Bylaws of the Palm Beach County Local Chapter
of the Democratic Socialists of America
Adopted August 1, 2020; approved by the NPC October 1, 2020
ARTICLE I. Name.
The name of the Local Chapter shall be Palm Beach County Democratic Socialists of America (PBC DSA). PBC DSA is a not-for-profit corporation.
ARTICLE II. Purpose.
PBC DSA is organized exclusively to promote social welfare.
PBC DSA seeks to facilitate the transition to a truly democratic and socialist society, one in which the means/resources of production are democratically and socially controlled.
PBC DSA rejects capitalism, an economic order based solely on private profit, alienated labor, gross inequalities of wealth and power, discrimination based on race, gender or sexual orientation, and brutality and violence in defense of the status quo.
PBC DSA envisions a humane social order based on popular control of resources, production, and economic planning, equitable distribution, gender and racial equality, and non-oppressive relationships.
Our conception of socialism is a profoundly democratic one. It is rooted in the belief that human beings should be free to develop to their fullest potential, that public policies should be determined not by wealth but by popular participation, and that individual liberties should be carefully safeguarded. It is committed to a freedom of speech that does not recoil from dissent, to a freedom to organize independent trade unions, affinity groups, political parties, and other formations — recognizing these as essential bulwarks against the dangers of an intrusive state. It is committed to a freedom of religion that acknowledges the rights of those for whom spiritual concerns are central and preserves the rights of those who are not religious.
We are socialists because we are developing a concrete strategy for achieving that vision. In the present, we are building a visible socialist presence within the broader democratic Left. In the long run, we hope to build a majority movement capable of making democratic socialism a reality in the United States. Our strategy acknowledges the class structure of the U.S. society. This class structure means that there is a basic conflict of interest between those sectors with enormous economic power and the vast majority of the population. As members of Palm Beach County DSA, we pledge to stand in solidarity with international democratic socialist movements as well.
ARTICLE III. Membership.
Section 1. Membership.
Members of PBC DSA will be those individuals whose dues to National DSA are paid in full, and who reside and/or work in Palm Beach County. It will be the responsibility of members to:
- approve policies and guidelines for the operation of PBC DSA,
- to elect PBC DSA’s Steering Committee,
- to elect delegates to the state, regional, and national conventions,
- to vote on matters related to local, state, and national policy,
- to make recommendations on issues, policies, activities, and ongoing efforts pursuant to local, state, and/or national political goals, and
- to contribute toward PBC DSA’s goals as described in Article II.
Section 2. Resignation and Expulsion.
Any member may resign from National DSA by submitting an email or letter of resignation to National DSA.
If a member in good standing is:
- found to be consistently engaging in undemocratic, disruptive behavior;
- found to have violated PBC DSA’s Code of Conduct;
- found to be engaged in entryist behavior,
- found to be under the discipline of any democratic centralist organization,
- found to have engaged in anti-union activities,
PBC DSA may vote to suspend (as defined in the Code of Conduct) or expel them from PBC DSA. In order for such a finding to be made, another DSA member must formally prefer written charges against the member in question to the PBC DSA Steering Committee, which shall set the date of a meeting for deliberations on the charges. The member in question must receive a copy of the written charges and notice of the meeting a minimum of two (2) weeks before that meeting takes place, as well as an opportunity to speak before members prior to a determining vote. Suspension or expulsion of a member shall require a two-thirds vote at a meeting. A suspended or expelled member may appeal to the National Political Committee of DSA.
Section 3. Voluntary Donations.
As mandated by the National Constitution and Bylaws, PBC DSA may establish a pledge system of voluntary donations for its members. The payment of a donation to PBC DSA may not be a requirement for voting or for holding office in PBC DSA.
Section 4. Privacy Concerns.
Rules and guidelines will be established to ensure the protection of the privacy of each member’s contact information. Public information includes the names of Steering Committee members. Protected information includes member email addresses, phone numbers, and mailing or physical addresses. Protected information may only be shared with members outside the Steering Committee on a need-to-know basis to facilitate communication to members. Anyone with access to protected information must agree to use it only to further the goals of PBC DSA.
ARTICLE IV. Local Chapter Meetings.
Section 1. General Meeting.
