The Greensboro City Council devotes the first meeting of the month to a public forum, also called speakers from the floor on non-agenda items.
Since 2018, this has been the only meeting each month where the public is invited to come to the City Council meeting and, for three minutes, speak about the topic of their choosing, and it is scheduled for the first Tuesday of each month.
After hearing the speakers, the council usually handles a consent agenda as well was short public hearing and general business agendas.
However, at the Tuesday, Sept. 5 City Council meeting, there were no public hearings and no items on the general business agenda.
The City Council often spends a considerable amount of time on the consent agenda, which is supposed to be a list of routine and housekeeping type items that do not need to be discussed and are all passed with one vote. At the Sept. 5 meeting, the City Council did just that and passed the consent agenda without discussion and without Councilmember Sharon Hightower asking a host of questions about items that are not supposed to be discussed.
The meeting did have a moment of drama when Luis Medina, who identifies himself as a member of the Working-class and Houseless Organizing Alliance and is a regular speaker at the City Council public forums, was ordered to be removed from the meeting by Mayor Nancy Vaughan.
At the end of Medina’s three minute speech, he slapped the microphone aside, apparently for emphasis.
After slapping the microphone, Vaughan said, “Mr. Medina I’m going to ask you to leave. I’m asking him to leave because of what he did to the podium.”
When Medina didn’t leave immediately, Vaughan said, “We have a meeting to run. Would you please leave.”
According to the policy passed by the City Council in July, speakers removed from a meeting for being disruptive are banned from personally attending a City Council meeting for three months. The policy does allow those banned from personally attending meetings to participate via Zoom.