Executive Central Committee Meeting – April 21, 2022

Minutes of the Delaware County Democratic Party Executive Committee

Regular Meeting

April 21, 2022

The meeting was convened by Chair Peg Watkins at 7:03 p.m. There were 50 participants, constituting a quorum.

Don Swartwout began the meeting by leading the Pledge of Allegiance.

Liz Osorio-Jones explained Roberts’ Rules of Order.

Approve February Meeting Minutes

Chair Watkins asked the committee for questions and comments regarding the previous meeting minutes and found none. Mindy Hedges moved to approve the February 2022 meeting minutes and was seconded by Suzanne Binau. The minutes were approved by majority vote.

Chair Watkins introduced Corey McCaffery and informed the committee he would be acting as Secretary and taking minutes for the meeting.

Treasurer’s Report

Roo Dirrig presented the Treasurer’s Report to the committee:

$45,370.60 in unrestricted funds available; balance ending March 31, 2022.

$1,076.86 in payments for the month.

$1,122.01 in ActBlue donations were received.

Other accounts include:

$9,000 CD

$294.83 in restricted checking

$432.57 in the Parker Scholarship.

Ms. Dirrig further explained that $2,000 was deposited for the Parker Scholarship and $800 for a booth at the Delaware County Fair.

Ms. Dirrig reminded the committee that dues could be paid on ActBlue

Julie Houston moved to approve the report and was seconded by David Simmons. The report was approved.

Recognition of Candidates

Chair Watkins introduced to the committee the three candidates in attendance: Louise Valentine, candidate for Ohio House District 61 (probably), Rachael Morocco, potential candidate for Ohio House  and Tamie Wilson, candidate for US House District 4. The Chair also shared information that much of Delaware County is now part of US House District 4, currently occupied by Jim Jordan.

Chair Watkins informed the committee that slate cards were available and reminded them that voting was currently taking place at the Delaware County Board of Elections.

Reorganizational Update

Chair Watkins explained that, according to Ohio Revised Code, the party must hold a meeting every two years to organize. She informed the committee that the party organizational meeting would take place after the May primary election. She further explained that three officers will run for re-election: herself as Chair,  Joydeep Gupta for the First Vice Chair position, and Holly Hanson for the Second Vice Chair position.  Corey McCaffery will run for Party Secretary, and a candidate for party Treasurer is still needed.

Chair Watkins explained that the Ohio Democratic Party would be starting a Local Leaders Academy and encouraged attendees to let her know if they would like to be nominated. Chair Watkins noted that board positions within the county would be opening up and encouraged party members to apply or encourage other good candidates to do so.

Committee Updates

Chair Watkins introduced Jenny Yoder, head of the Anti-Racism Committee.

Ms. Yoder explained that the Anti-Racism committee was completing the YWCA Stand Against Racism Challenge and the committee had its eye on House Bill 616.

Ms. Yoder informed the committee that volunteers were needed for Delaware Pride and Juneteenth festivals Ms.Yoder noted that a meet and greet would take place on April 30th at Little Bear Golf Club, and donations of baby items will also be taken at that event

Joyce Bourgault, head of the Candidate Support Committee, informed the committee that candidates Vera Thornhill and Tiffany Bukoffsky were interviewed and would be in attendance at the April 30th event. She explained the committee is also looking ahead to races on the 2023 ballot and it would be beneficial to start preparing early.

Don Swartwout, head of the Communications Committee, asked the committee to publicize the meet and greet event on social media. He stated he was seeking an Instagram coordinator to manage social media on the platform, as well as volunteers to help with data entry.

David Simmons, head of the Parker Scholarship Committee, informed the committee that five applicants had applied for the scholarship and that one student each from both Big Walnut and Delaware Hayes were selected to be recipients of $1,000.

Review and Approval of Party Constitution and Bylaws

John Schmarr moved that the Executive Committee accept and pass the party Constitution and Bylaws with a delay in their adoption until after the May 3rd primary election and was seconded by Suzanne Binau. Mr. Schmarr then opened the floor for motions to amend.

Mindy Hedges moved to add the words “the Charter and Bylaws of the Democratic National Committee” to Article I, Section 2 and was seconded by Chandler White. 

It was noted that the Ohio Democratic Party requires county Executive Committees to follow the Democratic National Committee. It was explained that the current Constitution did not possess this wording and was approved by the Ohio Democratic Party, though there would be no harm in adding them. The motion was approved by majority vote..

Rayna Patton moved to remove Article 3, Section 7 from the Bylaws and was seconded by Julie Houston.

