This week, we’re delving into the attendance rate for city council members in Greensboro and Winston-Salem. Everyone remembers having attendance taken in school and parents getting phone calls if you were absent from class. It’s the same thing, except council members were elected to their positions and are paid to be at the meetings.
The results for city council meeting attendance were collected between Aug. 11, 2022 — when Greensboro’s new city council was sworn in — and April 4 of this year. Attendance results for committee meetings, special meetings and work sessions were collected from Aug. 11-March 1.
Results were gathered from meeting minutes and video footage, which can be found appended on the city council meeting schedule on the websites for the City of Greensboro and the City of Winston-Salem.
How we graded: Dock a letter grade for each city council meeting absence. Dock half a letter grade for committee meeting, special meeting and work session absences (e.g. A to A-). For council members who attend committee meetings they are not required to attend, they get extra credit (e.g B to B+).
A note on Greensboro meetings:
Greensboro holds city council meetings at 300 W. Washington St. on the first and third Tuesdays of the month. Councilmembers also attend special meetings, which are sometimes called in order to vote on items that may require expedited action such as the Doorway Project, conduct strategy sessions, participate in training, etc. Work sessions are usually scheduled to discuss and learn more about topics through presentations from city staff. Greensboro’s special meetings are typically held once or twice a month, and the same goes for work sessions.
Mayor Nancy Vaughan: B-
Vaughan participated virtually during the Aug. 16, Sept. 6 and April 4 city council meetings, and was absent on Nov. 15. She attended an Oct. 13 special meeting over Zoom, and was absent from a Feb. 16 work session.
Mayor Pro Tem Yvonne Johnson: F
Johnson missed the city council meeting on Feb. 7, and has been absent from the Oct.10, Feb. 2, Feb. 3 and Feb. 20 special meetings. Johnson attended a work session on Jan. 12 over Zoom, and was absent from the Sept. 29, Oct. 27 and Nov. 3 work sessions. Johnson told TCB the absences were due to being out of the country, as well as being evaluated on a grant her nonprofit had written to the state — adding that she still worked during that time but that she felt she “needed to attend that.”
Sharon Hightower (District 1): A
Hightower has attended all city council meetings in person save for the Dec. 20 meeting which she attended over Zoom. She also attended in person for all special meetings and work sessions.
Goldie Wells (District 2): B
Wells was absent from the Nov. 15 city council meeting, but has been present for all special meetings and work sessions. Wells participated virtually during the Sept. 1 work session.
Zack Matheny (District 3): F
Matheny missed city council meetings on Sept. 20, Dec. 20 and March 21. He also missed a special meeting on Sept. 19, which included National Incident Management System overview training for city officials. NIMS is an emergency preparedness system, and the course is intended to familiarize officials with their role in incident prevention and response. Matheny participated virtually during the Feb. 2 and Feb. 3 special meetings, and was absent from the Dec. 20 work session. In an email to TCB, Matheny explained that he was absent because for two of the meetings because he attended international downtown association board meetings. The missed meeting in December was a trip to New York with his kids for what would have been him and his late wife’s anniversary. That trip was “scheduled well in advance,” he said.
“There will continue to be conflicts as with any schedule but you try to avoid them if possible,” Matheny said in the email.
Nancy Hoffmann (District 4): A
Hoffmann has attended all city council meetings, special meetings and work sessions — many virtually. Hoffmann attended the Aug. 16, Sept. 6, Dec. 6, Jan. 17 and April 4 city council meetings over Zoom, but attended in person for all special meetings. She was also present over Zoom during work sessions on Sept. 1, Jan. 12, Jan. 26 and Feb. 16.
Tammi Thurm (District 5): A-
Thurm has been present for all city council meetings, attending one over Zoom on Feb. 21.
Thurm missed the Feb. 20 special meeting, but was present and in-person for all work sessions.
Marikay Abuzuaiter (At-large): A
Abuzuaiter attended all city council meetings, participating over Zoom on March 7. She was also in-person for all special meetings and attended the Sept. 29, Oct. 27 and Jan. 26 work sessions over Zoom.
Hugh Holston (At-large): A-
Holston has been present and in-person for every council meeting and special meeting.
While he was absent during a work session on Sept. 29, Holston has been present and in-person for work sessions except for a Jan. 26 meeting which he joined over Zoom.
On Winston-Salem meetings:
Winston-Salem holds city council meetings at 101 N. Main St. Council holds its regular meetings every first and third Monday of the month, with four committee meetings held on Mondays and Tuesdays during the second week of the month. Councilmembers are assigned to two committees each and make recommendations for items that typically go on to the city council for final decisions.
Mayor Allen Joines: B
Joines was absent during on Feb. 20, a notable city council meeting due to the outpouring of support from public commenters for residents of 1200 Willie Davis Drive and 1635 Cleveland Avenue who were facing eviction.
While the mayor does not sit on any committees, he has been a frequent attendee of finance committee meetings.
Mayor Pro Tempore Denise D. Adams (North Ward): A
Adams has not missed a single council meeting or committee meeting — serving as the vice chair of the Finance Committee and the chair of the Community Development, Housing and General Government Committee.
Adams has also attended a couple of meetings for committees she does not serve on.
Annette Scippio (East Ward): A+
Scippio has attended every city council meeting and all of the meetings for committees she is assigned to. Scippio is the vice chair of the Community Development, Housing and General Government Committee and a member of the Public Works Committee.
Extra credit: Scippio also frequently attends committee meetings for committees she is not a member of, and has attended all Public Safety Committee and Finance Committee meetings. Scippio is often the sole non-committee councilmember in attendance at public safety committee meetings.
John Larson (South Ward): A+
Larson has attended every city council meeting and has not missed any committee meetings. Larson is the vice chair of the Public Safety Committee and a member of the Public Works Committee.
Extra credit: Larson has also attended all of the meetings for the other two committees he does not sit on.
Barbara Hanes Burke (Northeast Ward): A+
Burke has not missed a council meeting or committee meeting as the vice chair of the Public Works Committee and a member of the Public Safety Committee. She attended one city council meeting virtually on Nov. 1 and one public safety committee meeting virtually on April 10.
Extra credit: Burke has also attended all meetings for the other two committees she does not serve on.
Kevin Mundy (Southwest Ward): A
Mundy has attended all city council meetings as well as meetings for committees he serves on as a member of the Public Safety and Community Development, Housing and General Government committees. Mundy has attended all meetings for the Finance Committee, of which he is not a member.
James Taylor, Jr. (Southeast Ward): A
Taylor has been present for all city council meetings and is the chair of the Public Safety Committee and a member of the Finance Committee. Taylor hasn’t attended any meetings for committees he is not a member of.
Jeff MacIntosh (Northwest Ward): B+
While MacIntosh has missed one city council meeting on Oct. 3, he has been present for every meeting for the committees he sits on. MacIntosh is the chair of the Public Works Committee and a member of the Finance Committee.
Extra credit: MacIntosh frequently attends Public Safety committee meetings in addition to the committees he serves on, and has attended all of Community Development, Housing and General Government Committee meetings since August 11.
Robert C. Clark (West Ward): B
Clark missed one city council meeting on April 3, but has attended all of the committee meetings he serves on. Clark is the chair of the Finance Committee and a member of the Community Development/Housing/General Government Committee. Clark hasn’t attended any meetings for committees he is not a member of.
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