Greensboro City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba held his first “Talk with Tai” listening session at the Smith Active Adult Center on Fairview Street Tuesday, Feb. 8 at 12:15 p.m.
As with many similar events over the years, the media and city staff outnumbered the people who were there to talk with Tai, so there were more people there to watch Jaiyeoba talk to people than people for him to talk to.
Jaiyeoba got things started with a short opening statement and said, “My intention is not to create another Charlotte in North Carolina. One is enough.”
Jaiyeoba was an assistant city manager and director of the planning and development department in Charlotte before accepting the job of Greensboro city manager. He started his new job running a city with over 3,000 employees and a $600 million budget one week ago on Feb. 1.
He said his job “was not a sprint but a marathon.”
Jaiyeoba said, you hear a lot of people talking about quality of life but, “what quality of life means for some people is just picking up the trash.”
Although Jaiyeoba said that he planned to spend most of the listening sessions, listening and not talking, he did answer many of the questions he was asked.
Phillip Marsh asked about his support for the creative community and in particular street art.
Jaiyeoba said that he would like to see Greensboro become known as the southeastern center for arts and would like to see a focus on arts, culture and entertainment.
Jaiyeoba was asked about affordable housing and said that one of the keys to successful affordable housing was public transit and that for public transit to be successful it had to provide “fast, frequent, reliable service.”
He said, “Most people will tell you that if it takes twice the amount of time to take public transit. I’d rather drive.”
Jaiyeoba said that the work that had been done in Greensboro was paying off big time in terms of economic development and added, “We’re not Charlotte and not Raleigh and we don’t want to be. We are uniquely Greensboro.”
Tai noted that no city could match Greensboro for the number of colleges and universities per square mile and that the city needed to take advantage of the large number of students entering the workforce.
District 2 City Councilmember Goldie Wells and Mayor Nancy Vaughan both attended the listening session, which is available on the city’s YouTube channel.
“WE’re not Charlotte and not Raleigh and WE don’t want to be” – Jaiyeoba.
Is it just me, or is it exceedingly presumptuous for a Nigerian who’s been in Greensboro for a month to mouth off about what “we” in Greensboro do or do not want?
What breathtaking arrogance.
Agreed. The politicians do not give a fig about what we want.
He may have been speaking for the “special” kind of city council we have right now. It’s our civic duty to send those @$$es home & get the man some new bosses in a couple months, then maybe “we” will be clearly understood.
Jaiyeobas’s predecessor, David Parrish, had a salary of $217,500/year. If I recall correctly the Rhino Times reported that Jaiyeoba will be paid $292,000/year (incl “supplement”).
Why is this individual being paid over a third more than the previous manager?
Come to think of it, why is ANY local small city bureaucrat being paid $6,000 a week? Six thousand Dollars every week – plus benefits, of course. Well you can’t expect a man making a measly $6,000 a week to buy his own health insurance, can you… ?
Or maybe. Just maybe. He communicates as a member of the community where he works. Sure some of us have been here longer than others but he IS now a an important member of our community. Your arrogance is breathtaking.
Why is he such an important member of the community, because he’s paid such an outrageous salary He’s just a man like any other no matter his title he still has to put his pants on one leg at a time.
Uh, he runs almost all of the critical city functions under his direction. So yup….important member of the community. Why is that hard to understand?
His background doesn’t lend to the criteria or specifics of this job He has no experience running the multiple functions of a city this size. He could be from Stanford university and I’d still feel the same way
Really?! Assistant City manager in Charlotte is a pretty solid job experience for coming to a city as small as Greensboro.
How is my comment arrogant?
Arrogant that you would consider OUR city manager as outside your view of ‘WE’. I bet there is a bit of dislike of him being from outside America behind your statement but I doubt you would admit it if that is true.
I think he’s more Your city manager just like feeble minded biden is Your president
Why don’t you go ahead and accuse me of being a racist – again? You did so last year – remember? – but you were forced to publicly apologize to me when you could not back up your character assassination. You’re just a bullsh*tter.
And I’ve been in Greensboro for 39 years.
Jaiyeoba’s been here for 39 days.
I think I can speak for the fine folk of our town more than he can.
Being a bigot is different than being a racist. But you be you.
You certainly can’t speak for me. And your utter lack of any empathy for others who have a different point of view is a solid reason that you would NOT speak well on behalf of the city of Greensboro. You just stay in your lane speaking for the nutters.
“Captious Chrissy” is so breathtakingly stupid that he can’t even see the hypocrisy in alleging I have no empathy for those with whom I disagree – while he accuses us of being “nutters”.
Isn’t that rich?
Apparently Greensboro believes that no local people with roots are smart enough, so they bring in a Nigerian from MIT. It’s just more Blue City Blues
Yes, isn’t it insulting to the people of Greensboro that someone with no association with our community is selected as our “manager”?
We never know what’s in another’s heart, but it’s plausible that he holds more allegiance and fealty to Nigeria or Botswana than our dear town, or state, or nation.
Maybe some outside perspective is what this City needs given how much you nutters complain about every little thing the city does.
(Again Austin hinting at his bigoted view of immigrants)
I agree with Austin
Captious Chris is fond of smearing other people, whether he’s calling us nutters, tin foil hat types, or implying that we are bigots. But when he’s challenged to back up his accusations, he disappears from the conversation – or is forced to apologize.
In other words, he’s a particularly odious and unpleasant individual.
Okay “Captious Chris”, explain this to me : how can I have a bigoted view of immigrants when I am an immigrant?
C’mon buddy, explain that particular piece of BS that you’ve spewed out.
There is indeed a nasty bigot in these comment columns, full of prejudice and hate.
It is you.
Being a minority doesn’t stop someone from being a racist just as much as being a immigrant doesn’t stop someone from being a bigot against immigrants. I have met many immigrants that bring their bigotry with them.
His entire career has been in the US and has worked in a range of US cities and will bring solid diverse experience to Greensboro. But you choose to call him a Nigerian. For what purpose? To label him an outsider? To flag him as different? Not American? Do you even know his citizenship status?
Yup, I stand firm you likely being a bigot. Happy for you to prove me wrong.
You’re a moron.
I don’t think he went to MIT in the sense you think. He just got a certificate from there, not a degree. If you go to MIT’s website, it says it takes about one month of online classes to get an “MIT Sloan School of Management in Leadership” certificate. These are basically just “pay the money, get a certificate with MIT’s name on it” programs. You are not earning an MIT degree in any way, shape, or form. It’s resume padding that you hope no one looks up specifics on when you put it on your job application. But, hey, the “MIT” name looks nice and shiny.
Here’s the link: https://exec.mit.edu/s/management-and-leadership-sample-plans
At this point, we just have to give the guy a chance to show us what he can do. Hopefully, he excels at making our city better, but I have a feeling the council got dazzled by the fancy words on his resume without looking too deeply into it.
3,000+ employees? “I am shocked!”
It would be a much-improved “quality of life” for everyone if city & country prisoners could pick up the “tons” of trash and garbage alongside streets and highways. Especially since our sorry citizens throw their offal in public places.
So this seems like another politically motivated move. The superintendent of education, Contreras, was a disaster for our area and I feel like this will be too. Looks like Charlotte didn’t want to keep him so why not pawn him off on Greensboro. Whatever happened to promoting from within instead of outsourcing our local talent?? This feels lees like a friendly area as time goes on.
There was a Charlotte councilmember who repeatedly called for Jaiyeoba to be fired. You don’t see that in the News & Record, do you?
You have to be really incompetent, or corrupt, to have your own council calling for your dismissal.
Or you need to be a member of a different political party.