To the many people who submitted questions about the Mecklenburg County Health Department transition to County service provision, thank you.
The County is committed to being transparent and communicating decisions in a timely manner. On January 31, 2012, County Manager Harry Jones communicated that there would be no service adjustment or service elimination to Public Health Department Services for Mecklenburg County in Fiscal Year 2013.
Some of the questions we have received are about specific jobs and retirement. We are still early in the planning process of the transition and, as such, are unable to answer your questions about the jobs that will be available and a timeframe that the recruitment process may begin at this time.
Human Resources representatives from CHS and the County have been working together to learn and understand each other’s benefit systems. Although we are unable to answer questions that affect you individually right now, we encourage you to review the About Mecklenburg County Employment information at left to get familiar with the County’s benefits and retirement system. Once the County is prepared to move into the recruitment process, County HR staff will plan to provide a detailed overview of the County’s benefits, including the retirement system.
We sincerely thank you all for your questions and ask for your continued patience. Over the course of this transition, we are committed to ensuring you have the information that you need to make the best decisions for yourselves and your families.
Question: Can I apply for a position different than the one I currently have within Public Health as a part of the transition or will I have to wait until the transition is complete?
Answer: Anyone may apply for any competitive position posted by the County (described in the memo as “Competitive Positions”). If you are eligible for the non-competitive position and are interested in working with Mecklenburg County, please participate in the information sharing for non-competitive positions. Also, applying for any competitive position will not jeapardize your eligibility for your non-competive position.
Question: When will I receive my first paycheck from Mecklenburg County?
Answer: For 12 month positions that will be starting work on July 1, 2013 your first County paycheck will be on July 12th. This check will be for 7 business days - or all work done July 1st - July 9th.
Question: I understand that Mecklenburg County is going to accept my time worked with CHS Public Health when calculating vacation accrual rates. I have been working in a 30 hour/week position in Public Health for 3 years. Will I receive credit for 3 full years or will it be pro-rated because I did not work full time?
Answer: You will receive full credit for the 3 years worked. The County will not pro-rate time based on the standard hours for the purposes of Public Health service time credit for vacation accrual rates.
Question: I am in a 10 month position and understand that I will not continue to accrue vacation and sick time during the months that I am not working. Can you provide me with an estimate accrual chart of the maximum vacation and sick days I will be able to earn in a year?
Answer: The chart below details this information:
Question: Previously, I worked for Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools. Can this time be added to my CHS Public Health time?
Answer: During this process, we will only be giving credit for Public Health time for the purposes of vacation accrual. However, if you have left your service time in the Teachers & State Employees’ Retirement System (from working for the school system) then you have the option of transferring that time into the Local Government Employees’ Retirement System. This would increase service time for the purposes of vacation accrual. You can transfer any time after you become a County employee (7/1/2013).
Question: Will the County count my CHS time towards eligibility for the tuition assistance program?
Answer: The County has a two year requirement for eligibility to participate in the tuition assistance program. You will be given credit for your CHS Public Health service time for the purposes of eligibility under this program. The County’s tuition assistance policy is included in the Policy Manual posted online via the transition website for your convenience.
Question: I received my offer letter in the mail and noticed it is a decrease from my current pay. I recently received a merit increase.
Answer: The data that we used for the salary offers was based on your information as of the end of October in conjunction with the information gathering process. The offer letter states the following: “The County will collect updated salary data directly from CHS in the spring and you will receive a written notification of your final compensation rate. Should you receive a merit based salary increase of 3.5% or less between now and June 30, 2013, Mecklenburg County will adjust your starting salary to include this increase. Merit based salary increases above 3.5% as well as other salary adjustments will be considered by Mecklenburg County but will not necessarily result in an adjustment to your starting salary.”
The word “now” may have been confusing; “now” really refers to the time we last received salary data (end of October). So, the merit increase you just received will be reflected in the updated salary information we receive in the spring, and we will adjust your starting salary accordingly to take effect at the time of the transition.
Question: Will I be allowed to bring any PTO time with me to the County?
Answer: You will be allowed to bring up to 80 hours of PTO time with you to the County. The County has separate sick and vacation accounts and any transferred PTO will be placed into your vacation account. Details regarding the process of transferring time wll be communicated by CHS closer to the date of transition.
Question: How will the County handle employees on leave?
Answer: The County is committed to ensuring that all eligible employees transition to the County, including employees who may be out on medical leave at the time of transition. July 1, 2013 will be the first day of County employment and all County benefits will be effective that date as well. Any new requests for leave on or after July 1, 2013 will need to be filed with Mecklenburg County. Specific details about the County’s leave process will be forthcoming from Mecklenburg County over the next several months.
Employees who have a disability that would qualify for CHS disability benefits, and whose disability begins prior to July 1, 2013, will continue to receive disability benefit payments from CHS disability plans beyond July 1, 2013.
Question: What happens if I want to decline the non-competitive offer for a position with Mecklenburg County Public Health?
Answer: You may notify the County in writing at any time prior to the transition if you decide to decline. However, should you later decide you want to come to the County, you will need to apply for a competitive position and will no longer be eligible for the additional benefits the County is offering as part of the transition which includes: option of PTO transfer and credit for years of service with CHS Public Health for vacation accruals & tuition assistance eligibility.
