Apportionment Commission meeting to decide 2022-2031 County Commission representation

Residents of Washtenaw County are represented at the Washtenaw Country Board of Commissioners by nine elected county commisioners. That's one commissioner per 41,000 residents, about the State average.

After each ten year National Census we're given the opportunity to revise the number and boundaries of representation at every level, from local to national.  Population data is reviewed by the five member 2021 Washtenaw County Apportionment Commission.  The board has been meeting since June 21st.

Washtenaw County Clerk Lawrence Kestenbaum recommends a slight modification to the existing 9 member commission districts.  This and nine alternative maps were discussed at the October 18th Apportionment Board meeting.

 

2022-2031 Apportionment Commission Meetings resources (Apportionment Commission Data)

Meeting Notice Agenda Meeting Recording Minutes Communications
June 21, 2021 Agenda Meeting Recording Approved Minutes  
July 27, 2021 Agenda Meeting Recording Approved Minutes  
August 16, 2021 Agenda Meeting Recording Approved Minutes  
August 30, 2021 Agenda Meeting Recording Approved Minutes  
September 11, 2021 Public Hearing Agenda Meeting Recording Approved Minutes  
September 18, 2021 Public Hearing Agenda Meeting Recording Approved Minutes  
September 27, 2021 Public Hearing Agenda Meeting Recording Approved Minutes Written Comments
October 5, 2021 Agenda Meeting Recording Approved Minutes  
October 11, 2021 Agenda Meeting Recording Approved Minutes Written Comments
October 18, 2021 Agenda Meeting Recording Draft Minutes Written Comments
October 25, 2021 Agenda      

 

Apportionment Commission info:

Apportionment Commission members

  • Lawrence Kestenbaum (Chairperson), Washtenaw County Clerk & Register of Deeds

  • David Frey (Vice Chairperson), Washtenaw County Republican Party Chair

  • Catherine McClary, Washtenaw County Treasurer

  • Eli Savit, Washtenaw County Prosecuting Attorney

  • Chris Savage, Washtenaw County Democratic Party Chair

 

The Dirty Details of Decision

 

Timeline for Approval of the 2022 Apportionment Plan

  • June - August, 2021: Organizational meeting and planning discussions
  • September, 2021: Receive official US Census Bureau population data, hold public hearings, draft maps & plans
  • October, 2021: Hold public meetings to consider draft maps & plans
  • By November 15, 2021 at Noon: Adopt final plan
  • Court of Appeals Order Extending Apportionment Plan Deadline (PDF)

Today's the day to support your favorite and fairest Washtenaw County Commissioner representation plan.

  • How to Offer Your Input (Apportionment Commission webpage instructions)

  • The Washtenaw County Apportionment Commission is currently seeking input regarding the number of County Commissioner districts and location of district boundaries to be incorporated into the 2022 Apportionment Plan. This plan will become effective for 10 years beginning in 2022. There are several ways to provide input:
  • Attend an upcoming meeting
  • Submit written comments & attachments using the Commission's online Public Input form
  • Submit written comments & attachments by mail or in-person to: Washtenaw County Apportionment Commission, c/o Washtenaw County Clerk - Elections Division, 200 N. MainStreet, Suite 120, Ann Arbor, MI 48104
  • Submit written comments by fax to (734) 222-6528 

This Washtenaw County website link is where you submit your comments:

 

Here is the letter we recommend attaching to your comment.  What's in the letter is what's below.  It was composed by Tom Hatch.

 

 

ApportionmentMap 9 Member by Clerk L Kestenbaum

This is the updated map proposed by County Clerk Lawrence Kestenbaum

 

MichiganResidentsPerCountyCommissioner2021

Nine Michigan Counties have populations over 200,000 residents

 

The contents of the included letter:

Attn: Washtenaw County Apportionment Commission

Via upload @ https://www.washtenaw.org/formcenter/clerk-25/washtenaw-county--apportionment-commiss-199

Dear Commission Members:

I am writing in support of the proposed map a copy of which is attached and identified as (Current Districts Modified by Clerk/Register Lawrence Kestenbaum) and shown on: https://washtenaw.maps.arcgis.com/apps/View/index.html?appid=c1a72b7c88aa4fad80cb4147dd84e83d .

The current structure of a nine member Board of Commissioners serves the residents of Washtenaw County well and should not be changed.

I support maintaining the current structure based in part on the following:

  1. Effective Government
    1. Increasing the number of Commissioners will:
      1. Cause a dilution of each Commissioner’s vote resulting in minority opinions having less influence.
      2. Increase factionalism as a result of each Commissioner representing less diverse communities.
      3. Leave less room for consensus.
      4. Within each district less diversity of interest will result in increasing divisiveness and extremism where majority opinion will dominate without listening or negotiating with minority views.
      5. Result in longer meetings and more grandstanding.
      6. Result in less time for public comment and physical space for the public in the meeting room.
  2. Increasing the number of Commissioners is a poor use of limited County resources.
    1. The County Administrator estimates the cost of each additional commissioner will result in a recurring cost of approximately $50,000 for each new commissioner every year.
    2. The County Administrator estimates the cost of increasing the number of Commissioners will result in a one-time cost of more than $220,000 for such things as to modify the physical space, and to provide working tools such as laptops and mobile phones.
    3. Every penny spent on Commissioners takes away from the County’s core focus on providing for the wellbeing of its residents, including the most vulnerable.
    4. Money spent on additional Commissioners will not be available to the County wide departments such as the Prosecutor and the Treasurer’s offices.
  3. Increasing the number of Commissioners will result in more Bureaucratic power and authority.
    1. Increasing factionalism and the greater difficulty in the Board acting by consensus will weaken the direction the Board gives the Bureaucracy.
    2. With less clear oversight the Bureaucracy will take the responsibility and authority to make decisions without effective oversight.
    3. Commissioners are directly accountable to the residents and with less authority they will be less able to provide outcomes for the benefit of their respective constituents.
  4. Increasing the number of Commissioners will result in less responsiveness.
    1. There will be less time for public comment and space for the public in the meeting room.
    2. There will be less money for public communication as funds are diverted to pay for the costs associate with additional Commissioners.
    3. The ability of each Commissioner to communicate with Administration will be reduced.
  5. The current structure is effective and responsive.
    1. Commissioners report no issue responding to constituents inquiries.
  6. An increase in the number of Commissioners would be out of the norm when comparing Washtenaw to its peers (see attached).
    1. 47,531 is the average number of residents per commissioner for Michigan counties with more than 200,000 residents.
    2. 41,333 is the Washtenaw average with 9 commissioners.
    3. 21,882 would be the Washtenaw average with 15 commissioners.
    1. This map balances population taking into consideration changes over time.
    2. It also addresses some communities of interest issues present in the current map.

Sincerely,

Washtenaw County Resident