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Security at Bob Walton Plaza
I just wanted to personally thank our security team for the job they did here at Bob Walton Plaza. We were over run with contractors parking in the lot. Everyday employees and visitors couldn't find a parking space. Within a couple of weeks of filing a complaint, new towing enforcement signs were up. I figured that would be all however on my way in Monday November 20th, I was surprised to see security officers posted at each entrance as well as someone from the security team onsite at 6:00am to enforce the no parking rules. I even believe I saw them towing a vehicle. It is amazing to see the difference in the parking lot, I wish I had taken before and after photos. I still see someone from the security team onsite from time to time doing spot checks to ensure it's not being overrun again. It's good to know that our complaints are being heard and action is being taken instead of sitting behind a desk.
A healthy workforce is very important to all of us. For Mecklenburg County, there is only one employee cost sharing “pool” and it consists of members from both the PPO and the HSA; hence all claims are paid from one bucket. Being that Mecklenburg County’s medical and dental plans are self-insured, a reduction to the County’s total healthcare cost is a primary concern and objective.
The HSA insurance offered to all employees hired after Jan. 1, 2017 allows employees to have an affordable health insurance option which can be tailored to an employee’s individual needs by determining how much each employee will contribute to their HSA account in addition to what the County contributes via “seed money”. This HSA option offers a flexible plan for all employees that aligns well with the many other benefits that Mecklenburg County offers.
Multiple factors, such as rising healthcare costs and chronic conditions, influences the County’s decision to what approach to take for the upcoming benefit plan year. Prior research indicates an increasing trend in organizations only offering a consumer driven type health plan such as a Health Savings Account (HSA) or a Health Reimbursement Plan (HRA) for its workforce.
We believe that by being better consumers of your medical benefits, it will positively impact employees’ future cost as well as the County’s. We will continue to monitor and evaluate both the PPO and HSA plans to provide affordable, quality healthcare benefits to employees, retirees and their dependents that are sustainable to all, including the County.
The Department Directors prioritized their areas and then the County Executive Team provided prioritization across all departments (enterprise point of view). Collectively, Department Directors, County ET and IT Leadership, participated in a daily call to provide status against the established priorities.
Additionally, we have identified some additional recommended actions to accelerate our abilities to address system recovery in the future. These recommendations have been reviewed with the County ET and the Board of County Commissioners.
Food trucks are already being allowed at the Valerie C. Woodard Center. The County has obtained a zoning permit to allow the food trucks and DSS is in the process of scheduling vendors. It can be expanded once more departments move to the center.
Thank you for your question. As part of Finance’s strategic plan, we are working to help improve resources in these areas, including more training through MeckEDU. Currently, in-classroom training is available to all users multiple times per year. Finance sends an email to users to let them know when the classes are available, and users will be able to go into myHR to sign up for a class. Advantage Manuals and Training Materials, including for infoAdvantage, are also available on Meckweb under the Finance Department and the Finance Links section.
You can also email FINHELPDESK@mecklenburgcountync.gov, or contact your normal point of contact in the Financial Services Department with questions on reporting and other tools.
The Human Resources Department continues to work to improve the efficiency of the recruitment process and I think it's important to hear from staff and managers directly. Each individual recruitment effort can be different, depending on the nature of the position, desired qualifications, etc. If you are willing to provide your name, the Talent Acquisition Manager can meet with you individually to truly understand your specific situation, translate that into recommendations/action and share that with me to ensure we continue to improve. Our HR Talent Acquisition Team has added staff as a part of their Fiscal Year 2017 Strategic Business and has more resource planned in their plans in the future.
A healthy workforce is very important to me but we do want to be competitive while controlling costs. The HSA insurance offered to all employees hired after Jan. 1, 2017 allows employees to have an affordable health insurance option which can be tailored to an employee’s individual needs by determining how much each employee will contribute to their HAS account. This insurance option offers a flexible plan for all employees and we feel that is aligns well with the many other benefits that make Mecklenburg County competitive as well as a great place to work.
Your idea sounds somewhat like a Paid Time Off (PTO) arrangement in which employees are allotted a set number of days off at the beginning of the year. HR has reviewed this possibility in the past and has determined PTO is not currently an option for County employees. The State administers the County’s retirement plan and they allow a percentage of accrued sick time to be counted toward creditable service time which would negatively impact our retirement plans. We believe the accrual system we have in place best rewards County employees for their service and longevity.
The County highly values the safety of its employees, and it’s very unfortunate that the sidewalks and parking lots at Farm Pond Lane were not better managed during the snow event. Since that property is leased the County does not have direct control over the maintenance of the grounds. The County’s Asset and Facility Management (AFRM) department will contact the Landlord and voice the County’s concerns about the poor conditions of the grounds during the snow event. AFM will also ask the Landlord how they will better prepare for the next such event. Regarding the County vehicles, every department is responsible for handling their own vehicles as related to ice/snow removal. The County does not have any attendants that could be used for that purpose.
The County has an official public website, MecklenburgCountyNC.gov. All County departments are represented on MecklenburgCountyNC.gov. In an effort to provide information to visitors, some web pages contain links to external applications and websites. Occasionally, departments create and manage websites for special projects that are not located on MecklenburgCountyNC.gov. Public Information Web Services strives to provide a better user experience for visitors.
Without knowing the specifics of which employees, it will be difficult to hold the correct individuals and managers accountable for ensuring we are consistently following the County’s policy that expressly states teleworking in South Carolina is not permitted. If you are willing to do so, please call the Employee Services Center or use the Ethics Hotline to provide additional information for us to pursue this matter further. I will additionally remind all Department Directors of the policy at our next Cabinet meeting and ask them to communicate with their management teams as needed.
The policy being referred to in this suggestion is: “Four hours of vacation leave shall be awarded to the accumulated benefit of the regular full-time employee who does not use sick leave and/or LWOP for a period of seven consecutive pay periods. A regular part-time employee will receive the corresponding percentage of vacation leave.”
The first thing to understand is that this is Board Policy and would require Board action and approval to change. The second point I will offer is that I believe that the intent of ‘bonus’ vacation time for not using sick time is not for employees to come to work sick, rather as an incentive to use sick time only when needed. The County provides all employees with 12 days of sick time per year and I strongly encourage and ask everyone to use that time as is needed for you to get well and to prevent any illness from spreading at work. If a personal need arises that you are short vacation hours, I suggest talking with your manager to see if there are opportunities to accommodate that situation – for example, if you need to take one day off but do not have enough vacation time, perhaps you could work 4 10-hour days that particular work week if your respective department and business model allows for it.
While this is not something I currently plan to take to the Board for discussion, I do appreciate the suggestion and will keep in mind for the future.
We will inform the vendor about the noise concerns. Most County facilities have had the new, healthier vending machines installed and many employees have given us positive feedback so far.
The healthier choice items in the newly installed machines in County facilities starting in mid-January 2017 all meet a specific nutritional criterion that was rigorously reviewed by a team of experts including Registered Dieticians and the American Heart Association, both Charlotte and national chapters.
Additionally, no tax payer dollars are being used on the machines. They are provided by the new vendor at no cost to the County and the County does not receive any financial incentive from them. We will inform the vendor about the concern regarding pricing.
The funding for the MLS soccer stadium comes from Capital Funds cannot be used for employee benefits. Health insurance costs continue to increase in the public and private sectors and we feel that even with the changes, we offer a very competitive benefits package. We value our employees – our biggest asset – and continuously look for ways to make Mecklenburg County a great place to work. Look on MeckWeb for all of the benefits we offer employees, including low-cost use of recreation centers, the Employee Assistance Program, and our wellness program.
Medical information, such as sick leave accruals, is not shared with hiring managers and the County has no future plans to change the process. HR’s Talent Acquisition Consultants do ask the current supervisor if there have been any attendance issues. Managers have the opportunity at this point to inform the new hiring manager/supervisor of any general attendance concerns.
Newly hired employees accrue time per the County’s HR policy
Multiple factors, such as rising healthcare costs and chronic conditions, influenced the County’s decision to offer new choices for employees in 2017. Prior research indicates an increasing trend in organizations only offering a consumer driven type health plan such as Health Savings Plan (HSA) or a Health Reimbursement Plan (HRA). While new employees hired after January 1, 2017 will only be offered the high-deductible plan with the HSA, we believe being better consumers of your medical benefits will positively impact the employees’ cost as well as the County’s. Mecklenburg County’s 2017 Benefit Plan choices are very competitive within the local region and industry and the approach we have taken will be more sustainable and is in the interest of employees, retirees and their families in the long run. Employees can also learn more about the HSA plan by enrolling in the MyHR class, Health Savings Account 101 offered each month. A MeckEDU module will launch soon.
Currently, the PPO option is still available for employees who were hired prior to January 1, 2017. We are always evaluating costs and will continue to offer this option unless the cost becomes restrictive.
At this point we do not have plans to offer discounts due to our need to continue to provide adequate revenue for maintenance, set-up costs and continuing capital improvements to our parks.
Multiple factors, such as rising healthcare costs, chronic conditions, etc. influenced the County’s decision to offer new choices for employees in 2017. Prior research indicates an increasing trend in organizations only offering a consumer driven type health plan such as Health Savings Plan (HSA) or a Health Reimbursement Plan (HRA). While new employees hired after January 1, 2017 will only be offered the high-deductible plan with the HSA, we believe being better consumers of your medical benefits will positively impact the employees’ cost as well as the County’s. Mecklenburg County’s 2017 Benefit Plan choices are very competitive within the local region and industry and the approach we have taken will be more sustainable and is in the interest of employees, retirees and their families in the long run. Employees can also learn more about the HSA plan by enrolling in the MyHR class, Health Savings Account 101 offered each month. A MeckEDU module will launch soon.
The current practice/procedure is that all departments are responsible for cleaning their own refrigerators, and this has worked in other County facilities. We will share this concern with the building coordinator and our facilities staff to resolve the problem.
Answer: Thank you for your inquiry concerning vacation time. We recognize the tremendous efforts of our detention staff and thank you for your service.
The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office does follow Mecklenburg County’s vacation policy. The policy states, “vacation accrues from and is authorized for use by all full time and part time employees from the first day of employment. Maximum accrual of benefits is based on the employee’s normal work schedule”. Vacation is accrued on a bi-weekly basis for each regularly scheduled hour worked and the accrual rate is determined by the length of service in the retirement system or qualifying County service date, whichever is earlier.
As a Sheriff’s Office employee, you may work 80 or 86 hours in a reporting period. If you work 86 hours in a reporting period, then you will accrue at a higher rate than if you worked 80 hours. But, if your schedule changes and you return to 80 hours in a reporting period then you will accrue vacation hours at a lower rate.
While the 86 hour work schedule can be taxing on an employee and their families, please know you are receiving the equivalent number of days commensurate with your work schedule and you are afforded the flexibility of having every other weekend off.
In terms of holiday time, staff receive the correct hours whether in pay or accrual. If you work a holiday (and I believe at least half of the detention officers are typically off on holidays) you can elect to receive extra pay for the 12.33 hours worked (which wasn’t the case until 2007) or you can elect to accrue the holiday to use later.
The Sheriff’s Office has internal resources that can address any other additional questions or concerns you might have. I am going to ask that someone from the Sheriff’s Office HR unit or payroll address this issue in roll call or meet with you individually.
We will ask management to make sure that Employees do not feel forced to participate in these types of voluntary campaigns and that no retaliation will occur.
Thanks for the suggestion. We are always looking for ways to improve the Employee Fest experience and involve more employees. When Employee Fest first started about 6 years ago, there was an employee talent portion of the day, but it was difficult to recruit employees who were willing to showcase their talents. It is something we can consider incorporating back into the event. If you (or anyone) is interested in helping coordinate this effort or has other suggestions, please contact anyone in Public Information with your suggestion.
