The first day of early voting, Thursday, April 28, the Greensboro City Council held an illegal closed meeting.
The meeting, which may or may not have begun at 2 p.m., was the regularly scheduled work session and only the barest details concerning what the City Council would be discussing were made available to the public, and what was released to the public was inaccurate.
The city is currently being sued by mayoral candidate Eric Robert for not providing public records in a timely manner as required by state law. Perhaps another candidate will file suit over holding an illegal closed meeting.
Even though regular City Council meetings are being held in the Katie Dorsett Council Chamber and are more or less back to normal after the COVID-19 restrictions were lifted, work sessions are still being held virtually as if the city were still in the midst of a pandemic.
Since there is no physical meeting to attend, the only access the public has to the meeting is the online broadcast, and for the first 40 minutes and 55 seconds of the meeting, the total amount of time that was broadcast to the public was 53 seconds. For those who would like to watch between 17:03 and 17:56, the meeting is broadcast and then it goes dark again.
Making matters worse for the public attempting to keep up with City Council business, once again the City Council did not follow its published agenda for the work session. The agenda posted on the City of Greensboro website states:
“B.1 2022-468 Fund Balance Policies Update
“B.2 2022-253 Water and Sewer Extension Polices (sic)
“B.3 2022-255 Council Strategy Session Follow-up
“B.4 2022-443 MWBE Update (Part 1)”
But the meeting, judging by the less than a minute broadcast, at 17:03 began with the last item on the agenda, “MWBE Update (Part 1).”
At some point during that presentation, the presentation was halted because someone at the city evidently finally realized that the meeting was not being broadcast to the public as is required by state law when virtual meetings are being held.
Public meetings, whether in person or virtual, are required by North Carolina state statute to be open to the public. The only access the public has to a virtual meeting is through the broadcast and there was less than one minute of the first 40 minutes broadcast.
It is difficult for anyone to know exactly how much of the meeting was not broadcast because the city has not posted the presentations on the City Council meetings website as was, until recently, the long standing policy of the City Council.
Without a copy of the presentation and with less than a minute of broadcast, the public is simply left to wonder what about the MWBE program was presented and what city councilmembers had to say about it.