By Jeremy Duda | Arizona Mirror
Before the Arizona Independent Redistricting Commission chooses the mapping consultant that will help turn its proposed district boundaries into reality, it wants to give the three finalists an opportunity to respond to the criticism that’s been leveled at them.
All three finalists have partisan baggage that has animated Republicans and Democrats to oppose the firms they view as hostile to their interests.
The commission heard presentations from and conducted interviews with the three firms last week, and could have made a decision on which one to hire at its meeting Tuesday. Under the state’s procurement system, the five commissioners must give each of the three applicants a score based on a set of predetermined criteria, and that score guides their decision on who to hire.
Instead, they decided to extend the official public comment period regarding mapping consultants through the end of Thursday, and the consulting firms will have until Monday to submit written responses. The commissioners will address the comments at their next meeting on Tuesday.
After discussing the mapping consultant situation in a closed executive session, independent Chairwoman Erika Neuberg said they had two options. They could move forward with their scoring of the three applicants, or the AIRC could give them a chance to provide “clarifying information based on the volume and intensity of the public comments we’ve received”
“It sounds like the best sweet spot for us may be to provide these firms with an opportunity to respond to the complaints,” Neuberg said.
The three finalists to be the AIRC’s mapping consultants are: