Drafted June 2006
Article I – NAME
Section 1: This organization shall be known as the Amherst Democratic Town Committee, hereinafter, 'Town Committee.'
Article II – PURPOSES
Section 1: The Town Committee is organized and constituted under the authority of and in accordance with the provisions of the General Laws of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.
Section 2: Its purposes are to advance the ideals and aims of the Democratic Party, and to elect Democratic candidates.
Section 3: The Town Committee shall not endorse any candidate in a primary election.
Article III – MEMBERSHIP and DUES
Section 1: The Town Committee shall consist of registered Democrats living in Amherst, Massachusetts, who:
a) have been elected as Regular Members either at the Presidential Primary or at a Town Committee meeting thereafter;
b) have accepted Life Membership; or
c) have been elected as Associate Members.
There shall be thirty-five (35) Regular Members. There is no maximum number of Life or Associate Members.
Section 2: Before each Presidential Primary, the Secretary of the Town Committee shall present to the appropriate election official a list of up to 35 registered Democrats living in Amherst as candidates for regular membership. The committee that develops the list will consider affirmative action principles in preparing it.
Section 3: a) At any regular meeting the Town Committee may, by majority vote, elect
Associate Members from among registered Democrats living in Amherst who have attended 2 of the previous 4 business meetings.
b) Associate Members may vote on all matters except:
1) the election of Officers;
2) the election or removal of Regular and Associate Members; and
3) the expenditure of funds.
Section 4: a) Regular membership shall begin with the Amherst Town Clerk's certification of the results of the Presidential Primary or upon election at any meeting. For Regular Members other than Officers, it shall expire following the Presidential Primary when the Amherst Town Clerk certifies the election of a new Town Committee, or when the Member vacates the seat.
b) The membership of an Officer who is a Regular Member shall expire upon the election of a successor, at the end of the Election Meeting (see Article V, Section 3), or when an Officer vacates the seat.
Section 5: a) Associate membership shall begin upon election. It shall expire at the end of the Election Meeting. At the Election Meeting or within 10 days thereafter, all Associate Members shall be polled to determine interest in continuing membership. The membership of those interested shall be renewed.
Section 6: Vacancies in the regular membership shall be filled from among the
Associate Members by a majority vote of the Regular and Life Members.
Section 7: a) The Committee shall offer Life Membership to any member who has served
as a Regular Member for at least 20 years. If the Member accepts, the seat is vacated; the new Life Member no longer counts toward the total of 35 Regular Members; and the Life Member's name does not appear on the ballot at the Presidential Primary.
b) Life Members have the same voting rights as Regular Members.
Section 8: Any Member of the Amherst Democratic Town Committee who moves from the
Town of Amherst shall cease to be a Member as of the date of the move.
Section 9: A Member who resigns shall notify the Chair in writing of his or her resignation.
Section 10: A Member may be removed pursuant to provisions of Section II of the
Charter of the Democratic Party of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts,
shown below as Article XIV of these Bylaws.
Section 11: Annual dues, as set by the Town Committee, are due on May 1.
Article IV – OFFICERS: ELECTION and RESPONSIBILITIES
Section 1: a) At the Election Meeting the Town Committee shall elect as Officers, in this order, a
2) First Vice-Chair,
3) Second Vice-Chair,
5) Treasurer, and
6) Affirmative Action and Outreach Advisor.
b) The Chair and First Vice-Chair shall be of different genders.
Section 2: Nominations for any office shall be accepted from the floor.
Section 3: a) Election is by majority vote of the Regular and Life Members present and
b) If no candidate receives a majority on the first or any subsequent ballot, the candidate receiving the fewest votes is eliminated from the next ballot.
Section 4: The term of office is 4 years, unless the election is to fill an unexpired term.
An Officer's term ends with the election of a successor.
Section 5: If an Officer resigns, moves from Amherst, is removed from the Town Committee,
or dies, the office is vacant and shall be filled at the Committee's next regular
meeting before which notice can be given as required in Article V, below.
Section 6: The Chair shall:
a) supervise the Town Committee affairs and activities;
b) make an annual report about these to the Members;
c) call all meetings;
d) supervise the preparation and distribution of meeting agendas;
e) preside at all meetings;
f) appoint standing and, from time to time, other committees;
g) appoint individuals for specific responsibilities, including polling each Associate Member at or after the Election Meeting to ascertain interest in having the membership renewed; and
h) discharge other responsibilities that are either customary or that the Town Committee directs.
Section 7: a) The First Vice-Chair shall preside at Town Committee meetings if the
Chair is absent.
b) If the Chair is unable to serve, the First Vice-Chair shall have the
powers and perform the duties of the Chair.
Section 8: a) The Second Vice-Chair shall preside at Town Committee meetings if the
First Vice-Chair and the Chair are absent.
b) If both the Chair and First Vice-Chair are unable to serve, the
Second Vice-Chair shall have the powers and perform the duties of the Chair
Section 9: The Secretary shall:
a) notify all Members of meetings as provided under Article V, Section 4, unless the Chair designates another Officer or Member for the purpose.
b) keep minutes of all Town Committee meetings;
c) maintain a complete membership list;
d) within 10 days after the Election Meeting, file with the Secretary of the Commonwealth, the Secretary of the Democratic State Committee, and the Amherst Town Clerk a list of the Town Committee Members and Officers; and
e) file timely notification with these officials of subsequent change in Town Committee membership or officers.
