Play Live Radio
Next Up:
0:00 0:00
Available On Air Stations

Onondaga County Legislature To Vote On Amended District Maps Before The Holidays

 County legislators and other attendants sit in pews and behind desks throughout a court room at the Onondaga Supreme and County Courts House.
Scott Willis
Onondaga County lawmakers voted on the original map at a Nov. 4 session.

Onondaga County’s controversial redistricting process is about to take another step forward with amended maps set to be released later today.  The County Executive vetoed the original draft due to concerns about potential litigation.

Lawmakers on both sides of the aisle welcomed the veto, if for different reasons. GOP chairman Dave Knapp says they addressed technical errors, and restored the African American majority to the 16th district to be in compliance with state law. He says they were also able to address other concerns raised by residents.

"There was concern that Nedrow was being split. That was corrected. There was also concern that Strathmore was split; we were able to address that and make the numbers work; and keep Mattydale together."

But Democratic legislator Chris Ryan is worried that the rush to have maps ready means they will once again fall short.

"I believe the maps that were vetoed aren't worth of tweaks; those maps are worthy of being put in the shredder and we start over."

But chairman Knapp says the charter indicates they need to wrap it up soon to meet a deadline for primary petitions to be passed in February, even if lawmakers themselves aren’t up for reelection until 2023.

"The charter isn't clear. It just says the next primary after the census data is available. Obviously we wanted to go with the safest interpretation, which would be the next set of petitions, even though they're not specifically for county legislators."

Minority Leader Linda Ervin says she may proposed a change to the administrative code needs at the next session to clarify the timeline and slow the process down.

"You can interpret it the way you want to interpret it. We've talked to the law department. They interpret it that way. I've talked to another attorney who interprets it a different way. The bottom line is why would there be a rush to do this prior to a primary that has no effect on what happens with this body."

Democratic legislator Mary Kuhn who says there might also be grounds for injunction to stop the process altogether. The legislature has set a public hearing for 11:30 December 21st, followed by a voting session.

Scott Willis covers politics, local government, transportation, and arts and culture for WAER. He came to Syracuse from Detroit in 2001, where he began his career in radio as an intern and freelance reporter. Scott is honored and privileged to bring the day’s news and in-depth feature reporting to WAER’s dedicated and generous listeners. You can find him on twitter @swillisWAER and email him at