Constitution and By-Laws of the
Chicago Democratic Socialists of America
ARTICLE I NAME, TERRITORY, OFFICE
Section 1 Name The Name of this organization is the Chicago
Democratic Socialists of America, Inc., an Illinois not-for-profit
corporation, hereinafter referred to as "CDSA" or "The
Section 2 Territory The Corporation shall conduct activities
in the greater Chicago area within the territory defined by the
charter granted by the national Democratic Socialists of America
to the Chicago Local DSA.
Section 3 Office The principal office of The Corporation
shall be in Chicago, Illinois. This office shall direct CDSA
activities and be the repository for all CDSA records.
ARTICLE II PURPOSE
The purpose of The Corporation shall be to organize the activities
of the members of the Democratic Socialists of America. Its activities
shall include education and advocacy. 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.
ARTICLE III MEMBERSHIP
Section 1 Definition All members in good standing of the
national Democratic Socialists of America who reside in the greater
Chicago area within the territory defined by the charter granted
by the national Democratic Socialists of America shall be members
Section 2 Rights and Privileges All members in good
standing of the Democratic Socialists of America in the greater
Chicago territory defined above shall have a vote on the election
of CDSA delegates to national DSA bodies, CDSA officers and questions,
and may stand for CDSA office.
Section 3 Local Dues CDSA may establish local dues by
a vote of the membership of CDSA called together for the purpose
of establishing such dues. Such dues are for financial support
only and confer no rights or privileges.
ARTICLE IV LOCAL MEETINGS
Section 1 Membership Convention CDSA shall hold its membership
convention annually in the month of June. Written notice and
an agenda of the membership convention shall be mailed to all
members fourteen (14) days in advance of the convention. The
membership convention shall elect officers, adopt an annual budget
and set priorities through resolution(s).
Section 2 Membership Meetings CDSA shall hold membership
meetings at least three times annually, the time and place of
which shall be set in a schedule published and distributed by
the Executive Committee. Membership meetings will set CDSA policy
and work priorities within the guidelines set by the membership
convention and will include political education sessions. The
Executive Committee shall set the agenda for membership meetings.
Section 3 Quorum Ten percent (10%) of the CDSA members
in good standing constitutes a quorum and is required for the
transaction of business at a CDSA membership meeting.
ARTICLE V LOCAL OFFICERS: POWERS AND DUTIES
Section 1 Definition The officers of CDSA shall be the
two Co-Chairs (one male, one female), the Secretary, the Treasurer,
and the Political Education Director.
Section 2 Co-Chairs The Co-Chairs shall be the chief
executive officers of CDSA. They shall preside over membership
and Executive Committee meetings, and shall assume the powers
and duties of the presiding officers as specified in Roberts
Rules of Order. The Co-Chairs shall be the official public
spokespersons for CDSA and shall initiate such actions and policies
as the membership may demand.
Section 3 Secretary The Secretary shall be responsible
for the taking of minutes of the membership conventions and meetings
and the Executive Committee meetings, and shall maintain supervision
over these minutes, resolutions, reports, other official records
and seal. The Secretary is responsible for ensuring that adequate
notice is given to the membership prior to membership meetings
and the membership convention.
Section 4 Treasurer The Treasurer is responsible for
maintaining the funds and financial records of CDSA. All funds
collected shall be turned over to the Treasurer who shall deposit
them in a bank account under the name of Chicago Democratic Socialists
of America. The Treasurer prepares an annual fiscal-year budget
for approval by the membership convention and delivers the annual
financial report to the Membership Convention. The Treasurer
prepares and submits financial statements to the Executive Committee
for their review at least quarterly.
Section 5 Political Education Officer The Political
Education Officer shall be responsible for the educational work
of CDSA. The Political Education Officer shall arrange CDSA formal
political discussions, study groups within CDSA, and forums.
Section 6 Term of Office Officers shall be elected to
two-year terms which are staggered according to odd and even
years beginning in the year 1991. The male Co-Chair and the Secretary
shall be elected in odd numbered years. The female Co-Chair,
the Treasurer and the Political Education Officer shall be elected
in even numbered years. The term of office runs from July 1 through
ARTICLE VI EXECUTIVE COMMITTEE
Section 1 Composition The Executive Committee shall consist
of the elected officers of CDSA as defined in Articles V above,
and elected representatives of each Branch of CDSA. Each Branch
shall be entitled to one (1) representative to the Executive
Committee except for Branches defined by territory. Branches
defined by territory are entitled to one (1) representative for
every fifty (50) members. CDSA shall strive for gender and cultural
balance at all times.
Section 2 Function, Powers and Duties The Executive
Committee is the executive body of CDSA. The Executive Committee
administers the affairs of CDSA and oversees the implementation
of the decisions of the membership convention and membership
meetings. It proposes policies and activities to the membership;
receives reports from committees and Branches; advises committees
and Branches on policy issues; assigns temporary duties to Executive
Committee members or ad hoc committees; calls emergency meetings
of the membership; and acts on any matter requiring immediate
attention by CDSA. All actions taken by the Executive Committee
are subject to ratification or amendment by the membership at
the next membership meeting or the next membership convention.