PBC DSA will hold a minimum of one (1) General Meeting annually for purposes of electing officers. All members of PBC DSA will be sent notice of and an agenda for the General Meeting. Notice may be sent by electronic means, but individuals who have not provided an email address must be sent a paper copy. The General Meeting will elect PBC DSA officers and may adopt an annual budget. In general, it is the highest legislative body of PBC DSA. The General Meeting may coincide with a Regular Meeting.
Section 2. Regular Meetings.
PBC DSA will hold Regular Meetings at least four (4) times annually, the time and place of which will be set in a schedule published and distributed by PBC DSA Steering Committee. The Regular Meetings will set PBC DSA policy and work priorities, and they may include political education sessions.
PBC DSA Steering Committee will set the agenda for Regular Meetings. In general, the Regular Meeting is the operating legislative body of PBC DSA.
Section 3. Special Meetings.
PBC DSA Steering Committee may call a Special Meeting on three (3) days’ notice when an urgent and important matter requires deliberation.
Section 4. Quorum.
A quorum of 10 percent of the members (but not fewer than six  persons) is required for General, Regular, or Special Meetings to transact business.
Section 5. Accessibility.
Members may participate in meetings by, or through the use of, any means of communication allowing all participants to simultaneously or sequentially communicate with one another, such as teleconference, video-conference, or other available technology. This includes voice votes. Any participant in a meeting by such means shall be deemed present in person at such meeting.
A Member in good standing (Proxy) who is present at a meeting may hold up to two signed proxy cards from other non-present Members in good standing. The Proxy must vote in line with each non-present Member’s directions as written on their proxy card. Any member who requests an accessibility accommodation and is not present at a meeting shall not be counted toward the two proxy-vote limit. Despite being deemed present by attending electronically, non-physically present members may avail themselves of proxies for purposes of voting by secret ballot.
Section 5. Online Voting.
In order to facilitate the continuity of the business and work of the General, Regular, Special and Steering Committee meetings, it is permissible for the participating members in good standing to communicate and vote through the use of telephonic communications, email, or other similar electronic communications.
The Steering Committee shall develop and adopt written rules for the presentation of proposals, and the official decision-making process for deciding upon proposals, through the medium of email or through the mixed medium of email, telecommunications and mail. Until these rules are formulated and passed, the following minimum rules shall apply:
When there is a vote or efforts to obtain consensus, it shall be necessary for a recording secretary to be appointed to note the proposals, issues, questions, and the vote or consensus. The minutes of such deliberations must be written and made available to members upon request.
Participation in the above-described electronic meetings shall constitute the presence of each person at such meeting.
ARTICLE V. Local Chapter Officers: Powers and Duties.
Section 1. Officers and Terms.
The officers of PBC DSA will be Co-Chairs, Secretary, Treasurer, Communications Co-Chairs, Grievance Officers, and up to 6 Organizers. Organizers can serve in other capacities, including as Security Officer and Security Deputy. The term of office will be one year, and shall run from February 1 to January 31 or until their successors are elected. Officers are eligible for re-election for up to 2 consecutive terms unless no other candidate is nominated.
Section 2. Vacancies.
In the event of a vacancy in the Co-Chairs, Secretary, Treasurer, Communications Co-Chair positions, a special election for the remainder of the vacant member’s term shall be triggered within thirty (30) days after the opening of the vacancy if regular elections are not to be held within sixty (60) days of the vacancy. Special elections may coincide with a Regular Meeting.
Section 3. Co-Chairs.
The Co-Chairs will preside over PBC DSA and Steering Committee meetings or will appoint a substitute to assume the powers and duties of the presiding officer. The Co-Chairs will be the official public spokespersons for PBC DSA and will facilitate such actions and policies as PBC DSA’s general welfare may demand.
The Co-Chairs will also be responsible for coordinating the day-to-day operations and political work of PBC DSA branches and committees.
The Co-Chairs will report to the PBC DSA Regular Meetings on the business of the Steering Committee Meetings, at which time a copy of the minutes of those meetings will be available for inspection.
The Co-Chairs must not both be cis white men. Should only cis white men be nominated for Co-Chair, one of the positions will be held open, and may be filled by a special election of an eligible member.
Section 4. Secretary.
