The Greensboro City Council at the Thursday, June 30 work session discussed taking back control of the City Council work sessions.
The move may have been politically motivated, since the beginning of early voting in the City Council election was one week away.
During the past several years, the City Council has often not made it through the work session agenda and has had to postpone agenda items to the next work session.
At the June 30 meeting the presentation on the Minority and Women’s Business Enterprise (MWBE) program had to be cut short in order for the City Council to discuss the controversial plan to implement $25 for residents who did not roll their garbage cans back from the street by 7 p.m. on collection day.
The MWBE program is the topic the City Council discusses far more than any other topic, so cutting that presentation short was no small thing.
Councilmember Sharon Hightower said, “I really didn’t like having to cut them down. I didn’t like it at all.”
Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter asked if an approximate amount of time it would take to discuss each item on the work session agenda could be provided, so they wouldn’t have to cut one short.
City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba said, “It is your work session. I did not want to dictate to you.”
He added, “I also don’t want to limit your ability to engage in discussion.”
Councilmember Nancy Hoffmann said that the MWBE discussion should have been the only item on the agenda. She added, “There is nothing magic about two hours. We could go two and half or three.”
Councilmember Justin Outling said, “I think it would be helpful to get all of the materials in advance.”
Jaiyeoba said, “That’s fair. But you want to be very careful when you send out material that can be one-sided and doesn’t have context.”
He said that the MWBE report from the city’s consultants Griffin & Strong was only sent to the city staff about an hour before the meeting, so it could not be provided to the City Council.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan said, “I understand that you say numbers can be taken out of context, but I do think it helps council to have information in advance. One it can help us form questions. Two if we read through it, it might stop us from asking questions during the presentation.”