Friday, June 3, 2011

Redistricting -- After review, the call on the field stands!

Wow.  Gosh. Golly.

Just HOW testy things did things get on Tuesday? 

The entire recording showed everyone remained completely civil.  But the issues discussed were, indeed, contentious.

The salient points of the discussion boil down to the four questions mapping consultant RFP responders posed.  They posed them to SPO (state procurement office) and SPO relayed them to the IRC.

  • Would the IRC want the contractor to incorporate data from the American Community Survey (see section 8 on the linked page) into the database used to draw the maps?
  • Would the IRC want the contractor to incorporate past election data into the database?
  • Would the IRC require the contractor to verify the accuracy of the Census Data incorporated into the database?
  • Would the IRC consider partial responses to the RFP?
The first three questions are answered in the amendment to the RFP issued on June 1, and referenced in the previous post to this blog.

The fourth question was the focus of the bulk of the 2-hour discussion held publicly.  It would not surprise me if it also took up a good bit of the executive session.

Stertz seemed adamant that the IRC should consider only bidders addressing all phases of the RFP.  However, McNulty, Herrera and Mathis all persisted in suggesting it's reasonable to consider that one contractor may not best fulfill all requirements.  Freeman seemed to recognize the wisdom of leaving options open to hire multiple contractors.

Herrera eventually expressed his frustration with Stertz by wondering out loud if Stertz has a particular contractor he wants to see awarded the contract.  McNulty expressed her frustration by prefacing the motion to go into executive session by saying "the only reason several of us agreed to this RFP is because we were assured by SPO that we could accept partial bids."

At the end of the two hour recording, they finally did go into executive session to consider confidential documents and legal advice.  Stertz resisted that move, explaining why he did not want to do so.  Executive director Bladine interjected that his experience suggests that the more detail they discuss openly (instead of retiring to executive session) the more exposure they get to protests or lawsuits.  Earlier, legal counsel (Joe Kanefield and Mary O'Grady) had advised that discussion of detail should wait until executive session. 

Though Freeman clearly (from his remarks during the discussion) did not take issue with wanting to keep options open for multiple contractors, he did vote with Stertz against the motion to go into executive session.

IRC staff forgot to turn the recorder back on after the executive session.  The Commission did provide guidance for SPO to amend the RFP.  The close date is now, as I've mentioned in the previous post, June 9 at 3pm. 

The Commission will next meet on Monday morning, 10:30am, primarily to consider rating criteria in detail (specifically how to score responses).  Because people showed up at the previous meeting wanting to put comments on the record, Monday's agenda also includes time for public comment.  Bladine told me arrangements have been made to start providing the streaming video online.  Therefore, it is possible, but not certain, the (public portion) of the meeting might be streamed online.

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