The Secretary will be responsible for answering all correspondence and queries of an official or administrative nature, for maintaining an up-to-date membership list of PBC DSA, distributing copies of minutes and agendas to each Steering Committee member, and assuring that corporate records are maintained for legal status. They will ensure effective communication with National DSA, including the filing of any amendment to these bylaws. They will temporarily assume the responsibilities of the Co-Chair if neither Co-Chair is able to do so.
The Secretary will also be responsible for the taking of minutes of all PBC DSA and Steering Committee Meetings; the collection and maintenance of Committee charters, notes, and meeting minutes; and the prompt provision of copies to members . They shall have custody of these documents, and of the resolutions, reports and other official records of PBC DSA, and shall transfer official records in good condition to their successor. Official records shall include the documents necessary for continued functioning of PBC DSA, such as member lists, and all documentation necessary to provide, to the general membership, transparent accountability of PBC DSA actions and decisions to the greatest reasonable extent.
Section 5. Treasurer.
The Treasurer will be responsible for the funds and financial records of PBC DSA. All funds collected by PBC DSA will be turned over to the Treasurer, who shall deposit them in a bank account under the name of “Palm Beach County Democratic Socialists of America.” In cooperation with the Secretary, the Treasurer will be responsible for ensuring that membership dues are paid and up-to-date. The Treasurer will chair a Finance Committee if one is established; will prepare the annual PBC DSA budget and deliver the PBC DSA financial report to the General Meeting, as well as periodic progress reports as requested by the Steering Committee of PBC DSA; will provide basic information to National DSA related to the operations and finances of PBC DSA, should they require.
Section 6. Communications Co-Chairs.
The Communications Co-Chairs will be responsible for managing the social media communications, newsletter, and website content of PBC DSA. The Communications Co-Chairs will chair a media working group if one is established.
Section 7. Grievance Officers.
Two Grievance Officers will handle grievances, working from a feminist and anti-racist model. The Grievance Officers will not be members of the PBC DSA Steering Committee.
Section 8. Organizers.
Organizers will be responsible for facilitating communication within PBC DSA, or between PBC DSA and local communities. Organizers will participate in Steering Committee decision-making, and are responsible for attending all relevant meetings and reading all relevant documents. Organizers are also tasked with representing the views of the membership that elected them as well as helping to advance the goals of PBC DSA generally.
Section 9. Additional Duties.
The PBC DSA Steering Committee may assign additional temporary duties to an officer of PBC DSA, so long as such assignments do not conflict with the designation of responsibilities outlined in these Bylaws.
Section 10. Diversity.
At least 2 of the officers must not identify as men; and at least 2 must be people of color. If the elected officers of PBC DSA do not meet these requirements, the membership must nominate additional Organizers to the Steering Committee to fulfill these requirements, who may be confirmed by a majority vote of the membership at the next meeting.
ARTICLE VI. Steering Committee.
Section 1. Composition.
The PBC DSA Steering Committee will be composed of the officers of PBC DSA, and the chair(s) of any PBC DSA branches.
Section 2. Duties.
The Steering Committee shall administer the affairs of PBC DSA and coordinate the implementation of the decisions of any meetings, and shall prepare an agenda proposal for each meeting. It shall have the power to receive reports of any committee or Branch and advise thereon, to call Special Meetings of PBC DSA, and to act on any matter that requires immediate and urgent action. The Steering Committee is the highest decision-making body of PBC DSA between meetings, and is subordinate to the PBC DSA general membership.
The PBC DSA Steering Committee will be responsible for establishing program activities for PBC DSA, for proposing guidelines and policies that will subsequently be voted on by PBC DSA’s members in good standing, and for acting on the organization’s behalf between PBC DSA meetings.
Section 3. Meetings.
The meetings of the Steering Committee will be held at such intervals as may be determined by a prior Steering Committee Meeting or by consultation between a majority of the members of the Steering Committee. All members of the Steering Committee must ordinarily be given four (4) days oral, written, or electronic notice of regular Steering Committee Meetings; a 24-hour notice may be given under special emergency circumstances. Notice requirements may be waived only by unanimous approval. Steering Committee Meetings may be held electronically by any means acceptable to all the members of the Steering Committee. Any member of PBC DSA in good standing may observe meetings of the Steering Committee and the Steering Committee shall allow for a question and answer period and a comment period. However, the Steering Committee may hold executive sessions if 60% of its members vote to do so in order to discuss member discipline or security matters.
