Progress on horizon for Independent Redistricting Commission

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New York State

Map of New York (Gordon Johnson / Pixabay)

ALBANY, N.Y. (NEWS10)- After further delays in getting access to the $4 million set aside in the state’s budget, New York’s Independent Redistricting Commission (IRC) said its funds should be available to them soon. This after months of delays and a deadline for the redrawing of Congressional maps less than four months away.

The IRC has still yet to hire employees but even if they did there would be no office for them to report to. That will hopefully change next week when the IRC is able to access its budgeted money.

Two weeks ago the IRC said it was waiting for the Comptroller’s Office to make them a department before they could gain access to any money at its last meeting. IRC Co-Executive Director, Douglas Beakell said he had “good news to report for once” at Friday’s meeting, saying the Comptroller’s office came through with making the IRC a department.

In addition to hiring employees and locating office space, a website also has to be created. The IRC is currently looking for website vendors who can help them construct one but has to find a company that can create a website hastily, narrowing its options.

“We have a very tight window to get this done and quickly,” said Beakell.

The IRC plans on approving its budget at its next meeting. In the meantime, Beakell said job postings should be live Friday on recruiting sites like Indeed. Four employees will be hired to fill the positions of Public Engagement Director, Assistant to the Public Engagement Director, Data Manager, and Administrative Assistant.

New York will be losing a Congressional seat, going from 27 to 26. The loss was announced by the U.S. Bureau of the Census at the end of April.

“Our new population figures for 2020 for the state of New York at 20.2 million and now 26 Congressional districts means our new Congressional district size should be approximately 770,000 which is 60,000 more a Congressional district size in 2010 when they were last drawn,” said, Commissioner John Flateau at the IRC’s last meeting. “So we have our work cut out ahead of us.”

Commissioners were still hesitant to talk about tentative dates for a series of public hearings to get input from public interest groups and individuals about how to redraw Congressional maps equally.

“For anyone who is interested in participating start preparing your statements now,” Commissioner Jack Martins also said at the last meeting. “So that way when we call on you and we tell you there’s going to be a meeting in Manhattan, or in Brooklyn, or in Nassau, or in Albany, or in Rochester, or in Buffalo, or anywhere else in the state you’re prepared to come out.”

The IRC’s next meeting will take place Friday, May 28 at 10 a.m.

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Empire State Weekly

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