The meeting-style of the Guilford County Board of Commissioners has undergone several transformations since the start of the coronavirus crisis earlier this year. At first, the board met in the Old Guilford County Court House with no press or members of the general public admitted.
Then, they allowed the media in, but not others and, later in the summer, the commissioners stopped showing up in-person themselves and went entirely virtual. The board held its first meeting in August virtually, and this week county staff informed the Rhino Times that the next regular board meeting – scheduled for Thursday, Aug. 20 – will be held with the commissioners in separate locations communicating using GoToWebinar software.
The meeting, as usual, will begin at 5:30 p.m. – but don’t bother showing up at the old courthouse. There may be some county staff in the room, but you will not be welcomed in, and, if there was any doubt about that, a meeting announcement from the county states in all caps that “THE MEETING ROOM WILL NOT BE OPEN TO THE PUBLIC.”
Citizens who wish to participate in a public hearing portion of the meeting, or who want to offer other comments, can provide them by sending written statements via email to email@example.com or by using snail mail and sending the comments to “Guilford County Clerk to Board, 301 W. Market Street, Greensboro, NC 27401.”
It’s not clear exactly how thoroughly the commissioners read those comments, so a better option might be to register to be one of ten speakers from the floor at the virtual meeting by submitting an email to Deputy Clerk to Board Ariane Webb at firstname.lastname@example.org by 1 p.m. on Wednesday, Aug. 19.
Registration is on a first-come, first-served basis and speakers will use the GoToWebinar platform.
In the past meetings, it’s been a hit or miss thing as to whether the commissioners actually get to hear comments from those wishing to make the comments. At the first August meeting, even the head of a company seeking financial incentives didn’t get to speak very long due to technical problems with his feed.
Citizens can watch and/or listen to the August 19 commissioners meeting by visiting the GoToWebinar platform on their computer, tablet or smartphone and typing in https://attendee.gotowebinar.com/register/8702146759379857420. They can also participate by telephone by calling 1-562-247-8422 and typing in the access code 368-547-344. Or they can view the live stream from the Guilford County Meetings and Minutes website at https://guilford.legistar.com/Calendar.aspx or tune in to Greensboro Television Network (GTN). The meeting is available on Spectrum Channel 13, NorthState Channel 31 and AT&T U-verse Channel 99.