The Guilford County Board of Commissioners met with the mayors and other top officials of the county’s towns and cities on early this month and, based on comments by participants, there are likely to be a lot more of these “roundtable” discussions in the future.
Chairman of the Board of Commissioners Skip Alston, the driving force behind the get-together, said he believes it’s a very helpful practice for everyone involved, and he added that he’d like to start holding this type of meeting twice a year.
One interesting revelation from the meeting was that, even though all of the elected leaders and top staff are all in high-profile positions within Guilford County, a lot of them in the virtual Monday evening meeting didn’t know each other.
Alston’s not the only one who wants to make the meetings a regular event.
Ann Schneider, the mayor of Oak Ridge, said she was very appreciative of the ability to meet with the commissioners and let them know what was going on in Oak Ridge.
“I think it’s a great idea, and hopefully we will do it more,” Schneider said.
Alston said after the meeting that he’s not exactly sure when the last time a group of commissioners and city and town leaders got together for a discussion dedicated to issues affecting everyone, but he added that he remembers something like that taking place in 2003 – the first time he served as chairman. (Alston is now serving as chairman of the board for the sixth time.)
Greensboro Mayor Nancy Vaughan also thought it was very helpful thing to engage with other mayors and with commissioners.
“It’s fun to be able to sit and talk to the mayors of Guilford County about the things that make us the same and the way we can work together,” she said.
Vaughan thanked county staff who helped put the event together and added, “This is so important – that we have these conversations.”
Guilford County Manager Mike Halford also said it was a productive practice because “It makes one Guilford County when we are all firing on the same cylinders.”
The county manager added, “We all serve the same people regardless of where they live since they move throughout the county.”