The Greensboro City Council is planning on selecting a new at-large city councilmember at the Tuesday, Sept. 14 virtual meeting.
The City Council has 47 applicants to consider, although according to an unofficial report about five have indicated they are no longer interested. Even if that’s true that would leave 42 applicants to consider.
By comparison, in 2017, when District 2 City Councilmember Goldie Wells was selected by the City Council to replace former District 2 City Councilmember Jamal Fox, there were five applicants. Wells was the only candidate nominated and she was selected to fill the seat by the City Council by an 8-0 vote. Wells then won a four-year term on the City Council in the 2017 election.
At the Tuesday, Sept. 14 meeting, each applicant will be given the opportunity to speak virtually to the City Council about why they should be selected, or a candidate could speak about why one of their fellow candidates should be selected. In 2017, one of the candidates, Tim Vincent, said that he would like to be appointed, but he understood why the City Council would prefer Wells since she had experience.
Unlike 2017, when it was evident before the meeting that the City Council had made up its collective mind to select Wells, there doesn’t appear to be a clear front runner for the seat that was vacated by former City Councilmember Michelle Kennedy, who resigned to accept the position of Greensboro Neighborhood Development Department director.
While there is no clear front runner there are some candidates who have lined up some support among councilmembers. One of those is former City Councilmember Mike Barber, who lost to Kennedy in 2017 by 102 votes. Barber served on the City Council from 2005 to 2009 and from 2013 to 2017. Barber was also elected to the Guilford County Board of Commissioners in 2000 and served until 2004. In addition, Barber has diversity on his side. The City Council has repeatedly expressed the goal of having all the city boards and commissions reflect the demographics of the city, and currently white males are not represented on the City Council.
Other names that are being mentioned as having some council support are: the current chair of the Greensboro Planning and Zoning Commission, Hugh Holston; Gerry McCants, who was involved in developing the current Minority and Women’s Business Enterprise (MWBE) program for the city; Blake Odum, who ran unsuccessfully for the Guilford County Board of Education in 2020; and Daniel Craft, former president of Craft Insurance Center.
There well may be other candidates who have some support on the City Council, but these are the ones most often mentioned by those involved in the selection process.