Section 3 Meetings The Executive Committee shall meet
at least once each month or more frequently as determined by
a prior Executive Committee meeting or the call of the Chairs
upon consultation with any three (3) other members of the Executive
Committee. All members of the Executive Committee must be given
four (4) days oral or written notice of regular Executive Committee
meetings. Under extraordinary circumstances, a twenty-four (24)
hour notice may be given.
Section 4 Quorum Fifty percent (50%) of the members
of the Executive Committee constitutes a quorum and is required
for the transaction of business by the Executive Committee.
Section 5 Meeting Minutes Minutes of all Executive meetings,
membership meetings and the membership convention are mailed
automatically to all members of the Executive Committee. Copies
of meeting minutes are available to any member upon request and
are available for inspection at any regularly scheduled Executive
Committee of membership meeting of CDSA.
Section 6 Vacancies Any officer may be removed by the
Executive Committee for violation of the articles or by-laws
of the corporation or for conduct prejudicial to the best interest
of CDSA. Should any member of the Executive Committee miss three
of more consecutive meetings, the Executive Committee may declare
that position vacant. It must notify said member of its intention
to vacate his or her position prior to the meeting at which such
action will be voted on. In the event of a vacancy, the vacancy
shall be filled by a special election. If the vacancy is an officer
of CDSA, an acting successor may be appointed by the Co-Chairs
until a new officer is elected at the next regularly scheduled
membership meeting or a membership meeting specially called for
that purpose. If the vacancy is a Branch representative, the
replacement will be elected at the next meeting of that Branch
or at a Branch meeting specially called for that purpose.
ARTICLE VII BRANCHES
Section 1 Definition A Branch is a sub-division of CDSA
consisting of members in good standing residing within a defined
territory, belonging to a particular institution or sharing a
common interest. A Branch defined by a common interest may be
referred to as a Commission. Membership in Branches defined
by interest or by institution may overlap with other Branches,
but Branches defined by territory may not overlap with other
Branches defined by territory.
Section 2 Recognition and Dissolution A Branch may
be chartered by the Executive Committee upon petition of at least
five (5) members residing within a defined territory, belonging
to a particular institution, or sharing a common interest. A
Branch may be dissolved by the Executive Committee if it has
not met for at least six (6) months or if it has been promoting
policies contrary to those of CDSA or national Democratic Socialists
of America. The representative(s) from said Branch must be informed
that dissolution is on the agenda when notified of the meeting.
The decision to dissolve a Branch may be appealed to the next
Membership Meeting of CDSA, during which time said Branch may
be continued or re-established. Upon dissolution, all property
and records of a Branch will be surrendered to the CDSA Executive
Section 3 Youth Section Chapters Youth Section Chapters
recognized by the national Democratic Socialists of America Youth
Section shall be recognized as branches defined by institution
or by interest.
Section 4 Branch Representatives Branch representatives
shall be elected from among their own membership to a one (1)
year term running from July 1 through June 30 of the following
Section 5 Branch Responsibilities Branches are responsible
for promoting and implementing CDSA policies and programs, developing
programs and policies of interest to their defined constituency,
conducting their internal affairs in a democratic manner, and
promoting participation and leadership by women and minorities.
ARTICLE VIII AMENDMENTS
Section 1 Notice of Proposed Amendments Any member wishing
to amend these must submit such draft amendments to the CDSA
office twenty-one (21) days in advance of regularly scheduled
membership meeting or the membership convention. The Executive
Committee or an ad-hoc body appointed by the Executive Committee
shall review any such amendments and notify the membership that
by-laws amendments have been submitted for consideration. Discussion
and a vote upon such amendments shall be listed on the membership
meeting or membership convention agenda which is mailed to the
membership fourteen (14) days in advance of the meeting.
Section 2 Vote These by-laws may be amended, repealed
or altered in whole or in part by a two-thirds (2/3) vote of
any membership meeting at which there is a quorum..
Section 3 Notification of Changes in By-Laws CDSA members
must be notified within twenty-one (21) days of any changes to
these by-laws. This may be done by mailing of meeting minutes
or by mailing of revised by-laws.
ARTICLE IX HOUSEKEEPING
Section 1 Construction If there is any conflict between
the provisions of Illinois State law and the by-laws, provisions
of Illinois State law shall govern.
Section 2 Fiscal Year The Fiscal Year of the Corporation
shall be from July 1 to June 30.
Section 3 Conflict of Interest A conflict of interest
exists when a matter to be acted upon by the Executive Committee
confers a direct, substantial benefit to any Executive Committee
member, business or agency from which a member of the Executive
Committee shall abstain from voting on any matter before the
Executive Committee which places her or him in a conflict of
Section 4 Dissolution This organization may be dissolved
at a special meeting of the Executive Committee by a majority
vote of the Executive Committee. Upon dissolution of the organization,
any residual assets shall be become the property of the national
Democratic Socialists of America.
Section 5 Robert's Rules The rules contained in Robert's
Rules of Order, Newly Revised shall govern CDSA meetings
in cases to which they are applicable and in which they are not
inconsistent with these by-laws. Consensus decision-making is
desirable where feasible, but meetings must submit to Robert's
Rules upon the request of a member.
Adopted at the June 23, 1990 General Membership Convention
of Chicago DSA
Amended at the September 11, 1995 General Membership Meeting
of Chicago DSA