Cleveland Democratic Socialists of America Bylaws

1. PURPOSE. The Cleveland Democratic Socialists of America seeks to facilitate the transition to a truly democratic and socialist society, one in which the means and resources of production are democratically and socially controlled. Along with the national Democratic Socialists of America, we agree that:

We are socialists because we reject an economic order based on private profit, alienated labor, gross inequalities of wealth and power, discrimination based on race and sex, and brutality and violence in defense of the status quo. We are socialists because we share a vision of a humane social order based on popular control of resources and production, economic planning, equitable distribution, feminism, racial equality and non-oppressive relationships. We are socialists because we are developing a concrete strategy for achieving that vision, for building a majority movement that will make democratic socialism a reality in America. We believe that such a strategy must acknowledge the class structure of American society and that 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. (Democratic Socialists of America, Constitution, Article II.)

2. NATIONAL AFFILIATION: Cleveland Democratic Socialists of America (hereinafter CLE-DSA) is a local chapter of the national organization Democratic Socialists of America (hereinafter, DSA). CLE-DSA is governed by the Constitution and Bylaws of the national organization and by the bylaws detailed herein.

3. GEOGRAPHICAL SCOPE: CLE-DSA will organize members within the Cleveland Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA), inclusive of Cuyahoga, Lake, Geauga, Medina, and Lorain Counties in the State of Ohio. If sufficient numbers permit the organization of locals within any of these counties individually, the membership of CLE-DSA may vote to establish branches to allow independent operations within any of these counties.

4. MEMBERS: Any member of the public who supports the mission of CLE-DSA may participate in the organization and activities of CLE-DSA. Any member in good standing with the national DSA who resides in the Cleveland MSA is a member of the CLE-DSA, as per the bylaws of DSA. Members in good standing with the national DSA shall have full voting privileges and may hold office.

5. MEETINGS OF THE MEMBERS: Public meetings of the members shall be held on a regular basis, at minimum quarterly. The Steering Committee shall set the agenda for public meetings, and inform membership of meeting time and place. The meeting shall be run according to the current edition of Robert’s Rules of Order, Newly Revised, except that the meeting chairs shall make all reasonable efforts to reach a consensus of those members present at the meeting. A quorum shall consist of 15 members in good standing.

6. DUES: The membership shall determine any local Dues or Pledges, which shall be separate from dues paid to national Democratic Socialists of America.

7. VOTING AND ELECTIONS: All members in good standing are eligible to vote. Elections will be held for officers, at-large members of the Steering Committee, delegates to national, regional, or state conventions, and any other office created by the Membership. The Steering Committee shall insure that all members are notified at least two weeks in advance of any election and shall take all measures to ensure the greatest participation of membership.. Elections shall be held by secret ballot. The ballots will be counted and read by the Treasurer, Secretary, and an At-Large Member of the Steering Committee or other designated member of CLE-DSA., and the results presented to the Co-Chairs and the Membership as a whole.

8. STEERING COMMITTEE AND OFFICERS: The Steering Committee shall consist of Officers and at-large members. The officers shall include Co-Chairs, a Treasurer, a Secretary, Membership Coordinator, and such other officers as the members may deem necessary. The number of members of the Steering Committee shall equal roughly ten percent of the Membership, or another number determined by the general membership, including officers and at-large members. Each officer and at-large Steering Committee member will serve a term of one or two years as defined below. Elections shall be held by December and the beginning and ending of terms will correspond with the fiscal year.

A quorum of for conducting business of the Steering Committee shall consist of two-thirds of its members. The Steering Committee shall hold open meetings at least four times a year at a time and place to be determined and announced to the membership.

9. CO-CHAIRS: The Co-Chairs shall be the chief executive officers of CLE-DSA, and shall ensure that all orders and resolutions of the membership and the Steering Committee are carried out. (At minimum) one of the Co-Chairs shall preside at all meetings of the Steering Committee and public meetings, and Co-chairs shall sign or countersign all certificates, contracts, or other instruments of CLE-DSA except where otherwise designated in these bylaws. The Co-Chairs shall insure that CLE-DSA meets all requirements of the National DSA specified in the DSA Constitution and Bylaws and will provide reports to National DSA concerning the membership, activity, and financial status of CLE-DSA. The Co-Chairs shall perform such other duties as are incident to the office required by the Steering Committee. The Co-Chairs will serve a two year term, with terms expiring opposite years.

