Greensboro City Manager Tai Jaiyeoba and his direct employee Intergovernmental Relations Manager LaToya Caesar-Crawford have conflicting stories about why the City Council wasn’t informed that the bill to create a civil service review board was coming up for a vote in the state House.
Caesar-Crawford’s explanation makes a whole lot more sense.
Caesar-Crawford said to the City Council at the work session on Thursday, April 27 that she only found out on Wednesday, April 26, five or 10 minutes before the bill was brought to the floor and that there wasn’t enough time to inform councilmembers.
The city manager tells a different story. At the Tuesday, May 2 City Council meeting Jaiyeoba told the City Council that Caesar-Crawford had informed him on Friday (which would have been April 21,) and then reminded him on Sunday of the bill’s progress.
As bizarre as it sounds, Jaiyeoba said that the reason he didn’t inform the council was because House Bill 470 was not on the City Council’s legislative agenda.
Jaiyeoba said, “I do remember very well that when we were discussing the legislative agenda process there was a conversation as to whether this was a priority and the council did not make this a priority.”
Councilmember Zack Matheny said, “Right, but if the state is taking it up …”
Jaiyeoba interrupted Matheny and said, “But our responsibility though, Mr. Matheny, is primarily to work on the legislative agenda. That is the direction you gave us.”
Matheny said, “I would argue though, Mr. Manager, if the state is pushing through something that is a legislative agenda, regardless of if it is on our list, it becomes on our list if it affects our body and our employees and your leadership as our manager and we should be informed.”
The city’s legislative agenda is a list of items the City Council would like to have the legislature pass. It is discussed by the City Council at length and sent to Raleigh, where it is usually ignored. The vast majority of the state legislature doesn’t give a hoot about what the Greensboro City Council wants it to pass.
Since the legislature is controlled by Republicans, while the Greensboro City Council is run by far-left Democrats, some have argued that if Greensboro really wants something in Raleigh the council should not put it on the legislative agenda.
House Bill 470 amends the charter of the city of Greensboro, the idea that the City Council would not be interested in a bill amending the city’s charter because it is not on the City Council’s agenda is difficult to comprehend.