A CHAPTER OF THE NEW YORK PROGRESSIVE ACTION NETWORK, INC.
Ulster People for Justice and Democracy, inspired by the Bernie Sanders campaign for President, is a grassroots group in Ulster County, NY, building an inclusive, responsive democracy through advocacy, education, and direct political action. We are platform-based and unaffiliated with any political party. We demand that our government at all levels represents people, not corporations, and fights for economic, social, racial, and environmental justice for all.
PLATFORM OF THE ORGANIZATION
The Platform is comprehensive and can be reviewed at Ulsterpeople.org.
Section 1 ALL MEMBERS. A member of ULSTER PEOPLE FOR JUSTICE AND DEMOCRACY (hereafter UPJD) must be a resident of Ulster County and shall submit a signed form to the Steering Committee expressing her/his intent to support the mission and platform of UPJD, and providing their name, postal address, e-mail address, and telephone numbers. Each new Member shall receive a copy of these By-laws and the UPJD Code of Conduct.
Section 2 CHARTER VOTING MEMBERS All Voting Members invited to the January 24, 2018 annual meeting shall be considered Voting Members for so long as they continue in that status according to the By-Laws. All grandfathered Voting Members shall receive a copy of these By-laws and the Code of Conduct. They shall also complete the form referenced in Article II, Section 1.
Section 3 VOTING MEMBERS. After the January 24, 2018 annual meeting, to become a Voting Member, a Member must be active in the Organization for a period of two months. The Steering Committee is responsible for maintaining a written Membership Policy to define specific qualifications for membership, including what constitutes an “active” Member, along with an Application Form. The Membership Policy and Application Form must be publicly available on the UPJD website.
After two months of active participation, the Member may apply to be a Voting Member. The Membership Coordinator and Steering Committee shall review the application and decide upon the application based on whether the applicant meets the qualifications defined in the Membership Policy.
STRUCTURE OF THE ORGANIZATION
Section 1 MEMBERSHIP AUTHORITY. All Voting Members shall have the right to one vote at meetings of the Members. The Members shall have the exclusive authority to make the following decisions for the Organization at a meeting of the Members:
a. determine whether UPJD will become an affiliate of, as well as terminate any affiliations with, any other organization;
b. elect the Officers of the Organization and additional Steering Committee members;
c. make endorsements of political candidates in accordance with the bylaws of affiliated organizations;
d. adopt and amend Bylaws, the Mission Statement, the Platform, and the Code of Conduct of UPJD;
e. establish the annual dues for the following year.
Section 2 Quorum. At a meeting of the Members a Quorum shall consist of 15 Voting Members, unless UPJD has fewer than 30 Voting Members at the time of the meeting in which case the Quorum shall be 50% (rounding down to the nearest full number) of the Voting Members plus one. However, when the Members wish to amend the By-laws, the Mission Statement, or the UPJD Platform, two-thirds of the Voting Members are required to vote in favor of any change in order for the change to take effect.
Section 3 Steering Committee. The committee that steers the Organization shall include the Officers and up to three other Voting Members. The Steering Committee shall have the authority to expend funds raised by UPJD; draft By-laws for approval by the Voting Members; hold meetings of the Members; ensure compliance with NYPAN requirements; designate a representative to any committee created by the Steering Committee; set policy regarding membership, candidate endorsements, and voting procedures; and to exercise general authority to manage the Organization in accordance with its Mission Statement, Platform, By-laws and Code of Conduct.
Section 4 New Committees The Steering Committee may appoint new committees and working groups as needed. The Steering Committee will appoint a temporary Chair to newly formed committees. Once formed, the group shall elect its own Chair.
Any Member may recommend to the Steering Committee the addition of a new working group or committee to cover a function in the political process that they do not consider adequately addressed by the existing working groups.
DUTIES OF OFFICERS
Section 1. The Chair shall preside at all meetings of the Steering Committee or the general membership, or alternately delegate such duties to another Member for a specific meeting. The Chair shall set, communicate, and enforce such rules of order for meetings as he or she deems necessary. The Chair shall be the public spokesperson for the Organization and shall be the final editorial authority for all public-facing content produced by the Organization. The Chair may choose to share any of their responsibilities with the Vice Chair.
Section 2. Vice Chair shall assume the duties of the Chair when the Chair is unavailable, indisposed, or has a conflict of interest. The Vice Chair will assist the Chair in her/his duties.
Section 3. The Secretary shall record all meetings of the Organization’s Steering Committee and general membership, and send copies of the minutes of such meetings to all voting members via the appropriate electronic mailing list. The Secretary shall also maintain a physical copy of the By-Laws, Platform, Code of Conduct, Membership Policy, and all minutes for current calendar year, and shall bring this record to all meetings of the Steering Committee and the general membership.
