In partnership with Elon Law, synerG - the young professionals initiative of Action Greensboro - hosted a series of educational events in October to engage young professionals with Greensboro's local government. The three-week series explored regional economic development and the structure of local government, followed by a City Council Candidates Forum presented with The Greensboro Partnership.
The first forum, held at Elon Law on Oct. 7, explored economic development in the region and examined metrics for evaluating economic development success, obstacles to growth and the types of leadership required to improve the local economy.
- Dr. Keith Debbage, a professor at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro whose research explores regional economic development,
- Eric Fink, an associate professor of law at Elon, and,
- Carol Bruce, Chairperson of the Board of Directors for The Greensboro Partnership and an attorney with Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP.
The second forum, held at Elon Law on Oct. 14, considered the structure and roles of local government. This forum examined the leadership structure of Greensboro’s Council/Manager form of government and the City’s sources of revenue and expenditures.
- Ed Kitchen, former Greensboro City Manager and Vice President of the Joseph M. Bryan Foundation,
- Howard Katz, a professor of law at Elon, former director of strategic planning and policy for the Cuyahoga County Treasurer’s Office in Cleveland and chief counsel to the Cleveland City Council, and,
- Denise Turner Roth, Assistant City Manager who is expected to be appointed Greensboro’s Interim City Manager by the City Council on Oct. 25.
On Oct. 20, The Greensboro Partnership and synerG co-hosted a Municipal Economic Development Candidates’ forum in downtown Greensboro. The forum was conducted in three parts – one for city council candidates, one for city council at-large candidates and one for mayoral candidates.
The event was moderated by Jeb Brooks, a 2009 graduate of Elon Law and a member of synerG’s leadership Council. As a third-year law student in 2009, Brooks organized the first local government series for young professionals in partnership with synerG, through a capstone leadership project at the law school. All City Council and Mayoral candidates attended the 2011 forum, except for the two City Council candidates for District 5.
Candidates were asked questions by Brooks and via video messages. Elon Law students Brett DeWitt L’13 and Karima Grady L’13 were featured in video questions.
In response to questions, the candidates discussed safety and business growth in the downtown area, the White Street landfill, tensions among City Council members over the last two years and moving forward once City Manager Rashad Young announces his official resignation date.
“We’re going to want a city manager from a big city,” said City Councilwoman Nancy Vaughan, who is seeking reelection for city council at-large.
All the candidates who spoke on the issue expressed their appreciation for Young and his work but seemed confident about finding someone to fill the position and move Greensboro forward once Young leaves for the city manager position he has accepted in Alexandria, Va..
“He is not irreplaceable,” Vaughn said. “None of us are.”
Reporting for the article provided by Courtney Roller L’13