LOGAN — With the results of the 2020 census and a new county commissioner on the horizon, a Buffalo Creek man once again made his plea for redistricting the county’s magisterial map during the Logan County Commission’s regular meeting Monday, Nov. 16.
For several years now, Robinette resident Gerald Slone has repeatedly said that the lines of the county’s three magisterial districts need to be redrawn into northern, central and southern regions rather than eastern, central and western. He argues that the current magisterial map does not give fair representation to the Man area, noting that two of the commissioners — Danny Godby and Danny Ellis — live in the Chapmanville area, with one in the western district and one in the eastern.
Commissioners and outgoing commission attorney Stephanie Abraham have long said that the current map simply follows the law based off of topography and equal population density, adding that nothing is preventing someone from the Man area from running for a commission seat, and that the area still votes with the entire county. Since at least 2017, they have told Slone that they would need the new census numbers in order to consider redrawing the map.
Now that the census is complete and with a new county commissioner, Diana Barnette, set to be sworn in in January, Slone restarted his cause on Monday, asking commissioners if they would be open to having meetings with citizens in the Man area about the issue.
Slone said the redistricting needs to be done as soon as possible to be ready for the 2022 election, and claimed that the census is “totally messed up.”
“Based on our many conversations about this in the past, we had come, I thought, to an understand that we could not undertake redistricting efforts until the census is complete and we had the numbers from the census,” Abraham said. “... We will wait until we get those numbers and then we will determine whether we need to redistrict and, at that point, that’s when the meetings should be held.”
The topic continued to be argued back and forth between Slone and commissioners for several minutes, with Slone eventually asking if he could be placed on the next agenda for it to be voted on as an action item. As he has done in the past, Commission President Danny Godby said he’s not opposed to the idea, but also concluded that the census numbers need to be in before any action is taken.
In other news from Monday’s commission meeting, commissioners:
n Announced the departure of Stephanie Abraham as their attorney. Her replacement has not yet been officially announced.
n Approved the employment of Dalton Holt, Jonathan Zeigler and Camryn Daniels as deputies for the Logan County Sheriff’s Department.
n Approved a $31,804 Court Security Fund Grant for the LCSD.
n Deeded the commission’s portion of the old Earling Grade School property to the Logan County Housing Authority.