Question: When will I be eligible for a merit increase when I transition to Mecklenburg County?
Answer: The County has not yet finalized the date at which you will be eligible for any Board of County Commissioner (BOCC) approved pay increase but it will be within the first 12 months of employment. All pay increases are subject to BOCC approval with each annual budget.
Question: Does the County offer PTO cashout?
Answer: The County has offered an option to individuals with more than 240 hours of accrued vacation time to cash out up to 40 of those hours. The decision of whether or not to offer this program is evaluated annually based on funding availability. The County did offer vacation cashout in FY12 but did not for several years prior to that. If the County does offer this option, it is only available once a year in the month of June.
Question: If I am on leave at the time of transition, will I be eligible to come to the County?
Answer: The County is committed to ensuring that all eligible employees transition to the County, including employees who may be out on medical leave at the time of transition. July 1, 2013 will be the first day of County employment and all County benefits will be effective that date. Any new requests for leave on or after July 1, 2013 will need to be filed with Mecklenburg County. Specific details about the County’s leave process will be forthcoming from Mecklenburg County over the next several months.
Employees who have a disability that would qualify for CHS disability benefits, and whose disability begins prior to July 1, 2013, will continue to receive disability benefit payments from CHS disability plans beyond July 1, 2013. Any questions about your current CHS disability benefits should be sent to CHS HR Department.
Question: Why will I be on probation for 1 year?
Answer: The purpose of the provisional period is to allow the supervisor/manager time to evaluate the performance of a new employee. The one year time period was set because it is consistent with recent County practice for departments going through a transition.
The provisional period does not affect employee benefits nor does it impact the ability to use accrued vacation and/or sick time. Additionally, employees in the provisional period will still be eligible for any Board approved merit increases within the first year of employment.
The County's entire policy manual is available online and includes more detailed information on the provisional period for those who are interested.
Question: I am a new CHS Pulic Health employee, when will I receive an offer?
Answer: If you have been recently hired and did not participate in the non-competitive, information sharing process, there is nothing you need to do right now. We plan to collect your information in the spring.
Question: What happens if I decline my offer and later change my mind?
Answer: The County is providing a number of benefits as part of this transition that are not available to other new employees including: an option for PTO transfer to the County, CHS Public Health service time credit towards vacation accruals, and eligibility for the tuition assistance program. Your non-competitive offer is a one-time offer. Should you choose not to accept your offer and later desire to work for the County, you are welcome to apply for a competitive vacancy. However, the transition benefits will not be available to you.
Question: I am a 10 month employee transitioning to the County. When will my benefits with the County start?
Answer: Your benefits will be effective July 1, 2013. For the first summer, you will be billed for the insurance premiums because the County will not have the opportunity to collect these from you in advance due to the date of the transition. We expect your first day of work to be August 7th and your first paycheck to be received August 23rd. You will receive more detailed information about how the billing process for your insurance premiums will work as well as your insurance premiums that will be deducted from your paychecks should you choose to elect any County benefits.
Question: What is the status of the competitive job interviews and hiring?
Answer: The interviewing and hiring for the competitive positions has been put on temporary hold to allow us to work on non-competitive job offers. We hope to resume the interviewing of competitive positions by early February.
Question: Can I buy my CHS service time in the County's retirement system?
Answer: The County has received clarification from the North Carolina Local Governmental Employees’ Retirement System (LGERS) regarding the option to purchase your time with Carolinas HealthCare System for credit into LGERS. The LGERS has determined your service with Carolinas HealthCare System may be purchased under the provisions of North Carolina General Statutes § 128-26(s) once you have obtained 5 years of membership service in your current LGERS account. View more information on this topic.
Question: I would like to get specific info on how "years worked" with CHS will be handled as far as transferring years over to county vs. leaving years with CHS for retirement purposes.
Answer: Human Resources representatives from CHS and the County have been working together to learn and understand each other’s benefit systems. Since each employee’s situation is different, the two organizations plan to be available in early 2012 to answer specific questions.
Question: Will we have someone to help us decide what to do and/or have options to choose the best scenario?
Answer: Yes, as soon as plans are in place, Human Resources representatives will be made available to help you understand your unique situation and the impact of different options.
Question: Will we have the option of staying with CHS in another job if that's what's best for our retirement portfolio?
Answer: The County has shared this concern with CHS, and respects the decision of any Public Health employee that needs to remain in CHS employment.
Question: Do we have an HR contact on both sides at this time we can contact with specific questions/concerns?
You can contact County HR at 704-336-2931. You can also send an email to recruit@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov
to make sure it is aware of your questions and concerns.
Question: Does the county provide tuition reimbursement?
Yes. At the beginning of each fiscal year the County informs employees that the tuition sign-up period is open for all eligible employees. Read the policy here
Question: Your goal of transparency is being challenged by the slow leak of information: word is that some parts of PH will be transferred to the County in 2012. If this is true I think your credibility will be enhanced if they are told this ASAP; if not true that should be communicated to stifle the rumor mill.
Answer: The County is committed to being transparent and communicating decisions as soon as they are made. Pursuant to agreement with CHS, the County will make decisions prior to February 1, 2012 with respect to service changes. A lot of factors affect the transition process. Representatives from the County and CHS are working together. Decisions will be communicated as soon as they are finalized.