The current practice/procedure is that all departments are responsible for cleaning their own refrigerators, and this has worked in other County facilities. We will share this concern with the building coordinator and our facilities staff to try to resolve the problem. If the problem persists we may have to consider removing the refrigerators in question.
Thank you for your feedback. Each year we review options of merit/salary increases and benefit plan changes to determine what to include as part of the Manager’s Recommended Budget. For the past several years, we were able to budget for an average of a 3% merit increase (providing for a range of 0 to 4.5% of market rates based on performance). The majority of third-party salary surveys conducted at both the local and national levels have indicated an average of 3% raises for recent years. While the benefit plan changes this past year did result in the elimination of the enhanced plan, we reviewed many options from a national, third-party healthcare consultant to ensure that the new plans are competitive and in line with decisions being made by other employers.
While I understand that pay and medical benefits are a critical component to our total compensation, we also have reviewed other benefits. Two years ago, I recommended and the Board approved to recognize Veteran’s Day as a paid holiday, bringing our total to 11 paid holidays. Last month I presented options and a recommendation to the Board to consider adding a new paid family leave plan. We will continue to look for ways to enhance our total compensation package to ensure we are attracting and retaining talent but also must ensure that we are looking to industry standards and best practices.
Because the cost of replacing drinking fountains County-wide would be substantial, Asset and Facility Management plans to install these new fountains as new facilities are constructed, for major building renovations, and for one-for-one replacements in existing buildings. Because the Courthouse (832 E. 4th. Street) is relatively new compared to other County buildings, it will likely be quite some time before those fountains are replaced. We will work with AFM to determine if we can move forward with as many replacements as we can within the budget.
It is very helpful for staff to bring this type of performance to our attention. This is clearly an unacceptable level of service. County Security is looking into this and will explore all options in addressing the situation, including removal of the officers from the site.
We do not intend to keep this as a name for any future County building.
Reporting to employees the reasons for our increase in health insurance claims was intended to inform and be transparent about the collective issues we face. I believe strongly that we all need to take responsibility for our health and wellness for two reasons, 1) we all want to lead healthy lives and 2) the money saved by reducing health insurance claims can be used to expand services elsewhere in the County.
In 2017 the County made healthcare plan revisions to offer new medical plans, a revised PPO and a new Health Savings Account (HSA), that I believe balance high-quality options with fiscal responsibility.
We continue to look for ways to control costs while providing competitive benefit plans. Upcoming healthcare benefit changes will focus on providing additional resources for disease management, which will include free coverage for certain preventive generic prescriptions, for many chronic health conditions and support through free telephonic health coaching. We feel like these changes will be helpful to employees in both of our insurance plans.
In addition, we will continue to offer financial incentives through the myTotalHealth Wellness Program that reduces your insurance premiums. We will also promote health and wellness by continuing to offer onsite cooking classes, preventive screenings (biometrics, mammograms, flu shots etc.,) physician referral services and so much more. Please visit myTotal Health for additional information.
Finally, HR has developed ongoing educational opportunities for employees to learn more about the HSA plan. The HSA 101 class is available year-round to current and new employees. For those enrolled in the HSA plan or those who are interested in enrolling in the HSA plan, this class provides information that will help you get the most from the plan. To learn more about the HSA 101 class, please visit MyHR.
Thank you for passing this information on to Park and Recreation. We have instructed our Park Rangers and Maintenance staff to be more aware of the illegal activities in First Ward and Reedy Creek parks. We instruct our Rangers not to allow smoking or alcohol. We try and interact with each person violating the ordinances, to stop the activity, have them leave and/or call 911. We will work with CMPD for some undercover operations in these focused areas. Please have park patrons call 911, if they see illegal activities in parks and/or do not feel safe.
We post the suggestions and responses in as timely a manner as possible. Some months we do not have any suggestions to post.
Thank you for your suggestion. It will be taken into consideration. We are happy that the biometric screening process was a good experience for you.
Mecklenburg County’s philosophy is to provide market pay for market performance. The County’s job market rates and associated pay ranges are based on the average pay provided by other comparable employers for similar jobs and are reviewed every two years. The County also believes in paying for performance and therefore, the guidelines for performance increases must be linked to both levels of performance and the market rate philosophy.
The pay-for-performance structure is designed to reward employees based on their market rate rather than their current salary. This is a more equitable method of awarding merit increases to employees because the same monetary award is given to those who earn the same rating for comparable performance levels in the same or very similar jobs. While there is currently no intent to change this methodology in the more immediate future, it is something we can consider in future years.
The CRD has 13 different types of positions. This correspondence focused on our social worker staff. Within the social work classification, we have staff who are office-based and others who are field-based. Our field-based social workers complete assessments in the homes of seniors, adults with disabilities and at risk families. Some clients are identified to be at risk for adult and child protective services. Workers are afforded the ability to take advantage of County benefits based on their job responsibilities. Work schedules are based on business needs which are different for office-based and field-based social workers. These two social work functions serve different clientele. Also, questions regarding work schedules are often asked during interviews, during which time our business needs are carefully explained as well as workers being able to select a standard, compressed work week or flexible working hours. Employees are expected to adhere to the department standard of maintaining consistent work schedules and responding to voicemails and emails timely.
We work in conjunction with the Human Resources (HR) Department to ensure County policies are adhered to and follow the salary recommendations of the HR compensation staff. As with all DSS hiring and transfers, HR makes the final job offers and provides information regarding salaries based on pay parities. Additionally, periodically HR reviews the status of the pay plan and considers any necessary amendments to market rates by position.
CRD deploys a structured training platform inclusive of classroom, supervisory and peer-to-peer support and field observations. Additionally, over three years ago, the management team developed a divisional learning culture which consists of a structured onboarding process and training curriculum.
The divisional management team has an open door policy and attends team meetings, another opportunity for staff to share concerns and ideas. We believe this creates a positive and supportive work environment. We encourage any staff to offer innovative ideas for consideration. We value and respect our employees’ opinions.
CRD’s management team is not aware of any specific examples related to discrimination, bullying, retaliation, cover-ups, intimidation, nor was any information shared to support these allegations. If there are specific incidents, the employee should inform CRD or DSS Management or reach out directly to HR for assistance in order for the situation(s) to be immediately and appropriately addressed.
Mecklenburg County’s Healthy Vending & Food Policy was adopted based upon guidance from the American Heart Association, specifically in their Healthy Workplace Food & Beverage Toolkit. The nutrition standards for food and beverages have also been reviewed by Mecklenburg County Registered Dietitians. We feel confident that the food and beverages in the vending machines allow for a choice of healthier items by our staff and customers. In addition, all of our beverage machines offer bottled water and beverages 10 calories or less which is helpful when making a low-calorie choice.
Thank you for your thoughts on this issue. I will consider the survey idea.
Construction work at the Valerie C. Woodard Center may be causing dust due to the grading in the new parking lots or the excavation for new footings. Once that work is completed, the dust should be less of a problem. Since parking is “open” and not restricted, it might be best to find a parking space that is farther from the construction work. Spaces that are located farthest from the building or the re-paving work, such as the rows near Ashley Drive may provide the best options.
This is not a county issue, but a city one. It has been forwarded to the Charlotte Department of Transportation.
The CIO does not permit ITS employees to work remotely from international locations for weeks at a time. All requests for remote system access changes are routed to HR for approval.
Mecklenburg County provides the turnover rate to the Office of Management and Budget (OMB) monthly for inclusion in the Human Resources Departmental Update to the Board of County Commissioners. The turnover report (below) for June shows total turnover for FY17 vs. previous years. This was included in the August Department Director Update to the BOCC.
Thank you for bringing this matter to our attention. The document referenced is provided by our business partner conducting the audit. We have asked that they review all documentation to ensure they are using appropriate terminology.
This is a City of Charlotte issue. It has been reported to the city through their online reporting system.
The County conducts a biennial market study meant to ensure that the County is establishing competitive pay ranges when compared with peer organizations, not necessarily as a mechanism to increase employee pay rates as with a traditional cost of living adjustment. The market for the Administrative Assistant III position was last reviewed in FY2014 and increased from $37,399 to $39,905. In lieu of cost of living increases, the County has chosen to adopt a pay for performance philosophy to ensure that annual pay increases are based on performance.
I encourage you to continue to seek promotional opportunities within the organization. The County is committed to the professional growth and development of all employees. If you have not yet taken the KEYS to Evaluating Your Success class, I encourage you to do so. This class is designed to help employees with resume writing, interviewing tips and advice on transitioning career paths. There are sessions available in MyHR for both November and December.
Asset and Facilities Management (AFM) has received very positive responses regarding the cleanliness of restrooms at the Suttle Ave. building. It is surprising to hear the restrooms are not cleaned, because there were actually numerous comments from the Employee Climate Survey that the restrooms at Suttle Avenue are cleaned too often. Regarding the cleaning of floors, the janitorial staff vacuums high traffic areas nightly and offices & cubicles at least once per week, if accessible, so AFM would need to know about your specific space if it is not clean. Conference rooms are vacuumed nightly, and conference tables are wiped nightly. Regarding touch up painting, AFM will have to inspect the specific area where it does not match. Sometimes touch up paint may not match perfectly, so AFM will check for areas that may not be acceptable. Regarding torn carpet or gum in the carpet, AFM will check on that issue. AFM recently replaced carpet on the 4th floor that was worn. Regarding whiteboards, those are the responsibility of the County staff that use them, because they are not cleaned by janitorial staff. Regarding blinds, AFM is aware that a few blinds are broken, and plans to replace them.
County vehicles travel almost 10 million miles each year. The County’s vehicle accident rate per million miles is closely monitored and has remained steady over the past 5 years. Incurred costs from vehicle accidents claims this year were the lowest in the previous five fiscal years, declining by 24% since 2013. County Departments are responsible for determining necessary training for their employees and many County divisions require employees to complete defensive driver training upon initial hire.
The County Vehicle Use and Employee Driving Policy outlines how employee vehicle accidents are reviewed by The County Safety Review Board (SRB) in section 19 of the policy (page 14). Each month the SRB meets with employees that may have contributed in some way to the cause of their vehicle accident. The Board discusses each accident with affected employees, reviews documentation (including police reports, photos, and vehicle GPS data), engages in deliberations, and, by majority vote, reaches a decision about the employee’s role and preventability of the accident. Following the meeting, each employee is notified of the results of their accident review and are subsequently scheduled for a defensive driving class, as necessary. Employees that do not successfully complete the defensive driving class will have their County Operator Permit suspended. Employees that meet the maximum number of vehicle accidents in a given time period (3 in 12 months or 4 in 36 months) will have their County Operator Permit suspended.
We will continue to evaluate trends, statistics, and best practices in order to conserve County resources and promote a safe and healthy workplace for all County employees.
The clinic that the City of Charlotte uses is called OurHealth. The County already partners with OurHealth to do onsite biometric screenings. This year, over 2,400 employees went to one of five OurHealth Clinics to have their biometric assessments completed. Due to the popularity of the biometric screenings, we will continue to explore opportunities to partner with OurHealth.
Response: Freedom of speech, including what people post on their personal social media accounts, is a right that we all enjoy. However, I would encourage Mecklenburg County representatives to avoid appearing boastful or extravagant when public money is spent. Please reference our social media policy.
The Human Resources Learning and Development Team works very closely with its content partners to ensure that we are providing the best experience possible to employees taking online learning courses. The required courses are designed to reach all 5,500 employees and, often, there is a significant amount of information to cover. It is imperative that the modules are designed to provide critical information to a broad audience.
Our digital content team continues to develop ways to improve the employee experience as it relates to online learning. We are currently working on providing online training in smaller and more concise formats to ensure a more streamlined learning experience. We will also share the information with our content providers to help us continuously improve our processes.
Your concern has been shared with the Human Resources Director and his senior management team. They take concerns about the department’s performance very seriously and are constantly trying to improve. If you would be willing to provide your contact information, an individual from HR will reach out to understand your concerns and experiences more specifically and identify opportunities for improvement.
