Medina County Democratic Party
Paragraph two of The PREAMBLE of the BYLAWS for the Medina County Democratic Party:
“We acknowledge that a political party that wishes to lead must listen to those it would lead; a party that asks for the people's trust must prove that it trusts the people; and a party that hopes to call forth the best our nation can achieve must embody the best of the nation's heritage and traditions. In accordance with the Constitution of the United States and the State of Ohio and the Constitution and Bylaws of the National and Ohio Democratic Parties, we pledge to conduct ourselves in a manner worthy of a society of free people.”
So how are we doing? From the perspective of having served for two years as a Precinct person and Central Committee Member, we are doing reasonably well, but we should be doing better, for the following reason.
• Medina County has 151 Precincts but only 63 Precinct persons were elected at the just completed March Primary. This means that 88 (~58%) of the Precincts do not have benefit of an elected Precinct person. If Precinct persons serve a beneficial role, then why are there so many vacancies?
Speaking as a Precinct person who was appointed to the Central Committee in 2006, I have, by my initiative been involved in various activities. However, there has not been a meeting of the Central Committee, to my knowledge, since my appointment. Nor have there been any communications to me about activities of the Executive Committee. This concerned me, so I undertook to try to find out why. A careful review of the BYLAWS received by me shortly after appointment, but only now critically examined, reveals some likely causes that should be changed to achieve possible solutions.
1. Precinct persons are elected on the same four year cycle as the Presidential election in the March primary. The filing petition deadline is 60 days before the primary date, or about 3 January for 2008. This means the candidates will very likely need to secure the petition form from the BOE, and then make contact with at least five registered Democrats, who reside in their Precinct to seek their signatures on the petition, during the busy holiday season which may why many Precincts have not even a single candidate filing for Precinct person. Perhaps there is a way to do better than this.
2. Once elected, the Precinct persons and now Central Committee Members are called to an organization meeting to elect a fifteen member Executive Committee and four Committee Officers. This is the only meeting of the Central Committee until four years later when the next four year election cycle produces a new group of elected or re-elected Precinct persons. Perhaps there is a way to do better than this.
3. The fifteen Central Committee Members elected to serve as the Executive Committee participate in Executive Committee meetings, at least six per year, and it is the responsibility of the Secretary to provide access to meeting proceedings or minutes to the Executive Committee Members only. The Executive Committee has no apparent accountability to provide feedback to the Central Committee. Perhaps there is a way to do better than this.
So what might be done in order to try to improve? The BYLAWS can be changed by amendment. The BYLAWS stipulate that the BYLAWS should be reviewed every four years, and any proposed changes are to be voted on at the organization meeting of the Central Committee. With the organization meeting date close upon us, perhaps in early April, now is the time to get the amendments on the agenda, where they can be debated and voted upon. If not done now, it will be 2012 before we will have the next opportunity!
The BYLAWS contains eighteen ARTICLES. It is proposed that seven ARTICLES need to be amended to accomplish the following changes.
1. Change to a two year election cycle from the current four year election cycle for the Central Committee Precinct persons.
• The next election will be in two years, or 2010, which has a later May primary. This moves the petition process until after the busy holiday season for the candidates for the off-Presidential election years at least.
2. Clarify language to reflect that the four officers; Chairperson, Vice-Chairperson, Secretary, and Treasurer serve as officers for both the Central and Executive Committees to be elected by majority vote of the Central Committee at the organizational meeting.
3. Hold the Central Committee organization meeting following the Precinct person elections on a two year cycle.
• This doubles the frequency that the Central Committee will meet.
4. Expand availability of the official proceedings or minutes, of the Executive Committee meetings to both the Executive Committee and Central Committee members to accomplish accountability feedback.
• This increase of communication should facilitate more bottom-up participation, input to party activities, and improve teamwork.
5. Change the cycle for BYLAW review from four years to two years to be acted upon at the organizational Central Committee meeting.
• Enables a more nimble organization, ready to more quickly change process to improve when it is recognized that improvement is needed.
If you are a Precinct person who will be participating in the upcoming organizational meeting, it is requested that the proposed BYLAW amendments be given your serious consideration and ultimately your support.
Bob Simmons, Wadsworth Township Precinct B committee person.