Commission begins to work on the redistribution of the State | Best Stories

Members of the Independent State Redistribution Commission completed their first real work orders on Friday, including passing bylaws, a budget and the selection of a president and vice-president after that managers finalized commission pay and paid executives for the first time in eight months.

On Friday, co-executive directors Douglas Breakell and Karen Blatt were on the commission’s payroll for the first time since the group began meeting in September last year to begin redrawing the lines of the Senate, of the State Assembly and Congressional Districts. The state’s elective districts are redrawn once every decade after the completion of the US census.

Directors are expected to receive an annual salary of $ 145,000.

“Payroll has been set for us and all the money is now accessible,” Breakell said Friday to kick off the regular committee meeting.

The Commissioners thanked Blatt and Breakell for working for months without compensation.

The commission, which operates separately from the state legislature, has posted active job postings to interview and hire a director of public engagement, deputy director of engagement, data manager and a office manager.

“We’re getting resumes and we’re going to start the interview process now that the payroll has been set, so good news everywhere,” Breakell added.

The directors will also hire a deputy co-executive director, who will not be posted publicly.

The couple worked long hours for around eight months without pay, as commissioners waited for state officials to create the entity and grant the organization access to $ 4 million in the budget approved by the Legislative Assembly for 2021-22. The state comptroller’s office created the commission this month and finalized the group’s payroll this week.

Each member of the Independent Redistribution Commission will receive an annual salary of $ 25,000.

The commissioners unanimously voted David Imamura, a litigation associate at Manhattan-based Debevoise & Plimpton LLP, as chairman and Jack Martins, a former three-term Republican senator from Long Island’s 7th District, as vice chairman to assist to lead the group.

“I am delighted to have been elected chairman of this commission,” said Imamura. “It has been a real privilege to sit with you on this commission over the past year. Amid all the uproar over fundraising, we forget how truly unique and remarkable it is that for the first time New York voters will have the opportunity to weigh in on the lines themselves. In 2014 voters called for a new process, and I think we have to fulfill that mandate and I hope that together we can open up and ensure a transparent process for all New Yorkers – not just three men in a room. .

Commissioner Ivelisse Cuevas-Molina, professor of political science at Fordham University, was the first to appoint Imamura.

“As commissioner, he has taken on the duties and responsibilities of chairing the commission’s public meetings over the past few months (and) doing a remarkable job even as he has become a new father,” she said. declared. “In addition, I am of the opinion and I hope that it is the opinion of those who appreciate the diversity of our country and our State, that it is of major importance that the president of the commission do fastest growing part of the population. United States and that this community deserves more representation in our public sphere. Commissioner Imamura will do so. “

Commissioner John Flateau, professor of commerce at Medgar Evers College in CUNY, seconded the nomination, noting that Imamura is the first Asian American in the state’s history to sit on a redistribution commission.

Commissioner Charles Nesbitt nominates Martins for Vice-Chair, seconded by Commissioner Ross Brady.

“Jack has shown great leadership during his time on the commission, I think interacting with you, David, in a very effective way,” said Nesbitt. “We will be happy that this service continues as one of our leaders.”

Martins thanked the committee for choosing him as vice-chairman.

“We have a lot of work to do and it’s great to finally be able to really get the job done,” said Martins. “It’s a tough job, but I know we’re up to it.”

Martins reflected on the importance of the commission, which will receive input from New Yorkers, public organizations and other entities, in drawing fair maps and keeping affected communities together in elected districts.

“I see representatives of our great state from all over, from all kinds of backgrounds, from all different points of view,” said Martins, recalling how his parents immigrated to the state of Portugal less than 20 years ago. 50 years.

“Here we are, being part of the Independent Redistribution Commission, and taking part of this story as an immigrant household and understanding what some of these immigrant households are looking at,” Martins added.

Blatt and Breakell met with web developers to create the Public Engagement Commission website, to post agendas and tapes of meetings and dates of public hearings. Administrators expect to receive cost and time estimates from vendors next week, with the site going live within two weeks to one month, Blatt said.

The Independent State Redistribution Commission will have two offices – one in Manhattan and another in the Albany area.

Commissioners on Friday unanimously passed bylaws to be posted on the group’s website and adopted a budget of $ 4 million, including $ 1,000,040 for personal services and $ 2,960,000 for non-personal services. .

New York voters approved a constitutional amendment in 2014 to change the redistribution process from the 2020 census.

The commission’s first maps are due to be released by September 15 and submitted to the Legislature by January 2022. The new state lines are expected to be in place for the 2022 election. Until the change of 2014 , state legislators drew district maps requiring passage through both chambers of the Legislative Assembly.

Eight commissioners are appointed by Assembly Speaker Carl Heastie, D-Bronx; Senate Majority Leader Andrea Stewart-Cousins, D-Yonkers; Assembly Minority Leader William Barclay, R-Pulaski; and Senate Minority Leader Robert Ortt, R-North Tonawanda.

Ortt is expected to appoint someone to the committee by June 5 after former commissioner George Winner resigned on May 5.

New legislative lines for the state and the US Congress are supposed to be in place for the 2022 election.

The Democrats’ new constitutional amendment plan must again be approved by a separately elected session of the Legislative Assembly. The draft constitutional amendment is expected to be presented to voters in the November 2 ballot.

The next committee is due to meet at 10 a.m. on June 11.

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