§ C-10 Commission on Reapportionment (Redistricting)
A. A Commission on Reapportionment shall be established pursuant to this section. It shall meet as soon as practicable after the availability of data from each decennial census to evaluate existing legislative districts to the maximum extent practicable pursuant to the process established herein and reapportion them as necessary to meet established standards in state and federal law for equal and fair representation of all people in Ulster County, keeping districts compact and contiguous while taking also into account existing town, city, village and election district boundaries, defining geographic features, and equal population within applicable law, but giving no consideration to providing advantage to one or another political party. This Commission shall consist of seven members who are County residents, are registered to vote in Ulster County, represent the geographic and demographic diversity of Ulster County, and are not currently, nor have been for the three years preceding the formation of the Commission, elected officials, employees of New York State, Ulster County or any town, city or village in that County, or members or officers of any political committee.
B. To establish a pool from which Commission members will be appointed, the County Executive shall, no later than June 1 of each year ending in zero, commence the process for widely soliciting interest in serving on the Commission through methods such as direct mail and e-mail, contact with civic groups, public service announcements on radio and television and in daily and weekly newspapers, paid advertisement and announcement on the County website. A report of the process and a list containing the names of the people in the pool of candidates qualified to serve as members of the Commission shall be submitted to the Clerk of the County Legislature no later than September 1 of each year ending in zero.
C. Initial appointments to the Commission on Reapportionment from the pool of interested parties gathered in this manner shall represent the demographic and geographic diversity of the County and shall be made no later than January 1 of each year ending in “1” with two members appointed by the Legislature's majority leader and two members by the Legislature's minority leader.
D. (1) The four appointed Commissioners shall select the additional three Commission members from the previously-established pool no later than January 15 of each year ending in “1” and shall represent the geographic and demographic diversity of the County. In the event that all of the three additional Commission members are not appointed by the prescribed January 15 deadline, the appointment of the initial four members and additional members appointed by the four Commissioners will no longer have force and effect, and these members will no longer be eligible to serve on the Commission on Reapportionment.
(2) The majority and minority leaders will then make new appointments, other than any previously selected who could not agree on the selection of the three additional members, in the manner prescribed in Subsection C above no later than February 1 of each year ending in ”1.” The four newly appointed members will appoint three additional members as set forth above by February 15 of each year ending in “1.” In the event that all of the three additional Commission members are not appointed by the prescribed February 15 deadline, the appointment of the initial four members and additional members appointed by the four Commissioners will no longer have force and effect, and these members will no longer be eligible to serve on the Commission on Reapportionment.
(3) The majority and minority leaders will then make new appointments, other than any previously selected who could not agree on the selection of the three additional members, in the manner prescribed in Subsection C above but no later than March 1 of each year ending in “1.”
(4) In the event that these four Commission members fail to select all of the three additional members by March 15 of each year ending in “1.” then by April 1 of each year ending in "1," the three additional members of the Commission shall be selected by a drawing of names from a receptacle containing the names of the remaining members of the pool of interested parties that the four Commissioners have agreed by majority vote meet the criteria set forth in § C-10A of this Charter. The four newly appointed members shall verify that the receptacle contains the names of all remaining members of the pool of interested parties. The County Clerk shall draw three names from the receptacle containing the names of all of the remaining interested parties. If the four newly appointed members determine that any one of the three additional members together with the four appointed members thus selected do not represent the criteria set forth in § C-10A of this Charter, the process shall be repeated with respect to the number of additional members to be appointed. The rejected members shall not be placed back in the receptacle. This process shall be repeated until a majority of the four members determine that the three additional members together with the four appointed members represent the criteria set forth in § C-10A of this Charter. The three names thus selected shall constitute the three additional members of the Commission on Reapportionment.
(5) A vacancy in any Reapportionment Commission shall be filled in the manner that the vacant position was originally filled. A vacancy shall be filled no later than 15 days from the date of the vacancy.
E. The first meeting of the Commission shall be convened by the County Executive no later than 15 days after it is fully appointed for the purposes of receiving its charge and determining how a Chairperson will be selected. The Commission shall decide at its first meeting by majority vote of the entire membership of the Commission if it will have a Chairperson and Vice Chairperson by election or a Chairperson by rotation.
(1) Chairperson and Vice Chairperson by Election
The Commission shall elect a Chairperson and Vice Chairperson at its first meeting by majority vote of the entire membership of the Commission. The Chairperson and/or the Vice Chairperson may be removed from his/her seat by a two-thirds vote of the entire membership of the Commission. A vote for removal of the Chairperson and/or Vice Chairperson may be called by any member of the Commission. A vote for removal from the seat of Chairperson or Vice Chairperson is not a vote for removal from the Commission.
In the event of a vacancy in the seat of Chairperson or Vice Chairperson, the vacancy shall be filled by a majority vote of the entire Commission immediately thereafter, but in no event shall it be later than at its next scheduled meeting immediately following the vacancy.
(2) Chairperson by Rotation
The position of Chairperson shall rotate each meeting. The position shall rotate among the Commissioners in alphabetical order by surname commencing with the Commissioner whose surname begins with the letter appearing earliest in the alphabet. A Commissioner may elect to not sit as the Chairperson, in which event, the Chair shall move to the next Commissioner in the rotation. Should a Commissioner elect to not serve as Chairperson at any point during the rotation, this decision shall not result in the forfeiture of future turns to serve as Chairperson.
F. Powers and duties of the Commission; hearings; submissions and approval of the plan.
(1) Following each decennial census, the Commission shall divide the County into 23 single member districts as set forth in § C-8 of this Charter for the election of County Legislators. The Commission shall be solely limited to creating district boundary lines delineating each of the 23 legislative districts. The Commission shall have no power or authority to increase or decrease the number of legislative districts as that power and authority shall vest solely with the Ulster County Legislature, Ulster County Executive and the electorate pursuant to the Ulster County Charter and § 23 of Municipal Home Rule Law. The Commission shall be guided by the criteria set forth in § C-10A of the County Charter.
(2) To the maximum extent practicable, each of the 23 single member legislative districts shall be created, taking into consideration § C-10 A of this Charter.
(3) The Commission shall hold one or more public hearings on or prior to May 20 of each year ending in "2" and shall make its draft plan available to the public for inspection and comment not less than 10 days before such public hearing.
(4) The Commission shall prepare and adopt, by majority vote, a final plan for reapportionment and file its plan with the Ulster County Board of Elections on or before July 20 of each year ending in "2".
(5) The Commission’s reapportionment plan shall have the force and effect of law and shall be deemed the reapportionment plan of the County Legislature commencing with the general election in the year ending in "3."
(6) The Ulster County Board of Elections shall make adjustments as may be necessary and appropriate to comply with the adopted plan.
I. The County Legislature shall appropriate such funds as it deems are necessary for the Commission to effectively conduct its business. The expenditure of such funds shall be under the sole control and discretion of the Commission subject to the provisions set forth in this Charter and applicable federal, state, and local laws.
J. The Reapportionment Commission shall be dissolved on the day following the general election in years ending in “3.”