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scuttlebutt

by Keith T. Barber and Jordan Green

scuttlebuttI

City to solicit input on new police chief from community panels Greensboro police Chief Tim Bellamy will put in his last day in July. That’s according to his boss, City Manager Rashad Young.

The city manager said he plans to solicit input from various sectors of the community both to determine what qualities the new chief should have and to evaluate the finalists in person. Young said the city will probably form three to five panels representing law enforcement, business people, everyday citizens and faith groups. Rank-and-file police officers and other city staff will probably have a place on one of the panels, he said. At a city council retreat last month, Young told council members: “We’ll have faith-based community from both the minority and majority community.”

On Monday, the city manager said he hasn’t thought about whether the faith group panel would include non- Christian faiths or about any particular groups that might be invited to participate.

Young said he plans to be flexible if finalists object to having their identities made public on the grounds that it will jeopardize their current employment.

“If they’ve got an issue with the public disclosure aspect, then we’d have to rethink our approach,” he said. “I don’t intend to be so rigid with the process up front that we can’t change course. We’ll have to wait and see. If we have one or more candidates that feel uncomfortable with that we may have to do something different.” — JG

Small-group meetings policy proposed The matter of small group meetings inspired heated debate at a Greensboro City Council retreat last month, mostly between two factions that carried over from the last council. At-large Councilman Robbie Perkins and District 1 Councilwoman Dianne Bellamy-Small believe council members are better informed if allowed to meet with staff in groups of two to four; five constitutes a quorum and requires public notice to stay within the bounds of the state public meetings law. District 4 Councilwoman Mary Rakestraw and District 5 Councilwoman Trudy Wade were part of the majority that voted in 2008 to prohibit two or more council members from meeting with staff. Rakestraw and Wade believed the other faction was conspiring to develop proposals and then ram them through council meetings without adequate review and consideration.

City Attorney Terry Wood and Assistant City Manager Denise Turner were assigned to draw up a set of possible guidelines for the council to consider. A Dec. 23 memo by Turner distinguishes between council-initiated meetings and staff-initiated meetings.

Turner proposes that council-initiated small group meetings be scheduled in advance so all members may be notified of the subject matter, time and location. Additional meetings would be held for members who could not make the initial gathering. If an impromptu small group meeting were held under emergency circumstances, the manager would inform the rest of council that a meeting had taken place “as soon as reasonable after the meting.”

Staff-initiated meetings would be called by the city manager, and a minimum of three meetings would be held to accommodate the schedules of all nine council members. The proposed guidelines hold that the same agenda would be covered at all three meetings and a “meeting review document” would be created to memorialize “unplanned topics that may have arisen during one of the meetings.” — JG

University doesn’t consider student apartment site ‘viable’ A representative of Ohiobased Edwards Companies said the Greensboro City Council will likely hear a rezoning request in February. to allow the construction of the proposed massive student housing complex at the Newman Machine Co. site in College Hill. The city’s rezoning commission voted down the request in December. Vice President Steve Simonetti said his company was granted a delay by the city to prepare for the case.

The city’s rezoning commission voted down the request in December, at least partly based on the premise that the company touted its partnership with UNCG but the university did not express official support for the project.

A Dec. 23 letter from Chancellor Linda Brady to the council underscores the university’s ambivalence about the project. Brady said the university has been in communication with Edwards Companies for almost three years.

“UNCG does not currently consider the Newman Whitney site in College Hill as a viable component of the conceived new neighborhood of university-controlled housing,” she said. “When the university’s Strategic Housing Plan was developed, Edwards was invited to consider partnering with UNCG to develop the ‘new neighborhood’ of university-controlled housing somewhere near campus, rather than proceeding with their planned project east of Fulton and Spring Garden (Newman Whitney property). However, Edwards declined, presumably because Edwards had already expended pre-development costs in the Newman project.” — JG

Winston-Salem holds census ad contest The committee overseeing the 2010 US Census operations in Forsyth County is currently accepting submissions for its billboard design contest to promote the participation of every person in the head count. Entries cannot contain more than 10 words, excluding website addresses, and will be posted on the city’s Facebook page. The winning design will be prominently displayed on an electronic billboard on Business 40 West from March 8 through April 4. Entries must be received by Feb. 7—include name, e-mail address and daytime phone number. Entries can be scanned and submitted on the city’s Facebook page or e-mailed to kellyb@cityofws. org. Paper or electronic entries must be proportioned to fit inside a 12″ by 3.5″ box. “Handdrawn entries are perfectly acceptable,” said contest coordinator Kelly Bennett. — KTB

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