It was explained that the Constitution and Bylaws Committee drafted a proposal to create a smaller Executive Committee, which was put before the Committee and passed. The Ohio Democratic Party, after reviewing the draft, stated that smaller Executive Committees are no longer being approved. An alternative possibility was to create an “Executive Board. The document presented retains the larger Executive Committee but allows a smaller group to fulfill smaller business matters in a more efficient manner. It was noted that the exact purpose of the Executive Board was unknown, as it had not yet been tested.

It was argued that the notion of creating a smaller Executive Board would sow division at a time when the party was getting stronger, as some individuals would receive full information and others would hear about party matters through a secondary source. 

The notion was presented that a smaller committee could be tested, and if found to not work, be dissolved by a 60% majority vote of Executive Committee members. As a counterpoint, it was argued that the Constitution and Bylaws were not an appropriate avenue to test such an experiment.

It was explained to the Executive Committee that an Executive Board would not take up matters which would require a vote but would instead serve to perform administrative duties and would serve as a “watchdog” for the larger committee.

It was theorized that an Executive Board would expand the ability for individuals to give input to the larger body and that such a board would be more representative by dealing with minor issues.

Louise Valentine moved to call the question and was seconded by Chandler White. A majority, through show of hands, approved the motion to call the question.

The motion to remove Article 3, Section 7 of the Bylaws passed with a majority show of hands.

It was noted that Article 3, Section 3 of the Constitution and Bylaws would likely cause problems in the future, in the sense that it requires both a man and a woman to serve as first and second Vice Chair and excludes nonbinary individuals.

John Schmarr moved to remove the words “elect two region representatives to the Executive Board, one woman and one man, as self-identified. At the same caucus meeting, the leadership team shall” from Article 3, Section 3 of the Constitution and Bylaws and was seconded by Roger VanSickle. Louise Valentine moved to amend the motion to include all references to the Executive Board and was seconded by John Schmarr. The amended motion passed with a majority vote by show of hands.

It was noted that Article 6, section 5 necessitates forty percent of the County Executive Committee must be in attendance in order to constitute a quorum, which the present meeting would not meet. It was explained that the Ohio Democratic Party requires forty percent but the current Bylaws require only 20%.

Mindy Hedges moved to add that the Party Chair’s appointments of Committee Chairs must be confirmed by a majority vote of the Executive Committee to Article 7, Section 1 and was seconded by Chandler White. It was argued that allowing Executive Committee members to vote on committees and subcommittee proceedings would be more inclusive. 

As a counterpoint, it was argued that the Chair of the party should have at least some powers, because the Executive Committee meets only once a month. It was noted that the new Bylaws require a forty percent quorum, which may be difficult to achieve at times, leading to prolonged periods in which no party business is conducted.

Tamie Wilson moved to call the question and a majority vote by show of hands denied the passage of the motion.

Rayna Patton moved to eliminate Article 9, Section 2 of the Bylaws and was seconded by Mindy Hedges. It was argued that the status of a “donating member” had no place in the party Constitution and that it excludes participation from individuals, serving as a deterrent to join the party.

It was argued that the provision does not change anything about an individual’s status within the party, as anyone can be a member. It was also noted that individuals can be donating members without being an active member.

The motion to strike down Article 9, Section 2 of the Bylaws was denied by a show of hands.

Tamie Wilson moved to include congressional candidates in Article 8, Section 2 and was informed that congressional candidates are included within the words “district office.” Ms. Wilson withdrew her motion.

Mindy Hedges moved to remove from Article 7, Section 4 the words “The committee also shall coordinate with the candidate development committee to educate and assist endorsed candidates in their fundraising activities” and was seconded by Kathy Holdren. 

It was argued that the responsibilities laid out within the sentence are on the part of the candidate. It was noted that it provides a good opportunity for the Fundraising Committee to meet candidates and that the provision applies to endorsed candidates, whom the party should attempt to assist.

Ms. Hedges withdrew her motion.

Mindy Hedges moved to change the title of Article 7, Section 8 to “Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Committee” and was seconded by Yvette Hanselmann. 

It was explained that “Diversity, Equity, Inclusion” and its acronym “DEI” are standard terms in business proceedings.

Joyce Bourgault called the question and the motion failed.

John Schmarr moved to pass the Constitution and Bylaws as amended. The motion passed with a majority vote by show of hands.

Carol Young moved to adjourn the meeting at 9:17 p.m. and was seconded by Don Swartwout. The motion passed with a majority vote by show of hands. 

Respectfully submitted,

Corey McCaffery