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3 Retired Judges To Lead McLean County Redistricting Effort

McLean County Government Center
WGLT file photo
The McLean County Board plans to vote on new district maps at its July 15 meeting.
Updated: May 24, 2021 at 5:15 PM CDT
WGLT updated this story to list the advisory panel appointees.

McLean County Board chair John McIntyre said Monday three retired chief judges from the 11th Judicial Circuit will help lead the county's effort to draw new county board maps.

McIntyre said Kevin Fitzgerald, John Freese and Beth Robb will each lead one of three advisory panels that will redraw the county's 10 board districts.

County administration issued a list of advisory panel members on Monday. They include: Julie Smith, Greg Shaw, Phani Aytam, Ruth Novosad, Gary Tipsord, Jay Rich, Adelita Cruz, Janessa Williams, Dr. John Weiland, Neil Finlen, Diana Cristy, Scott Laughlin, Guadalupe Alcala, Aisha Shekara, Fred Walk, Mike O’Grady, Marie Denzer-Farley, Phyllis Versteegh, Tony Penn, Karla Bailey-Smith and Brian Dirks.

“No secret room. No closed doors. No unrecorded conversations on the taxpayers’ dime,” McIntyre said in a news release. “This process takes the power away from elected board members to draw map boundaries. I have found no evidence that a process this fair has ever occurred in Illinois. It’s time to change that, and McLean County is leading the way.”

The committees will draw up three map proposals by the end of June. The county is expected to schedule an open house for the public to view the proposals.

The county board will choose one of the maps at its July 15 meeting.

McIntyre announced May 13 the county would appoint what he called a "Red, White and Blue" advisory panelto create the maps and that County Board members would not play a role in the process, other than the final vote.

That came after weeks of contentious debate and several board members claiming Republicans were workingbehind the scenes to limit the number of board districts in an attempt to help the GOP gain more seats.

The county board ultimately agreed to keep the current format of 10 districts with two board members elected from each district.

Eric Stock is the News Director at WGLT. You can contact Eric at ejstoc1@ilstu.edu.