These are unusual times, so unusual that the Greensboro City Council has scheduled two work sessions less than a week apart.
Traditionally, the City Council holds work sessions where the councilmembers and city manager sit around a large conference table and discuss city business in a much less formal manner than at a regular City Council meeting. This will be another virtual meeting, so there will be no table just faces on a screen.
By agreement the City Council doesn’t take action at work sessions, an agreement that is largely but not always adhered to.
The current City Council has chosen not to do its work in the public eye at work sessions, but behind the scenes in small meetings in the council offices. As a result, many of the scheduled monthly work sessions have been cancelled and others held in an abbreviated fashion.
At 2:30 p.m. Tuesday, June 23, the City Council will hold a virtual work session with one item on the agenda, “Public Safety.”
The City Council held a work session on the Greensboro Police Department policy on stopping people based on a description on Thursday, June 18. Councilmember Michelle Kennedy attempted to hijack the work session to talk about other police topics, but Councilmember Justin Outling, who had made a motion that passed unanimously to hold a work session on that specific topic, didn’t allow it.
But at the time Kennedy was told that she would get a work session on the Police Department and it appears this is it.
The topics that Kennedy has brought up about the Police Department so far include requiring Greensboro police officers to live in Greensboro. Since Greensboro doesn’t require department heads to live in Greensboro, this might be a tough sell.
Kennedy also wants the city attorneys removed from the Police Department. Currently two city attorneys are delegated to work with the Police Department full time and have an office in police headquarters. Officially they work for the city attorney, but physically they are in the Police Department.
Kennedy also wants the police communications division removed from the Police Department and those duties taken over by the city’s communications and marketing department. Since police communications puts out releases 24/7 and the city communications generally puts out releases 8/5 this might be a problem.
Kennedy has also said that she would like to see a moratorium on starting a new class of police recruits until the new racial equity training she has requested is in place.
Kennedy’s ideas have already prompted strong opposition from Councilmembers Marikay Abuzuaiter and Goldie Wells, so it could prove to be a spirited discussion.