BLOOMINGTON (WEEK) – Three retired McLean County judges will head up what is promised to be a bipartisan commission assigned to draw up proposed county board district maps for the next ten years.
Until now, critics have complained the process has been very political, just like redistricting of state legislative districts that is now underway in Springfield.
Earlier this month, the county board rejected a controversial proposal to reduce the number of districts from 10 to 5. It was a move that many thought was an attempt to increase the influence of rural representatives on the board. Board Chairman John McIntyre was criticized at the time for not appointing a committee earlier in the process.
Monday, McIntyre announced retired Chief Circuit Judges Elizabeth Robb, Kevin Fitzgerald, and John Freese will each lead a panel of eight committee members to draw up proposed district maps.
The three options will be presented to the county board for final action at its July 15 meeting. There will be a public hearing before that in early July.
Committee members were picked with the help of Democratic County Board Member Elizabeth Johnston and Republican County Board Member Jim Soeldner.
It’s called the “Red, White, and Blue” Committee to “reflect the non-political make up of an equal number of community leaders who represent pivotal areas of the county, such as: diverse populations, commercial businesses, agriculture, judiciary, universities and social services, to name a few,” said McIntyre in a prepared statement.
“No secret room. No closed doors. No unrecorded conversations on the taxpayers’ dime,” McIntyre said.
“This process takes the power away from elected board members to draw map boundaries. I have found no evidence that a process this fair has ever occurred in Illinois,” McIntyre also said.
Currently, Republicans hold a narrow 11-9 majority on the county board.
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