City Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter left no doubt that she is back at the Greensboro City Council meeting on Tuesday, April 19.
When Abuzuaiter answered the roll call at the beginning of the meeting with “present,” she received a big round of applause. It was the first meeting she had attended in person since Feb. 17. Abuzuaiter spent 33 days in the hospital in Washington, NC – four of those in a medically induced coma – after having diverticula rupture and going into septic shock.
But by the end of the meeting, Abuzuaiter may not have received quite such enthusiastic applause after she didn’t hold back on why Greensboro is losing so many good members of the senior city staff. Former City Manager David Parrish resigned on June 30 last year, Assistant City Manager Kim Sowell resigned in March, and then, this week, Police Chief Brian James announced he was retiring on May 31 after less than two-and-a-half years as chief.
Abuzuaiter said that she didn’t know how the city was going to replace James since he had been doing such a good job as police chief, reaching out to all the different communities in Greensboro.
Abuzuaiter said, “I would really like for us to have a few minutes at a work session to see why, when we have the most perfect people in positions, that they either decide to go ahead and retire or they get another position someplace else when they haven’t been in that position very long.
“I know what I hear through the grapevine, and not one of the people who have left or who are retiring will ever say it, but I hear through the grapevine that it’s because some people on council micromanage, and I really think we need to address that.
“I know that a couple of years ago Mr. Wilson [Assistant City Manager Chris Wilson] sent out a memo that if we had a concern if something was going on, we were to contact one of the assistant city managers and they would put us in touch with the department head or someone else.
“You know, for instance, the chief is not our employee to be berated or yelled at or told that his initiatives are no good. The city manager is his boss – only the city manager. Our two employees are the city manager and the city attorney. So I really would like for us, if Mr. Jaiyeoba would agree, at a work session some time, we really need to sit down and talk about this because I can tell you in the last two years we’ve lost three or four good department heads who were good people who would help carry this city through to the next level and I just think we really, really need to discuss this.”