Keeping the politicians out of redistricting

The Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission convenes once a decade to perform one of the most essential tasks in city government. The cynical view of city...

Light Turnout for City Auditor’s Meetings

Light Turnout for City Auditor’s Meetings

Five scheduled meetings drew fewer than ninety
people, but keen interest shown among attendees

by Ken Martin
© The Austin Bulldog 2012
Posted Tuesday January 29, 2013 3:47pm
Correction posted 4:29pm Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Ken MoryCity Auditor Ken Mory and his staff are doing their utmost to reach out to the public and provide information that would encourage Austin voters to apply to serve on one of the two bodies that will shape Austin’s future for decades to come.

The action is a result of voter approval November 6 of Proposition 3, which orders the implementation of 10 geographic council districts from which Austin City Council members will be elected in November 2014. Another charter amendment approved by voters dictates that council elections will be held in November of even-numbered years, council members will serve four-year terms (instead of three years), and will be limited to two terms (instead of three). Incumbents can run in spite of term limits if they gather signatures of 5 percent of registered voters to gain access to the ballot.

The auditor hosted five application public information meetings over an eight-day period starting Saturday January 19 and ending Saturday January 26. A total of about 87 people attended those meetings. About 14 of those were Bowie High School students who attended the January 24 meeting at Gorzycki Middle School as part of a government class. So at most the meetings drew about 73 people who might have been eligible to serve.

City Auditor Kicks Off Info Sessions

City Auditor Kicks Off Info Sessions

Drawing maps for 10 City Council districts
attracts citizens who want to get involved

by Ken Martin
© 2012 The Austin Bulldog
Posted January 22, 2013 2:33pm

The historic opportunity to draw districts from which 10 Austin City Council members will be elected in November 2014 was enough to draw a Saturday morning crowd to the Carver Branch Library. The end result will be to change the election of council members from and all-at-large system that has existed since 1953 to elect council members from geographic districts.

Ken MorySome 30 people interested in learning more about opportunities to serve on the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC) or Applicant Review Panel attended City Auditor Ken Mory’s first public application information session. Four more such meetings are scheduled for this week (see schedule below).

Information supplied by Opinion Analysts Inc. indicates that 35,418 people meet the minimum requirements to serve on the ICRC by having been registered to vote for five years and having voted in three of the last five May elections. (That number will be reduced somewhat once conflicts of interest that bar service are taken into account.) The City Auditor’s office will mail two invitations to apply to serve on the ICRC to each of these.

Bumpy Road to Implementing 10-1

Bumpy Road to Implementing 10-1

Council refuses to pay for child care, mileage.
Applications to serve taken Jan. 19 to Feb. 22

by Ken Martin
© The Austin Bulldog 2013
Posted Thursday January 17, 2013 4:30pm

The citizens group that got Proposition 3’s 10-1 plan for electing council members approved by voters is feeling betrayed by the City Council's decision to deny reimbursement of virtually all out-of-pocket expenses for people who serve on the Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission (ICRC).

The City Council passed a Resolution this morning that applies existing policies for city employees to govern reimbursement of members of the ICRC and the Applicant Review Panel.

Fred LewisAttorney Fred Lewis, who drafted the final version of the Proposition 3 Ordinance that voters approved said, “The Charter amendment passed by voters said we would have citizen commissioners and personal expenses would be reimbursed. At the time the petition was underway it was made clear that we would pay for child care and mileage. And now the City Council has decided to jack with us.”

The provision for reimbursement was included in the Proposition 3 Ordinance approved by voters November 6. (The Ordinance is now incorporated in the City Charter, Article II, Section 3 titled “Redistricting.”)

Citizens Redistricting Forum December 4

City Auditor Ken Mory announced a public forum will be held to encourage participation in the Citizens Independent Redistricting Commission (CIRC) and secure a large and diverse pool of qualified applicants.