certified public accountant with the approval of the Steering Committee for that purpose.  A copy shall be retained by the County Executive Committee.  A copy shall be furnished to the Clerk of Miami-Dade County Circuit Court and to the Florida Democratic Party Executive Committee prior to April 1 of the following year.

3.2  There shall be a published statement of financial conditions reflecting assets and liabilities and a synopsis of income and expenditures distributed to the Steering Committee and the County Executive Committee at its regular meeting.

3.3  The Chair and Treasurer shall at all times be under adequate bond to be approved within thirty (30) days of taking office.  Each officer shall be required to deliver to that officer’s successor, before their bond may be released, all records of the County Executive Committee and Steering Committee within their custody or control.

3.4  The distribution of funds among members of the County Executive Committee is forbidden except for budgeted and special emergency items.

Section 4.  Duties and Responsibilities.

4.1  Campaign Efforts.  The Democratic Party, at every level, owes the duty of undertaking to provide a basic level of campaign support for its nominees.  Every nominee owes a corresponding duty of actively assisting the Democratic Party in raising campaign funds for the support of Democratic Party campaign efforts.  The County Executive Committee is charged with the responsibilities and possessed of the authority for management, allocation, and expenditure of such campaign funds.  The County Executive Committee and Chair thereof have full discretionary authority to establish subcommittees, campaign finance committees, and other entities deemed by the County Executive Committee or the Chair to be expedient for the discharge of such functions.

4.2  Active Participation.  All members of the County Executive Committee shall participate in the activities sponsored by the Committee to further campaign support, such as voter registration, active campaigning, volunteer staffing of campaign headquarters, and other special projects as suggested by the Committee.  It shall be the responsibility of each member of the Committee to devote 52 hours per year to these activities, and the Campaign Committee with the help of the Inter Club Council shall monitor the hourly contributions of the membership.  It shall be the responsibility of the Steering Committee to determine the number of hours to be spent by each County Executive Committee member in each committee-sponsored activity during any year.  In January of each year, the Steering Committee shall meet and establish a schedule of hours per activity for the coming year.  Each committee shall be responsible for accounting for the hours served on its behalf.

4.3  Regular Communications.  It shall be the goal of the County Executive Committee through its Clubs and Caucuses to communicate at least yearly with all registered Democrats in Miami-Dade County by a mailing detailing the activities of the County Executive Committee, identifying Committee members, and providing pertinent addresses and phone numbers.

4.4  Fundraising.  Each County Executive Committee member shall be required to raise funds for the County Executive Committee each year. The Elected and Appointed Members shall raise $50.00 per year. The annual contributions shall be provided by the end of February. New members shall provide their annual contributions within two months of joining. The Automatic Members shall be requested to raise funds based upon the positions held. The United States Representatives shall be requested to raise $2,500.00 per year. The State Senators shall be requested to raise $1,000.00 per year. The State Representative and any other local official elected in a partisan election shall be requested to raise $500.00 per year. These fundraisers may be held separately or in conjunction with other County Executive Committee members.

ARTICLE IV.  PROCEDURE AND OPERATION

Section 1.  Duties of the Chair.

1.1  Stenographer. The County Executive Committee Chair is authorized to appoint a stenographer or reporter to take the minutes of meetings and to appoint other agents or assistants as may be necessary for that purpose.

1.2  Financial Records.  The Chair shall make available to the Budget Committee and the Finance Committee all financial records. All financial records of the County Executive Committee, including a full copy of the annual audited financial report, shall be available for examination by any member upon written request to the Chair.

1.3  Proposed Budget.  The Chair shall submit a budget once a year to the Budget Committee and Steering Committee for approval, which shall be furnished to all members of the County Executive Committee within sixty (60) days following the end of the fiscal year.  The Steering Committee may modify the budget at any time.

1.4  Expenditures.  Upon the adoption of a budget, the Chair shall be authorized to expend all items not inconsistent therein.  Under such authorization, the Chair is authorized to expend not more than $1,000.00 per expenditure on any non-budgeted item without the approval of the Steering Committee.

Section 2.  Minutes of Meetings.  Minutes shall be kept of all meetings and shall be presented at the next subsequent meeting for approval. A copy of the minutes of County Executive Committee meetings shall be sent to the Florida Democratic Party Executive Committee.

Section 3.  Vacancies.

