The Greensboro City Council has rescheduled its annual retreat for Thursday Feb. 11 and Friday, Feb. 12.
The two-day meeting will be held virtually rather than in the board room at the ACC Hall of Champions at the Greensboro Coliseum Complex.
On Tuesday, Jan. 26, the official notice went out that the virtual meeting would be held on Thursday Feb. 4 and Friday, Feb. 5, but on Wednesday, Jan 27, a new official notice went out setting the dates one week later.
The Greensboro City Council hasn’t met in person since April. By contrast, the Guilford County Board of Commissioners has been meeting in person throughout the pandemic.
The purpose of the two-day meeting is to discuss the upcoming year and traditionally has been a time to set the priorities – providing guidance for the city manager to prepare the upcoming budget.
In 2020, the council deviated from this tradition, hired a facilitator and began by writing new vision and mission statements for the city and defining values.
The values the City Council agreed on were: safety, inclusion, respect and sustainability.
The City Council also set long-term goals. One of those goals was to reduce violent crime over a two-year period by 20 percent.
This by any measure was a dismal failure. In May, Greensboro had riots for the first time in decades and, for two nights, windows in downtown businesses were smashed and stores were looted. On the third night, Mayor Nancy Vaughan ordered a curfew.
The city also set a new record with 61 homicides in 2020. The previous record had been 45 set in 2019. But it wasn’t only homicides that showed an increase. Aggravated assaults were up by 8 percent and assaults with a firearm increased by 17 percent.
The City Council met with Police Chief Brian James on Dec. 7, 2020 to discuss the increase in violent crime and the needs of the department.
The City Council discussed “immediate” action to assist the Police Department, but so far has taken no official action.