Rental Discontinued of Irwin Elementary Gym
This weekend, we experienced an incident at Ray’s Splash Planet and Irwin Elementary School that has resulted in the discontinuance of after-hours rentals of the gymnasium. You will recall that Ray’s Splash Planet and Irwin Elementary School is a joint facility of the County’s Park and Recreation Department and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools (CMS), sharing land and a gymnasium. The County staff at Ray's Splash Planet controls this gym after hours by joint agreement with CMS.
Residents and community groups are permitted to reserve this gymnasium for special events. According to the Park and Recreation Department staff, the facility was rented for Saturday night for young teenagers to celebrate a birthday party. Consistent with its policy regarding rental agreements, the Park and Recreation Department required the individual hosting the party to have an off-duty law enforcement officer present for security. The renter did have an off-duty sergeant from the Sheriff's Office providing security. The Park and Recreation Department also provided two staff assistants who were present at the party, and the party host had a dozen adults chaperones present as well.
County staff also reports there was no trouble inside the building and/or on the grounds controlled by Park and Recreation staff during the event. A situation was averted when an undetermined number of older teenagers sought unauthorized entrance to the party and were turned away. It is believed that this group of teenagers then gathered at the nearby bus stop along Fifth Street. When the birthday party concluded, the younger teens leaving the party encountered the older teens congregated along Fifth street.
Reportedly, a car drove by the group of teens and shots were fired from the car. In response, the group of teens ran toward the school when skirmishes occurred in the street. In spite of the precautions taken by Park and Recreation staff, this incident reveals there remains potential risk of harm to people and property. As a result, Dot Law, the interim director of the Park and Recreation Department has decided to cease all after-hours rental of the gymnasium for the foreseeable future. I support Ms. Law’s decision that facility rentals should be discontinued unless and until we can ensure the safety of our customers and neighboring residents. Board members with questions should contact me or Ms. Law.
Fleet Services Proposal
As part of seeking continuous improvement in operations, the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County have agreed to evaluate the potential for the City to provide fleet maintenance services for the County. The County has approximately 900 vehicles, the majority of which are light vehicles, and one fleet shop.
Over the next 120 days, the City will develop a proposal for consideration by the County. This proposal will include such services as vehicle maintenance, equipment specification, fleet replacement recommendations and other ancillary fleet services. Benefits to both organizations are possible by making additional shop locations available for vehicle drivers of both governments, thereby reducing “windshield time” incurred when bringing vehicles in for repair or servicing. There also is the potential for greater buying leverage with equipment manufacturers for warranty and parts purchasing, due to volume.
Our objective is to determine whether the City can provide fleet maintenance of light vehicles more effective and efficient than the current approach. Evaluation of the proposal will be based on, but not limited to, the following general criteria:
- Types of services and service levels (e.g., vehicle maintenance, repair, fueling)
- Cost of services
- Likelihood of continued employment for County employees currently providing this service
- Access to service locations
- Customer service standards
- Current customer satisfaction with City fleet maintenance services
- Service level agreements
- Ability to service hybrid vehicles
Another key factor in this proposal will be the potential impact of the proposed land swap involving the County’s current fleet facility.
Developing the proposal will require the involvement of County staff, particularly some employees within the County’s General Services Department, which operates fleet maintenance. As a result, we will communicate with County staff to inform them of the process and to address any questions and concerns they may have. We also will communicate with and seek the input of the County’s fleet users (County departments and agencies) to ensure their fleet needs are addressed.
If we accept the City’s proposal, the City and County staff likely would recommend functional consolidation of these activities following the standard process used in previous consolidations.
Strategic Planning Conference
The Board’s Strategic Planning Conference (SPC) will be Thursday and Friday, January 11 – 12, 2007. Additional details about the conference, including location and discussion topics will be forthcoming.
--Harry L. Jones, Sr., County Manager