Members of the Michigan Independent Citizens Redistricting Commission voted to give all 13 individuals on the panel a 7% raise, citing inflation concerns.
The group, which will draw the state’s political boundaries for the next decade, was enacted by voters of the state in 2018.
However, many critics pointed out that the board approved the provision after most of their work for the year has been completed, and seemingly ignores the $1 million deficit the group faces.
“The fact that the Redistricting Commission unilaterally rewarded themselves with a taxpayer-funded pay increase while their proposed maps are facing multiple legal challenges is simply appalling,” said Tori Sachs, executive director of the Michigan Freedom Fund. “This latest scandal is a slap in the face to working families who are struggling with rising prices. It’s clear that this dysfunctional, majority-Democrat commission isn’t done wasting Michigan taxpayer’s time and money.”
Furthermore, throughout the redistricting process, the group faced heavy backlash for closed-door meetings and lack of transparency.
Following a secret meeting, a group of news outlets sued the committee. According to the 4-3 ruling written by Michigan Supreme Court Justice David Viviano, the commission’s decision to hold a secret meeting violated the state Constitution. The Michigan Constitution explains the “commission shall conduct all of its business at open meetings.”
The ruling from the court outlined that the constitutional mandate for transparency overcomes the claim of attorney-client privilege.
Additionally, Julianne Pastula, the general counsel for the group, unexpectedly resigned amid multiple lawsuits challenging the maps composed by the commission.
“This commission has wasted an excessive amount of taxpayer money on their ridiculous ego-driven documentary, blew past deadlines, and lied about who they were,” said Eric Ventimiglia, executive director for Michigan Rising Action. “Michigan taxpayers should not be forced to give them raises.”
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