It’s been a long strange trip, but the newly elected Greensboro mayor and City Council were sworn into office on Thursday, Aug. 11.
The Katie Dorsett Council Chamber was packed with family, friends and campaign workers for the first ceremonial meeting of the City Council elected on July 26.
So the longest City Council term in the history of Greensboro is finally over and the newly elected members of the City Council will serve about a three-year-and-four-month term, instead of the four-year term as is designated by law.
The City Council election was originally scheduled for Nov. 2, 2021, and was initially postponed to April or May 2022 because the Census data was not available in time to draw new City Council districts. What has been largely overlooked in the interim is that City Attorney Chuck Watts informed the City Council that, while technically redistricting was required, in his opinion the City Council could hold the 2021 election in the old districts. Of the five City Council districts, only District 2 was out of compliance with the ideal district and that was by 5.02 percent.
However, the City Council voted to redistrict, appointed a redistricting committee and then ignored the committee’s recommendation and selected a different redistricting map.
Then – after filing for what was to be a March primary had been open for three days – the North Carolina Supreme Court closed filing and postponed the March primary to May 17 in order to settle disputes about statewide redistricting.
With the primary set for May 17, there were two possible dates for the General Election – July 5 and July 26. The North Carolina legislature wisely picked the July 26 date.
In the normal course of events, after the Nov. 2, 2021 election, the newly elected City Council would have been sworn in on Dec. 2, 2021. But with all the delays the terms of the City Council elected in 2017 were extended and extended again, so instead of serving for four years that City Council served for about four years and eight months.
In the end, it didn’t make much difference since in the July 26 election the mayor and the seven members of the City Council who ran for reelection all won. District 3 City Councilmember Justin Outling ran for mayor rather than reelection and lost. The new District 3 City Councilmember Zack Matheny ended up running unopposed when his opponent, Chip Roth, dropped out of the race for health reasons.
Despite some hesitancy and one official challenge, the election night winners were certified by the Guilford County Board of Elections. There is always some discrepancy between the election night results and the final results, in part because absentee ballots mailed by Election Day will be counted if received by the Friday after the election, and there are provisional ballots that the Board of Elections has to decide whether or not to count.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan had the closest race of the election winning by a mere 435 votes. The election night results had Vaughan winning over Outling by 425 votes.
The lowest turnout for the most important local offices. This is so sad. Allowing an election to be held this time of year when nothing else is on the ballot makes no sense. It would have been better to let the idiots serve until November when there could have been a true election that represented the entire city.
Four more years of ineptness from this clueless group.Priceless
Enjoy living with what you voted for.
An election in July was just another hot day for most voters. I worked the poll on Horsepen Creek rd for a conservative candidate at a major intersection. I can not count the cars that passed the poll that day but would guess about 1 in 100 came in to vote. This was after tax bills had been mailed and you would have thought that that would inspire voters to look for change but it did not. The incumbents who all happened to be the first names on the ballot prevailed and in their minds this was a vote of confidence that they doing a fine job. The effects will hit many voters too late to do anything about it. Many will wonder in November why the city council race in not on the ballot. So we are stuck with this council for four years of unlimited spending. There is still money left in the revaluation so expect another tax increase next year.
The trip wasn’t long enough.
The Council had the option of going ahead with the mayor and at large elections since the Census delay did not effect those offices. But, with a straight face, several members said it would cost too much money to have separate mayoral/at large and district elections. They followed up their sudden conversion to fiscal responsibility by increasing the city budget, letting tax bills rise dramatically, and telling the state they would need 5-7 years to find the money to make up a $9 million shortfall in the city’s emergency fund which exists because they can’t manage the city’s money. Delaying the mayor and at large races was a cynical political calculation designed to help the incumbents and it worked. This is what happens when people don’t vote in municipal elections.