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February 13, 2009
Reduction in Force Policy
 
Last week I directed County department and agency directors to identify 15% reductions in unspent and unencumbered non-salary accounts in the current year’s budget (FY2009). I also instructed directors to conduct scenario planning of up to 20% reductions in FY2010 from the current funding levels.
 
If these reductions could result in the elimination of jobs, departments are required to develop reduction-in-force plans based on County policy. The County’s Reduction-In-Force policy (RIF) requires departments to submit a RIF plan to the County’s Human Resources Director for review and recommendation to the County Manager’s Office. Approval of the RIF plan is made by the County Manager or General Manager.
 
Budget requirements, as well as service needs and impact, are considered before a RIF is enacted. RIF plans can include the elimination of positions that are either vacant or filled. If filled positions are eliminated, the County’s RIF policy provides the affected employees with first rights on other vacant positions within the County for which they meet minimum qualifications. These RIF rights continue for one year following the elimination of the position.
 
Creating a RIF plan does not automatically mean the plan will be implemented. The RIF plan is developed in case a reduction in force is necessary. The Board will be apprised of any reduction in force that is needed and approved.
 
Based on a significant decline in fees that pay for many of its services (related to the drop in construction activity), the Land Use and Environmental Services Agency (LUESA) has proposed a RIF plan and process. Currently, this plan is being reviewed by the Human Resources Department for compliance and consistency with County’s RIF policy. If LUESA’s plan and process are approved, the actual impact on positions will be assessed, leading to recommendations on appropriate staffing levels consistent with service demand.
 

U.S. National Whitewater Center
 
On January 28, I received a letter from the U.S. National Whitewater Center requesting payment of the annual service fee the County is required to pay based on our agreement with the Center. Our Service Agreement with the Center obligates the County to pay a maximum annual service fee of $1 million for seven years. In the event that the Center has excess funds after paying operating expenses and debt service, a credit on the annual service fee is applied. For the fiscal year ending October 31, 2008 the Center’s reported revenues did not exceed operating expenses plus debt service, so Mecklenburg County is liable for the $1 million service fee. This expenditure is already funded in this fiscal year’s operating budget.
 
This is the second full year that the Center has been in operation, and it has not been able to generate sufficient income to make the required principal payments on its outstanding debt of $38 million. We have reviewed the independent auditor's report, which accompanied the request letter, to verify the results of operations for year two. At its February 17 meeting, the Board will receive a report from staff regarding the Center’s 2008 performance and the County’s obligations under the Service Agreement. Additional information on this matter also will be in the Board’s agenda materials for this meeting. We have invited the Center’s Executive Director, Jeff Wise, to attend the meeting to respond to questions about the Center’s current financial status and measures they have recently implemented, and will soon implement, to curtail future operating losses.
 
For additional information, please contact General Manager Bobbie Shields, 704-336-2606.
WHITEWATER QUICK FACTS
  • In 2004, the Board entered into a lease and development agreement with Charlotte Whitewater Park, Inc.
  • The facility is located on the historic Tuckaseegee Ford Park (approx. 270 acres) property.
  • The term of the lease is 40 years.
  • Amenities of the facility include a multi-channel whitewater river experience, challenge ropes course, climbing structures, and bike trails.
  • The facility is the only one of its kind in North America.
 
Metrolina Aids Project Update
 
Metrolina Aids Project (MAP) has recently been the subject of news stories reporting its closure. MAP is still operating, though the organization’s Ryan White Part C funding has been suspended by the federal government due to delays in opening a proposed medical clinic. MAP is in compliance with requirements for use of Ryan White Part A and Part F funding, which is administered by our Health Department, and for use of Ryan White Part D funding, also administered by the federal government.
 
Founded in 1983, MAP provides counseling, testing and case management for clients with HIV infection. In the current fiscal year, the Board approved $217,389 in outside agency grant funds to MAP. So far, County finance has dispersed the first quarter payment of $54,347.25 to MAP. The County Manager’s Office staff has reviewed the 2nd quarter performance reports and will release this payment within the next week.
 
This interruption of funding has created an opportunity to improve coordination of HIV services in our community. MAP’s Board of Directors is studying service delivery options in a joint effort with the Regional AIDS Interfaith Network (RAIN). These options could include consolidation of some services, or a full merger with RAIN, depending upon the outcome of the review.
 
County staff will continue to monitor the situation to ensure the continuity of services for clients, and to ensure compliance with all applicable requirements.
 
Learn more about how Ryan White Federal Funds are administered. For more information, please contact General Manager Janice Allen Jackson, 704-336-2086.
 
 
CALENDAR REMINDER
Tuesday, February 17
  • 3pm, Effective & Efficient Government Committee, 11th Floor Large Conference Room
  • 3pm, Health & Community Services Committee, CH14
  • 5pm, Dinner Meeting, CH14
  • 6pm, Regular Meeting, Chamber
- Harry L. Jones, Sr., County Manager
 
 
 
 
 
 
 


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