January 15, 2010
Health Care Tax Implications for County
Last week, the Board Bulletin included information regarding the potential impact to Mecklenburg County of a provision within the Senate version of healthcare reform that would place a tax on so-called “Cadillac plans.” This week, I wrote to members of our congressional delegation to express concerns about this potential impact.
In that letter, I reminded our delegation of the resolution approved by the Board on September 1, 2009 that expressed support for health care reform. I also asked the delegation to consider three ways that the legislation could be changed to address our concerns including:
- Accepting the House position, which does not include a tax on high-value health benefits
- Exempting self-insured local government entities, or
- Finding another means to hold harmless local governments such as Mecklenburg.
These efforts and those of NACo (National Association of Counties) contributed to the White House and labor leaders announcing a compromise yesterday on this matter. Although not entirely addressing our concerns, the compromise would mitigate the impact to Mecklenburg County. This is considered a win for local governments, since the compromise reportedly gives the same implementation delay to state and local government employee plans that union plans would receive.
Board members who would like additional information about this matter should contact Human Resources Director Chris Peek email or 704-336-3138.
Federal Advocacy Opportunities for Board Members
At its February 2 meeting, the Board will receive a proposed federal legislative agenda developed by County staff with the assistance of The Ferguson Group. The proposed agenda reflects input by County departments and agencies as well as information provided by several Board members who met with The Ferguson Group at the end of last year. Board members with additional items to have considered as part of the agenda should contact Assistant to the County Manager, Brian Francisemail or704-336-3611 by January 20.
In addition, there are two opportunities in the coming months for Board members to advocate in Washington for our federal agenda. On February 10 and 11, Chairman Roberts and Brian Francis will be meeting with members of our delegation to present the legislative agenda. From March 6-10, NACo will host its annual legislative conference. Board members who would like to participate in either of these trips should contact Brian Francis to assist in making travel arrangements.
Customer Service Training in Park and Recreation Department
The Park & Recreation Department has partnered with CharMeck 311’s training team to develop and enhance “soft skills” training for the department’s customer service staff. Soft skills training teaches people the importance of intangibles and how they impact the customer experience and customer satisfaction. Intangibles include attitude, personality, and friendliness.
The training opportunity emerged from analysis of last year’s mystery shopping results. Mystery shopping is used across County departments to obtain information on real experiences people have as they seek services from the County. The information on customer experiences includes customer impressions of the condition and perceived safety of the service facility, availability of parking, ease of Internet use, customer service responses, and several other factors. Studies on customer satisfaction reveal that people are more satisfied with services they receive when the person providing the service exhibits a positive attitude about their work and serving the customer, and appears friendly and approachable, among other factors.
Park & Recreation staff is leveraging the existing relationship it has with 311 call agent training and applying a similar approach to its on-site customer service representatives.
Shadowing sessions completed in December by CharMeck 311 trainers included visits to recreation centers, nature centers, and administrative staff offices. The sessions were conducted to gain an enhanced understanding of Park & Recreation’s customer service challenges. CharMeck 311 trainers will use this additional information, along with the mystery shopping data, to design training to address Park and Recreation staff needs. Training is planned for March-April.
Board members who would like additional information should contact eGovernment Customer Service Manager Brian Cox email or704-336-2576.
- Harry L. Jones, Sr., County Manager
Wednesday, January 20
- 3pm, Health & Community Services Committee, CH14
- 5pm, Dinner Meeting, CH14
- 6pm, Regular Meeting, Chamber