The Greensboro City Council once again, on Tuesday, July 21, got hung up in a long discussion about the Minority and Women’s Business Enterprise (MWBE) program regarding an item on the consent agenda.
Consent agenda items are supposed to be noncontroversial housekeeping-type items that require no discussion. All the items on the consent agenda are supposed to be passed with one vote.
According to City Council policy, if a councilmember wants to discuss an item on the consent agenda, that item is to be removed from the agenda and placed on the business agenda for the next meeting. But there is an unwritten corollary to that rule that allows Councilmember Sharon Hightower to ask questions and discuss any item on the consent agenda for as long as she wants.
The City Council ended up having a long discussion on Item 8, an amendment to a contract to design the rehabilitation for the Murrow Boulevard Bridge over Church Street for the Downtown Greenway.
Hightower’s issue was that the MWBE percentages did not meet with her standards, despite the fact that the city’s MWBE office approved the contract. It is the same issue she has raised on many other contracts.
The memo from the Greensboro MWBE office states, “This project was originally financed with NC DOT state funds; therefore the project adhered to the NC DOT MBE/WBE requirements and there were no goals set for the project.”
It was explained once again to Hightower by City Manager David Parrish and City Attorney Chuck Watts that this was a federally funded project with the federal money coming through the state, so state minority business program took precedence.
Councilmember Justin Outling asked how long rejecting the contract would likely hold up the project and noted, “This project is to complete a portion of the Downtown Greenway in the eastern portion of the city.”
Parrish said if the vote was delayed until the next meeting it would be a three-week delay.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan added that if the contract were rejected and had to be rebid, the delay could be much longer.
Councilmembers Michelle Kennedy and Yvonne Johnson both spoke in favor of holding the state to the city’s MWBE standards.
Councilmember Goldie Wells said, “I don’t want you folks to vote it down because I don’t want this part of the Greenway not finished.”
Watts said he was almost certain that the city had to accept the state standards, but added that he would investigate it further.
The vote to approve the contract amendment was 6-3 with Hightower, Kennedy and Johnson voting no.
The Downtown Greenway is an extra wide sidewalk four miles long that when complete will encircle the downtown. The Downtown Greenway project was started in 2001.
Hammer, I loved your apt description of the Greenway as a wide sidewalk. Perfect. If you have time, how about an article laying out the costs and timeline on the Greenway’s construction. The way it has been going, we have to be into the tens of millions of dollars by now. It has been going on so long that the original portions may need repair before the final portions are complete. What a debacle.
The estimated cost is $43 million or more than $10 million per mile. But that’s only the estimate so it could be higher.
Defund the City Council!
Krunch the Koop!
Clearly Ms Hightower believes that the MWBE (Minority & Women Business Enterprises) privileges apply to her as well. Therefore, as a black female (double points!) she can publicly ignore the rules.
And – of course – MWBE means, quite literally – that white men need not apply.
Perhaps that’s why there is not a single white man on the Greensboro City Council.
Christopher Rees, that’s why my husband’s city contract bid folder in our filing cabinet has been labeled for years by me, his helper girl, “you’re not eligible”.
Amen to all above comments. Hightower is a racist and an idiot. Kennedy is a black man in a white woman’s body (sort of on the woman part); and Johnson – well she’s already got her $500K from the city so what more does she want? DEFUND the City Council and put these jokers back in the real world. I’d like to see Roy Carroll, Mike Hammer, Royce Reynolds, Jane Reynolds, Bryans, Cones, etc., on the council. That would be a fair and true representation of Greensboro.
Here’s an idea…LET THE DAMN THING COLLAPSE, INJURING PEOPLE WHO WILL SUE THE CITY.
After the ruling mob is named in a lawsuit they MIGHT get a clue.
While driving through the Guilford College Rd/W. Market streets intersection early one morning earlier this week, I noticed barricades and traffic cones radiating out for blocks in all directions. Two pieces of idle equipment. Not a hard hat in sight. Not one. This in the morning before I became hot. That’s no excuse. Roofers who are paid a lot less are out a first light, and gone by noon. It seems that this project began before last year. The seabees would have knocked this out in a few days, or perhaps weeks. I think that this job is drawn out primarily to make the well-paying jobs last as long as possible.
If the govt was effective, there would be a well-supervised and motivated crew out there every day. I don’t care who works on the job. Age, sex, race, I don’t care. This is an example of how our government is grinding to a halt. Our hard-earned money goes into that giant maw in the sky that sucks it in like a black hole. Nothing escapes but excuses and platitudes.
I am reading about the gigantic blunders experienced by all sides during WWII. That pales to what we are experiencing today.
I don’t know of anything that would reverse the trend, other than to stop sending them money. Anyone have a viable suggestion?