That change will be made with the next upgrade, scheduled for January – March 2018. Thank you for the suggestion.
The current On-boarding process is under review and there is a project (championed by HR) intended to streamline and simplify the existing procedures which can result in a poor experience for new hires. The current process is a two-step procedure, one for HR / PeopleSoft and another for IT Services / Cherwell. The project has been on hold for a couple months due to the loss of a key resource. A contractor is now in place to finish the project and a new baseline date to finish the project will be determined.
The County’s total healthcare costs continue to rise with a current benefits budget of over $100,000,000.00. The County’s goal is to provide competitive health plans both now and well into the future. The Health Savings Account (HSA) is a consumer driven health plan that allows our employees access to high-quality health coverage. A consumer driven plan has both lower premiums and a higher deductible while giving employees more control over their healthcare expenses. For example, studies have shown that companies offering a consumer driven health plan like the HSA, have seen a decrease in healthcare costs (by encouraging plan participants to be more knowledgeable consumers with their healthcare selections).
An excellent resource for employees enrolled in the HSA plan is the HSA101 class. The class is designed to educate employees about the plan and the high-quality benefits it offers. Sessions are currently available in myHR.
IT has worked very hard over the course of the last 18 months to improve service delivery, respond to each customer in a timely manner and make sure that we have aligned all of our resources to respond to the growth and changes in the County. If employees need help from our ITS department, please submit a service request through their customer service portal and they will respond.
IT Services has been, and continues to work hard to:
To accomplish these improvement goals, we have made decisions regarding how we can streamline services and optimize staffing to accomplish our work. These decisions, in turn, lead us to communicate that some individuals may now be taking on different roles and responsibilities than in the past (the intent is to improve service and create new growth opportunities for team members).
I believe Communication is what makes a team and relationship strong. I also believe it needs to be H.O.T. (Honest, Open and Two-way). I also recognize that communication works for those who work at it. In that regard we have, and continue to work at continuously improving on our communication. Some examples are:
The Service Strategy & Planning Teams publish a monthly status of what has been accomplished, what is work-in-progress, what has been prioritized as next up, and what ideas are being considered for the future
We have made investments in:
Thank you for your suggestion. In new facilities and major renovations, our designers always strive to configure offices so employees are either to the side of or facing the door. Unfortunately, in existing buildings we typically are dealing with existing locations for power and data that dictate where the furniture must be placed, sometimes resulting in less than optimum circumstances for furniture placement. Safety and security are always a concern with the design of facilities. At the new Suttle Avenue facility, most of the customer-facing workstations are on the main entrance level, whereas most of the employee offices are on upper floors behind a secure, card-accessed, perimeter. This enhances employee safety, since customers cannot directly access the employee offices.
There are numerous substance use disorder treatment programs available to Mecklenburg County residents regardless of their ability to pay. Some examples are, Anuvia which provides both detox and residential services as well as outpatient services. McLeod which provides the same services listed above as well as Methadone.
HR is currently researching and reviewing Paid Parental Leave at the request of the BOCC.
Each case is different and there is no cut and dried answer. However, we cover how a supervisor can best address issues such as these during supervisory training. We will review our approach and look to enhance this portion of the class. This could also be emphasized in County wide communications
In order for a printer to be setup, there would have to be a call placed to the Ricoh copy center. That number should be listed on the front of each of the Ricoh devices. Staff can simply call that number, and place a ticket with the Ricoh service desk, in order to get this function setup.
Employee health and wellness remains a high priority for me. We are unable to provide onsite facilities due to limited space, but last summer, we announced the free employee access to our fitness facilities. I encourage everyone to take advantage of this benefit.
As you mentioned, County policy does not allow weapons inside County facilities. While some people may feel safer carrying weapons, other employees feel less secure knowing weapons are nearby. Considering the safety and comfort of all employees, we believe the current policy provides for the best overall work environment.
Employee Fest is an employee appreciation event and an opportunity to recognize employees who have gone above and beyond in customer service, exemplifying the County’s Customer Service Standards. To continue to provide excellent customer service internally and externally, it is not feasible for us to close all County offices and buildings for an entire day. However, I am working with departments to maximize the time employees have to participate in Employee Fest, at the very minimum allowing enough time for every employee to get to the event, have lunch and return to work.
We currently have programs in place to educate the people of Mecklenburg County in the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. We also teach the topics of fire safety, slips trips and falls, and burns. We will teach any safety topic requested by a group or individual that comes to us and falls within our jurisdiction. We purchased CO alarms this year with our education budget and offer them to households in need. We have not denied anyone a CO alarm this year that was in need on one. We provide written materials with each alarm and will talk to any group that requests us to come out. We make sure all commercial buildings are in compliance with the North Carolina Fire Code and require CO alarms in any building that requires them by the code. We are happy to accept requests and will install CO and smoke alarms in any residence in our jurisdiction. Our jurisdiction is Mecklenburg County. That does not include the City of Charlotte. I am not aware what specific programs Charlotte Fire Department offers.
The decision to eliminate medical coverage to retirees was made by the Board of County Commissioners effective July 1, 2010. Most companies do not offer pension plans anymore, and even less, retiree medical insurance.
Using the Employee E-card, employees may now access “Pronunciator.” Pronunciator is a language learning service covering 80 languages offering a range of language skills, including reading, writing, listening, and speaking.
The Cadillac Tax has been delayed until 2020. We recognize that attractive healthcare options are important to staff. HR regularly looks for ways for the County to remain competitive in the marketplace while ensuring the long term viability of our plans. We review our insurance plans each year and consider options to maintain the highest possible level of benefits that are affordable for our employees, retirees and the County. The current medical plans are no longer sustainable with claims cost having a projected increase of 14%. We have to make changes to control the County’s rising healthcare cost.
The County has advertised for a Request For Proposal from vehicle maintenance providers and is currently reviewing the bids that have been received. This process will require negotiating improvements in services. This is expected to be completed by July 1, 2016.
Human Resources is constantly looking for ways to engage and retain employees. The specific items you mentioned (longevity pay and retiree medical) have been eliminated by the Board of County Commissioners.
Beginning April 1, we will have an online Retirement Planning module available for all employees in MeckEDU.
Management and administration staff are conducting frequent, unannounced check-ins of the clinic. Significant change is in process to improve clinic operations. Staff at all levels have participated in design sessions and the team is actively implementing change initiatives to improve both patient flow and staff schedules.
Thank you for the suggestion. We will share the suggestion with staff who schedule these type classes.
We offer our camps at the absolute lowest price, that only covers the direct cost associated to the camp. We do not offer any discounts. We do have limited scholarships through Partners for Parks for those who meet certain income guidelines.
Sheriff Carmichael has conducted a climate survey asking all his employees about permanent shifts. The Sheriff emailed and has personally visited employees at roll calls to explain that we are going to a permanent shift schedule, based on seniority. All employees are directed and encouraged to speak to their immediate supervisors and chain of command for any and all concerns and clarifications.
The Cadillac Tax has been delayed until 2020. We recognize that attractive healthcare options are important to staff. HR regularly looks for ways for the County to remain competitive in the marketplace while ensuring the long term viability of our plans. We review our insurance plans each year and consider options to maintain the highest possible level of benefits that are affordable for our employees, retirees and the County. The current medical plans are no longer sustainable with claims cost having a projected increase of 14%. We have to make changes to control the County’s rising healthcare cost. We will continue to review our benefits options and communicate regularly with staff.
Yes, there are definitely plans to change the signage. As part of the renovations of the remainder of the Valerie C. Woodard Center, existing signage will be changed and new signage added to better direct customers and visitors to their destinations. BSSA references will also be removed as part of those changes. Construction of the renovation will start later this summer and will last approximately 2 years.
We appreciate you bringing this matter to our attention and apologize for your experience with the Random Drug Screen customer service. Your concern has already been shared with Novant Health Urgent Care for follow up on process improvements and we will keep this issue in mind during our ongoing County & Novant partnership discussions. Going forward, you may contact HR Compliance directly at 980-314-2709 or email HR.Compliance@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov to assist you more immediately with addressing customer service concerns with Novant Health Urgent Care Services.
BHS is our current EAP provider and they provide up to six counseling sessions for employees and household members who seek services. BHS utilizes an affiliate panel comprised of licensed social workers, counselors and psychologists who have been trained specifically with a short-term solutions focused model. During 2015, 486 Mecklenburg County cases were resolved within the six session model with only 3% of total cases requiring services beyond the scope of EAP (additional outpatient counseling, IOP services, medication management, etc.)
In relation to those 3% of cases, employees or household members may collaborate with the Care Coordinator or Management Consultant assigned to their case to discuss follow-up options.
Sometimes the affiliate is also a network provider for the insurance plan and can continue services accessing in-network behavioral health benefits. If the assigned affiliate is not part of that insurance network, the employee may ask BHS to research a list of insurance panel options for the employee or household member to pursue beyond the scope of EAP services rather than remain with the assigned affiliate.
Any employee or household member may also elect a special request for the initial referral to be connected with an affiliate who is also associated with certain insurance panel. These special requests can sometimes delay the first assessment date or limit options, but BHS will accommodate those special requests at the beginning of a case if there is a sense that the case may fall into that 3% “beyond the scope of EAP services” situation.
I’m glad to hear you learned some helpful tactics from the active shooter training. We take the security design of new facilities and renovations of buildings very seriously. Our consulting architects work closely with our County Security Director to ensure we have an appropriate security design in place for all new building construction and major renovations. We strive to provide a distinct separation between customer and employee areas where possible, such as providing an access controlled perimeter between customer lobbies and employee work areas. For the new Community Resource Centers we also plan to provide secure, fenced, parking areas for employees for a portion of the parking lots to provide a choice for employees who prefer to park in a fenced area.
Thank you for alerting us to this problem. Based on your comments, the Director of Asset and Facility Management has reviewed the situation, and I understand the sidewalk on the Suttle Avenue side of the building is actually on County property, so employees should not be smoking in that area. The Director of LUESA has been informed about the situation, and will take necessary measures to enforce County policy. We’ll continue to monitor the situation to ensure smoking is not occurring in that area or on any County property at this site.
Thank you for your submission. We agree that working towards as little waste as possible in the county should be our goal. But Mecklenburg County does not have a ‘zero waste to landfill goal’, but rather an aspirational goal as follows and taken from the 2012 Solid Waste Management Plan: “Create recycling infrastructure for no wasted resources in our County” - Reference: 2012 Solid Waste Management Plan, Chapter 2, Goals. The County’s internal recycling policy does not currently have a zero waste goal, either. We will look into this with our Waste Advisory Board.
Thank you for your interest in healthier vending options. Due to the extensive number of machines and existing contracts requirements, the healthy vending policy is being rolled out throughout the coming year in a phased approach. The new LUESA building just completed a 90-day trial with new machines and healthier options. Over the next year, the remaining buildings will gradually begin to see improved vending items that are in compliance with the healthier choices policy. The RFP for this went out to bid on June 14 with proposals due back on July 14 with a target launch date of September 1. If you have additional suggestions, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org.
The County understands that there may be times when vacancies or employee absences place a burden on business operations. The Temporary Labor Guide (TLG) provides Mecklenburg County supervisors with instructions for obtaining temporary staffing resources through County approved, contracted vendors.
Employee wellness is one of my biggest priorities. In July 2015, we announced free access to County fitness facilities for employees. Also in 2015, we began the process of providing healthier options in our vending machines as well as at County events where food is served. At this time there are no plans to extend the free fitness facility benefit to retirees. We are also providing a wellness incentive in the form of a premium incentive for employees that participate in the County’s wellness program in 2017.
Per Verizon and AT&T’s policies, retirees are not eligible for these discounts.