At a minimum, the minutes of any meeting shall include the names of all individuals present and the substance of any and all actions and resolutions upon which they voted. The Secretary shall maintain the Organization’s non-financial records, and handle its correspondence for the Steering Committee.
The Secretary shall administer three electronic mailing lists: a discussion-based “listserv” for the Steering Committee, an announcement list for the Voting Members, and an announcement list for General Members. The Secretary shall update the membership of these electronic mailing lists in accordance with the lists of active and inactive Members and Voting Members maintained by the Membership Coordinator. The Secretary shall use these electronic membership lists to notify Members of official business in accordance with these By-laws and other policies set by the Steering Committee. Members wishing to update their preferred mail and email addresses for official correspondence may do so by contacting the Secretary.
Section 4. The Treasurer shall be responsible for the collection of dues and financial record keeping. The Treasurer shall submit dues to NYPAN as required, and communicate the organization’s financial needs to NYPAN on a timely basis. The Treasurer shall promptly submit all financial information requested by NYPAN. The Treasurer shall prepare materials for an annual self-audit by the Steering Committee. The Treasurer shall provide the financial records of past fiscal years to any Voting Member who requests them.
B. Related Guidelines
Section 1. The Chair of a working group, or the liason from each working group, if not an Officer, shall keep the Steering Committee informed of the activities undertaken by the working group, obtain Steering Committee approval for (1) public actions to be taken by the individual teams in the organization’s name and (2) any expenditures made by the team.
Section 2. The Membership Coordinator shall be appointed by the Steering Committee and is responsible for welcoming new members and encouraging member engagement. The Membership Coordinator shall oversee the application process for voting membership, maintain the lists of active and inactive Voting Members, and ensure that Members are notified when their membership status changes in accordance with the Membership Policy. The Membership Coordinator shall provide the Secretary a list of current Voting Members prior to the annual meeting of the Members, and at other times at the request of the Steering Committee. The Membership Coordinator shall be available to answer Members’ questions about the membership process by email and at general meetings of the Members.
Section 3. Officer Termination. An Officer may be removed for cause by a two-thirds vote of all the other Members of the Steering Committee at a regularly scheduled meeting, or at a special meeting called for that purpose.
Section 4. An Officer vacancy resulting from death, incapacity, resignation, or removal for cause may be filled by a majority vote of the remaining Steering Committee Members.
Section 1. Membership Dues Voting Members shall be asked to pay annual dues in an amount determined by the Voting Members at the annual meeting. Dues shall be paid to the Treasurer by the 15th day of the month following the annual meeting.
Section 2. Ability to Pay Any Voting Member who is unable to pay the total annual dues set by the members shall notify the Treasurer by the date they are due and shall inform her/him what portion of the dues they will pay. The Steering Committee will determine how much money must be raised other than from dues to meet the Organization’s dues obligation to NYPAN for all its members. No person shall be denied membership because of their inability to pay the annual dues assessment; being a Voting Member of UPJD will not depend upon the payment of that individual’s dues.
Section 1. An Annual Meeting of the Members of the Organization shall be held for the election of Officers and other members of the Steering Committee and the transaction of other business as may properly come before the Voting Members. The Annual Meeting shall be scheduled, at the discretion of the Steering Committee, during the month of January, 2018 and each year thereafter. Annual Meetings may be held at such place and time as may be fixed in the notice of meeting by the Steering Committee.
Section 2. Additional meetings of the Members shall take place at the discretion of the Steering Committee at a central location in Ulster County.
Section 3. Special Meetings of the Members may be called by the Chair, or a majority of the members of the Steering Committee, or convened in response to a petition signed by 25% of the Organization’s active Voting Members.
Section 4. Notice of Annual, Additional and Special meetings shall be sent via the Organization’s email list, and posted on the Organization’s website. Such notice must be sent and posted at least ten, and not more than 30, days prior to the date of the meeting.
Section 5. Meetings of the Members shall be conducted in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order or a modified version of Robert’s Rules designated by the Steering Committee.
Section 6. The Steering Committee shall meet at times of its choosing. Their meetings shall be open to the general membership, and active Voting Members may have the privilege of the floor at such meetings, at such times and pursuant to such rules of procedure as shall be set by the Steering Committee.
Section 7. Meetings of the Steering Committee may be called by the Chair, or a majority of the members of the Steering Committee. Notice of Steering Committee meetings shall be sent via the Organization’s Steering Committee listserv and Voting Members email list.
Section 8. In an emergency situation where expedited Steering Committee action or approval is necessary and a Meeting is not practical, the Chair or Vice-Chair may send a proposed resolution to all members of the Steering Committee via the Organization’s Steering Committee listserv and request and accept votes via that listserv within 48 hours by an hour-specific deadline.
