The Greensboro City Council work session on Thursday, Feb. 17 began as most do, with At-large City Councilmember and Mayor Pro Tem Yvonne Johnson as the only member of the council in the Plaza Level Conference Room.
However, at this meeting, Johnson also presided because, as she explained, Mayor Nancy Vaughan is on vacation.
Johnson is known for starting meetings on time and also for her off the cuff remarks. City Councilmembers Hugh Holston and Zack Matheny both arrived late and were not present when Johnson called the roll. Councilmember Nancy Hoffmann participated via Zoom. When Johnson finished calling the roll she said, “See, that’s what you get when you have men. They just don’t show up.”
The meeting began with “The Manager’s Minute,” which even though the City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba was in the room, was a video presentation by Jaiyeoba explaining what the GSO2040 Comprehensive Plan is and why it is important.
The Greensboro City Council began working on GSO2040 in 2018, five years ago. The City Council was an active participant in developing the plan and made some major adjustments to the original plan presented by the Greensboro Planning Department before finally passing what GSO2040 Comprehensive Plan. The only members of the current City Council who weren’t on the council in 2018 are Holston and Matheny.
It is difficult to imagine that anyone on the City Council doesn’t know what a comprehensive plan is or why city staff considers them important.
Jaiyeoba then explained to the City Council why the priorities that the City Council debated and approved at the 2023 council retreat were better than the priorities the City Council approved at the 2021 retreat before Jaiyeoba became city manager.
Jaiyeoba said, “I don’t want anyone to think that we threw away the priorities of 2021-2022, but they evolved into what you just discussed on Feb. 2 and 3, and should make them more aspirational and more forward thinking, more forward looking – for example, public safety talks about becoming the safest city not just about police and fire, while that’s important, but is also becomes the human issue that members of the LBGTQ community feel safe in our city.”