It looks like Greensboro is going to have a 12-week paid family leave program for its employees included in the 2020-2021 budget, if not sooner.

City Councilmember Michelle Kennedy spoke in favor of 12-week paid family leave at the Tuesday, Jan. 7 City Council meeting while holding her infant daughter Avery in her arms.

Kennedy also had the speakers from the floor preempted so that the supporters of 12 week family leave policy could speak first.

What Kennedy wants she gets and there is no reason to think that 12 weeks of paid family leave will be any different.  When Kennedy wanted a new panhandling law the City Council spent an entire summer, holding public hearings and meetings to devise a new law.  It took five months and hiring an outside counsel but the City Council finally passed the new ordinance.

Kennedy had a much easier time getting the city to branch out into an entirely new area of service, mental health which had always been a function of Guilford County government. Until the state decided to consolidate mental health departments in regions, Guilford County had a Mental Health Department.  The mental health department was blended into the Sandhills Center with eight other counties, however it is still a county function.

But Greensboro is spending $500,000 on a mental health rapid response team, mental health training for city employees and maybe other services.  The details of what Greensboro will get for $500,000 are sketchy.

Kennedy had the $500,000 put in the budget when it was no more than an idea.  The City Council never discussed what it expected from a mental health program, but voted to approve the $500,000 contract. 

Before that vote was taken, Councilmember Justin Outling asked some very reasonable questions about what the city was getting for $500,000 and at one point was shouted down by Kennedy for questioning the program.

Without answers to the questions such as a rough outline of how the process would work, the City Council voted 8-1 in favor of spending $500,000 on the new mental health program. Outling cast the lone no vote.

It is almost a certainty that in the 2020-2021 budget, if not before the city will begin providing 12 weeks of paid family leave for all city employees regardless of the cost.