More than 200 Residents Apply to Serve on Dutchess County Independent Reapportionment Commission

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More than 200 Residents Apply to Serve on Dutchess
County Independent Reapportionment Commission

Lawsuit, which would have prevented new Commission
selection, Dismissed by County Supreme Court

Poughkeepsie, NY … Earlier this month, Dutchess County Executive Marc Molinaro forwarded to the County Legislature a list of 243 candidates to be considered for appointment to the seven-member Dutchess County Independent Reapportionment Commission, in accordance with Dutchess County Local Law No. 4 of 2021. The Commission will be responsible for drawing legislative districts, as required by the Dutchess County Charter, utilizing the data from the 2020 federal census. The Commission is detached from Legislative authority or influence to ensure equal and fair representation to the people of Dutchess County.

A new recruitment for candidates to fill the vacancies to reconstitute the Commission was necessary after an ineligible selection was disqualified last year from the previous Commission, requiring the Commission’s disbandment by law. A legal motion seeking an injunction to prevent the dissolution and disbandment of the prior Commission was denied by Dutchess County Supreme Court Justice Hal Greenwald and filed earlier this week.

County Executive Molinaro said, “We are very pleased that independent redistricting can proceed in Dutchess County, free from the distraction of unnecessary and unwarranted lawsuits. The court has determined that sound practices have been followed to preserve the integrity of the Independent Reapportionment Committee. We have forwarded to the Legislature a broad and diverse pool of candidates who represent a wide cross-section of our community, and who are eager to be involved in this important work. We thank all who applied, and look forward to the Legislature’s careful deliberation in selecting the most capable committee possible to ensure fair and equal representation for the residents of Dutchess County.”

The new candidate pool includes those who originally applied to serve on the Commission in 2020 as well as those from who applied this past fall. The County Legislature will now select initial appointments to the Commission from this candidate pool no later than Feb. 1st: Two members are to be appointed by the Legislature’s majority leader, with two more appointed by the Legislature’s minority leader. Those four members will then select the additional three members no later than Feb. 15th.

All candidates who applied to serve on the Independent Reapportionment Commission, and who were included in the candidate pool, affirmed they met the qualifications to serve on the Commission which state a resident must:

• be a resident of Dutchess County;
• be registered to vote in Dutchess County;
• have not served as an elected official or member or officer of any political committee in the last three years; and
• have not been employed by New York State, Dutchess County Government or any town, city or village municipal government with Dutchess County in the last three years.

The Independent Reapportionment Commission will review the data from 2020 Census data, received this past fall, to draw new County legislative districts for the 2023 election cycle.

Author: Harlem Valley News