3.1  Vacancies within the Elected Membership shall be filled within the prescribed period of time by a majority vote of the County Executive Committee.  A vacancy shall be deemed to exist upon the occurrence of any of the following events:

    • The death of the incumbent member.
    • The member’s resignation.
    • The member’s removal.
    • The member ceasing to be a resident of the county or precinct from which said member was elected or appointed.
    • The member’s refusal to accept the office.
    • The conviction of the member of any felony, unless that member’s civil rights have been restored.
    • The decision of a competent tribunal declaring void the member’s election or appointment, and the member’s removal by said tribunal.
    • The member’s failure to attend three (3) meetings, regular or special, of the County Executive Committee in any one (1) calendar year without an excused absence as outlined in Article IV, Section 3.2. Any member who has three (3) unexcused absences shall be notified by the Credentials Committee, in writing, that it appears the member has missed three (3) County Executive Committee meetings without good and sufficient reason and that without additional information the Credentials Committee will announce that the seat is vacant at the next County Executive Committee meeting.
    • The member’s failure to comply with the duties and responsibilities of office.
    • The member’s failure to maintain party registration as a Democrat.

3.2  Excused Absence. An excused absence shall be one with good and sufficient reason for said absence. An absence shall be excused only if the committee member notifies the County Executive Committee Chair, First Vice Chair, Secretary, Executive Director, or Credentials Committee Chair before a regular or special meeting of the reason that said member will be absent from said meeting. The Credentials Committee shall determine if any reason is good and sufficient.

3.3  Declaration of Vacancy. In the event a vacancy is declared, the Chair shall notify the Credentials Committee of the vacancy. The Credentials Committee shall verify that all candidates are registered Democrats residing within the appropriate precinct and submit the names of all verified candidates to the County Executive Committee. The vacancy shall be filled by a majority vote of those present at a County Executive Committee meeting at which a quorum is present. The vacancy shall be filled within sixty (60) days of the position being deemed vacant. Whoever is elected to fill the vacancy shall be elected for the unexpired portion of the term.

Section 4.  Rules of Procedure.  Unless otherwise provided for in these Bylaws, the latest revised edition of Robert’s Rules of Order shall govern.

Section 5.  Proxies.  Any member who, for any reason, is unable to attend any meeting of the County Executive Committee may execute a written proxy.  Such proxy shall be sworn to before a notary public, or, in the alternative, may be validated by two (2) registered Democrats signing as witnesses.  Any proxy which is incomplete in any way shall be returned to the member issuing the proxy.  The member sending the incomplete proxy shall be notified immediately by phone or facsimile transmission that the proxy is incomplete.  The holder of such proxy shall be a qualified Democrat not a member of the committee before which said proxy is to be presented.  No person shall be permitted to hold more than one (1) proxy.

5.1  County Executive Committee Members: An elected member of the County Executive Committee shall designate a Democrat residing in the same precinct as said elected member.  An automatic or appointed member of the County Executive Committee shall designate a Democrat residing in Miami-Dade County.  For a proxy to be honored by the County Executive Committee, the holder shall submit notice to the County Executive Committee Chair prior to the meeting.

5.2  Form: Proxies shall be in the form provided in the Bylaws of the Florida Democratic Party and attached and hereby incorporated.

5.3  Quorum Limitation:  Proxies may not account for more than fifteen percent (15%) in computing a quorum.

5.4  Attendance: Proxies shall not be considered in the fulfillment of attendance requirements.

Section 6.  Accessibility: All meetings of the Miami-Dade Democratic Party committees, clubs, and organizations shall be held in facilities that are accessible to the physically disabled.

Section 7.  Voting on all motions or matters presented to the County Executive Committee and/or the Steering Committee shall take place in person, by proxy, or by such absentee voting, electronic voting or telephonic voting as may be specified in the Rules adopted by the County Executive Committee.

ARTICLE V.  DEFINITION, STATUS, EFFECT, AND ADMENDMENT OF BYLAWS

Section 1.  Definition. This document shall be called the Bylaws of the Miami-Dade County Democratic Party.

Section 2.  Status and Effect. The foregoing Bylaws are ordained and established by the County Executive Committee as its permanent and continuing Bylaws, wholly superseding and amending all previously adopted Constitutions, Bylaws, Rules, Resolutions, and Regulations of whatever type and kind.  The foregoing Bylaws shall continue in force until rescinded or changed.

Section 3.  Amendments. These Bylaws may be amended or repealed by a three-fifths (3/5) vote of the members of the County Executive Committee present and voting at a duly called meeting.  No amendment to the Bylaws may be voted upon unless ten (10) days’ notice of the same shall have been given prior to the meeting.

Section 4.  Special Policies. For the purpose of enforcing these Bylaws, the County Executive Committee and the Steering Committee may develop policies not inconsistent herewith.

