The Greensboro City Council held its first virtual meeting on Tuesday, April 14 at 2 p.m.
It was a meeting unlike any other the City Council has held and also a meeting that was surprisingly similar to many of the meetings this City Council has held over the past two and a half years.
The only items on the limited agenda that were discussed were in relation to the Minority and Women’s Business Enterprise (MWBE) program, and they were only discussed by City Councilmember Sharon Hightower.
Hightower once again expressed her concern that projects funded with state money did not fall under the control of the city’s MWBE office and that the state, not the city, was allowed to determine how the state’s money was spent.
City Manager David Parrish once again explained that on state and federally funded projects, the city didn’t have the authority to enforce its own MWBE requirements but had to accept the state and federal government’s processes.
Except for the fact that Parrish was in his office and Hightower was at home, it was an exchange the two have had countless times at City Council meetings.
Hightower also cast the only no votes during the meeting voting against the contracts that didn’t meet her personal MWBE requirements.
Overall the City Council did a good job with the virtual meeting. As one might expect, while the other members of the City Council turned their mikes on for voice votes so they could be heard, Councilmember Yvonne Johnson didn’t get the hang of it and Mayor Nancy Vaughan had to read lips to determine her vote.
At the end of the meeting, when it came time for comments from councilmembers, Johnson figured it out so she could make a statement that others could hear.
The sound quality was poor throughout the meeting, but Vaughan and councilmembers could be heard when they remembered to turn their mikes on.
The meeting adjourned at 2:44 and the next virtual meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, April 21 at 5:30 p.m. That meeting is supposed to have several controversial rezoning requests on the agenda that require public hearings. The city will have to figure out how to allow people other than councilmembers and city staff to speak at a meeting if those public hearings are to be held.