Establishing Co-Chairs

Lead Contact: Jack Suria-Linares

ARTICLE IV. LOCAL MEETINGS

Section 2. Local Meetings

The Local will hold Local Meetings at least six times annually, ideally every other month, unless Local business requires additional meeting times. The time and place of which shall be set in a schedule published and distributed by the Steering Committee. The Co-Chairs will set the agenda for Local Meetings. The Local Meeting is the body where policies, decisions, and important Local matters are discussed among members.

ARTICLE VII. LOCAL OFFICER ELECTIONS

Section 3. Recalls

As officers of the Local exist to serve the Local, any elected officer may also be recalled by the Local. A recall vote may be triggered by petition signed by a number of members equal to or greater than two-thirds of the total number of votes cast during the previous election, or by fifty percent of Local membership, whichever number is lower. Once triggered, a Nominations Committee shall be established in accordance with Section 1 to hold a forum on the recall, followed by a Local-wide election, where a supermajority of two-thirds of voters shall be required to recall the officer.

Additionally, in the case of malfeasance or nonfeasance, the Co-Chairs may call a vote to remove an officer, with a two-thirds majority vote of the Steering Committee required to execute the removal. Local Officers may not vote in the matter of their own recall. The rationale and result of any such vote called must be published to the membership. Malfeasance shall be defined as intentional misuse of Local resources, abuse of Local Officer powers, or deliberate misrepresentation of the positions of the Local.

Additionally, if a Local Officer is found to be in significant violation of the Local’s Misconduct Policy, the Investigative Commission responsible for fact-finding and harm assessment may recommend removal from Local office and such violations shall be considered malfeasance. Nonfeasance shall be defined as an ongoing or repeated failure to execute Officer duties and maintain regular contact with other Local Officers, without making arrangements to be replaced or voluntarily stepping down from the position, or failure to maintain membership. A local officer who is no longer a member in good standing shall be privately notified and given at least two (2) weeks to renew membership prior to a recall or removal vote.

Section 4. Vacancies

In the event of a vacancy, whether due to recall or resignation, the empty seat shall be filled by the following procedure:

(a) If the vacancy occurs within the first six (6) months of the term, the seat will be filled by a member in good standing according to the results of the previous election, with votes for the recalled officer being transferred according to the regular voting process.

(b) If the vacancy occurs after the first six (6) months of the term, or if there are no candidates that ran during the previous election for the vacant seat, the Co-Chairs will appoint a replacement member in good standing for the remainder of the term.

ARTICLE VIII: LOCAL OFFICERS

Section 1. Officers, Elections, and Terms

The Local shall annually elect two Co-Chairs, Recording Secretary, Communications Director, Treasurer, YDSA Coordinator, and four (4) at-large members of the Steering Committee.

Section 2. Co-Chairs

The Co-Chairs will be the chief spokespeople of the organization. They are responsible for ensuring all Steering Committee work is executed in accordance with the Local’s Mission and Organizational Priorities. They shall interpret the Constitution and Bylaws, subject to appeal as described in Article XV. They shall help new and existing members identify and develop their own political tendencies, support them to think openly and critically.

Section 3. Recording Secretary 

The Recording Secretary will be responsible for:

a) the taking of minutes of all Steering Committee meetings, and shall have custody of these minutes, and resolutions, reports and other official records of the Local.

b) ensuring that key decisions and meeting minutes are available to members of the Local.

c) maintaining detailed and accurate membership records in coordination with the Membership Committee, as well as Local bylaws and official Local organizational policies.

d) coordinating with Local Subgroups to receive records of key debates and decisions

e) transferring all records to their successor at the end of their term.

Section 4. Communications Director

The Communications Director will be responsible for

(a) Coordinating public-facing statements from the Local, including but not limited to the DSA-LA website, social media, and blog.

(b) Coordinating regular internal email newsletters and announcements.

(c) Coordinating a Communications Committee that includes representatives from each Local Subgroup in the Local, to ensure that both external and internal communications accurately represent work done across all of the Local’s groups.

Section 5. Treasurer

The Treasurer will be responsible for the funds and financial records of the Local. All funds collected by the Local will be turned over to the Treasurer, who shall deposit them in a bank account under the name of the Local. In cooperation with the Communications Secretary, the Treasurer will be responsible for ensuring that membership dues are paid up-to-date. The Treasurer will prepare the annual Local budget, and deliver the Local financial report to the Annual Convention of the Local, as well as periodic progress reports as requested by the Steering Committee of the Local.

