ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — Monroe County Executive Adam Bello introduced new legislation Monday that would create a new task force to redraw the 29 districts of the Monroe County Legislature.
“When I was campaigning for County Executive, I pledged to change the way we do business by taking politics out of County government,” Bello said in a statement. “This independent, citizen led commission would help ensure lasting openness and transparency in this important process, taking it out from behind closed doors and removing those with a vested, political interest in the outcome.”
If approved by the legislature, the eight-member committee would be tasked with redrawing the county’s district lines, once the 2020 United States Census data becomes available. Bello says the proposed Independent Redistricting Commission would take the redistricting process out of the hands of County Legislators and political party leaders for the first time in Monroe County history.
“I have talked to countless Monroe County residents who want an independent and nonpartisan process to determine the next 10 years of County government,” Bello said in a statement. “Our democracy is built on voters picking their representatives, not representatives picking their voters. This is our chance to make real reform to the redistricting process and build confidence in those we represent.”
According to the county executive:
Under this proposed measure, the committee would have one chairperson who would be a member of the commission and would be elected by no fewer than five members of the commission. The eight members of the proposed commission Independent would not be compensated and will consist of the following:
- The two commissioners of the Monroe County Board of Elections
- Two retired judges who maintain their permanent residences in Monroe County, one to be appointed by the Majority Leader of the Monroe County Legislature and one to be appointed by the Minority Leader of the Monroe County Legislature
- Two representatives recommended by a publicly recognized organization committed to voters’ rights, one to be appointed by the Majority Leader and one appointed by the Minority Leader of the Monroe County Legislature
- Two representatives of a publicly recognized organization committed to the rights of racial or ethnic minorities, women, persons who identify as LGBTQ, or persons with disabilities, one to be appointed by the Majority Leader and one to be appointed by the Minority Leader of the Monroe County Legislature
Bello adds that elected officials, political party officials, lobbyists and relatives of those individuals will not be eligible to serve on the commission.
The measure needs to be approved by the legislature.
Monroe County Legislature Minority Leader Vince Felder released a statement Monday evening, saying he has doubts about the plan. It reads:
“This morning’s press release from the Administration was the first time I heard of this idea.
The Monroe County Charter gives the responsibility for drawing district boundaries to the County Legislature as the representatives of the people. This proposal was introduced without having any discussions with leadership in the Legislature. As such I am not inclined to support this legislation, because it violates the separation of powers in the County Charter, which gives the County Executive no role in redistricting.”