Report of the Special Committee on Rules

Kings County Democratic Party
June 20, 2017 

Hon. Lewis A. Fidler, Chairperson
Hon. Joseph A. Bova
Ian Gaynor, Esq.
Hon. Anthony T. Jones
Hon. Arelis Martinez
Hon. Cory Provost
Hon. Annette M. Robinson
Hon. Josh Skaller
Brandon West 

Frank V. Carone, Counsel
Jeffrey C. Feldman, Advisor

Proposed Rules Changes

 

1. Amend Article V, §12, as follows:

§12. Meetings of the Executive Committee shall be conducted in Public Session, except upon a vote of the majority of the voting members of the Executive Committee present (in person or by proxy) to proceed in Executive Session, which may be limited to a specific item or items. Proxies may not be used on such a motion unless they specifically so authorize. Notwithstanding the foregoing, meetings of the Executive Committee held for the purpose of endorsing judicial candidates may be held in public session only upon a majority vote of the Executive Committee. No member of the Executive Committee may nominate or cast a vote at such Executive Committee meeting with regard to a judicial endorsement in which a member of his or her immediate family is a candidate in such contest. For purposes of this Section, immediate family shall be defined to include, spouse, domestic partner, child, parent or sibling.

 

2. Article III Section 2 (B) shall be amended by adding the following:

Such notice shall make reference to the official website of the Kings County Democratic Committee for the purpose of providing notice of any and all resolutions which have been properly placed on the Agenda for such meeting as items of New Business.”

 

3. A new Article III Section 2 (D) shall be created and read as follows: 

Resolutions may be proposed and considered as New Business provided that such Resolution is: prepared in writing; and submitted to the Chairman of the Executive Committee at least ten (10) days prior to the meeting for which it is to be presented; and said proposed Resolution contains the following statement which shall be signed by members of the County Committee in accordance with subsection (iv) hereof: “I hereby propose the foregoing Resolution to be voted upon at the next lawful meeting of this County Committee”; and said proposal is signed by no less than five (5) members of the County Committee from each of no less than five (5) of the seven (7) Assembly District Groups as follows:

a] 42, 58, 60

b]41, 45, 59

c]46, 47, 48

d]44, 52, 64

e]50, 53, 54

f]49, 51, 55

g]43, 56, 57

No such proposed Resolution may require the expenditure of funds directly or otherwise other than recommending to the Executive Committee that it take such financial action.

 

4. Article III Section 5 shall be amended as follows:

Paragraph a, a. (i) and a. (ii) thereof shall be repealed. Paragraph b thereof shall be re-named paragraph a and shall be amended to read as follows:

The proposed Proxy Holder shall be the Chairperson of the Executive Committee or his or her designee. However, the Notice shall leave a blank space after the name of the proposed Proxy Holder for the optional insertion of the name of a member of the County Committee to hold such Proxy. In the event that this space is blank, or the name inserted is not that of a member of the County Committee, not present at the meeting at which he or she has been authorized to act, or is illegible, then the Proxy Holder shall be the Chairperson of the Executive Committee or his or her designee.”

 

5. A new Article IX, Section 5 shall be added and read as follows: 

The County Committee may not endorse any candidate, nor provide material assistance to, any candidate for public office or party position who has been convicted of a felony related to corruption or malfeasance in public office or political party position.”

 

6. The first sentence of Article V, Section 3 (B) shall be amended to read as follows:

Special meetings of the Executive Committee may be called at any time by the Chairperson upon not less than twelve (12) hours notice by telegram, email, text message or telephone.”

 

7. The first sentence of Article V, Section 3 (C) shall be amended to read as follows:

Notice of the time and place of all regular meetings of the Executive Committee and all special meetings called at the request of a majority of members, and an agenda of matters to be considered thereat, must be sent by mail, email, text message or telegram to each member at least five (5) days before such meetings.”

 

8. Amend Article V, §3. by the addition of (D), as follows:

(D) The Chairman of the Executive Committee is authorized to convene special meetings via telephone, or teleconference, when, in his or her discretion, the subject matter is either sufficiently limited and/or urgent to forego a meeting requiring the physical presence of the members or their duly appointed proxies. The notice of such special meetings shall be sent via email, telephone or text message on no less than 12 hours notice.