Section 6. At-Large Officers

At-large officers of the Local serve as members of the Steering Committee and are responsible for ensuring all Steering Committee work is executed in accordance with the Local’s Mission and Organizational Priorities.

Section 7. YDSA Coordinator

The YDSA Coordinator shall be responsible for maintaining a network of coordinators and representatives from YDSA Locals across Los Angeles, as well as extending that network to include nearby regional DSA and YDSA Locals. They shall be responsible for ensuring that YDSA Locals have abundant avenues to work in solidarity with the Local’s work, as well as to request resources and support from the Local for YDSA Local-led campaigns and initiatives.

Section 8. Additional Duties

The Local Steering Committee may assign additional temporary duties to an officer or member in good standing of the Local, so long as such assignments do not conflict with the designation of responsibilities outlined in these Bylaws.

ARTICLE IX. STEERING COMMITTEE

Section 1. Composition and Purpose

The Steering Committee shall be comprised of the two Co-Chairs, Communication Director, the Treasurer, the Recording Secretary, and the four elected at-large Officers of the Local. The Steering Committee is to be the primary Administrative Body of the Local and is charged with ensuring that the Local’s work is done in alignment with the Local Mission and Organizational Priorities, and the Local Bylaws. Although the Steering Committee may occasionally make political decisions regarding the Local, the Local membership body shall be the supreme political body of the Local, with political decisions expressed via Local-wide votes, through Local Subgroup initiatives and platforms, and votes taken during Annual Conventions.

ARTICLE XV. RULES OF THE LOCAL

Section 1. Interpretation

These bylaws shall be interpreted by the Co-Chairs, subject to appeal by any member to the full Steering Committee between meetings of the chapter, or during Regular, Special, or General meetings by motion from the floor and chapter vote. All powers not delegated in these bylaws or by vote of the membership are reserved to the membership.

Section 2. Rules

Meetings shall be conducted in such a manner as to encourage member participation and deliberation. Contributions and perspectives from members of historically marginalized groups shall be represented and actively encouraged throughout. The Rules contained in Robert's Rules of Order, Simplified shall be used for meetings where amendments to these Bylaws are to be considered.

Section 3. Action Out of Order

Any action taken by an officer or member of the Local in contravention of these Bylaws is null and void.

EXPLANATION

Having two Co-Chairs can help counter DSA’s tendency towards inexplicit organizational structures and sharpen our ability to act as a unified political body. Steering does and should set the tone for the organization and is not merely an administrative body. Adding two co-chairs and reducing at large officers will clarify that we should have accountable leadership in an organization. Co-chairs can clarify where the organizations stands on political issues, and even while encouraging dissenting opinions, there should be a clear line for the organization in its totality. They should also help new and existing members understand the various political tendencies and inform them so that members can develop and articulate their own political perspectives.

Co-chairs in other chapters/branches have also fundamentally shaped some decisions and made material impacts, including in the Bronx branch, the San Francisco chapter, and the Charlottesville chapter. Many co-chairs have change the trajectory of chapters to do serious anti-facist work as leaders of a chapter. Finally, it is much more transparent to have official leadership than to push an informal direction for the organization with only de facto leadership. With greater transparency, we can work towards becoming a more democratic organization.

Organizational Priorities that support this amendment proposal

INTERNAL ORGANIZING AND INFRASTRUCTURE:

  • Maintain transparent decision-making processes which allows all members to democratically shape and engage in chapter decisions, avoiding top-heavy hierarchies and “gatekeeping”
  • Cultivate a culture of openness, respect, and camaraderie by aiming to meet people where they are and assume good intentions, recognizing that everyone comes to organizing from different perspectives and experiences.
  • Commit to accountability and transparency for leadership in DSA-LA.
  • Recognize the risks that accompany work that challenges powerful, oppressive systems, and continue to develop processes and resources that support the privacy and security of our membership.

MOBILIZATION AND MEMBER CAPACITY:

  • Recognizing that learning and growth as organizers includes and requires being challenged, encourage and support learning and growth in all members by offering opportunities to develop new skills and take on additional responsibilities.
  • Create and maintain structures and guidelines for coordinator and co-chair roles that ensure rotation of leadership and development of new leaders within the organization.
  • Maintain systems and protocols that enable us to continually map and understand our memberships needs, strengths, and resources.
  • Ensuring ongoing development and support of organizers and leaders within our organization

Click here to view the signatories