At the first Greensboro City Council meeting of the month, the public comment period – also called speakers from the floor on non-agenda items – is the main item on the agenda.
The agenda for the Tuesday, July 13 meeting has been released and, according to the agenda, this will be the first meeting since March 2020 where speakers will be allowed to go to the podium in the council chamber and speak in person to the City Council.
For the June 15 City Council meeting, the agenda announcement stated that a limited number of people would be allowed to attend the meeting, but the actual agenda did not.
Speakers, however, are encouraged to speak virtually, as they have been doing since October 2020. From April 2020 to October 2020, no speakers from the floor were allowed to speak at City Council meetings either in person or virtually.
The agenda states, “The public will be allowed for specific items of interests and must exit after the item is discussed or voted on. Masks will be required for all attendees.”
Since “Public Comment Period” items are rarely discussed or voted on, presumably speakers will be expected to leave after speaking.
Those who plan on speaking either in person or virtually are required to submit a request by 5 p.m. Monday, July 12 to https://form.jotform.com/202643500426041
The agenda states, “Only requests to speak via this platform will be accepted.”
Someone who wishes to speak in person to the City Council during the “Public Comment Period” who does not have access to a computer is, according to the agenda, not given any option to submit a request by phone, by mail or in person.
Those who are regular or even occasional readers of City Council agendas are in for a shock when they click on the agenda for the Tuesday, July 13 meeting because it is a completely different format than previous agendas.
The city has been in the process of switching over to the new format for several months and it appears this new format will be much easier to navigate.