District plan is set in mo­tion

Ap­pli­cants sought to help draw new coun­cil dis­tricts.

Austin American-Statesman - - METRO & STATE - By Sarah Cop­pola scop­pola@states­man.com Dis­tricts B

Austin is tak­ing the first steps to­ward car­ry­ing out the plan vot­ers ap­proved last month to change the City Coun­cil to district rep­re­sen­ta­tives.

The plan will trans­form the coun­cil from seven city­wide rep­re­sen­ta­tives to 10 district­based mem­bers and a city­wide mayor, with the first elec­tion of district rep­re­sen­ta­tives in Novem­ber 2014.

City Au­di­tor Ken Mory told the coun­cil on Tues­day that his of­fice will start seek­ing ap­pli­ca­tions in late Jan­uary from res­i­dents who want to serve on the 14-mem­ber com­mis­sion that will draw the district bound­aries. The for­ma­tion of the com­mis­sion and its work is de­signed to be free from city pol­i­tics and from the City Coun­cil’s in­flu­ence.

Mory will also seek ap­pli­ca­tions from prac­tic­ing au­di­tors for a three-per­son panel that will help whit­tle the map-draw­ing com­mis­sion ap­pli­cants to 60 fi­nal­ists. Each coun­cil mem­ber will be al­lowed to strike one fi­nal­ist. The first eight mem­bers of the com­mis­sion will be cho­sen at random from the re­main­ing 53 fi­nal­ists. Those eight will pick six more fi­nal­ists, look­ing to round out the com­mis­sion’s racial, eth­nic, gen­der and pro­fes­sional di­ver­sity.

That process was writ­ten by Aus­tinites for Ge­o­graphic Rep­re­sen­ta­tion, a ci­ti­zens group that gath­ered thou­sands of pe­ti­tion sig­na­tures to get the

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