The BOCC and County management are committed to enhancing the quality of life and economic growth of the community. As stated in the HR Policy, the County currently matches time away from work for the purpose of participating in school-related activities, approved community service agencies and a few environmental protection activities. If there are any community service agency wishing to solicit County employee volunteers, they may submit their request to the County Manager to be added to the list of approved participating agencies.
There are a few criteria that employees need to know before soliciting an agency to be added to the approved list. The first is, employees whose job responsibilities include those approved activities or who are employed by County departments responsible for the activities are not eligible for the time away from work “match” benefit, secondly, the volunteer activity cannot take precedence over the employee’s job responsibility and lastly, the employee MUST have prior supervisor approval. Logistically this could be problematic for a fire fighter who could be called at any time. For more details and a list of already approved agencies, please refer to the “Volunteer Activities and Matching Time” section of the HR Policy.
All county parks, greenways, and nature preserves are currently free to the public (and County employees), except for three – Ramsey Creek Park, Blythe Landing Park and Jetton Park. These three parks (of over 200 parks in the entire system) have entrance fees on weekends only March thru October. All weekdays and weekends outside this time frame have free admission. All of these fees go into restricted capital reserve accounts, which can only be used to repair and provide upgrades to these three parks. All of these entrance fees go right back into these parks.
Mecklenburg County remains committed to recycling. The County adopted a policy on recycling for its employees in response to the County’s Business Recycling Law and in support of the County’s greater sustainability efforts. This information, along with recycling resources for employees can be found at our Work Green page. If you cannot access this site, please contact Derrick.Harris@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov for additional recycling containers, resources or departmental training that is available to all employees.
Our CMS Recycling Program contact is Isaac.Nicholson@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov. He works with the school system to provide containers, posters and programs to teach recycling. While we divert about 20% of our waste stream in recycling and composting programs, there is always room for improvement. I
The content of our trash dumpsters go to the Speedway Landfill for proper disposal. The content of our recycling containers go to the County’s recycling Material Recovery Facility at 108 Amble Drive. If there are instances of improper disposal that any employee is aware of, please feel free to contact Derrick Harris, directly.
Thank you for your inquiry and your passion for recycling. We would like to see our employees recycle more and throw away much less. Feel free to contact us if you have more specific questions or we can provide training to your work team.
In my FY2017 budget I have made provision for merit based increases of between 0-4.5%. Rising health care costs are a challenge that every employer is faced with today. Regarding premium increases, each employee must choose the plan that is best for them and their family. For most employees, there will be an option for a premium reduction from 2016 if they participate in the wellness incentive program.
This idea has already been implemented and a food truck was stationed at VCW for several months earlier this year. That vendor was not able to stay due to the lack of use by employees and clients. As we build-out more office and client space at VCW, we will explore options like this to offer employees options for healthy food.
The cost to up-fit the beach area and make it available to our residents was $470,432. We know that there have been challenges with this new amenity, but we are committed to working with the community to make this a valuable addition to our park and recreation offerings.
Each year we offer EmployeeFest as one way to recognize our employees for their hard work as well as highlight several employees for their exceptional customer service and commitment. I truly care about employees and have made employee appreciation one of my highest priorities. I welcome feedback from employees and invite employees to sign-up for a Dine With Dena session each month for more personal contact. Please consider signing up for a session in MyHR.
As for our rising medical costs. Rising health care costs are a challenge that every employer is faced with today. We simply cannot afford to continue to provide the health coverage we have in the past. However, depending on your personal situation, your cost of medical coverage may go down.
I have asked AFM to look into this issue.
Unfortunately, this is not a benefit that the County is able to provide
We have improved the lighting in many County-owned properties over the past two years and will continue to work on providing better lighting and safety measures as we continue to implement the Bringing Mecklenburg County to You plan. I have made this concern known to our AFM department. Please let AFM know which parking lot you are referring to so they can assess the exact location.
Thank you for your suggestion. Employee work schedules are at the discretion of their supervisor as well as based on the business need of the departments. I have made your suggestion known to our departments with call centers.
Thank you for this suggestion and the important work you do for our clients. Our website is currently undergoing a major upgrade with enhanced calendar capabilities included. I have sent your suggestion to our Web Manager who will have a Webmaster reach-out to the HIV staff to help implement this new feature in your area.
Thank you for your submission. I understand your concerns and have asked our DSS Director to make sure that we are complying with HR policies and best practices.
Thank you for submitting this item. I value our diverse workforce and encourage my department directors and their leadership teams to reflect the diversity of our workforce and the residents we serve. I have asked Park and Recreation to look into this and also consider diversity when they are making hiring decisions per our policy from HR.
I have sent this to the department director for investigation and communication to staff that County computers, printers, email and other equipment is to be used only for County-related business.
Thank you for taking the time to tell me about your concerns. Unfortunately rising health care costs are a challenge that every employer is faced with today. We simply cannot afford to continue to provide the health coverage we have in the past. Our gap in costs for employee health plans in 2017 is projected to be $15 million, which not related to the Cadillac tax penalty. The County has seen significant increases in healthcare utilization among our covered employees and their family members. As a result, costs are increasing. There are no easy answers, but we are working diligently to provide affordable, competitive healthcare plans to all of our employees and the family members they cover. We know that every situation is different, therefore HR will offer multiple options for education and individual learning sessions on the new benefit plans starting this summer.
Thank you for your submission. I have sent this to Health Department leadership for their information. As for the cleaning issues, I have asked AFM to look into this and to make adjustments where needed.
Thank you. I have sent this to the Health Department leaders so that they can assess the situation and make changes where needed.
Our AFM department has done a great job at listening to the voice of the customer and employees in the design of new or existing workspace. I have sent your suggestions to them for future renovations and new construction.
Working from home is up to the discretion of each department based on business need and work required to be done. We take work-life balance very seriously. I would suggest you talk to your supervisor or department about looking at ways to help employees in your area manage work while taking into account needed time-off for personal time.
Thank you for your thoughtful submission. As you know, our Procurement Director has met with you in person and talked about potential solutions.
Thank you for your suggestion. I think that an employee council or advisory committee is a great idea. I have asked HR to consider this suggestion and how we could operationalize it in the future. Here is some other information from HR on your other questions:
Thank you for taking the time to provide your comments. Below, is a response to your comments/questions regarding protocol outlining how Human Resources and the department work together to distribute Service Pins:
Human Resources distributes Service Pins to DSS:
In the FY2017 budget, the Board of County Commissioner’s base pay of $25,932 increased by 3 percent to $26,710. In addition, each commissioner will now receive a general expense allowance of $8,251 instead of requesting reimbursements, and will also get a technology allowance of $4,410 and a car allowance of $4,000 for a total of $43,371 per year per commissioner. The chairman’s base pay is & $33,388. In previous budget years, these items were not included in the pay package. But to help streamline the process with payroll and finance, as well as to increase transparency, commissioners will receive all items in their biweekly paycheck. This approach is based on the method that the City of Charlotte uses for the City Council.
We have passed this on to Commissioner Cotham
Each fiscal year the County Commission approves funding for outside agencies with programs or projects aligned to our strategic business objectives through the Community Service Grant process. We utilize a robust and systemic vetting process to determine which non-profit receives funding. Depending on the project or program, faith-based organizations may be approved for funding. Learn more about the Community Service Grants. This is an annual, competitive process
If you see this type of activity, please report it to our Fleet Manager Mark Bevilacqua. Also, you may refer to our County Vehicle Use, Authorization and Operation Policy.
HR has reviewed this possibility in the past and has determined that due to the way that our benefits are structured it is not possible to offer this type of combined bank of time. Also, the state retirement system allows service credit for sick time at retirement. They do not allow service credit for PTO time or vacation time. Please review the approved uses of vacation and sick time and please reach-out to the Employee Services Center at 704-432-6947 with any further questions.
The County has an Indoor Air Temperature Policy which sets specific ranges for temperatures during the seasons. The policy allows for rare occasions where heating and air conditioning temperatures may be allowed to vary from the allowable range, depending on the building’s technology, building layout, the efficiency of the system, and outside temperature & humidity conditions. On some occasions during the summer when outside air temperatures become extremely hot, it may be more difficult for building systems to stay within the specified temperature range and achieve the desired humidity levels. Further, some older buildings do not function as well during extreme temperatures, making it difficult to maintain consistent temperatures throughout the facility. When occupants feel like a building is too cold, they should contact the maintenance vendor for that facility to report the condition.
I have forwarded your suggestion to Willie Ratchford in of the City’s Community Relations Committee for their information and planning.
Also, you may consider attending the Diversity Competency Development training by signing-up in myHR. This is an opportunity to understand and appreciate our differences as well as our similarities. The next session will be held in September.
Thank you for letting us know. I will pass your concern along to the City as that particular building is managed by the City of Charlotte. I will also ask County AFM (Asset and Facilities Management) to make sure that flags at County facilities are in good shape at all times.
The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office of Professional Compliance does all necessary due diligence when investigating any and all allegations of employee misconduct. The circumstances regarding any allegation against an employee are thoroughly and impartially investigated by professional investigators. The allegations are resolved in a manner the employee’s Chain of Command determines is appropriate, based upon the results of this investigation. All applicable facts and circumstances are not necessarily available to employees who are not the subject of the investigation. MCSO does not engage in or tolerate racial discrimination in any form.
The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office has never had or considered adding this slogan to any Sheriff’s Office vehicles.
We post all suggestions with answers as quickly as possible. If a suggestion contains an accusation with names or uses profanity, we do not post the suggestion. If you do not see your original suggestion, please submit it again. If you would like a personal response, please leave your email address and you will get a reply. Also, we often summarize several posts into one suggestion or question and post an answer to that.
There is not a push for one plan or the other. The HSA will save the County money. We want you to make the best decision for you and your family. Although I haven’t made a final decision, I am leaning towards the PPO.
I agree. I have asked our Asset and Facilities Department to look into this further and post signs reminding people to not urinate in the showers. If this situation continues, I will ask our facilities staff to close the showers in suite 101.
Our development partners are looking at all aspects of affordable housing and will make recommendations based on community input, Federal Fair Housing guidelines and proposals based on our demographic make-up.
Yes. We still have a very competitive vision plan available for next fiscal year. The full details are on our HR benefits page and will be available during open enrollment.
I appreciate the feedback. The Board of County Commissioners chooses and recites the invocations at the meetings. I will share your concerns with the Board.
The Styrofoam issue is a tough one and a bit controversial. Some jurisdictions, such as New York City, tried a Styrofoam ban through an ordinance. It was subsequently overturned in court.
There are no markets for Styrofoam products that I am aware of. We are struggling now with even recycling standard plastics; when oil prices are down, manufacturers don’t use as much recycled product. The best answer for this question is self-reuse of such products -- re-use for your own lunch vs. purchasing plastic containers.
We participate with the US Container Council and we advocate for using other paper-based products, but the real advocacy is with the consumer telling the retailer they don’t want Styrofoam packaging.
Thank you for your post. Please contact me directly at YourCountyManager@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov so I can respond to you directly.
Our facilities staff are aware of this issue. We’ll ask the designer of the new space about potential modifications that can be incorporated into the upcoming renovation to make sure that flooding does not pose a risk to customers or employees.
Please put in a Help Desk ticket through the MeckSupport icon on your desktop and explain your needs. There may be some settings on your County-issued phone that can be changed to update the camera or other operating system requirements.
We use all assets of the County to the fullest potential of use. When assets have exhausted the use period, all surplus assets of technology and furniture are disposed of through eCycle through an annual contract. This is a very cost-efficient process that involves little County staff time. eCycle typically picks up the items from County facilities at no cost to the County. If eCycle sales of surplus assets exceeds a certain amount, the County can share in the profit.
The process for donating surplus items to non-profits would involve a great deal more staff time and is not feasible at this time.
We comply with all state and Federal laws. Mecklenburg County is inclusive and strives to treat all residents and employees with respect and dignity. Other than for routine maintenance and repair, we currently do not patrol our restroom facilities and we have had no complaints or concerns about the use of these facilities.