The Steering Committee may govern itself through any reasonable decision-making process, including development of meeting rules and norms or decisions by consensus.
Section 4. Quorum.
A quorum (50% plus one person) of the Steering Committee, including 30% plus one person of the elected officers (not including the Grievance Officers, who are not Steering Committee members), is required for the transaction of Steering Committee business.
Section 5. Board of Directors
For the purposes of meeting the requirements of local and state incorporation laws, PBC DSA shall have a “Board of Directors” consisting of members of the Steering Committee assigned for the purpose as logical and required by law. Officers of the Steering Committee so appointed do not gain any new or additional powers or responsibilities except those strictly required by law.
ARTICLE VII. Branches.
Section 1. Definition.
A Branch is a subgroup of PBC DSA formed to facilitate participation in PBC DSA in a logistically convenient way. Branches may be defined by geography or language. It is expected that Branches be able to carry out as much of as many of the pillar functions of PBC DSA for their members as necessary for their logistical purposes. All Branch budgetary decisions requiring PBC DSA funds held by the Treasurer must be approved by a majority of the votes cast at a General, Regular, or Special Meeting.
The chair of each Branch shall hold membership on the Steering Committee. Young Democratic Socialists of America (YDSA) chapters within the geographic area defined by a DSA Chapter may affiliate as a Branch of that Chapter, in which case the local YDSA chapter may send a representative to the PBC DSA Steering Committee.
Section 2. Formation.
Any group of at least five (5) Members of PBC DSA, in good standing, may request to be recognized as a Branch. They must apply to the Steering Committee in writing. Their application must include the names of its members; a description of purposes, functions, and membership criteria; and any other information deemed necessary by the Steering Committee. A majority vote of the general membership at a meeting shall be required to establish a Branch. YDSA chapters need only show proof of being an officially recognized chapter of YDSA as part of a generic request to be recognized as a Branch of PBC DSA. Sections 3 and 4 below shall not be required of YDSA chapter-Branches.
Section 3. Structure, Membership, and Elections
Each Branch shall have its own bylaws explicitly defining its purpose, functions, and membership criteria in detail. Such bylaws may establish the Branch’s methods and structures as long as they do not violate these bylaws. Each Branch shall be responsible for electing its leadership and Steering Committee representation. Every PBC DSA member may be a member in only one (1) Branch. Branch leaders shall be responsible for scheduling and organizing meetings and actions of their Branch. In the event of a vacancy of a Branch leader or Steering Committee representative, the Branch may vote to elect new leadership or Steering Committee representation. Each Branch shall maintain an official membership list.
Section 4. Dissolution
A Branch may have its status revoked by a majority vote of the membership at a meeting. A Branch may also choose to dissolve itself by means specified in its Branch Bylaws. In the event that a Branch chooses to split into several new Branches, each new Branch must apply for membership through the same method as creating any Branch, although the Steering Committee may choose to waive requirements for certain documentation if it is identical to the prior or parent Branch.
ARTICLE VIII. Committees.
Section 1. Committee Formation.
PBC DSA may establish committees to organize around specific functions for PBC DSA or external campaigns. Members who wish to form a committee must submit a proposed written charter to the Steering Committee that includes a group name; a mission statement and objectives; if necessary, a proposed budget that shall include any planned donation drives; a list of at least five prospective members signed or affirmed by those members; a statement of whether the proposed committee is to be a standing committee of indefinite duration or a temporary committee to expire at a time certain or upon the occurrence of a specified event; whether membership in the committee is to be open to all members in good standing or limited, and if membership is to be limited, the number of members the committee shall have and the means by which members will be selected. A proposed committee shall be chartered and created with the approval of a majority of the votes cast at a General, Regular, or Special Meeting. Charters for proposed committees must be distributed to the membership by email or other electronic means at least two weeks prior to the meeting, and may not conflict with these Bylaws or with the charters of other active committees. All committee budgetary decisions requiring PBC DSA funds held by the Treasurer must be approved by a majority of the votes cast at a General, Regular, or Special Meeting.
