Broadcasts of the meetings of the Greensboro City Council are, somewhat surprisingly, popular.

Those who have become regular viewers of the Greensboro City Council meetings may notice that the Tuesday, April 19 meeting is a little different in the number of city councilmembers recused from votes.

City Councilmember and mayoral candidate Justin Outling often asks to be recused from an item or two on the consent agenda because he is a partner in the Brooks Pierce law firm and asks to be recused from any item the law firm touches.

Mayor Nancy Vaughan said that going forward, because of a law passed by the legislature in 2021,  there are likely to be many more recusals.

North Carolina General Statute 14-234.3 prohibits elected officials from voting on contracts with a nonprofit entity where they are employed or serve on the governing board.  Since many councilmembers serve on nonprofit boards, Vaughan said those councilmembers would need to be recused from voting on any matters concerning those boards.

Vaughan said that at the April 19 meeting both Councilmember Marikay Abuzuaiter and Councilmember Hugh Holston would be asking to be recused from votes because they serve on nonprofit boards.

Vaughan had expressed concern at an earlier meeting that because she is a member of the Guilford County Economic Development Alliance (GCEDA), she would have to be recused from votes on economic development matters that had come before GCEDA.  However, there is an exception in the law for government organizations, so the law does not appear to apply to GCEDA.

However, Vaughan said that the under the current interpretation of the statute, it would apply to both the Greensboro Chamber of Commerce and Downtown Greensboro Inc. (DGI), which are both involved in economic development.

Vaughan said that her understanding was that the law initially was meant to deal with elected officials who were being compensated by a nonprofit, but that in its current state it encompasses volunteer service on nonprofit boards.