We don’t have any immediate plans to open Community Resource Centers (CRC) in Mecklenburg County towns. We are working now to open the pilot CRC at the Valerie Woodard Center on Freedom Drive. Once we have that center fully functioning, we will assess the possibility of opening five more CRCs in geographic locations close to good public transportation and located in areas convenient for our clients and have matched the CRC with our client’s demographics. As trends change we will adapt as needed.
Thank you for your suggestion. We can only offer volunteer opportunities for County employees through approved IRS 501 (c) 3 non-profit organizations due to several factors including possible violations of FSLA and overtime laws. We do encourage our employees to volunteer and offer a list of potential opportunities on our HR page.
We do not have a residency requirement for any County employees.
ITS does have a formal, strategic plan with specific goals and objectives to improve performance, leverage cost, secure data, and improve citizen engagement. Implementation of the strategic plan will take several years and was supported by a significant increase in budget for FY17. All spending and project delivery activity is reviewed quarterly with our County Executive Team.
Microsoft was selected by the County to be a strategic, enterprise partner due to their product capability (which is already being leveraged to deliver technology supporting the County’s 3-Year strategic plan), contractual cost savings and flexibility, and technical support. Because some of the solutions that we are implementing, though broadly utilized in numerous industries, are new to us here at the County, we are utilizing select Microsoft resources, along with other vendors, while we train and on-board our employees.
As part of our 3-Year Strategic Plan we recognize that there are a number of big process and technology transitions taking place for our ITS Department. We have anticipated the need to help staff succeed in their current positions while improving their readiness to tackle future opportunities by securing training which is currently available (and free for staff). Our ITS Director has highlighted these training opportunities during monthly All IT Team Meetings.
ITS has sought the advice of outside experts to validate the strategic direction and assist us in leveraging various new technologies to continually improve our service delivery to employees and residents. We will continue to prudently outside vendors in select initiatives while working to prepare our internal resources to meet the challenges of our changing, vibrant, connected community.
One of the key initiatives in the Human Resources Department work plan is focused on refining and improving our recruitment process. Our goal is to create a best in class hiring experience for applicants as well as hiring managers. An important part of improving this experience is getting customer feedback, and we have been doing this via focus groups as well as incorporating the suggestions I have received from you. All of this information will be reviewed to ensure our process is as efficient and effective as possible. Additionally, I have passed along your feedback to Deputy County Manager Chris Peek, HR management members and others involved in the review of the recruiting process to ensure that it is heard and considered moving forward.
This has been addressed and resolved, and is now available. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.
Mecklenburg County offers the NC 401(k) Plan as one of several supplemental retirement plan options to employees for voluntary participation. This Plan, which is available to state and local government employees across North Carolina, is administered by the NC Department of State Treasurer and a Supplemental Plans Board of Trustees, which is the group that makes the decisions about which investments the Plan offers, who manages those investments and when/if changes to the investment menu are necessary.
The County is legally prohibited from offering any additional 401(k) plans to employees due to the Tax Reform Act of 1986 which prohibited state and local governments from the creation of any new 401(k) plans. The NC 401(k) Plan was already established at that time and was grandfathered under the Act.
Currently, the NC 401(k) Plan provides 13 individual investment options and 12 model portfolios to choose from. I encourage you to speak with the County’s plan representative if you would like to discuss the available options and/or portfolios. Our representative is Jodie Musselwhite and you can call her at 704-893-2841 or email email@example.com.
As many of you are aware, the County is currently in the beginning stages of succession planning. Several departments have begun working with staff from HR Learning & Development. Part of the succession planning process is the identification of competencies for positions in the department, and a plan for how staff can be provided opportunities to work towards becoming proficient in those competencies. For more information about development opportunities go to https://mecktech.sharepoint.com/departments/HR/TalentDevelopment/.
As many of you are aware, the County is currently in the beginning stages of succession planning. Several departments have begun working with staff from HR Learning & Development. Part of the succession planning process is the identification of competencies for positions in the department, and a plan for how staff can be provided opportunities to work towards becoming proficient in those competencies. For more information about development opportunities go to https://mecktech.sharepoint.com/departments/HR/TalentDevelopment/.
This is something that I am committed to exploring further. Thanks for the suggestion!
All County executives and department directors are required to have annual work plans similar to mine which is approved by the Board of County Commissioners. These work plans establish performance expectations and are reviewed by me and the Executive Team throughout the year. When merit compensation is available, these work plans as well as an assessment of demonstrated County competencies influence how the level of merit increase. It is my expectation that department directors ensure that each employee has a work plan and/or clear expectations set by their manager for which they can be held accountable.
The purpose of the Web Governance Committee is to provide representation advice for content and infrastructure to the MeckWeb Department Administrators and Web Services Team. The Committee and its members are integral to the process of reorganizing web content, maintaining standardized infrastructures and implementing and enforcing processes and standards. There are additional members of the Web Governance Committee beyond the Web Services Team members, including the Public Information Director, the Chief Information Officer and the GIS Director. If after review by this committee you still feel additional discussions are warranted then please escalate your concerns to your respective Department Director.
I am in 100% agreement with you and have set that expectation with my department directors. If this continues to be an issue please contact Keith Gregg, our Information Technology Director, to discuss your specific situation. Our customers should and will always come before any agreed upon teleworking arrangements.
I get this question a lot and let me explain the challenge with this. The YMCA does offer discounts for organizations but it must be set up through a payroll deduction, similar to how your benefits are deducted from your paycheck. The County gets requests from numerous organizations on a frequent basis to offer employees access to a particular program or discount if the County is willing to set up a payroll deduction.
We have taken the approach to only permit payroll deductions for items that are part of the County’s benefit plan in order to be fair to all of these organizations. Adding payroll deductions further complicates the payroll process and we have continued to work to streamline this process as best as possible.
As you may have heard me share during the budget discussion with employees, in an effort to provide affordable access to fitness facilities, I have included a new wellness benefit as part of the FY16 Budget – employees will have free access to County Park & Rec fitness centers (excluding aquatic centers). This takes effect on July 1, 2015 and I strongly encourage everyone to take advantage of this new benefit.
It is absolutely our intent to have recycling bins available in all County facilities. We have done a quick assessment of health department buildings and believe that although there are recycling bins available now, we are committed to adding additional bins. We ask staff to discard paper in shredding bins to ensure confidentiality of protected information, but these bins are also recycled. If there are specific health department facilities where you cannot find recycling bins, please contact Bobby Cobb and he will ensure that we get recycling bins at all locations.
I completely agree with you that employee retention and planning for employees leaving the organization is something we need to do better. Beginning in FY15, HR has started working with several departments (Park & Recreation and Financial Services) on succession planning initiatives. This is a partnership between HR and departments to identify key positions and competencies needed to address potential gaps and business needs should certain staff leave the organization. Plans to build the needed knowledge and skills will then be designed and implemented over several years. While this is a significant time investment for departments, I believe it is critical to the future success of the organization.
The County has adopted a pay for performance compensation philosophy which means that we are committed to providing pay increases based on work performance rather than a cost of living increase or increases based on longevity. This pay for performance philosophy is also why we base merit increases off of the market rate rather than an individual’s base; this ensures that employees are being compensated equally for similar performance in the same job, regardless of tenure or any other factors. While I understand that this is different from some other organizations, it is certainly not intended to penalize employees – rather reward individuals equally.
This is a great idea and I hear often that employees want to network with staff from other departments. I am going to incorporate this idea into Employee Fest this year as a pilot and we’ll take the lessons learned to find what else we can do throughout the year.
I have received several questions about the County’s military pay policy. To answer one of the questions, yes - the County does have a current policy and supplemental pay benefit, which can be found in the Human Resources Policy Manual by clicking here. Some of you have inquired about changes to the policy and I have asked staff to review other agencies’ policies to ensure we are offering a competitive benefit level. Please feel free to continue sending in your suggestions of policies that we should be reviewing and considering. I welcome, appreciate and value your feedback and will take it into consideration.
Thank you for this suggestion! The Weight Watchers program is actually something that County employees decided to initiate and run, opposed to being a formal program. I am extremely supportive of initiatives and programs such as these and am more than happy for employees to meet onsite for convenience. For help getting this program up and running, please contact your department wellness ambassador and/or the County’s new Wellness Coordinator, LaKishia Monserrate at 980-314-2711.
Overtime availability is determined based on a few factors, which your supervisor should be able to further explain. First, eligibility is determined based on the workload demands and deadlines on a program by program basis. Additional factors include if staff have completed all of the trainings, productivity levels and also competencies and skills in certain programs. If you still have questions or concerns about your overtime eligibility and your direct supervisor is not able to resolve, then please escalate your concern to your respective manager, senior manager, division director, etc.
I agree with you that we need to have consistent standards and guidelines, which are then communicated to all supervisors and staff. First, there may be some confusion with how myTime (the time clock system) rounds versus the performance standards being communicated. The myTime time clock system rounds based on increments (or has a “grace period”) of seven minutes, and rounds either up or down to the nearest quarter hour. All rounding occurs at the end of the day based on the net total of hours worked from your punches in and out. Put as simply as possible, if you work/clock in for 7 hours and 54 minutes, you will be paid for working 8 full hours. If you clock in for a net of 8 hours and 8 minutes at the end of the day, you will be paid for working 8 hours and 15 minutes. That is different from how your manager/supervisor may hold you accountable for arriving to work on time, which I suspect for many employees is to be ready to work at your respective start times.
The second issue that I believe you have raised -- and it’s a good one -- is the training of supervisors to ensure that everyone understands policies and procedures, such as the myTime rounding. I have asked HR to work on developing a HR Policy Refresher class for all supervisors/managers to take on some cyclical basis, to address issues like this. Ultimately it is my goal for every supervisor/manager in the County to go through the Supervising for Success program to improve our skills in managing employees, however that will take some time to accomplish.
I want to thank you for raising this question and concern. I have also forwarded this to DSS Director Peggy Eagan and have asked her to ensure that there is consistency in the expectations across DSS.
At this time, there are no plans for a gym or recreation room at Valerie Woodward – mainly due to costs and trying to maintain a level of equity with other County facilities. As you may have heard me share during the budget discussion with employees, I have included a new wellness benefit as part of the FY16 Recommended Budget – employees will have free access to County Park & Rec fitness centers (excluding aquatic centers). While I know some facilities are more convenient for some employees more than others, this benefits all County employees and leverages current County assets.
I am committed to exploring the idea of putting a cafeteria at Valerie Woodward based on the number of employees that will ultimately be located out there. I have asked staff to review models for onsite cafeteria/dining and provide me with options and costing to determine if this is an affordable and manageable option to implement. Thank you very much for your idea!
I would love to be able to offer hearing aid coverage as part of our benefits plan but unfortunately doing so would significantly drive up the cost of employee premiums for everyone. We will continue to look for options for supplemental coverage and opportunities to offer better discounts.
Thank you for your feedback. I am now using the salutation “Dear Colleagues” as it was certainly never my intent to demean or devalue anyone.
I very much appreciate the work, dedication and commitment of our part time staff. Just last summer, the County went through a significant review of our classification of employees and established several new categories to be able to better define the status of individuals working less than 30 hours a week.
Part time employees working 20-30 hours a week are eligible for sick and vacation leave (on a pro-rated basis) in addition to other benefits, while employees working less than 20 hours are not. Employees working less than 20 hours a week on a reoccurring basis (not classified as ‘Temporary’), are eligible for merit increases, EAP and access to employee relations privileges such as the right to appeal a termination, file a general grievance and have a provisional period. Until recently, part time employees working less than 30 hours a week received no benefits at all. While I recognize this does not provide you with the requested sick and vacation time, I am hopeful that it does reflect our commitment to recognizing your contributions – particularly with the new benefit of being eligible for a merit increase.
