The surprise and completely unexplained resignation from the City Council of Michelle Kennedy has created quite a stir in Greensboro.
Yesterday, the Rhino Times reported that sources said Kennedy was expected to resign to accept the position of Greensboro Neighborhood Development Department director. Today it can be confirmed that Kennedy has been offered that job.
However, there is still no official word on why Kennedy resigned by email at the beginning of the Tuesday, Aug. 17 City Council meeting.
At that meeting not a single city councilmember asked a question or even made a comment about Kennedy’s resignation. In the past, when city councilmembers have resigned, there has been an explanation and a lot of comments.
Former District 3 City Councilmember Zack Matheny resigned in June 2015 to accept the position as president of Downtown Greensboro Inc. (DGI). There was no secrecy about why Matheny was resigning. Councilmembers did not sit stone faced without comment when Matheny announced he was resigning.
District 3 City Councilmember Justin Outling was appointed to replace Matheny. Outling is still serving on the City Council and is currently running for mayor.
Former District 2 City Councilmember Jamal Fox resigned in 2017 because he was moving to Oregon and District 2 City Councilmember Goldie Wells was appointed to replace him. Wells continues to serve on the City Council and is running for reelection.
Which explains why, with Kennedy’s resignation less than a day old, the line of people who would like to be appointed to fill the at-large seat is long and growing.
Incumbents usually win elections, even when they are incumbents who were appointed, not elected.
For the open at-large City Council seat, one name that has been mentioned as a possible replacement is former City Councilmember Mike Barber. In 2017, Kennedy beat Barber by 102 votes, which means he had a lot of support citywide, just not quite enough support to win reelection.
And in this case, because the person appointed will only serve until after the 2022 City Council election, either in April or May, a good argument can be made that the appointee should be someone with experience. It takes a few months to learn the ins and outs of serving on City Council, and if someone with no experience is appointed, about the time they get the hang of it, their term could be over.