The Tuesday, April 5 Greensboro City Council meeting, being the first meeting of the month, is primarily devoted to the public comment period, but the consent agenda includes a controversial allocation.
According to the script read at the beginning of every meeting by Mayor Nancy Vaughan, the consent agenda is a grouping of “routine and noncontroversial items,” all voted on with one vote. In order for a councilmember to vote no on a consent agenda item, the item first has to be removed from the consent agenda.
Evidence that there is a large disconnect between the City Council and many of their constituents is the fact that a $1 million allocation to the International Civil Rights Center and Museum (ICRCM) is on the consent agenda.
It means that the councilmembers are not supposed to discuss this item and that the City Council considers handing over $1 million to the Civil Rights Museum as a “routine and noncontroversial” item.
In an unusual move, at the City Council retreat on Wednesday, March 23, the council by a 7-1 vote approved an allocation of a total of $2 million to the Civil Rights Museum.
Councilmember Nancy Hoffmann cast the lone no vote, after stating that she wanted time to go over the financial documents provided by the Civil Rights Museum that showed a loss of $9 million.
Hoffmann said, “I need to look at those financials and look at those losses.”
She added, “We got the financials today. I personally need to go through them.”
The financial documents provided on Wednesday were not all the financial documents requested by the City Council and Councilmember Justin Outling stated that to allocate the money and then request the documents be provided was backwards. However, despite those statements, Outling voted to allocate the $2 million.
Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter was absent from the meeting.
The item on the agenda for the April 5 meeting is to allocate $1 million of the promised $2 million with the second million coming in the form of $250,000 a year for the next four years. Future City Councils will have to vote to allocate the $250,000 a year. City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba said that it was not clear how the $250,000 a year would be spent.