Putnam Creates Redistricting Panel

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Montgomery questions balance of members

The Putnam Legislature voted Tuesday (Sept. 6) to create a commission that will recommend changes to the county’s nine districts based on 2020 census figures that showed the county lost about 2,000 people since 2010. 

A resolution creating a redistricting commission described as “bipartisan” was approved 6-1, with Nancy Montgomery, whose district includes Philipstown and part of Putnam Valley, voting “no.” (Two legislators were absent.) 

As in the past, the commission will be chaired by the legislative counsel and include the legislative chair (Neal Sullivan) and Rules Committee chair (Toni Addonizio), both Republicans. It will also include Jennifer Bumgarner, the county attorney; Thomas Lannon, the director of information technology; and Catherine Croft and Kelly Primavera, the Democratic and Republican elections commissioners. The Legislature also can appoint other members.

Putnam County’s population fell to 97,668, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. Based on the change, its nine districts should average about 10,852 people, or about 227 fewer than under the current boundaries. 

Before the vote, Montgomery introduced a motion to appoint Gary Ditlow, a data scientist from Garrison who expressed interest in serving. (She was told appointments would have to be approved by the Rules Committee.) Montgomery, who is the only Democrat on the Legislature, then introduced a motion to have herself appointed. “I don’t feel this is a truly bipartisan committee,” she said.

Addonizio invited Ditlow to attend the next Rules meeting. “I have no objection to this gentleman,” she said. “I look forward to reading about his qualifications.” 

In Dutchess County, legislators created a commission with two members appointed by Democrats, two by Republicans and the remaining three by the four appointees. 

That commission finished its work in June, approving a plan that largely left unchanged the two districts that include parts of Beacon.

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