The final town hall meeting of the Greensboro City Council will be Tuesday, Dec. 3 in the Council Chamber at city hall.
Holding one meeting a month where the City Council pledged not to do any meaningful business, but to listen for up to five minutes to anyone who came to the podium, is a process that the City Council last month decided was not working.
Back in June, Mayor Nancy Vaughan announced a new twist on the town hall meeting concept: The meetings would not be held at city hall but held off site. It was later decided that one meeting would be held in each of the five City Council districts. One of the unannounced reasons for the off-site meetings was that the original plan was to not televise them. There were conflicting reports from Vaughan who said the city didn’t have the technology to televise them and Marketing and Communications Director Carla Banks who said the city did.
It turned out they were both right. The city did not have the technology to broadcast the meetings live but did have the technology to tape the meetings and broadcast them later, which was what was done.
The hope was that the regular speakers, who have been coming to the town hall meetings week after week and saying virtually the same thing, would be discouraged by only being able to reach the small number of people who actually attend the meeting. But for the most part the same people came to say the same things and were not discouraged by not being broadcast live.
The City Council was willing to give the town hall meetings a try, but only holding one business meeting a month is not business friendly. In business, time is money, and not getting on an agenda or having an item delayed meant that the earliest opportunity the City Council would have to hear the item was a month later.
Another issue was the length of the one City Council business meeting of the month, which at times had over 70 items on the agenda.
Starting in January, the City Council will hold two business meetings a month with speakers from the floor at the first meeting of the month but not the second.