The Greensboro City Council has now completely eliminated public comment from its virtual monthly meeting to hear public comment.
In the past, Mayor Nancy Vaughan has at least talked about the comments received. At the virtual meeting on Tuesday, Sept. 1, Vaughan simply noted that comments sent to the City Council would be available on the city’s website on Wednesday.
The public is not given the opportunity to comment virtually but can email comments to the City Council, as they can at any time they so choose.
The first meeting of the month is set up primarily to give the public an opportunity to speak. Before the meetings went virtual in April, the City Council allowed “speakers from the floor” to come to the podium and speak about any issue or concern they chose. A number of people chose to come every week and speak often loudly about topics of concern.
The virtual meetings are set up to allow the public to speak to the City Council at public hearings, and on Tuesday, Sept. 1 there was a resolution honoring the late Billy Eugene Adams. His family, including Rep. Alma Adams who is a former city councilmember, were allowed to speak.
Because the first meeting of the month is designed primarily to conduct a public forum, and no public forum was held, the entire meeting lasted 30 minutes.
The City Council passed the resolution and then passed a short, six item consent agenda made up of items that were routine and noncontroversial. Then each councilmember was given the opportunity to speak and to appoint members to the vast array of boards and commissions that the city has.
Councilmember Sharon Hightower again brought up her concern that some boards and commissioners didn’t have the proper demographic breakdown and requested a work session to go over the boards and commissions, to come up with a process of appointment that would ensure the demographics on each board and commission matched those of the city.
Greensboro is nearly half male and there is only one male on the City Council, but evidently that is not perceived as a problem that needs to be corrected.