Arizona Redistricting Update
Here are his tweets. You can read them on Twitter as well.
The Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission is about to begin today's meeting. You can watch here:
Here's today's agenda. We'll hear a discussion of the 3 mapping consultants and a possible decision on which firm they'll hire. publicmeetings.az.gov/sites/default/…
While the commissioners were shooting the breeze before the start of the meeting, we learned that Commissioner Mehl's father was a basketball star at the University of Cincinnati.
Commissioner Watchman is having technical problems, so the commission approved the minutes of last week's meeting 4-0
The public comments submitted to the commission are available online. You can check them out here: irc.az.gov/public-meetings
Mehl says he's disappointed that last week's interviews of the 3 mapping firms couldn't be done in public, says they all interviewed very well and the presentations were very detailed. State procurement laws mandated that those interviews be done in executive session.
The IRC has gone into executive session to receive a briefing from legal counsel
The commission has returned from executive session
Chairwoman Neuberg says one thing they discussed is the value of hiring expert witnesses on things like the Voting Rights Act, statisticians and historians, and the need to do so quickly, “given that unique specialties are in high demand.”
They also discussed the value of getting training for the commissioners on things like open meeting law
Commissioners and Exec Director Schmitt are discussing what additional staff the IRC needs to hire. They want a deputy director, PIO, community outreach staffer and IT person.
Last week they hired Valerie Neumann as their executive assistant
After seeing Schmitt's org chart, Lerner says she would support moving forward immediately on hiring process for IT person and deputy director who would serve as public records manager
Here's the org chart that Schmitt presented to the IRC
The IRC has voted 5-0 for Schmitt to post job openings for IT person and deputy director/public records manager
Here comes today's main event: the discussion and possible decision on a mapping consultant
We're going back into executive session to get guidance from legal counsel and ADOA on procurement for mapping consultant
This is the frustrating part about the state procurement process. So much of the work must be done behind closed doors. Unlike the last IRC, they didn't use procurement for legal counsel, so that was a much more open process. Not so for the mapping consultant.
We're back from executive session
Neuberg says they have two options: proceed with scoring of the 3 mapping firms based on last week's presentations and interviews, or give the applicants extra time to respond to the public comments they've received about the consultants
Neuberg: “It sounds like the best sweet spot for us may be to provide these firms with an opportunity to respond to the complaints.”
Dems have submitted a lot of comments against Timmons Group/NDC and Taylor English Decisions
Surprisingly, there doesn't seem to be any public comments submitted by Republicans against HaystaqDNA, which includes the consultants from Strategic Telemetry, the Dem firm that worked for the last IRC.
I've seen GOP lawmakers like @WendyRogersAZ and @AZKellyT urging people to oppose HaystaqDNA, but surprisingly no comments submitted to the IRC. The hiring of Strategic Telemetry was highly controversial 10 years ago due to the firm's Dem ties.
Once again, the IRC has gone into executive session, this time to discuss training on open meeting laws
No technical difficulties as this time. Last time they went into executive session someone left the the livestream going, so legal counsel Roy Herrera got caught on a hot mic saying something about problems with the procurement officer.
Before going into executive session, the IRC voted to give the 3 mapping consultant applicants access to public comments so they can respond at next week's meeting.
The public comment period was also extended to Thursday