Section 10: The Treasurer shall:
a) have custody of all funds belonging to the Committee;
b) be responsible for their receipt, recording, safe-keeping, and disbursement as approved by the Chair upon receipt of a voucher or as approved by a majority of the Town Committee at a regular or special meeting;
c) provide a detailed report of the Town Committee's financial condition at least annually;
d) file any required reports about fundraising with the appropriate state and local offices; and
e) issue notices of and collect dues.
Section 11: The Affirmative Action and Outreach Advisor shall be responsible for developing strategies and activities to expand participation in the Town Committee.
Article V – MEETINGS
Section 1: Regular meetings of the Town Committee shall be held at least quarterly.
Section 2: Special meetings may be called upon the request of the Chair or the written request to the Secretary of at least 7 Members other than Associate Members.
Section 3: The Election Meeting shall be the first regular meeting after the Amherst Town Clerk certifies the results of the election at the Presidential Primary.
Section 4: a) Notice of all meetings shall be sent by email or, for Members not using email, by U.S. mail, at least 7 days beforehand except as provided in Section 4 b, below.
b) If the Election Meeting is scheduled for fewer than 7 days after the Town Clerk's certification of the election results, the Secretary shall promptly notify by telephone all newly elected Members for whom there is no valid email address.
c) If one or more Officers are to be elected at other than an Election Meeting, notice must be sent at least 7 days beforehand to all Regular and Life Members of both this and of the office(s) to be filled.
Section 5: A quorum shall be one third (33%) of the maximum number of Regular
Members. Life Members count toward the quorum.
Section 6: Roberts Rules of Order, as revised, shall govern the proceedings and the order of business of all meetings of the Town Committee and its committees unless these Bylaws otherwise provide.
ARTICLE VI - COMMITTEES
Section 1: a) There shall be an Executive Committee consisting of:
1) the Officers;
2) the most recent past Chair if not at the time an Officer; and
3) up to 4 additional Members appointed by the Chair.
b) The Executive Committee shall oversee Town Committee activities between
meetings, and develop the meeting agendas.
c) The Executive Committee shall have the power to act upon all Town Committee
matters arising between meetings and needing immediate action.
d) If the Chair fails to call regular meetings, a majority of the Executive Committee
may direct the Secretary, in writing, to call one.
Section 2: The Chair shall appoint a Bylaws Committee.
Section 3: a) The Chair may from time to time appoint Affirmative Action, Finance,
Fundraising, and other committees.
b) Each committee shall elect its own chair.
Article VII: AUTHORITY to BIND; USE of TOWN COMMITTEE and OFFICERS' NAMES
Section 1: No Town Committee Member or Officer, and no committee including the Executive
Committee, shall contract for or incur any debt, or enter into any agreement or
otherwise obligate the Town Committee, except by its express authorization.
Section 2: The Town Committee's name and the names with titles of its Officers shall be
used only for the purposes of its regular work. They shall not be used in connection
with an interest in any party other than the Democratic Party.
Section 3: The Officers do not speak for the Town Committee unless the Committee has
authorized them to take a position on a specific issue.
Article XIII – CHANGES to BYLAWS and POLICY POSITIONS
Section 1: Any Member may propose an amendment or repeal of a provision of these
Bylaws. A proposed change must be:
a) delivered to the Chair in writing;
b) accompanied by a brief written statement of reasons for it;
c) signed by the Member proposing it; and
d) consistent with the Massachusetts Democratic State Party Charter.
Section 2: a) The Chair shall refer any proposed bylaw change to the Bylaws Committee,
which shall report its recommendations by the second regular meeting thereafter.
b) The Town Committee shall decide by majority vote whether to accept or
reject the Bylaws Committee's report.
c) If the Town Committee accepts the report, notice must be sent to Members by
email for those Members using it, or by U.S. Mail, at least 15 days in advance of the
meeting at which the Committee will consider the report, together with a copy of the
complete proposed Bylaw change.
d) Bylaws may be amended or repealed by a two-thirds (2/3) vote at any regular
or special Town Committee meeting.
Section 3: These Bylaws shall continue in effect unless and until amended or repealed.
Section 4: Policy positions to be submitted to the Committee for a vote shall be sent to Members
by email or, for those Members not using email, by U.S. mail at least 7 days before the vote.
Article XIV: REMOVAL of a MEMBER (This is Section II of the Charter of Democratic Party of Massachusetts.)
Members and officers pledge themselves, as elected officials, to perform their duties diligently and honorably or resign. Members of town and ward committees may be removed by procedures guaranteeing adequate notice and due process and by a majority vote of the entire membership of the committee of which he or she is a member for:
a. Failure to attend at least half of the regularly scheduled committee meeting during any calendar
b. Public support for or financial contribution to an opponent of a nominee of the Democratic Party
who publicly supports the platform of the Democratic Party as adopted at the most recent state
and national Democratic convention
c. Unauthorized use of the Party name or resources
d. Conviction, after appeals are exhausted, of a criminal offense other than a misdemeanor.
A member must be given an opportunity to resign before notice of the hearing on the question of removal is given to the membership of the committee.
A member removed under this section shall have 30 days to appeal to the Judicial Council (State Committee), and the vacancy may not be filled in such case until the final decision of the Judicial council is made.