MAYVILLE - The county's new reapportionment commission will meet at 1:30 p.m. Saturday in the legislative chambers on the third floor of the Gerace Office Building in Mayville.
At that time, Democrat and Republican members of the commission will present their respective plans for redistricting and downsizing the County Legislature.
The meeting will be open to the public and will feature a "Privilege of the Floor" portion, during which time individuals can address the commission about reapportionment. Following public comment though, commission members will discuss the issue among themselves - not with those in attendance.
As explained by Legislature Chairman Fred Croscut, R-Sherman, the plans will be far from finished when presented Saturday. If the legislators can agree on a plan to proceed with, the work will then be turned over to the county attorney's office.
"There will be no legal descriptions with our plan," Croscut said Wednesday. "We're not able to do that. The attorney does that. Similarly, there will not be any election districts set up at the time, that's what the Board of Elections does. ... I'd like to think that if the committee can agree on a number (of legislators) and a map, that we can have that to the attorney by early next week so that they can start to do the legal descriptions."
Croscut is not only chair of the legislature, but chair of the reapportionment commission. Also on the commission are Majority Leader Larry Barmore, R-Gerry; Minority Leader Rudy Mueller, D-Lakewood; Assistant Majority Leader David Himelein, R-Findley Lake and John Gullo, D-Fredonia.
The commission was created and its members appointed at the legislature's March 23 meeting. Also at that meeting, legislators learned of the short timeframe which the commission has to come up with and finalize its proposal. In order to be voted on at a special meeting scheduled for April 20, the plan has to be mailed out to legislators on or before April 8.
As a result, though the commission has not yet met, legislators on the commission have begun work independently of each other. To further expedite the process, Croscut said Wednesday that the Republican caucus has retained outside help.
"I don't know who's working with Dr. Mueller, but we, very honestly, have hired a private consultant," Croscut said. "When you don't know something about something, you've got to get the facts. Now, I know something about agriculture, but I knew nothing about redistricting going into this. And I'm not afraid to admit that. We had the opportunity to hire a private consultant through non-public funds and we took that opportunity."
With the legislature's chambers being as big as they are, Croscut said he hopes to have either maps printed out or presented on a screen for those in attendance.
"We're going to do our best," Croscut said. "We're trying to keep people informed and, though we don't have a map right now, if we complete one, that's what we're going to present. ... But Rudy and I will discuss where we're going, how we got there and maybe give a demonstration on how you move the census blocks around. I personally would like to be able to do that with the consultant that we have. I think it will be a really good lesson in how these figures are all put together, how we came up with a plan based on the census data."