Redistricting Sullivan County

Posted 8/23/22

MONTICELLO, NY — The Sullivan County Legislature chose the third option of the available redistricting maps at a full board meeting on Thursday, August 18.

The legislature voted 5-4 in favor …

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Redistricting Sullivan County


MONTICELLO, NY — The Sullivan County Legislature chose the third option of the available redistricting maps at a full board meeting on Thursday, August 18.

The legislature voted 5-4 in favor of the map, splitting along established faction lines: the Republican contingent led by chair Rob Doherty voted in favor of option 3, while the Democratic contingent with the addition of Joe Perrello voted against all three maps.

The map makes numerous changes across the county’s nine legislative districts. It puts the Town of Highland entirely into district 1; the old map split it between districts 1 and 2. The new map splits the village of Jeffersonville from the Town of Callicoon, placing Jeffersonville into District 1 and leaving the majority of the town in District 5. The county’s largest towns—Liberty, Fallsburg, Thompson and Mamakating—were split between multiple districts in the old map and remained so in the new map, though the divisions shifted.

Click here to view the proposed and adopted redistricting maps.

Critics of the map had complaints about the process by which the legislature chose it.

The day opened at 8:30 a.m. with a public hearing on the maps, recessed from a public hearing the previous week. The hearing remained open for under a minute, with Doherty closing the hearing immediately after it opened; the members of the public present did not get a chance to speak.

Doherty pointed to a technicality in the rules to explain his decision to close the hearing. Everyone present for that hearing had already spoken the previous Thursday; because the hearing on the 18th was a recessed hearing from that earlier date, they weren’t eligible to speak again.

Those present for the public hearing stayed until the legislature’s full board meeting and gave their comments then.

Numerous requests for more information and numerous questions about the maps had gone unanswered, said commenters. While the public hearing of the previous week had brought new information to the table, commenters considered it to be occurring too late in the process.

“The vote should not be rushed,” said Liberty resident Martha Scoppa. The wording of the contract with Main Street Communications, the consulting group that drew up the maps, might not have required it come back and answer questions, as legislators and members of the public had requested. But “it’s obvious that there are questions that need answers.”

Following the meeting’s public-comment period, legislators engaged in heated discussion over whether the process had been rushed.

The Democratic contingent with Joe Perrello pushed for taking more time. Perrello had spoken with the Board of Elections and confirmed that it would not work on the maps until January; the previous week, county manager Josh Potosek and director of real property tax services Chris Knapp had suggested it would take six months to complete the maps, requiring the legislators to complete their vote by September.

Doherty pushed back against the suggestion that the vote had been rushed.

“We sent out the RFP in January and received it back on February 10. We then put on a resolution on April 7 to award the contract and move the process. We then all received the maps over two months ago; they were out in the public now for over 10 weeks. They’re out there. There’s other work to be done. I don’t feel that this is being rushed at all.”

“There are many negative comments from the public,” responded legislator Nadia Rajsz. “So obviously these maps are not going down [well]; they’re not very palatable.”

Legislator Alan Sorensen said that, in his review, there were pluses and minuses to each of the maps, though demographics and the rules of the process had limited what options there were for redistricting. “We’re never going to arrive at a map that everyone’s happy with.”

redistricting, Sullivan County, Sullivan County Legislature, legislative maps


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