Guilford County has created the world’s largest committee.
Well, OK, it might not be the absolute largest committee ever named for any purpose across the planet – but Guilford County has, far and away, in the creation of a new committee meant to encourage local participation in the 2020 US Census, formed the largest Guilford County committee that any county official can recall.
Before the Guilford County Board of Commissioners officially established the “2020 US Census Complete Count Committee,” county officials had discussed making the committee one of about 30 to 35 members and some county officials had said that sounded awfully large.
So, when Guilford County Manager Marty Lawing recommended, at the Thursday, Aug. 15 meeting of the Board of Commissioners, that the new committee have 85 members, some people in the commissioners meeting room of the Old Guilford County Court House thought that they had misheard the number. But they’d heard correctly: The manager’s recommendation, which the board followed that night, turned out to be more than double the size of the number that many already considered too big.
After the meeting, Lawing told the Rhino Times that, in all his years of local government work, he couldn’t recall ever being involved with a committee of that size.
At the commissioners meeting last week, Lawing presented one rationale for the large number of committee members.
“Eighty-five people seems like a lot, but you have to remember you are working with volunteers, and they have work commitments, and every member may not be able to make every meeting,” he told the board.
He added that variety was a good thing when it comes to this type of effort.
“The complete count committee is usually a cross-section of community members that help develop an outreach strategy to try to get an accurate count in the community,” he said.
It appears that when that is the goal, the rule “The more the merrier” applies more so than the axiom that says, “Too many chefs spoil the broth.”
The committee will be made up of members from a wide variety of fields and areas such as education, the faith community, media, non-profit work, the business community and more.
Guilford County Commissioner Skip Alston was named as the chairman of the supersized committee.