Update on Domestic Partner Benefits Study
At its 2009 Strategic Planning Conference, the Board requested a review of the feasibility of offering domestic partner benefits to County employees. Human Resources Department staff has taken the lead in this effort, working with our legal staff to determine whether the County could lawfully offer domestic partner benefits to our employees, and if so how and what would be offered.
Dr. Diane Juffras, from the UNC School of Government, is writing an article focusing on this issue, which will be published in the School’s Public Employment Law Bulletin. The article, scheduled for publication later this month, attempts to answer many of the legal issues that local jurisdictions in North Carolina could face should they offer benefits to domestic partners. Our legal counsel has been in contact with Dr. Juffras, and they are awaiting the publication of this article prior to providing a definitive legal opinion.
While awaiting this legal opinion, HR staff has been researching all other (non-legal) aspects of offering domestic partner benefits. This includes options for defining domestic partners, impact on benefit administration, potential cost implications and the projected effect on recruitment and retention. Therefore, once we have input from legal counsel, we will be prepared to provide a report to the Board.
Changes in Internal Audit Management
As I mentioned at the Board meeting earlier this week, the error associated with the Giving Tree audit is unacceptable for this organization. It has damaged the credibility of the Internal Audit Department and Mecklenburg County as an organization. I have determined that the credibility of the Internal Audit Department cannot be restored with the current management of this department.
Therefore, I have taken the following steps regarding the leadership and management of the Internal Audit Department. Former County Finance Director Harry Weatherly has agreed to serve as Interim Consulting Director of the Internal Audit Department. We will expand our existing services agreement with Mr. Weatherly to serve in this capacity over the next 90 days. In this role, Mr. Weatherly will provide executive oversight of the Internal Audit Department in a consulting capacity. He will report directly to the county manager regarding all matters pertaining to the County’s Internal Audit Department.
Mr. Weatherly will be supported in this interim role by current Internal Audit Department staff member Chris Waddell. Mr. Waddell will serve as Interim Operations Manager for Internal Audit and will be responsible for the day-to-day operations of the Department.
In addition, the Human Resources Department has been instructed to initiate recruitment for a new Internal Audit Department director.
These changes are effective immediately.
- Harry L. Jones, Sr., County Manager