If there was any doubt, Senate Bill 9 proves that the Greensboro City Council doesn’t have much if any influence in the North Carolina legislature.

Senate Bill 9 amends the Charter of the City of Greensboro to create a Civil Service Board, a move that the City Council not only didn’t request, but strenuously objected to as soon as the City Council was informed about the bill – which was after the bill had already been passed by two House Committees and then the full House on May 26.

After finding out about what was then House Bill 470, councilmembers expressed strong opposition to the creation of a Civil Service Board and on May 2 passed a resolution by 5-3 vote in opposition to the bill.  Mayor Nancy Vaughan and Councilmembers Tammi Thurm and Zack Matheny voted against the resolution.  Councilmember Hugh Holston was absent.

In the discussion about the resolution, Matheny said, “Sending a resolution to the state will probably get this passed in the Senate as fast as it passed the House. It will fly through the Senate as fast as humanly possible.”

Matheny may have been wrong about the speed, but right about the final outcome.

The majority of the City Council opposed the bill that establishes a five-member Civil Service Review Board, which will have the power to review and overturn demotions, terminations, reductions in pay and other disciplinary actions for city employees.

When the House Bill passed on April 26, it was without any comment from the Greensboro City Council for the simple reason that the City Council had no idea that a bill amending the Charter of the City of Greensboro was before the House.

For the first time, the City of Greensboro has an employee whose job is to keep track of what is going on in the legislature and lobby for the City of Greensboro –  Intergovernmental Relations Manager LaToya Caesar-Crawford.

At the City Council work session on Thursday, April 27, one councilmember after another said they had no idea that House Bill 470 to create a Civil Service Review Board was coming up for a vote in the state House.

At that meeting Caesar-Crawford said, “Apparently we had plenty of time for public input, but we had no idea that it was being calendared so quickly and that it was going to be pushed through. It has been stated that Greensboro has not been there to support or oppose the bill.”

Caesar-Crawford also said that she only found out about the public hearings on the bill minutes before they were held and so did not have time to notify councilmembers.

In the end, the bill creating a Civil Service Review Board passed the state House with no comment from Greensboro and then passed the state Senate with opposition from Greensboro.