 

9. Amend Article V by the addition of §14., as follows:

§14. Endorsements and withdrawal of endorsements. The Executive Committee may endorse and/or withdraw the endorsement of candidates for public office and party positions. In the case of endorsements of candidates for judicial office, the Committee shall be bound by any formally adopted policy requiring such candidate to be screened and deemed qualified to be eligible for such endorsement. In all other determinations to endorse or withdraw a previously issued endorsement, the Committee may consider qualifications, reputation, character, public record, ideology, ability to prosecute a campaign, the conduct of the campaign, the assemblage of funds to conduct their campaign or lack thereof and the speech, behavior and conduct of the candidate now and in the past.

 

10. Amend Article V by the addition of §15., as follows:

§15. Authorizations pursuant to §6-120 of the Election Law. The Executive Committee shall have the exclusive authority to, by a majority vote of those present at such meeting, provided a quorum is present, authorize the designation or nomination of a person as candidate for any public office, situated in whole or in part, within Kings County who is not enrolled as a member of such party.

 

11. Amend Article V, §5, as follows 

§5. A member of the Executive Committee may authorize as his or her proxy only another member of the Executive Committee. Such proxy may be general or limited and must be in writing, signed by the member so authorizing it, and filed with the Chairperson of the Committee before action is taken thereunder. A proxy is authorized to act notwithstanding the presence of the person authorizing him to act as such proxy, but said person may, before action is taken thereunder, declare to the Chairperson that said proxy is revoked. Proxies may be filed with the Chairman by delivering the same in person, by mail or overnight delivery, via facsimile transmission or by email. A facsimile copy of a Proxy, shall be deemed an original for all purposes.

 

12. Amend Article X of the Rules, by adding a §2

§2. These Rules shall continue in effect until amended or repealed, pursuant to this Article, and, filed with the State Board of Elections and the Board of Elections in the City of New York, pursuant to §2-114 of the Election Law.

 

13. Amend the Rules by the addition of Article XI, as follows:

Article XI

Indemnification

To the extent not prohibited by law, the Committee shall indemnify any person who is, was, or is threatened to be made a party in any proceeding, or is otherwise made subject to legal process or in need of legal representation, by reason of the fact that such person (or a person, of whom such person is a legal representative) is or was an officer or employee of the Committee, which is alleged to be arising out of any action or nonaction of such person in connection with the activities of the Committee, against all sums, fees, and expenses of any kind (including, but not limited to, judgments, amounts paid in settlement, and attorneys' fees and costs), except that such person shall not be indemnified if a final adjudication establishes either (1) that such person's actions were committed in bad faith or were the result of active and deliberate dishonesty, or (2) that such person gained a personal financial profit to which such person was not legally entitled. To the extent not prohibited by law, the Committee shall advance or reimburse any funds to any person entitled to an indemnity for the payment of such sums, fees, and expenses of any kind (including, but not limited to, judgments, amounts paid in settlement, and attorneys' fees and costs), and shall have the power to purchase and maintain insurance to indemnify itself for any obligation incurred as a result of this indemnification and to indemnify any officer or employee of the Committee in instances when such a person is entitled to an indemnification.

  

14. Amend the Rules by the addition of Article XIII, as follows:

Article XIII

Severability

If any clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision, section, rule, or part of these rules, shall be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be invalid, such judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder thereof but shall be confined in its operation to the clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision, section, rule or part thereof, directly involved in the controversy in which such judgement shall have been rendered.

 

15.

Proposed Amendments to the

Kings County Democratic County Committee

Report on Judicial Selection Procedures

(As Amended on December 14, 2011)

Amend Section 6 of the Kings County Democratic County Committee Report on Judicial Selection Procedures (As Amended on December 14, 2011) as follows:

6. The panel shall consist of the following:

a] Two members selected by the Brooklyn Bar Association;

b] One member selected by the Brooklyn Women's Bar Association;

c] One member selected by the Kings County Criminal Bar Association;

d] One member selected by the [Association of the Bar of the City of New York] Asian American Bar Association of New York ;

e] One member selected by the Columbian Lawyer's Association of Brooklyn;

f] One member selected, annually on a rotating basis by one of the following four (4): Legal Aid Society of New York City; Brooklyn Legal Services,Corporation A; and [South Brooklyn Legal Services] Brooklyn Defenders Services; Bushwick Housing and Legal Services.