Section 5.  Procedures for Adoption. Bylaws of the County Executive Committee must be approved by at least three-fifths (3/5) vote at a duly called and constituted meeting of the Steering Committee, and must then be approved by at least a majority vote at a duly called and constituted meeting of the County Executive Committee.

Section 6.  Effective Date and Transition. These Bylaws of the County Executive Committee shall take effect immediately upon ratification by the Steering Committee and adoption by the County Executive Committee.  All officers and other members of the County Executive Committee and/or any of its agencies elected under previous Bylaws shall complete their current term of office, provide that they shall be subject to other provisions of these Bylaws.

Section 7.  Severability. If any Article, Section, or Subsection of these Bylaws is found to be invalid for any reason, such finding or ruling shall not color or put in jeopardy either the complete Bylaws or any other Article, Section, or Subsection of these Bylaws.

ARTICLE VI. SPECIAL RULES GOVERNING LOYALTY OATHS

Section 1. Introduction. All members of the County Executive Committee are required to execute a written Loyalty Oath in the form provided in the Bylaws of the Florida Democratic Party and attached and hereby incorporated.  The interests of the Democratic Party and of the people of the State of Florida are best served by careful adherence to the Loyalty Oath on the part of members of the County Executive Committee.

Section 2.  Violations. 

2.1  Complaint Must Be In Writing.  Any violation of the Loyalty Oath by a County Executive Committee member is to be reported in writing and signed by the complainant (who must be a County Executive Committee member or a Democratic candidate for office) to the County Democratic Committee Chair or First Vice Chair.

2.2  Transmittal of Complaint.  The County Executive Committee Chair, or First Vice Chair in the absence of the Chair, shall, within thirty (30) days, transmit the written complaint to the Chair of the Rules and Bylaws Committee.  In the event the County Executive Committee Chair fails to transmit the complaint within the authorized time, the complainant can forward the complaint directly to the Chair of the Rules and Bylaws Committee.  Within ten (10) days of the transmission, the Chair of the Rules and Bylaws Committee shall appoint a Special Loyalty Oath Committee to evaluate the complaint.  Members of the Special Committee are to be selected from the Steering Committee and the County Executive Committee membership.  The Special Committee shall number no less than five (5) and no more than nine (9).  Members of the Steering Committee shall comprise at least two-thirds (2/3) of the Special Committee membership.  Neither the County Executive Committee Chair nor the Credentials Committee Chair is permitted to serve on the Special Committee.

2.3  Special Committee Chair.  The Chair of the Rules and Bylaws Committee will function as the Special Committee Chair, and is authorized to vote on any matters within the jurisdiction of the Special Committee.  The Chair of the Rules and Bylaws Committee is authorized to appoint another Special Committee member to serve as Chair of a Special Committee.

2.4  Investigation.  The Special Committee is authorized to investigate the reported loyalty oath violations, and to consider any relevant evidence at any meeting of the Special Committee.  The Special Committee shall invite the person about whom the complaint is made to attend any meetings pertaining to the complaint, and shall invite that person to respond to the complaint and to present evidence.  The Special Committee shall also invite the complainant to appear at any meeting of the Special Committee and to give evidence.  The Special Committee shall not consider the failure of the subject of the complaint to respond as any evidence whatsoever.  The Special Committee is authorized to consider any oral and written evidence deemed relevant by the Special Committee.  The Rules of Evidence applicable to judicial proceedings shall not apply to any proceeding of the Special Committee, but considerations of fundamental fairness shall govern all Special Committee activities.

2.5  Findings and Recommendations.  The Special Committee, by a majority vote, will make a finding on the complaint, and shall report its findings and recommendations in writing to the County Executive Committee Chair within ten (10) days.  Unless otherwise deemed necessary in the discretion of the Special Committee, the finding shall be made not later than sixty (60) days following the transmission of the complaint by the County Executive Committee Chair.  In the event that the Special Committee finds no violation, it shall report that finding to the County Executive Committee Chair and the matter is closed.  In the event that the Special Committee finds a violation, it shall report its findings and recommendations to the County Executive Committee Chair to be placed on the agenda for the next Steering Committee Meeting.

2.6  Report of Special Committee.  The Chair of the Special Committee is responsible for reporting the Special Committee’s findings to the Steering Committee and to the County Executive Committee membership.

2.7  Sanctions.  The Special Committee is authorized to recommend any allowable sanction in the event the Special Committee finds that a violation has occurred.

Section 3.  Emergency Procedures.

3.1  Temporary Suspension.  Upon receiving a complaint of a Loyalty Oath violation, in the sole discretion of the County Executive Committee Chair, the subject of the complaint may be suspended immediately and deprived of all the rights and privileges of County Executive Committee membership pending the outcome of the Special Committee inquiry.