Section 9. Each working group or committee shall establish the dates, times, and places of its meetings. The working group may choose whether its meetings are opened or closed. The committee shall publicize notice of open meetings via the Organization’s electronic mailing list, and by posting on the Organization’s website.
Section 10. Each working group or committee shall determine its own procedures for communication, decision making, meeting facilitation, and membership qualifications, and shall submit this information in writing to the Organization’s Secretary for approval by the Steering Committee. If no written procedure has been submitted, the working group shall follow the procedures used by the broader Organization.
Section 11. A Quorum of any committee meeting shall be one-third of its Members except for the Steering Committee when a quorum shall be half of its Members.
Section 12. A Member must be present to vote at a meeting of a committee. There will be no voting by proxy unless the committee has submitted a procedure for doing so and received approval by the Steering Committee as per Section 9.
ADDITIONAL MEMBERSHIP POLICIES
Section 1 REMOVAL OF MEMBERS.
(a) A member may be removed from membership by the Steering Committee for violation of the Code of Conduct. If a Voting Member believes they have good cause to recommend the removal of another member, she/he will submit a written explanation of the cause to the Chair of UPJD. The Chair will promptly share the explanation with the other members of the Steering Committee, unless the member whose removal is sought is a member of the Steering Committee, and therefore disqualified to vote on this issue. The members of the Steering Committee, who are not the subject of the removal, shall meet to decide if there are sufficient grounds to believe the member may have violated the Code of Conduct. If not, the Steering Committee shall state its reasons in writing and provide a copy to the person who initiated the removal proceeding. This will conclude the process.
(b) If the Steering Committee decides sufficient grounds exist for removal, the written explanation shall be given to the Member whose conduct is in question along with a notice of the place, date and time that the Steering Committee shall hold a hearing to consider the allegations. A vote of 50% plus one of all the Steering Committee members, including in the count any Member who is disqualified, in favor of removal will be required to remove a Member.
(c) At a removal hearing, the person who is the subject of the removal has the right to be heard and to call witnesses on his/her behalf. She/he also has the right to question adverse witnesses.
(d) The decision of the Steering Committee shall be final. There shall be no appeal to the Membership. All removal proceedings shall be processed in strict confidentiality by the members of the Steering Committee. All other Members involved shall be asked to respect the confidentiality of all Members.
Section 2 INACTIVE Voting MEMBERS
Voting Members who do not actively participate in the Organization for a given period of time will have their voting privileges suspended until they resume active participation. The specific process and timeline for doing so will be defined in the Membership Policy adopted by the Steering Committee and made publicly available on the UPJD website.
Section 1. The Organization’s fiscal year shall be determined by the fiscal year elected by NYPAN.
Section 2. The Organization’s first membership year shall commence on February 1, 2018 and run through January 31, 2019. Thereafter, the membership years shall run from February 1 through January 31.
Section 3. As long as UPJD is a local chapter of NYPAN, the Organization shall not have a bank account or a tax identification number. All monies received by UPJD via check or online payment shall be remitted by the Treasurer to NYPAN, and NYPAN shall make those monies (net of the dues to which it is entitled pursuant to Article V, supra) available for UPJD use as needed. The Treasurer shall place all monies received via cash into a petty cash fund.
Section 4. As long as UPJD is a local chapter of NYPAN, the Treasurer shall communicate the Organization’s financial needs to NYPAN promptly. The Treasurer may retain petty cash, in an amount not to exceed $500, for the Organization’s immediate use.
Section 5. The 2018 Steering Committee shall pass a resolution empowering the Treasurer and at least one other Officer to sign contracts and request checks from NYPAN on behalf of UPJD. At the annual meetings in 2018 and thereafter, the Steering Committee shall pass annual resolutions empowering the Treasurer and at least one other member of the Steering Committee to sign contracts on behalf of the Organization.
Section 6. The Steering Committee, or a subcommittee of at least three Members of the team elected by a majority thereof, shall conduct an annual self-audit of the Organization’s finances.
The members of the audit committee shall be Voting Members, but need not be members of the Steering Committee.
The Bylaws, Mission Statement and Platform may be amended at any meeting of the Members by a vote of two-thirds of all the Voting Members, provided that the proposed amendment(s) shall have been sent to the entire membership via the Organization’s electronic mailing list, and posted on the Organization’s website, at least ten, and not more than 30, days in advance of the meeting at which the vote is to be taken. An adjourned meeting to continue the vote on the proposed amendments may be approved by a majority of the Voting Members present so long as there is a Quorum present in accordance with Article III Section 2. If the adjourned meeting is approved, the Secretary will record the names and votes of Members who have already voted. At the adjourned meeting, those who have not yet voted will be permitted to vote, and those who have already voted may change their vote.
Adopted on the 24th day of January 2018 Bill Barr, Secretary of Ulster People for Justice and Democracy