Members of the City of Brookhaven’s redistricting committee are bickering over when to meet this week as they face a deadline Thursday to propose a new map of the city council district.
The city’s redistricting website said the eight-member committee plans to hold an online meeting at 6 p.m. Monday to discuss the proposed maps and possibly take a vote. The public could see a live broadcast of the meeting, according to the website.
But the three Democrats on the committee did not agree to Monday’s meeting and may boycott it unless it is held in person, Democratic co-chair Rabia Aziz told Newsday.
“It’s not carved in stone that we will have a meeting on the 12th,” Aziz said Friday, adding that Monday’s meeting was announced by Republican co-chairman Ali Nazir. “It’s not something that should be online. It should be in person. … If it’s not in person, I don’t think the Dems are going to show up.
Nazir declined to comment.
A re-distribution is needed because 2020 Federal Census data shows that two of Brookhaven’s six districts – Council Districts 2 and 6 – do not meet the population rules. All districts must be within 5% of approximately 81,000 people, or about one-sixth of Brookhaven’s total population of 475,000.
Any map adopted by the committee would be submitted to city council, which must approve a final map by December 15. Residents are also encouraged to submit proposed maps through the city’s website by Thursday.
Six votes are required for the committee to recommend a card. The panel includes three Republicans, three Democrats and two non-party members. Records show that the two independents, Chad Lennon of Rocky Point and Krystina Sconzo of Mastic Beach, are registered members of the Conservative Party.
Democratic committee member George Hoffman told Newsday that it would be easier for committee members to review the maps if they were together in one room.
“Something as important as redrawing district lines for the next 10 years shouldn’t be done on Zoom,” he said. “If we want to come to a consensus, I think the best way to do that is to meet in person.”
Two draft maps prepared for the committee by Schenectady-based Skyline Consulting drew criticism from residents for moving parts of the Port Jefferson and Terryville train station from the council’s District 1, represented by Democrat Jonathan Kornreich, in District 2, represented by Republican Jane Bonner.
Hoffman told Newsday that a new draft map would keep the hamlets in District 1.
Port Jefferson Station-Terryville Civic Association Vice President Salvatore Pitti said splitting communities would disrupt ongoing downtown revitalization efforts.
“It’s taken us so long to get to this point,” Pitti told Newsday. “For us, it would have been just another delay.”