Section 2. Membership and Election of Committee Leadership.
Membership in a committee shall be open to all PBC DSA members in good standing unless the committee’s charter limits membership, in which case the terms of the charter shall control. Committees shall maintain an official membership list. After the committee is created, but by no later than the committee’s second meeting, the committee shall hold elections for two (2) committee Co-Chairs and, if the committee chooses, one (1) Vice-Chair. Terms shall be for either six months or one year at the committee members’ choosing, and incumbents may stand for reelection. At least one of the elected Co-Chairs must not self-identify as a cis white man unless no women, non-binary people, or people of color run for Co-Chair (once elected, a Co-Chair will fill out their full term). In the event of a vacant Co-Chair position, the committee or working group shall elect a replacement Co-Chair to fill the remainder of the former Co-Chair’s term.
Section 3. Duties and Responsibilities.
The members of a committee are responsible for executing their respective body’s strategy in fulfillment of its objectives. Co-Chairs and the Vice-Chair, if elected, are responsible for organizing their respective body’s members, running meetings, acting as liaisons to the Steering Committee, and serving as the committee’s points of contact to the membership. Committees must keep official records of meeting dates, attendance, and meeting notes, which must be made available to the membership.
When a committee’s proposed activities relate to the mission of another committee, the chair of that committee shall be notified. Should a dispute arise between two or more committees that cannot be resolved between them, it shall be resolved at a General, Regular, or Special Meeting.
A committee’s activities shall be reviewed by the Steering Committee at its meetings, and meeting minutes and other committee documentation, as well as all financial receipts and statements, shall be kept up to date with PBC DSA’s Secretary and Treasurer respectively. Committees shall report on their activities to the membership at the Annual Meeting or more frequently at Regular or Special Meetings as necessary.
Section 4. Modification and Dissolution.
Committees may be dissolved or may amend their charters, including changes to the committee’s budget, with the approval of a majority of the votes cast at a General, Regular, or Special Meeting. Notice of proposed committee dissolution or an amendment to a committee’s charter must be given to the membership by email or other electronic means at least at least two weeks prior to the meeting.
Additionally, committees that are chartered as temporary committees for a limited time or particular purpose shall dissolve automatically upon the expiration of the certain time or the occurrence of the particular event specified in their charter.
Upon dissolution, the member(s) maintaining custody of the committee’s records shall provide copies of those records to the Secretary.
Section 5. Subcommittees.
A committee or subcommittee may choose to delegate some portion of its mission statements or objectives to a subcommittee. A subcommittee so created must select its members, form a charter to be voted on by the committee above it, elect officers, and coordinate with other committees in accordance with Sections 1 through 3 (above). The creation, chartering, and modification of a subcommittee shall require only the approval of the committee creating it, however all budgetary decisions requiring PBC DSA funds held by the Treasurer must be approved by a majority of the votes cast at a General, Regular, or Special Meeting.
The Co-Chairs of a subcommittee shall serve as regular members of the committee above them to coordinate the committee and subcommittee’s work, and shall provide to that committee up to date records of their and all subsequent subcommittee’s minutes, actions, financial, and other necessary documentation.
ARTICLE IX. Delegates to National, Regional, and State Organizations.
Section 1. Convention.
PBC DSA delegates and alternates to any National, Regional, or State Convention will be elected by members in good standing of PBC DSA. Elections for the National Convention delegation shall be held on the schedule announced by the national organization.
Section 2. Committees.
In the event that a national, regional, or state-level committee is being formed and the responsible body asks local chapters for nominees to serve on that committee, the PBC DSA Steering Committee shall notify all members in good standing and request volunteers. The names of all those who volunteer shall be forwarded to the appropriate contact for consideration, or if a limited number of nominees are requested, an election shall be held.
Section 3. Method of Voting.
Following Article V, Section 5 of national DSA’s Constitution, delegates to the National Convention must be elected by secret ballot. And, “No election for delegates to the National Convention shall be held more than four months, or less than forty-five days, prior to the opening of the National Convention. No election for delegates shall be conducted before the apportionment of delegates.”
