The Greensboro City Council will hold the monthly virtual meeting devoted to hearing from the public on Monday Nov. 2 at 5:30 p.m.
The virtual meeting is being held Monday instead of Tuesday, the regular meeting day because there happens to be an election on Tuesday, Nov. 3 and the polls will be open until 7:30 p.m.
The first meeting of the month is in theory primarily devoted to a “public comment period.” People are supposed to be invited to speak to the City Council and the City Council’s television audience on any topic they choose.
In fact, it is possible to speak virtually to the City Council, just like when the City Council holds a public hearing.
But the City Council evidently does not want the public to know that they can actually speak during the virtual meeting, because once again there is no notice on the City Council agenda on how a person signs on to the virtual meeting to speak.
The announcement about the public comment period states, “Public comments may be submitted online via https://form.jotform.com/202643500426041 by 5 p.m. the day prior to the meeting. Any requests received past 5 p.m. will be processed for the next appropriate Council meeting.
“Comments will be summarized during the meeting and will posted at www.greensboro-nc.gov the day following the meeting. The City of Greensboro understands the level of concern and passion during this unprecedented time; however, all submittals must be free of inappropriate language and submitted in a respectful manner.
“Note: All public comments received are subject to the public records law and will be made available to the media. These communications are not confidential.”
That is the complete announcement and there isn’t a word in there about how a person goes about speaking during the virtual meeting.
However, some people discovered in October that if they requested permission to speak at the meeting, they would be allowed to do so and several people spoke.
Those were the first speakers at a public forum since the City Council started meeting virtually in April.
So if you would like to speak contact the City Clerk and it is evidently possible.
The idea that posting a comment on the City of Greensboro website the day after the meeting is the equivalent of speaking at the meeting is a little farfetched, which raises another question. If emailed comments have to be received the day before the meeting why are they posted the day after the meeting?