3.2  Steering Committee Review.  The Steering Committee shall review the temporary suspension decision by the County Executive Committee Chair at its next scheduled meeting or at the next scheduled County Executive Committee meeting if such occurs prior to the Steering Committee meeting, and is authorized by majority vote of those present and voting to revoke the temporary suspension pending the outcome of the Special Committee inquiry.

Section 4.  Decision.

4.1  Vote of Steering Committee.  The report of the Special Committee shall be made to the Steering Committee, which is to vote on whether to accept the report of the Special Committee by majority vote of those present and voting.  The Steering Committee shall recommend the sanction, also by majority vote.

4.2  Vote of County Executive Committee.  The decision of the Steering Committee shall be reported to the County Executive Committee membership at its next meeting, in accordance with the Bylaws of the Florida Democratic Party.  Any decision to remove a member from office must be made by a two-thirds (2/3) vote.  The imposition of any lesser sanction shall be made by a majority vote of those present and voting.

ARTICLE VII. CANDIDATES ENDORSEMENT/RATING PROCESS

Section 1.  Policy and Procedure.

1.1  The Steering Committee may interview, evaluate, endorse and/or rate candidates in local, State, City, County and School Board elections. Each member of the Steering Committee shall have a vote in the endorsement and/or rating process. The County Executive Committee Officers and five additional Steering Committee members, elected by the Steering Committee membership, shall act as the Interview Team and make recommendations to the County Executive Committee membership. A two-thirds (2/3) majority of the Steering Committee membership present shall be required for County Executive Committee endorsement and/or rating. A simple majority of the membership present shall be required to allocate funds to support endorsed and/or the highest rated candidate.

1.2  If the candidate evaluation process is begun, after a recommendation by the Steering Committee and an affirmative vote of the Committee, the following steps shall be followed during the process:

1.2.1  The priorities of the County Executive Committee shall be identified and prioritized through the use of an open-ended questionnaire used to survey all members of the County Executive Committee. Other sources of information which may be used to identify and order the County Executive Committee's political and legislative priorities, including but not limited to official national, state and local platforms; and positions on issues which have been formally adopted by the County Executive Committee.

1.2.2  The Chair shall appoint an Ad-Hoc Endorsement Committee to analyze the community service record of all candidates and the voting record of incumbent candidates. The analysis shall, at a minimum, cover votes cast during the last year of the incumbent's term.

1.2.3  The Ad-Hoc Endorsement Committee shall prepare a candidate profile for use by the Interview Team. At a minimum the profile shall include:

    • candidate biography, voting record, party affiliation history summary;
    • candidate election record including: how long in elected office, offices held, last election results, name(s) of opponent(s).

1.2.4  In order for the Steering Committee to endorse and/or rate in a given election, the profiles shall be presented to the Interview Team, prior to the candidate's interview. The voting record analysis shall be made available to the Interview Team and the incumbents prior to the interview. Members of the Interview Team who serve as either paid staff or on the Steering Committee of a candidate being interviewed for endorsement and/or rating, shall not vote on any Interview Team recommendation{s) being made for the office that candidate is seeking.

1.2.5  Determine in writing, positions of candidates on the priority issues of the County Executive Committee. This shall be done through the use of questionnaires sent to all Democratic candidates.

1.2.6  Interview all Democrats who have qualified for the office. Each qualified Democratic candidate shall be invited, in writing, to participate in an interview. The interview shall be conducted by the Interview Team. All interviews shall be tape-recorded. All interview sessions shall be open to all members of the County Executive Committee.

1.2.7  Prepare recommended endorsement/ratings. The Interview Team shall score the candidate based on the following criteria:

    • zero to forty (0.40) points shall be given for responses received by the Committee from the candidate;
    • zero to twenty (0-20) points shall be given for support by the candidate of planks of an official party platform used by the Committee as an endorsement and/or rating standard, or for support by the candidate for formally adopted County Executive Committee positions used as an endorsement and/or rating standard;
    • zero to twenty (0-20) points shall be given based on the electability of the candidate, and
    • zero to twenty (0-20) points shall be given for the candidate's expressed willingness to work with and support the County Executive Committee.

1.2.8  Based on the interview and written material, the Interview Team shall make a recommendation to the Steering Committee with the reasons behind that recommendation being included. A summary of all the interview responses shall be sent to all members of the Steering Committee. The Interview Team's recommendation may be not to endorse any candidate(s) as well as to endorse a specific candidate or to rate the candidate(s) in order of preference.

1.2.9  Adopt the endorsement/rating. The County Executive Committee shall formally and officially adopt or approve an endorsement and/or rating of candidates.