The last time that we explored the option of coverage for employees, there was no significant difference in the cost of the County providing access to coverage versus an individual buying a private product. Given the nature of this coverage, the premium rates will be based on your age and will be subject to pre-existing conditions regardless of who provides the coverage. We will continue to evaluate if the County should offer this coverage again as more products become available in the marketplace.
Thanks to everyone who suggested that the County should observe Veterans Day, or add an additional holiday. Staff conducted a review of the number and types of holidays offered by other counties in North Carolina; Mecklenburg County was one of five that did not recognize Veterans Day and additionally had the fewest number of holidays among 94 counties surveyed. I took this information and presented it to the Board of County Commissioners, and included a recommendation in my budget to add Veterans Day. I am pleased to announce that Board has approved my recommendation and we will begin observing Veterans Day for the first time on November 11, 2015.
Thank you for expressing your concern. While I understand that there is an additional burden on you to provide documentation more frequently, we made the change to start collecting every six months based on best practices (which we make every effort to follow). Federal law actually permits this documentation to be requested every 30 days, which I believe is too excessive. Staff from HR are happy to assist in making this process as easy for you as possible. They can fax or email forms as needed to ensure both you and your physician(s) have what is needed.
Thank you for your suggestion. I have received a number of questions and suggestions regarding the sick policy – ranging from this topic, to using sick time for bonding for tradition births and additionally to substitute for bereavement. The current policy does only permit employees to use sick leave during periods of personal illness, and is not allowed to be used for personal reasons. As applied, the policy does not permit individuals to use for a bonding period for a child and does not allow for extending a period of bereavement. I am committed to reviewing our current policy to see how we compare to other jurisdictions’ policies in FY16.
As part of the FY16 Budget, the Board has approved and adopted my recommendation to make all Park & Recreation fitness center (excluding aquatic centers) free to County employees. There is not currently consideration for offering an additional discounts to recreation center rentals as there is a significant cost to the County associated with operating these facilities.
It is unacceptable that any manager or any employee to give another individual their access to MyHR. If you do not feel comfortable escalating this concern up your chain of command to your manager/senior manager/department director, then please call 2-myHR to report this and a representative from Human Resources will follow up on your behalf. Additionally, I will ensure that this topic is clearly addressed in the County’s mandatory information privacy training going forward. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.
I have heard from many employees that they want to better understand the interviewing process. HR has just created a new class called “Targeted Selection”, which will explain why we use behavioral based interview questions.
Additionally, HR staff did provide training to department managers several years ago and provided suggestions on how to incorporate both behavioral based and competency/situational based questions which hiring managers can pick from. HR is currently reviewing our recruitment process with the goal of streamlining workflow and realizing efficiencies in order to have more time to work with hiring managers on improving their selection outcomes.
Thank you for this suggestion. Since building a new training room and relocating our training and development staff to the Valerie Woodard Center, I recognize that we do offer more classes there than at 700 East 4th Street (the County’s Human Resources department location). The training room located in HR is currently the only good option available in the government district. Space in the Government Center is limited and is subject to being cancelled based on the needs of the City Council, Board of Education and Board of County Commissioners.
What you may not be aware of is that we are in the process of creating a new facilities master plan and reviewing the space at 700 East 4th Street. Staff are reviewing options to expand the current training room at 700 East 4th Street to add capacity for offering more training classes here in the government district. In the meantime, we will try to maximize the use of 700 East 4th Street for the benefit of those employees working uptown.
Thank you for your concern and let me first say that it is extremely important to me that every County employee works in a clean and safe environment. It is unacceptable to have such a prominent bug problem and it is something I take seriously.
ABM, our third party service provider, has been contacted and has already taken action to get rid of these undesirable conditions. They are scheduling more pest control inspections and treatment. As these treatments take effect it is expected to cause an increase in the number of dead or dying pests in the short term. The day staff will increase monitoring of the facility to better keep these dead pest removed. They are also looking for the areas insects may get into the building so they can be eliminated. ABM’s 24 hour phone line number is 704-336-6055 and, you may contact ABM directly for this or other concerns. You may also contact Vic Reece with Asset and Facility Management at 980-314-2522.
This is a very timely suggestion, as the Health & Human Services Agency Directors have recently begun a process to review all services offered across the departments/divisions with the goal being to offer more coordinated services to our customers. It is my expectation that all services, including the Trauma and Justice Partnership, will be reviewed and discussed as part of this project to ensure we have the proper alignment. Please understand that this is a multi-year project that will continue into FY16 and our immediate interest and time investment is focused on information gathering, not on organizational charts. You can expect to hear more about the project’s status in late summer or early fall.
The County does not offer paternity leave. Human Resources does offer a class to all employees called “So You’re Having a Baby” which provides individuals with an overview of the leave process and will answer questions about disability benefits, Family Medical Leave Act eligibility, your medical plan benefits and the use of accrued leave time. I strongly encourage interested employees to attend so that you are aware of what benefits are available to you and you can plan accordingly.
It is my expectation that all employees act with courtesy and respect, and this is reflected in both the County Code of Ethics and our County Core Competencies. I agree that is appropriate for us to frequently talk about and enforce the competencies and expectations stated in both of these documents I will start by reviewing both of these with my department directors at our next cabinet meeting to ensure they understand these types of behavior will not be tolerated.
The County has a zero tolerance policy on bullying in the workplace. This is absolutely unacceptable. If this is something that you have reported to your senior management and has not been addressed, please file a complaint with the County’s Compliance Offer, Tyrone Wade (Tyrone.Wade@mecklenburgcountync.gov or 980-314-2908) so that it can be investigated and appropriately addressed.
We currently have a minimal number of pooled vehicles available for use. The majority of the County’s fleet is assigned to a particular department that they in turn manage. Mark Bevilacqua (Mark.Bevilacqua@mecklenburgcountync.gov) manages the County’s fleet contract and the pooled vehicles. I have talked to him about this suggestion and he welcomes further discussion with you, or any other department, to ensure your fleet needs are being met. We need to learn more about which facility you are located in and the frequency that you are driving to make the most informed decision.
However, there are strict limitations on engaging in political or partisan activities during working hours or use of any County equipment or facilities to advance a political or partisan objective. Additionally, it is not appropriate for County officials or employees to use the Mecklenburg County seal on stationery, campaign signs, or anywhere that might create the impression that the campaign literature is official County business.
If you have any questions, please consult with Human Resources or the Deputy County Attorney.
The HR Policy Manual (pages 101-102) outlines the eligibility requirements for receiving on-call pay. If you any additional questions, please contact HR Compensation Manager Julissa Fernandez and she will be happy to discuss this in more detail.
Thanks so much for your suggestion! This makes sense and the cars have been relocated.
Because the Lynx system falls under the responsibility of the City of Charlotte, we forwarded your suggestion on to Charlotte Area Transit System for a response which is included below:
CATS works diligently to ensure citizens are properly riding our transit system. Though LYNX is barrier-free, citizens are required to purchase a valid ticket prior to boarding the vehicle. Officers regularly ride LYNX trains to check tickets, assist passengers, and patrol the system. These aspects may take them off of the vehicle at various times. This means instead of riding a train to check fares, they may be on a platform citing a fare evader, helping a passenger with a question or assisting another officer. We are using our limited resources to cover the entire CATS system in the most efficient way possible. We understand and appreciate your concerns. Please know, that we are working to make sure riders pay their fares and maintain a safe system for you to continue to enjoy. If you have any questions please call or contact me.
BJ Johnson, MPA, ACE
Transit Security Manager
Office of Safety & Security
Charlotte Area Transit System
3145 South Tryon Street
Charlotte, NC 28217
Thanks for your suggestion. I agree with you that it would be nice to do something on the weekend, however, I am concerned that participation levels would drastically decrease. We have been trying to make it faster for employees to get through the food lines at Employee Fest and will have some additional enhancements this year. Additionally, we explored other location options but ultimately determined that Freedom Park was the best facility available to us based on the size, location, and being good stewards of taxpayer money by using a County-owned facility. I have encouraged all department directors to allow as many staff to participate as possible and I hope to see an even larger turnout this year than in years past!
As you know, every year we include questions on the Employee Climate Survey regarding access and reliability of technology. I understand and recognize how critical it is to make sure all staff – front line to directors – have the technology needed to our jobs well. My expectation for the IT prioritization process is that employees and supervisors work up their respective chains of command to the department director to approve and ultimately submit technology requests, either as part of the budget process or in another manner. I expect that department directors will work in close partnership with Keith Gregg and the rest of the IT team to convey their needs and requests. Keith has established a quarterly IT Governance meeting to discuss IT needs from around the County and ask for feedback in the prioritization process. It can be very challenging to balance the competing IT needs from across all County departments and unfortunately, we cannot always afford to everything. I believe that keeping lines of communication open between departments, IT and the County Manager’s office will allow us to make the best decisions for the County from a holistic perspective and will also ensure that immediate and critical departmental concerns/needs are also addressed.
I agree with you that this is an issue and soliciting feedback from staff is something we need to do better. This is part of the rationale for increasing training for supervisors/managers, like Supervising 4 Success, which encourages and provides managers with tools to communicate more effectively and engage staff. Additionally, this is part of why continue to administer the Employee Climate Survey on an annual basis; it is an excellent tool that can be used as a means for evaluating leadership. As part of our leadership development work in FY16, I will also ask our Learning & Development staff to rollout a 360 review that can be completed by employees (on a voluntary basis) and will not be formally tied to performance reviews. Thank you for your thoughtful comments!
HR extends all offers contingent upon criminal background checks for several reasons. Since there is a cost associated with conducting background checks, we do not want to pay for the service until we have an accepted offer from the candidate. In addition to avoiding unnecessary costs, the contingent offer lets the candidate know as soon as possible that we are interested in hiring them. Waiting for the results of a background check can take several days which could result in us losing potential new employees. In the past, HR has completed background and reference checks only to find an individual had already accepted another position.
The expectation with employees – both internal and external – is that the offer is contingent on several factors and we will rescind if needed. We never advise that individuals resign or leave current positions until the process is completed and finalized.
I have made our new HR Director, Joel Riddle, aware of this and we both agree that this is unacceptable. The recruiters do have a standard of responding within 48 hours to - at a minimum - acknowledge receipt of an inquiry. If you are willing to spend some additional time discussing your experience, Joel Riddle would like your insight to be able to address these issues with the specific individual. Thank you for bringing this to my attention and for helping to make us a better organization.
Thank you for your suggestion! The merit range for FY16 is 0 – 4.5%, which provides for an average 3% merit increase (based on the market rate). This has been the merit range used by the County for the past four years. Prior to that the County had two years where no raises were provided due to the lack of funding available. More information can be found on MeckWeb.
I agree with you and acknowledge that there are more limited indoor facilities in the southern end of the county. We do have plans to build a new indoor community center at Elon Park, however this project is among many others and is currently slated to begin construction in 2020 or beyond. I realize that this is a long term fix and we will continue to explore opportunities for increased employee access to fitness facilities as our wellness program continues to be more richly developed.
Thanks so much for bringing this to my attention. I have asked staff from Asset and Facility Management to review the condition of existing flags and purchase replacement flags as necessary. While not at all intentional, the flags can become weathered and we have many County facilities; it is helpful to receive this kind of feedback so we can address these issues. Thank you!
I believe it is important for staff and the public to understand that I work at the pleasure of the Board; they can determine at any moment to terminate my employment. The Board also sets my compensation level. This past summer, my request to the Board was that they evaluate my performance based on my approved work plan and use the same merit scale that we use for all County employees. While they decided to do something beyond the merit scale, I especially want employees to understand that it was not due to any request on my part. I am thankful and humbled for the opportunity to serve our community with you and will continue to work hand in hand with you, our Board and our citizens to accomplish our goals.
Please refer to the following excerpt from our Payroll Processing and Accounting Policy which can be found on MeckWeb.