g] One member selected by the Dean or Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Brooklyn Law School;

h] One member selected by the Metropolitan Black Bar Association;

i] One member selected by the Puerto Rican Bar Association;

j] Each year, on a rotating basis, three of these groups shall be invited to participate and shall select their own member of the panel, provided such member meets the other criteria specified in this rule for membership: Lesbian & Gay Law LGBT Bar Association of Greater New York (LeGaL), [Lawyers Torah Club] Brooklyn Brandeis Society, Catholic Lawyers Guild of Kings County, Association of Black Women Attorneys, Brehon Law Society, Dominican Bar Association, Hispanic National Bar Association, Region II, Jewish Lawyers Guild, Judicial Friends, [Metropolitan Women's Bar Association], [New York State Women's Bar Association] Women’s Bar Association of the State of New York (WBASNY), Protestant Lawyers Association,[ and Asian American Bar Association of the City of New York], United Jewish Organizations of Williamsburg, Inc.., New York State Court Officers Association, Kings Bay YM-YWHA, Kings County Conference of the Knights of Columbus and the Federation of Italian-American Organizations of Brooklyn, Ltd.; Arab American Bar Association; Haitian American Lawyers Association of New York; Iranian American Bar Association-New York Chapter; Korean American Lawyers Association of Greater New York (KALAGNY); Muslim Bar Association of New York; National Bar Association, Region II; Nigerian Lawyers Association; Russian American Bar Association, Inc. (RABA NY Chapter); South Asian Bar Association of New York (SABANY)

k] Each year, on a rotating basis, one of these groups shall be invited to participate and shall select their own member of the panel, provided such member meets the other criteria specified in this rule for membership: Brooklyn-Manhattan Trial Lawyers Association, [Association of Trial Lawyers of the City of New York] New York City Trial Lawyers Alliance, New York Criminal Bar Association, New York State Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers[, and the New York State Bar Association];

 l] [Two] Three members selected by the Chairperson of the Executive Committee of the Kings County Democratic Party, one of whom shall serve as the Chairperson of the Panel.

m] One member selected by the New York State Trial Lawyers Association.

n] Four Attorneys and Three Community Organization members selected by the Chairperson of the Executive Committee of the Kings County Democratic Party from a list nominated by a majority of the Executive Committee members from each of seven groups of Assembly Districts referenced in Provision 8 below. In selecting from such list, the Chairperson may not select nominees from a particular group in consecutive years. Members in this category may not hold any public office or party position or seek such office or position during their tenure on the Committee.

 

4. The Kings County Democratic County Committee Report On Judicial Selection Process As Amended, Section 8 is hereby amended to add the 64th Assembly District to group d, to delete the 40th Assembly District from group a, and to remove the 60th Assembly district from group d to group a.

 

Amend Section 9 of the Kings County Democratic County Committee Report on Judicial Selection Procedures (As Amended on December 14, 2011) as follows: 

§9. In the event that any of the groups specified in Section 6 ["a" through "m" inclusive] shall decline to participate, then additional groups shall be invited from those listed in Section 6 [j] to compensate therefore, thus endeavoring that the panel retains a ratio of members that are independent of the political party process as intended by these procedures. If a panel member withdraws prior to the second meeting of the Screening Committee, he or she may be permanently replaced by the designating entity. Members who withdraw from the Committee, for any reason, may not be reinstated within the term of the Committee in which they were designated. If a panel member withdraws at or after the second meeting of the Committee, their seat shall be declared vacant and may not be filled for the remainder of the Committee’s current term. Upon the designation of a member of the Screening Committee in any year, without regard to the actual service of such member, the designating entity shall be deemed to have exhausted their authority for the purpose of rotational appointments.

 

New Matter is underlined. Matter to be deleted is bracketed [and stricken]. 

 

16. . In furtherance of the matter that Leader Josh Skaller brought before the Executive Committee, the following resolution is proposed:

It is hereby resolved that:

The Kings County Democratic Party abhors the circumstances by which Democrats elected to the New York State Senate have refused to cooperate and sit in a united Democratic Conference. Therefore, we urge that:

All State Senate Democrats unite and sit in a single unified conference, putting aside their personal and political interests for the good of the country, the state and the Party.

The Governor, as titular head of the State Democratic Party, together with the State Democratic Party Chairperson, make it an immediate priority to mediate all differences among those Senators elected after running on the Democratic Party line and continue to aggressively do so until Democratic Senators unify into a single party caucus.

We further demand that all Democratic Senators, regardless of the conference they choose to organize with, adhere to the principles of the Democratic Party and work to maintain the policies and ideals thereof many of which are under attack from the present Federal Administration and Congress.


Kings County Democratic County Committee
16 Court Street, Suite 1016, Brooklyn, New York 11241 Telephone: (718) 875-5870