10. TREASURER: The Treasurer shall, as directed by the Steering Committee, have care and custody of the general funds, securities, properties, and assets of the CLE-DSA along with the Co-Chairs. The Treasurer shall ensure that the funds and securities shall be deposited in the bank(s), trust companies or depositories that the Steering Committee shall designate. At the direction of the Steering Committee, the Treasurer will ensure disbursement and disposal of the same, taking proper voucher for such disbursements. The Treasurer will ensure that accurate books of account are kept in accordance with commonly accepted accounting principles, recording therein the amount of all monies, funds, securities, properties and assets in his or her custody, wherever located, and showing the amount of disbursement made and the disposition of properties. The Treasurer shall exhibit said books and records when required by the Steering Committee, Co-Chairs, or government agency of appropriate regulator jurisdiction pursuant to law. If requested or required by the Steering Committee, the Treasurer shall prepare and present a yearly financial report for an annual meeting. The Treasurer shall also be responsible for the collection of any local dues (as determined by membership) and working with the Secretary to maintain an up-to date roster of local members in good standing. The Treasurer will serve a two-year term.

11. SECRETARY: The Secretary shall ensure that the minutes are kept of the meetings of the Steering Committee and of the general membership and shall ensure that the minutes are distributed in a timely manner. The Secretary shall see that all notices are duly given in accordance with the provisions of these Bylaws or as required by law. The Secretary shall be custodian of all CLE-DSA records. The Secretary shall keep a register of the address, phone number and e-mail address of each member of the Steering Committee, which shall be furnished to the Secretary by each Steering Committee member. The Secretary shall, in general, perform the duties incident to the office of Secretary and such other duties as are from time to time assigned by the Co-Chairs or by the Steering Committee. The Secretary shall serve on committees formed for purposes of communication, education, media, or other activities decided by the Steering Committee or the Membership as a whole. The Secretary will serve a two-year term.

12. MEMBERSHIP COORDINATOR: The Membership Coordinator shall ensure that records are kept of CLE-DSA membership, both from membership rosters provided by the national DSA and from outreach of CLE-DSA. The Membership Coordinator shall be responsible for outreach and communication with new members, inquiries concerning membership or interest in the CLE-DSA, and any other tasks concerning growing, maintaining, or enhancing membership determined by the Steering Committee or the Membership as a whole. The Membership Coordinator will serve a two-year term.

13. AT-LARGE MEMBERS: The Steering Committee will include At-Large Members who are selected to provide leadership, council, and advice and complement the experience and diversity of the Steering Committee. At-Large Members may chair and serve on any committee required by the Steering Committee or the Membership as a whole. The number of At-Large members shall bring the Steering Committee to ten percent of CLE-DSA membership and give the Steering Committee an odd number of total members. At-Large Members serve a one-year term.

14. VACANCIES: All vacancies of Officers or members of the Steering Committee, whether resulting from death, resignation or otherwise, may be temporarily filled through appointment by the Steering Committee until a vote of the general membership can be held.

15. REMOVAL: Any Officer or member of the Steering Committee may be removed by a two-thirds vote of the membership. Any Officer or member of the Steering Committee may resign in writing. An Officer may resign without ceding her or his place on the Steering Committee.

16. COMMITTEES: The number, duties, and functions of the committees, if any, shall be as determined by the membership. Chairs and co-chairs of committees must be members in good standing. Each committee chair or co-chair will report to the steering committee.

17. FISCAL YEAR: The Fiscal Year shall commence the first day of January in each year.

18. CHANGES TO THE BYLAWS: Members shall have the power to approve changes to the Bylaws. Amendments to the Bylaws shall be announced to the members one meeting in advance of any vote. Changes may be adopted by a vote of two-thirds of the members present.

19. PROHIBITED ACTIVITY: The Cleveland Local shall not engage in activity prohibited by the IRS guidelines established for 501 (c) 4 organizations or similar rules established by the state of Ohio. Nor shall the local engage in any activity prohibited by resolutions adopted by DSA’s National Convention or DSA’s National Political Committee.

20. DISSOLUTION: CLE-DSA may be dissolved by motion approved by two-thirds of the Steering Committee and confirmed by a two-thirds vote of the Membership. The Steering Committee shall ensure that an appropriate agent is designated to complete the dissolution of the organization. Said agent shall ensure that all financial and legal issues are properly resolved.

Revised and corrected, and adopted by the Consideration and Ratification of the membership, May 4, 2017.

Standing Rules

1. Composition of Steering Committee. The Steering Committee will include four at-large members in addition to the five officers, bringing the total membership to nine. Adopted by resolution of the membership at the May 2017 General Meeting and effective with the June 2017 Special Elections.

2. Publication of Agenda. The Steering Committee will provide an agenda to members at least one week in advance of any General Meeting.

  1. The agenda will include any new business the Steering Committee will present that may require a vote by the membership or involve a decision by the membership to fund a project, action, or campaign. 

  2. Members may submit new business to be included in the agenda, but this rule does not prevent a member from introducing new business at the general meeting.

  3. This rule is adopted by the Cleveland DSA membership at the June 1, 2017 General Meeting and effective immediately.