Exempt (salaried) employees report time on the exception basis. Exempt employees must clock in once daily for attendance purposes on days worked using myTIME. Exempt employees must key all benefit time or leave without pay into myHR. Time reporting codes for benefit and leave time follow this discussion.
In accordance with Fair Labor Standard Act requirements, timesheets showing daily hours reported are required and maintained for non-exempt (hourly) employees in myHR. Non-exempt employees must clock in and clock out daily to begin and end their workday using myTIME. They must also clock in and out for uninterrupted meal periods for 30 minutes or more. Any corrections to regular time worked must be entered into myHR by the employee and approved by management during the workweek. Employees are required to use myTIME reporting device(s) to clock in and out. Modifications and/or changes should be the exception. A report will be generated weekly and sent to management detailing all changes to punches made in myHR.
I agree with you that directors should be taking an active, hands-on role in their departments. Additionally, I believe that HR should be taking a more proactive approach in providing directors with regular updates (as is permissible) regarding employee complaints and concerns raised so that directors can help correct behaviors as needed. I have monthly cabinet meetings with all of my directors and will be sure to re-emphasize that it is my expectation that they are actively seeking to correct poor behaviors and issues that may be present in their departments.
Thank you for sharing your concern regarding not getting your service pin. I have followed-up with Peggy Eagan and she has shared that the process for distributing pins in DSS should be as follows:
Once the pins are received from Human Resources then they are divided by division and distributed to division directors. Divisions can be creative in passing out pins to staff as long as the following requirements are met:
We have recently had three After Hours Supervisors who interviewed for vacant “daytime” Social Work Supervisor positions and were selected for these positions. Some of the cited reasons for these lateral moves were as to be expected with working the evening hours and a compressed schedule such as:
Thank you for your concern. Peggy Eagan also agrees that it is priority for her and her leadership team to engage with staff, while it is also challenging due to the size of the department and the workload responsibilities that all staff have. In efforts to increase engagement, two initiatives have been started in FY16. The first is “Check in with Charles” at which Charles Bradley will be visiting each YFS location, and meeting with any staff member who takes the time to stop by. Similarly, both Peggy Eagan and Rodney Adams are scheduling staff forums at which they will visit all six DSS locations to provide updates and answer staff questions. Given the number of locations, it may take some time for them to come to your site, but they are coming! Thank you for your willingness and desire to engage with leadership!
We have added the dates for future suggestions. Thanks for the suggestion!
This is a suggestion that I hear often. As you know, we recently expanded the County’s wellness benefit to increase the use of the community center fitness facilities. This is line with the goal of improving health and wellness. While I understand that a discount for shelter facilities would be welcomed by staff, those activities are not directly related to health and wellness and therefore are not being considered at this time.
This is a great question/suggestion. To answer your first question, while the recent security enhancements that I announced are related only to facilities protected by Asset and Facility Management (AFM), we are including an assessment of security in the parks in our next phase of work.
Several years ago it was determined in cooperation with a recommendation from CMPD to not pursue a ranger force with law enforcement powers. A combination of contract security, off duty CMPD and rangers was proven to be an effective cost efficient method to manage security of facilities and events in the park and recreation system at that time. With that being said, I recognize and agree that security in the parks is a concern and am open to discussing a different approach and enhancements as needed once a thorough assessment has been completed.
Thank you for your suggestion regarding teleworking. The County’s teleworking policy currently provides Department Directors the authority to approve individual teleworking arrangements for a maximum of three days a week (consistent with the guidelines provided in policy). Teleworking is appropriate for the right position, the right employee and the right manager. It is not a one size fits all approach. Business needs across the County and departments vary drastically. In some cases, teleworking may work seamlessly without any impact to customer service and in other cases, it may not work at all. I encourage you to discuss your interest in teleworking with your supervisor/manager. If you feel that the response you are provided with is unclear or needs further clarification, then please escalate to the director level so they may have the opportunity to respond.
I have always considered the health plans that the County offers as one of our most attractive benefits, and the County has continued to make significant financial investments in past years to keep rate increases to a minimal despite costs continuing to rise. While some employees may experience a rate increase in 2016, it has been three years since we have passed along any of the increases to employees.
What most employees do not know is that the rates set for your contributions are a direct result of the cost of claims incurred. In other words, the better we maintain our health as individuals, the lower the cost increases will be over time. We will continue to look for options and strategies that provide employees with the best benefit level while also managing the costs, such as continued work on our wellness strategy to encourage healthy behaviors.
The Public Health Department works to promote and protect the public’s health. That work encompasses specifically promoting and encouraging healthy behaviors. The County’s food policy aligns to the goal of encouraging healthy behaviors, specifically around County sponsored and County paid for events and meetings, in efforts to lead by example. While I am also an advocate of employees choosing healthy options for themselves, as part of our employee wellness program, the policy is in place to provide some guidance to departments to offer healthier choices to staff when the County is providing food.
I want to thank you for your work and involvement with the strategic planning conference. I agree that it was a very successful meeting and want to do more of that in the future. Following the strategic planning conference, my Executive Team and I met for a day-long retreat to discuss the information that was presented and identify commonalities. In this process we did make some changes to the drafts presented to ensure that there is cohesion, consistency and better alignment across all of the goals identified by departments. What I want to emphasize is that this is a normal part of the strategic planning process and that was part of the intent of having our conference/meeting earlier in the fiscal year prior. The last thing I wanted was for departments to go through the tremendous effort of completing a full plan document and then provide feedback which may have resulted in significant rework and/or revisions. I am extremely pleased with the work done by departmental and OMB staff alike and am excited about our continued strategic planning journey through the fall. Thank you for your thoughtful question and please keep up the exceptional work!
As most of you are aware, in the next several years we will be beginning construction on unfinished parts of the Valerie C. Woodard building. I am committed to looking at the condition of the parking lot in conjunction with these construction projects. The primary purpose of speed bumps is the safety of pedestrians; so while I expect we will want to continue to utilize these, I will also ensure that the parking and travel conditions in the lot are appropriate for both staff and the citizenry alike. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.
Thank you making me aware of this. Asset and Facility Management (AFM) has checked the restrooms for odors and will work with the maintenance vendor to ensure fixtures are functioning properly and that the restrooms are adequately cleaned. Our maintenance staff currently come to clean the facilities in the evening so we ask that all employees help to keep our facilities well maintained by cleaning up after themselves. If there is ever a need for immediate attention, you may also contact Vic Reece with AFM at 980-314-2522. Additionally, I have asked our security coordinator Chad Harris to check on your other concerns as well as.
Thank you for asking this question. It is difficult to know what information to provide to you without understanding your specific situation so first of all, I want to encourage you to contact HR to discuss with them. Individual circumstances and situations vary drastically and I want to be able to provide you with the correct answer.
I will offer a few thoughts regarding cash merit increases. I understand that almost every employee prefers to receive a merit increase added to their base pay versus receiving in cash. It has been the County’s practice for many years to provide cash merit increases to employees mainly in two instances: if the employee requests it due to an upcoming, announced retirement or when they hit a specified cap in the salary paid for a particular job. I agree we should do a better job communicating what these thresholds are more frequently throughout the year and have instructed Joel Riddle, the HR Director, to do so. The practice of capping the base pay or assigning a maximum salary for positions is not entirely unique to Mecklenburg County and is meant to help ensure that there is some level of equity between positions across the County.
If you are willing and desire to do so, I want to encourage you to contact Joel Riddle directly so he can speak with you more about your concerns. I do want to sincerely thank you for your comments as they will help ensure that we communicate our merit practices more thoroughly to staff.
Although a worthy idea for consideration, after review it was determined that it is not financially feasible for the County to offer the benefit of a day care facility. The County’s Employee Assistance Program can help employees explore child care options through its referral services. The EAP Program may help with the following issues:
Also, Child Care Resources Inc. is a local agency that provides information regarding day care facilities and finding quality child care in Mecklenburg County.
Business driven exceptions to the County policy are addressed by department directors contacting the Chief Technology Officer. An example of an exception is extended time for Health Department dental clinicians. Ask your department director to make the request.
I understand how wearing jeans to work is comfortable -- and certainly, some jeans are very stylish.
In many cases, jeans on Friday is perfectly acceptable. In other cases, such as in my office where we frequently meet with elected officials, it is just not appropriate. Department directors are allowed to set department-specific dress codes based on the business needs of their department. Please ask your supervisor to find out more about the options for your department.
Thanks again for the suggestion.
The Employee Appreciation Day event has been a very popular event over the past few years. Still, I am constantly looking for innovative approaches to rewarding and recognizing employees. Gift cards are viewed by the IRS as taxable income, so unfortunately, that is not a viable option. However, many other options (including offering additional vacation days) will be reviewed and assessed.
We just launched a new employee appreciation program called “Above & Beyond @ Work” to recognize exceptional employees nominated by their peers. Winners receive a $500 cash award, an engraved award, and recognition at a Board of County Commissioners meeting. You can read more about this program here.
A at this time, there are no plans to install water bottle refill stations or permanent recycling amenities in public park facilities due to prohibitive cost, but we do plan to continue providing temporary recycling collection facilities during large events such as Festival in the Park, and the Bark in the Park Top Dog Festival.
Mecklenburg County is putting an Environmental Sustainability Plan in place across all County departments. In this plan, a goal for waste minimization and recycling is included.
Through this plan, we have identified the following activities to help us reach our internal goals:
During last fiscal year (FY13), the County accomplished 21.2% recycling of our total waste stream (or, everything that is thrown away during the course of business), and we have a goal this year to reach 22% recycling of our total waste stream. In other words, almost a quarter of what we throw away is being diverted for recycling.
Maintaining the highest ethical standards for all County employees is of utmost importance to me. The County has an anti-fraud policy and Code of Ethics to inform employees of its zero tolerance for fraud and other unethical behaviors.
The County has a secure, completely anonymous hotline (The Report Line) that employees can call or email to report their concerns of potential fraud. A link that tells employees more about the hotline and how to make a report is on the main page of the County's intranet. These reports are taken by a third-party vendor and sent to the Department of Internal Audit for review to decide next steps. Unless a name is provided to the third-party vendor, Internal Audit does not know the identity of the caller.
If the initial investigation results in a full investigation, the results of that investigation result in a report with recommendations to prevent the same or similar activity in the future. The investigation reports are placed on the Department of Internal Audit's external website, along with internal audit reports, for any citizen to read.
Further, Internal Audit developed a fraud awareness training that was first presented in 2014 to teach employees about the signs of fraud, their responsibility to report fraud, and the means by which they can do so. This training reemphasized the existence and purpose of the hotline, as well as how employees could report any concerns of fraud.
Internal Audit is currently working with Public Information to carry out a second marketing phase on the hotline to strengthen employees’ awareness and use of the hotline.
Lastly, Internal Audit is working with Human Resources to develop a more robust Ethics Program that includes a required annual ethics training for employees that we hope to roll out later this year or early next year.
I have received several inquiries regarding employees' job classification and compensation. These are very specific to each individuals' situation and often require more information and discussions to determine an appropriate response. I want to strongly encourage you to share your questions and concerns with your direct supervisor. You may also contact Human Resources via 2-myHR for information about the appropriate process and/or additional guidance as needed.
I have received several suggestions regarding how employees are rewarded and recognized for their hard work. The County just launched a new employee appreciation program called “Above & Beyond @ Work” to recognize exceptional employees nominated by their peers. Winners receive a $500 cash award, an engraved award, and recognition at a Board of County Commissioners meeting. Additionally, department directors currently have the option of providing one-time cash awards to recognize outstanding performance.
I will continue to evaluate other options for rewarding and recognizing employees over the course of FY15, including the full reinstatement of the County’s service award program, the offering of additional vacation days and a more formalized approach to the use of cash awards by departments. Lapel pins are currently available for “milestone” (5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, etc.) service anniversaries. The Human Resources department oversees disbursement of lapel pins. Please contact the Employee Services Center (2-myHR) if you have not received your pin.
