by Michael Lowrey
This is one of the odder things I’ve come across in 25 years doing public policy work: The General Assembly felt the need to change the composition of Greensboro City Council and the powers of Greensboro’s mayor. This was an extremely controversial move, especially as all this was suppose to happen without giving the city’s citizens a chance to vote on whether they actually wanted this new governmental structure. After the law passed, the city sued the Guilford County election board to block the changes. Last week federal District Court Judge Catherine Eagle heard arguments as to whether she should block enforcement of the law and allow the 2015 elections to go forward under the old rules… and no one spoke on the new law’s behalf. Not the elections board, which proclaimed its neutrality. And not the Attorney General’s office or lawyers hired by the General Assembly, as is allowed by state law. Weird.
Eagle’s ruled in the city’s favor. A trial on the issue is tentatively scheduled for the fall. It will be interesting to see whether either the AG or the legislature step up between now and then to defend the changes or whether the General Assembly changes the law in response to Eagle’s ruling.