The Reorganization Meeting

The currently accepted rules of the Democratic City Committee require that Members of the Ward Committees (commonly called "Committeepeople") meet to reorganize the Ward Committees on the third Monday after the Primary Election. (In 2014 the date of the Ward Reorganization Meetings is June 9.)

At the Ward Reorganization Meeting each Ward elects a County Committeeman (more commonly called "Ward Leader") who votes on behalf of the members of the Ward Committee at the official meetings of the Philadelphia Democratic City Committee. The City Committee Reorganization Meeting takes place the fourth Monday after the Primary Election. (In 2014 the date of the City Committee Reorganization Meeting is June 16.)

The Ward Reorganization Meeting provides an opportunity for Committeepeople to pass bylaws for their Ward. The City Committee Reorganization Meeting provides an opportunity for Ward Leaders to pass bylaws for the City Committee.

Preparing for the Reorganization Meeting

The big picture truth is that if over half of the Committee supports something, that majority should be able to get it done. Politically, if you have goals for the Reorganization Meeting (such as electing a certain person to a certain office in the Ward, or instituting a particular bylaw) you'll need to recruit over half the Committee to your cause. It helps to state your proposal clearly, whip the vote, do your best persuasion and whip the vote again. If you can't get over half the Committeepeople behind your proposal, consider revising the proposal to meet objections and going through the process again.

Details are important too. The better you understand the rules, the less likely you are to be outflanked by legitimate parliamentary maneuvers or intimidated by illegitimate parliamentary maneuvers. Not everyone on your team needs to be steeped in the gory details of procedure, so you may wish to delegate research into the rules to someone who enjoys that kind of thing. Lawyers tend to be good at this, as do people with computer programming backgrounds.

Don't forget GOTV. Do your best to make sure Committeepeople who support your proposal or candidate actually show up to the reorganization meeting.

Sometimes pressure from Democratic voters is useful and can change the behavior of Committeepeople and other leaders. Ward reorganization meetings are supposed to be open to the all registered Democrats, according to the State Party rules, whose Statement of Principles includes this: "All public meetings at all levels of the Democratic Party are open to all registered Democrats, regardless of race, color, creed, gender, national origin,age, ethnic identity, sexual orientation or economic status."

Checklist for Elected Committeepeople for Ward Reorganization Meeting

  • Certificate of election, which should arrive by mail from the Philadelphia Board of Election. Do not give it to anyone else. It is your admission ticket to the reorganization meeting. Questions about this certificate can be answered by the Philadelphia Board of Elections.
  • (Optional) Text of all relevant state law, state party rules, city party rules and Robert's Rules of Order
  • (Optional) Contact list for other Committee members, especially your supporters
  • (Optional) Copies for other Committee members of any proposed bylaws, candidate slates or other motions you hope the Committee will consider
  • (Optional) Materials for taking notes (pen & paper or smartphone, e.g.)
  • (Optional) If you expect controversy, cell phone with numbers for legal advisor(s), political advisor(s), law enforcement and media

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