In 2020, the Greensboro City Council will end the experiment with town hall meetings and go back to having two meetings a month where the City Council actually does the business of running the city.
City Councilmember Tammi Thurm, at the Tuesday, Nov. 19 City Council meeting, made the motion to continue to meet on the first and third Tuesdays of each month, and only hear speakers from the floor at the first meeting of the month and not at the second.
Thurm’s motion stated that the first meeting would begin with 30 minutes of speakers from the floor, then the City Council would consider a Consent Agenda and items that the city staff had determined were time sensitive and take care of ceremonial items and then hear from any additional speakers for as long as it took.
The motion passed on an 8-1 vote with Councilmember Sharon Hightower voting no.
City Manager David Parrish, speaking of the agenda for the first meeting of the month, said, “We wouldn’t put something that is controversial on there.”
Parrish added that the format would provide flexibility for items that needed action.
Councilmember Nancy Hoffmann said, “I did hear during this period from the business community that this actually created a hardship on certain occasions.”
Councilmember Sharon Hightower was the only opposition and she said that she thought the town halls provided a good opportunity to hear from the people. The City Council had agreed not to engage with the speakers during the town hall meetings, but Hightower said, “I never agreed not to engage.”
Mayor Nancy Vaughan noted that, because of scheduling, the rezoning hearings, which can take over an hour, were to be held on the second meeting of the month.
Thurm said that her plan would allow the City Council to continue items for two weeks, four weeks, six weeks or eight weeks, which provided a great deal more flexibility than only being able to continue items for a month or two months.