There's not a whole lot to report from today's meeting of the Independent Redistricting Commission at the Carnegie Library in Phoenix.
The commission hopes to hire an executive director by the end of April. Commissioner Mathis said she wanted, if possible to accelerate that process. But Dept. of Administration personnel specialists discussed the importance of checking references of candidates, a process that typically takes at least two weeks. Commissioner Stertz said he wanted to be involved in advising ADOA on candidates.
Asst. Attorney General Jim Barton said that while the IRC may deviate from the standard State Procurement Code, to keep from opening up the possibility for litigation, he recommends adhering to the Code.
Discussion of options for renting office space focused on available locations in the Capitol Mall area (W. Washington St.). Because of concerns with ADA (Americans with Disabilities Act) compliance, the Evans House (the old house in front of the Dept. of Environmental Quality) was not the sole focus this time. No decisions were made on this item today.
Commissioners approved moving forward with taking over the old IRC's azredistricting.org website. That site is still online and currently is funded by the Legislative Council. Change in management can be taken care of before the next meeting.
Joe Whitmer, Controller at the Arizona Dept. of Administration told the commission that the current year appropriation (FY2011) for the commission is $500,000 and the expected appropriation for FY2012 is $3Million. He was unsure, however, whether the current year appropriation lapses or rolls over. One staffer from the Arizona House of Representatives told me that the amounts are $.5Million non-lapsing for FY2011 and an expected (because the FY2012 state budget has not been approved yet) $2.5Million will be in the next year's budget.
It's oddly intriging that the state controller would come to brief the commission and NOT be able to answer such basic questions. It's also my understanding that Whitmer provided, at the March 9th meeting, a spreadsheet with expenditure data from the first commission. That report only showed expenditures for calendar year 2005 and then only for 11 months. For the Dept. of Administration, which maintains accounting data for all state agencies, to not be able to produce a comprehensive accounting for the entire first ten years of the commission is troubling.
The last agenda item prior to adjournment was discussion on a request by the Council of County Farm Bureau Presidents for a commissioner to speak to their meeting on April 6th. Commissioner Mathis noted that the Council wanted a briefing on the IRC but she thought they might want just as much to give the commission their thoughts on the upcoming redistricting process.
The IRC will meet next at 1pm Friday, April 8 at a location to be determined in Tucson. The agenda (and location) should be available by Wednesday.
Okay, maybe there was a lot to report.