There have been multiple suggestions/questions submitted regarding the County's teleworking and/or flexible work schedule policies. Any requests for teleworking and/or a modified work week, including a compressed schedule, must be approved by your Department Director or designee. Normal County business hours tend to run 8:00-5:00pm (for most departments) and it is my expectation that Directors make staffing decisions based on providing the highest level of customer service during business hours. As business needs and workload permits Directors to offer flexibility, I encourage them to do so in an equitable and consistent manner.
Additionally, please understand that recently the County had to restrict teleworking to North Carolina to ensure compliance with all applicable tax laws. This decision was not made without thorough research and careful consideration.
You may review the County's HR policies on work schedules by clicking here.
I think this is a great idea and I will be studying to determine how the organization can implement this.employees to find solutions on a case-by-case basis.
I sympathize with the employee's sensitivity to fragrances. While a Fragrance Free Policy may not be feasible, I encourage all managers and supervisors to be responsive to employees' health concerns and to work with employees to find solutions on a case-by-case basis.
“Purchasing Power” is a program that allows employees to make online purchases and then make payments on those purchases through the use of a payroll deduction. In recent years, the County has made a business decision to streamline as many processes as possible, including payroll. As you will recall, we recently combined charitable giving campaigns which allowed us to manage contributions through one payroll deduction, versus many separate ones. In addition, the County makes every effort to ensure equity when selecting vendors that will have access via payroll deduction. There are many other companies in the community that have solicited the County and it is difficult to add one without adding another. Due to these reasons, this is not a program that the County will pursue in the immediate future.
Removing retiree medical insurance eligibility for employees hired after July 1, 2010 was a difficult decision to make, and one that was ultimately approved by the Board of County Commissioners. The County did not believe that it was financially feasible or sustainable to continue providing this benefit in the future. Many other local government entities, including the City of Charlotte, have made similar decisions. Human Resources staff are looking into ways to provide staff who are not eligible for retiree medical with other options to save for and purchase plans in the future.
There are no county sponsored fitness centers in that area and unfortunately, there are no plans to build one at this time. However, our Park and Recreation department does offer discounts to County employees and their family members at the following facilities:
We have received several employee suggestions about building maintenance, space, and security in buildings and parking lots.
The County has recently engaged a consultant to do a government facilities master plan. The results of this study will most likely affect the County’s long term plan for multiple facilities.
If you have specific security concerns, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org. Of course, if you are in an immediate emergency situation, call 911.
Thank you for this great suggestion. We have good news!
Effective January 1, 2015, we have added Chantix and other smoking cessation drugs to the drug formulary. We will have the details available during Open Enrollment starting in November 2014.
Some employee suggestions submitted pertain to concerns about employee interactions with and treatment by their supervisors. As County Manager, I expect all managers, supervisors and employees to follow the County’s HR policies and procedures. The Employee Relations section of the Mecklenburg County Human Resources Policy and Procedure Manual describes County expectations for employee performance, conduct and attendance, as well as prohibited practices. These policies and procedures are intended to protect both front line employees and management because we all want to work in a safe and fair environment.
Specifically the manual includes the following statements:
The County is strongly and actively committed to equal opportunity employment in the workplace. As such, harassment on the job because of sex, race, religion, age, national origin, disability or sexual orientation will not be tolerated.
It is unlawful for an employer to take retaliatory action against any individual who opposes employment practices that are prohibited by law and County policy.
If employees have concerns, I encourage them to discuss those concerns with their supervisors. I understand that this can sometimes be uncomfortable, so employees may confidentially contact the Human Resources department to discuss options and approaches to resolving their concerns. This can be done by calling the Employee Services Center at (704) 432-6947 or via email to myHR@mecklenburgcountync.gov.
Unfortunately, the YMCA does not offer discounts unless a payroll deduction system is set up with an organization. However, our Park and Recreation department does offer discounts to County employees and their family members at certain facilities around the county. Click here for more information and a list of participating Park and Rec facilities. Several Park and Rec locations have offered yoga and Thai Chi classes periodically. For a list of Park and Rec programs, please check out the Get Going Guide which is published quarterly.
In addition, Cigna members can take advantage of discounts for fitness activities, products, and other health-related perks. To access this information, simply log on to your Cigna account and type in “Healthy Rewards” in the search box. The County offers onsite stress management classes periodically through our Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Employees and their household members can access assistance in managing stress through our EAP at 800-327-2251 or www.bhsonline.com.
Lastly, for County Cigna members, the county now offers a comprehensive, self-paced stress management program through the Cigna Lifestyle Management Program. This program is free for any Cigna member on the county plan over the age of 18. For more information, call 855-246-1873 or log onto your Cigna account at www.myCigna.com.
I am pleased to let you know that based on this suggestion, I have instructed HR to reinstate this as a procedure covered under our Cigna medical plan effective January 1, 2015. There are some restrictions. Employees interested in utilizing this benefit should contact HR for more information. Thank you for the suggestion and feedback.
I have received many questions regarding myTIME. We have created a myTIME icon within MeckWeb for easy access to important and helpful information
One component of the Board's FY14-FY15 Strategic Planning Agenda is to implement a formal workforce/succession planning process. Consequently, beginning next month, succession planning is set to begin for three County departments: Finance, Medical Examiner's Office and Park & Recreation. These processes will be rolled out to other County departments over the course of FY15 and FY16. I have also charged our learning and development services team to create multiple development opportunities for employees at all levels of the organization.rganization.
Some County departments already complete 360 degree reviews, which is a tool utilized to gather feedback from staff at multiple levels of the organization – including any direct reports – and it is typically confidential. While I believe this is a valuable tool that can be utilized to gain input, it is not mandatory across the organization.
The County participates in the North Carolina Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System (LGERS). LGERS permits unused sick leave to be as additional retirement service credit provided that the sick leave is earned under a duly adopted sick leave policy. The County's current sick leave policy mimics the State's policy in that the intention of sick leave is to be used when you are unable to work due to illness, attending medical related appointments and/or are caring for sick dependents. Unfortunately, missing work due to inclement weather does not fit that premise and we want to continue to align the out-sick policy with that of the State.
A “bring your own device” option was discussed with the Executive Team last year and it was determined that the County would not pursue that option at that time. There is a significant risk associated with allowing employees to send and receive County information on personal devices. While I do understand the convenience of having one device, we must consider the liability impact to the County which, in this case, is too great.
Every several years, Human Resources conducts a comprehensive market review to ensure that the County's pay is competitive within the industry and region for like jobs. I will ask HR to additionally review bilingual pay to ensure competitiveness as part of the next review.
When there is inclement weather, or the threat of inclement weather, I am in constant communication with many business partners including the Charlotte Department of Transportation and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.
As I am made aware of the conditions of the roads by the Department of Transportation, I make the most informed decision that I can, with as much notice as possible. I am hesitant to make the decision to cancel or suspend County operations based only on the possibility of inclement weather as we all can think of many times when weather predictions were inaccurate. Often the school systems must make decisions earlier due to the early bus schedules. As a steward of taxpayer's funds, I believe we have a responsibility to remain open as long as it is safe and feasible to do so.
As I have mentioned, the County is currently at the beginning phase of a comprehensive facilities master plan study. I will be requesting that identifying dedicated lactation spaces throughout County facilities be part of that study. I also have directed Asset and Facility Management to concurrently begin assessing the possibility of dedicated lactation spaces at existing facilities with the goal of having at least one dedicated space at each of the major County facilities.
In the meantime, I want to clarify that it is my expectation that no individual requesting space for lactation be asked to do so in a bathroom. Page 57 of the Human Resources Policy manual states:
In accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590) Mecklenburg County will provide accommodations for nursing mothers to express breast milk for her nursing child for up to one year after birth by doing the following:
If any supervisor/manager is not following the policy above, please immediately talk to your director and/or Human Resources and appropriate action will be taken.
I will ask Human Resources to conduct a holiday survey to determine what the common holidays and schedules are to ensure competitiveness. The last time that the County reviewed the number of holidays being offered, we were competitive compared both to the private and public sectors. I recognize that the State of North Carolina does provide some different holidays and scheduling than we do which affect some, but not all, of the services provided by the County. I am committed to reviewing the data over the course of FY15 to determine if the County should consider any changes in the future. The holiday schedule has already been set through 2016 and any changes to existing holidays would be made for 2017 or beyond.
While there is not a definitive answer to this now, I am currently engaged in discussions about how this could be accomplished. We will provide an update as soon as there is additional information to share.
Mecklenburg County partners with the City of Charlotte and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in the Charlotte Career Discovery Day, For more information, please click here.
I agree, and this suggestion was implemented at the start of the 2014-2015 school year. Thank you for the important work that you do and keep those suggestions coming!
The Valerie C. Woodard Center has a noise-masking system that mitigates the effects of noise in an open office environment. I have directed staff at Asset and Facility Management to raise the volume of the system to help further mitigate noise/privacy concerns in the immediate future.
I absolutely agree with you that we can do better about maintaining County grounds and ensuring that grass is mowed on a more regular basis. Additional funding was allocated in FY15 budget, and maintenance services should have already been increased over the past several months. If you have not noticed an improvement, please email Asset and Facility Manager Director Mark Hahn (Mark.Hahn@mecklenburgcountync.gov) so that he can follow up with the contracted vendor(s).
Thank you for making me aware of this issue. Yes – my staff worked with Department Directors to identify locations that staff could not leave during the Employee Fest hours and pizzas were delivered to those staff. Thank you for a great suggestion!
The FY15 Budget included funds to pay for an average merit increase of 3% (based on the market rate for the job). While the expected and budgeted average was 3%, the County’s merit matrix provides flexibility to departments to provide increases based on employee performance which can range from 0 - 4.5%. While departments are instructed to manage to the allocated merit budget, individual employee merit increases should be based on performance. Click here for more information on the County’s compensation philosophy.
I agree that in the past we have not done as good of a job as we could have to promote all of the good things the County has done, however we have been focusing on trying to improve in this area. In my FY15 work-plan, I have committed to bolstering our communication efforts because I agree that this is critical.
Public Information sends out messages to local media through multiple channels virtually every day (however news operations don’t always elect to broadcast them). From web stories, news releases, media advisories, social media and face to face conversations, we strive to tell the County’s story. Recently, many outlets provided great coverage of multiple new park openings in town.
In addition, great stories about the County and its employees can be found on MecklenburgCountyNC.gov and also in Outlook magazine, MeckWeb, Employee News Now and more. Finally, our website is on the verge of a major overhaul that will make it even easier for residents and employees to navigate the site and find out exactly what’s going on in Mecklenburg County.
As a result of your concerns, the Asset and Facility Management Department recently completed a paving project that alleviates the potholes, streams, and access problems associated with the gates. Thank you for this suggestion.
The recent leaks in the basement of the Hal Marshall Center were very unfortunate, and we regret the inconvenience and poor working conditions it caused County employees and clients. The building is old, and we hope to sell the property within the next 4-5 years. The sewage problems were caused by a bad seal around a floor drain in the restroom above your offices. The seal on the drain has been repaired, but we also wanted to go beyond a one-time fix.
Accordingly, Asset and Facility Management had the sewer piping inspected, and while there are no guarantees, it appeared to be in good condition and did not need complete replacement. We’ll continue to monitor the conditions in the building and take appropriate actions to assure the well-being of building occupants until the property is sold.
I agree that we need to provide more assistance to employees trying to advance in the County.
The process of submitting an application will most likely to continue to be required, however the human resources department will begin sending recruiters out to various locations for meet-and-greet sessions starting in early 2015. These sessions will provide an opportunity for staff to drop in and meet the recruiters, discuss career goals and get some pointers on resumes and cover letters. This will provide a unique opportunity for staff to network and get questions answered about the recruitment process first hand. Look for more information over the next few months about this program.