The City Council has pushed back the date for partially opening meetings to the public to July 13, 2021.
On Friday, June 11, based on the agenda for the Tuesday, June 15 City Council meeting, the Rhino Times posted an article, “A Limited Number Of People Will Be Allowed To Attend City Council Meeting,” in which the agenda for that meeting was quoted as stating that people would be allowed to attend the meeting.
The article said that the meeting would be historic, since people have not been allowed to attend a meeting since March 2020.
However, the June 15 meeting won’t be historic, or at least not for that reason.
After the Rhino Times article was posted quoting the agenda at length, the city revised the agenda for the June 15 meeting.
The agenda posted on June 10 states, “Notice is hereby given that City Council has authorized a partial opening of the Council Chamber. All Regular or Special Meetings and/or Work Sessions for the Greensboro City Council will continue to be held as hybrid meetings.”
The most current agenda posted on June 11 states, “Notice is hereby given that City Council has authorized a partial opening of the Council Chamber beginning with the July 13, 2021 City Council meeting. All Regular or Special Meetings and/or Work Sessions for the Greensboro City Council will continue to be held as hybrid meetings.”
The addition of the date July 13, 2021 makes all the difference in the world.
The agendas for City Council meetings are usually posted on the Thursday before the Tuesday meeting. But for the past several years the agenda posted on Thursday has been revised, some weeks more than once, before the Tuesday meeting. Even councilmembers, in particular Councilmember Justin Outling, have noted that the revisions with additional information added the day of the meeting do not give councilmembers enough time to review the material before the meeting.
So although the current agenda posted for the June 15 City Council meeting states that the July 13 meeting will be partially open to the public, that could certainly be revised on Monday, June 14 or up until 5:30 p.m. on Tuesday, June 15, when the meeting starts.
In fact, even after the meeting starts it has become a common practice for the City Council to decide to take items out of order on the posted agenda or add items, such as a report on Cure Violence that is not on the agenda.
In previous years, the agenda could be depended on to be an accurate representation of how the meeting would progress. However, during the term of the current City Council it has become more a guide to give a general idea of how the meeting might be held and some of the items likely to be heard.