Following Article VI, Section 3, of national DSA’s Bylaws, Local Chapters “may determine their own method of election of delegates to the Convention except that a petition from 10% of a Local’s membership or a motion supported by 15% of those present and voting at the Local Chapter’s meeting which determines the method of election will require the use of the Hare system in that Local’s election of delegates to the National Convention.”
ARTICLE X. Elections, Nominations and Recalls.
Section 1. Nominations Committee.
A three-person Nominations Committee shall be established at least one month prior to every election by vote of a Regular Meeting. It shall solicit and receive nominations for the positions to be elected.
Section 2. Nominations Process.
Nominations for PBC DSA officers shall be opened at least 10 days before an election. The call for nominations shall be announced to all PBC DSA members in good standing as soon as nominations are open. A member must receive at least two (2) nominations in order to run for office.
Section 3. Elections Process for Elections Other than National Convention Delegates.
The nominations committee may propose rules for elections, with the approval of a majority of the Steering Committee. If the nominations committee decides not to propose rules, elections shall be held in accordance with Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised 11th Edition.
Section 4. Recall.
Any officer of PBC DSA may be recalled for malfeasance or failure to fulfill their duties or obligations as an officer. In order to recall or remove an officer, members in good standing must petition for the removal of the officer by collecting signatures of 10% of the membership. The Steering Committee will set a date of a meeting for deliberations on the accused officer’s removal. The officer in question must receive written documentation of the specific reasons for the removal request and notice of the meeting a minimum of two weeks before the meeting takes place. The accused officer will be given a chance to speak in their own defense at this meeting. Removal of an officer requires a two-thirds vote.
ARTICLE XI. Code of Conduct.
PBC DSA may establish, by vote of a meeting, a code of conduct that outlines the boundaries of acceptable behavior by members of PBC DSA and describes options for censure of members, including suspension or expulsion. The Code of Conduct shall be made available to all members of PBC DSA. Amendments to the Code of Conduct must be approved at a meeting.
PBC DSA will follow the Harassment Policy of national DSA.
ARTICLE XII. Conflict of Interest.
The Steering Committee shall establish a Conflict of Interest policy to protect the corporation’s interest when it is contemplating entering into a transaction or arrangement that might benefit the private interest of one of its officers or directors, or that might otherwise result in a possible excess benefit transaction.
ARTICLE XIII. Indemnification.
PBC DSA shall indemnify each officer, Steering Committee member, director, and member to the full extent permitted by the Florida General Corporation Act and the Florida Not for Profit Corporation Act.
ARTICLE XIV. Books and Records.
PBC DSA shall keep complete books and records of accounts and minutes of the proceedings of General, Regular, Special, and Steering Committee Meetings electronically.
ARTICLE XV. Rules of PBC DSA.
Section 1. Rules.
The Rules contained in Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised 11th Edition, will govern this Local Chapter in cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not inconsistent with these Bylaws. Consensus decision-making is desirable where feasible, but meetings must submit to Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised 11th Edition upon the request of a member.
Section 2. Action Out of Order.
Any action taken by an officer or member of PBC DSA in contravention of these Bylaws is null and void.
ARTICLE XVI. Prohibited Activity.
PBC DSA will not engage in activity prohibited by the IRS guidelines established for 501(c)(4) organizations or similar rules established by the state of Florida. Nor will PBC DSA engage in any activity prohibited by resolutions adopted by DSA’s National Convention or DSA’s National Political Committee.
ARTICLE XVII. Amendments.
Proposed amendments to these Bylaws must be made by written resolution, endorsed by five (5) members of PBC DSA, and submitted to the Steering Committee a month in advance of a General or Regular Meeting. The Steering Committee shall take at most one week to process the amendment and must then provide the membership written or electronic notice of the proposed amendments, following procedures in ARTICLE IV, Section 1. The amendment must be approved by a 2/3 supermajority vote at a General or Regular Meeting.
Article XVIII. Dissolution.
Upon dissolution of PBC DSA, any residual assets shall become property of the national organization of Democratic Socialists of America.
If both this Chapter and National DSA are being dissolved, then all remaining funds and assets are to be released to such other organizations that are organized exclusively for the promotion of social welfare and that will operate to further the common good and general welfare of the community included in PBC DSA’s stated boundaries.