The Long and Winding Road to 10-1
The steps to a December adoption of a district plan
Plan A: The Applicant Review Panel and the Independent Commission
Part A: Recruiting a Panel and Appointing a Commission
• Gather a pool. (In progress; deadline: March 14)
• Based on the redistricting charter amendment, City Auditor's Office drafts guidelines for selection of would-be commissioners.
• Realize amendment severely limits potential pool; entertain calls from charter authors to expand commission eligibility.
• Auditor drafts eight-page application, including two-page glossary that defines basic terms for would-be commissioners.
• Receive grudging approval of Austinites for Geographic Representation for draft application.
Part B: Selecting the Review Panel
• Create a pool of qualified applicants for the Applicant Review Panel – only Certified Public Accountants need apply – to find three randomly selected auditors. Note shortage of CPAs in year's first quarter: tax time! (Deadline: Feb. 25)
• Auditor conducts random drawing to select three panelists from applicant pool of CPAs. (Congrats! You now have an applicant review panel.) Exhale. (Deadline: Feb. 27)
• Applicant review panelists select 60 "most qualified" commission applicants who have no "conflicts of interest" (see Charter: Ignorance is bliss). (Deadline: May 16)
• Council members may each strike one commissioner for any reason, slightly shrinking pool. (Deadline: May 22)
• City Auditor randomly selects eight commissioners from remaining pool. (Deadline: May 22)
• The chosen eight commissioners select an additional six commissioners from the larger pool, reflecting racial, ethnic, gender, and geographic diversity, and including at least one college student. (Deadline: TBD)
Part C: Adopting a District Plan
Not so fast!
• No communication with City Council members or their staff
• Commission selects chair and vice chair.
• Hire legal counsel, consultants, and technical assistance, as necessary.
• Hold at least eight public hearings, with two in each of the four Travis County precincts.
• Present preliminary plan, followed by four more hearings, one in each of four county precincts.
• Vote on final plan, followed by two more public hearings – one north of Lady Bird Lake, one south of the lake.
• Allow at least five days of written public comments.
• Final plan adopted. (Deadline: TBD.)
Or ... Plan B: Alternative Redistricting Plan (Too Short and Simple to Ever Be Adopted)
• City Council appoints citizen committee (e.g., along lines of Charter Revision Committee, which initially recommended the 10-1 plan).
• CRC or similar committee appoints three to five independent commissioners, selected for their experience and good judgment.
• Commissioners hire such legal counsel and redistricting expertise as necessary.
• Commission draws preliminary districting plan.
• Commission receives public comment on preliminary plan.
• Commission adopts final districting plan.
Note: Redistricting plan must be geographically compact and contiguous, and respect neighborhoods, communities of interest, election precincts, and identifiable geographical boundaries.