In the August 8, 2008 Board Bulletin, Board members were informed that the County’s Department of Social Services (DSS) would be undergoing significant change in the structure and delivery of services. The objective in making these changes is to remove silos of management and information within the department, and to reflect the County’s consolidation of internal support functions such as information technology, human resources, and public information. In addition, there is a need to make changes based on new economic conditions. For example, in the first quarter of this fiscal year, DSS has experienced a 31 percent increase in applications for food and nutrition services compared with the same period last year.
Earlier this week, I approved a reorganization plan for DSS that was developed by DSS Director Mary Wilson in collaboration with her leadership team and with the consultation of County’s Human Resources Department. This reorganization plan will enable DSS to improve the department’s effectiveness and efficiency in achieving the state's goals for the services administered by DSS and the Board's Community & Corporate Scorecard goals. The key elements of the DSS reorganization include:
- Dissolving two existing divisions, Administrative Services and Support Services. This change will eliminate duplication of functions provided by the County’s consolidated internal support services (e.g., IT, HR). It also will consolidate accountability within DSS for core business operations in the department’s divisions and/or geo-districts currently equipped to provide those services
- Creating two new divisions, Business Affairs and Community Resources. This change will transfer existing staff to establish new work units that will deliver support functions specific to DSS
- Reclassifying 60 positions, including 11 vacant positions, to match staff resources with changing business needs
These changes will result in the reassignment of some staff to new responsibilities. However, we do not anticipate any loss of jobs or layoffs as a result of this reorganization.
The reorganization will occur over the next six weeks, with all the changes completed by mid-December. We will communicate these changes with employees to ensure they understand the need and rationale for the changes, and the methodology for job reclassifications. Consistent with County policy, any position reassignments will be based on seniority and employee performance. For additional information, please contact DSS Director Mary Wilson at (704) 336-6279.
According to the Veterans Services Office (VSO), there are more than 56,000 registered veterans living in Mecklenburg County. Several activities have been planned during the week of Veterans Day (November 11) to recognize these and other veterans living in our community. Next week’s activities include:
7:30 am, Friday, November 7, 2008 – Freedom Foundation Freedom Breakfast, The Blake Hotel, 555 McDowell Street, Charlotte, NC
11 am, Saturday, November 8, 2008 – Veterans Day Parade, starts at the corner of 9th and Tryon Streets, Charlotte, NC
11:45 am, Tuesday, November 11, 2008 – Wreath Laying Ceremony, the Square, corner of Trade and Tryon Streets
All day, Monday, November 17, 2008 – Golden Corral Restaurants, FREE dining for all military veterans
Also, in commemoration of Mecklenburg County Veterans Week, VSO will sponsor a special symposium for County employees at the Charlotte-Mecklenburg Government Center on Wednesday, Nov. 12, 2008. The opening ceremony, including the Presentation of the Color Guard and special guest speakers, will start at 10 a.m. More than 200 active and retired Mecklenburg County employees who served in the military have been invited to participate. This symposium is specifically arranged for these active and retired employees to inform them about the military benefits to which they may be entitled, and how to access these benefits. Several service providers will be available to provide information about exclusive benefits, programs and services for veterans. Additional sessions will take place during the week at the following locations:
9 – 11 am, Thursday, Nov. 13, 2008 – Department of Social Services, Wallace H. Kuralt Centre, 301 Billingsley Road, Charlotte NC 28211
9– 11 am, Friday, Nov. 14, 2008 – Hal Marshall Service Center, 700 N. Tryon Street, Charlotte NC 28202
For more information, please call Veterans Services Office Director Bob Weeks at 704-336-2102.
New Medical Examiner’s Office is Going Green
Construction of the new Mecklenburg County Medical Examiner’s Office is nearing completion. The new 16,800 square-foot facility located at 3440 Reno Avenue will replace the current location at the Hal Marshall Annex Building, 618 North College Street.
Under the direction of the County’s Real Estate Services Department, the facility is a candidate for Gold LEED (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design) certification, the first for a Mecklenburg County facility. The LEED Green Building Rating System, developed and administered by the U.S. Green Building Council, is designed to promote design and construction practices that increase profitability while reducing the negative environmental impacts of buildings and improving occupant health and well-being.
Key LEED features of this new facility include a landscaped rain garden to enhance storm water quality, the use of recycled materials in over 80% of the interior finishes and materials, low flow plumbing fixtures to reduce water usage, and the use of heat and cooling recovery systems and computerized controls of the building’s heating, air conditioning and lighting systems to significantly reduce the use of electricity and natural gas.
In partnership with the Arts and Science Council, an artist has been commissioned to construct several pieces of public art for the facility, including an exterior water feature and a suspended glass sculpture in the lobby.
The new facility will also incorporate many new state-of-the-art technologies including the first County implementation of a voice-over IP telephone system and a digital radiography system. This system will reduce the time it takes to complete x-ray imaging during autopsies. The old process typically took 4-5 minutes compared to the new process time of 10-15 seconds.
To celebrate this significant milestone, a ribbon-cutting ceremony and open house will take place on Friday, Nov. 21, 2008, from 2 p.m. – 4 p.m. Special invitations are being sent to Board members and County department directors.
- Harry L. Jones, Sr., County Manager