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Mystery Shopping Launched
The Office of Strategic Organizational Improvement (SOI) recently launched a “mystery shopping” project for County services that will run through the summer. The project framework was conceptualized by SOI and the Customer Service Coordinating Council, a team of County employees that develops and share best practices in customer service.
Mystery shopping is a technique used to evaluate actual service experiences.  The initial focus of the mystery shopping is on services provided to external customers (i.e., Mecklenburg residents).
We have contracted with Customer Service Solutions, Inc. to conduct the “shopping” and provide reports on its findings. This will include conclusions about opportunities to make an immediate fix to any problems identified, improvements that may require longer-term or system changes, and best practices to replicate. Summary reports will be available on the County Manager’s web page,, by clicking the customer service link.

New Program Rewards Builders and Contractors

Beginning July 10, the code enforcement division of the County’s Land Use and Environment Services Agency (LUESA) will begin rewarding builders and contractors who pass building inspections on the first request. Called the Pass Rate Incentive Program, this effort is intended to encourage builders to "get it right the first time."
About 25 percent of building inspections fail the first time, resulting in approximately 100,000 inspections that fail every year. This generates at least 100,000 inspections that County inspectors must repeat.
Failed inspections cost everyone money. The builder’s cost occurs through time delays in completing the project. The County incurs cost in the labor to repeat inspections. It is estimated that lowering the failure rate by five percent can save the County $500,000.
Beginning July 10, customers who fail 50 percent or more of their inspections during the previous quarter will be allowed inspections only after a two-day delay. After six months, the threshold will drop; customers who fail 40 percent or more of their inspections during the previous quarter will be subject to the two-day delay. The two-day delay on all inspections will allow those customers more time to prepare a code-compliant project. Customers who pass more than 50 percent of their inspections will continue to receive next-day service (more than 60 percent after the first six months).
Additional failures will result in more stringent criteria: the job must be certified by the company license holder, a seal holder, or a N.C. Code Enforcement official. The customer also can use a County inspector, if available, at a cost $90, after a waiting period. Additional failures also can lead to additional fees for permits.
The Pass Rate Incentive Program was developed by the Code Compliance Task Force, a group consisting of Code Enforcement staff and representatives from the homebuilding and general contracting industry. Public hearings were held in 2006 to ensure that all customers had an opportunity to comment on the concept.
FY2008 Capital Budget Process and Key Dates
The July 10 Board workshop will begin at 3 p.m. in room 267. At this workshop, the Board will discuss the County Manager’s Recommended FY2008 Capital Budget and FY2008-2017 Capital Improvement Program, as well as be asked to develop preliminary decisions on the following:
  • The projects (and the associated dollar amounts) to include in the Board’s FY2008 Capital Budget, and
  • The funding sources to be used in paying for the FY2008 Capital Budget.
Based on preliminary decisions reached at the workshop, the Board will be asked during its regular meeting later that evening to direct staff to prepare documents for a November 2007 bond referendum. This direction will need to be specific enough to allow staff to draft the documents with dollars amounts for specific purposes.
This direction must be provided by the Board no later than August 2 to meet the necessary deadlines for getting a referendum on the ballot this fall. If the Board is not able to provide this direction on July 10, a special meeting will have to be called prior to August 2 to provide sufficient time for staff to prepare the necessary documentation.
Once the Board has provided this direction, staff will submit an application to the Local Government Commission. This will be followed by the preparation of a bond order. If applicable, a public hearing on a proposed bond referendum will be held at the September 5 Board meeting, with a proposed resolution to put a referendum or referenda on the ballot. The appropriate ordinances for Paygo, COPs, etc. would be on the Board’s agenda(s) in August and September.
Please note that there is much to be accomplished in one two-hour workshop. With that in mind, I have directed staff to distribute to the Board pertinent information that may assist deliberations. Questions on this process or the recommended capital budget should be directed to Management and Budget Director Hyong Yi (704-336-6945 or via email at by June 30 to allow time for staff to provide responses in advance of the meeting.
Below are the key dates in this process:
  • July 10, 2007 -- FY2008 Capital Budget Adoption
  • by August 13, 2007 -- File LGC Application
  • August 14, 2007 --Introduce bond order
  • September 5, 2007 -- Public Hearing and Resolution on Referendum/Referenda
  • November 6 – Referendum/Referenda
--Harry L. Jones, Sr., County Manager

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