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Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center
600 East 4th Street
Charlotte, NC 28202

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Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center
600 East 4th Street
Charlotte, NC 28202

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Hours: Mon-Fri 8 a.m - 5 p.m.

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County Manager's Office
980-314-2900

​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​​The County Manager's Responses to Your Suggestions

​From the first day we opened the virtual Suggestion Box on my web page, your thoughtful and insightful comments poured in. Now it’s time to see how we can implement some of your changes or explain why we can’t. Check back here often for new responses and please, keep the suggestions coming! Many of the suggestions we have received pertain to specific departments. While respecting anonymity, the County Manager has shared those suggestions with department directors. Department directors will provide responses and follow-up actions as appropriate.

Dear County Manager Diorio - I appreciate your recent comments about concern for employees' safety. That being said, please, please review the decisions being made for our new facility. Next week is fast approaching. Does it make ANY sense that employees will have our backs facing doors???? I'm concerned that decisions are being made without care and attention. It’s a poor visual (i.e. customer service) and in light of concerns about safety NO employee wants to sit with his back to the door of an office. In a rush to have the move completed on time I'm concerned that decisions about safety may have been overlooked. I thank you for your time.

Thank you for your suggestion. In new facilities and major renovations, our designers always strive to configure offices so employees are either to the side of or facing the door. Unfortunately, in existing buildings we typically are dealing with existing locations for power and data that dictate where the furniture must be placed, sometimes resulting in less than optimum circumstances for furniture placement. Safety and security are always a concern with the design of facilities. At the new Suttle Avenue facility, most of the customer-facing workstations are on the main entrance level, whereas most of the employee offices are on upper floors behind a secure, card-accessed, perimeter. This enhances employee safety, since customers cannot directly access the employee offices.

I believe the county would benefit greatly from a substance abuse treatment program which is available to all citizens of the county, regardless of insurance or ability to pay.

There are numerous substance use disorder treatment programs available to Mecklenburg County residents regardless of their ability to pay. Some examples are, Anuvia which provides both detox and residential services as well as outpatient services. McLeod which provides the same services listed above as well as Methadone.

Is there any opportunity to consider a paid parental leave policy? Thank you!

HR is currently researching and reviewing Paid Parental Leave at the request of the BOCC.

I observe employees working while sick and contagious. How can Managers encourage sick employees to stay away from work? Particularly, when our work space is an open setting with bordering cubicles and no air ventilation. Thank you!

Each case is different and there is no cut and dried answer. However, we cover how a supervisor can best address issues such as these during supervisory training. We will review our approach and look to enhance this portion of the class. This could also be emphasized in County wide communications

Would it be possible to have the printers set up to print envelopes? I'm sure it would help the mail room as well as the Postal Service and would eliminate trying to decipher handwriting.

In order for a printer to be setup, there would have to be a call placed to the Ricoh copy center. That number should be listed on the front of each of the Ricoh devices. Staff can simply call that number, and place a ticket with the Ricoh service desk, in order to get this function setup.

Provide onsite workout/gym rooms for employees.

Employee health and wellness remains a high priority for me. We are unable to provide onsite facilities due to limited space, but last summer, we announced the free employee access to our fitness facilities. I encourage everyone to take advantage of this benefit.

When you do training on security in our buildings in response to the mass shootings across the US, could you please address why staff who have obtained a concealed carry permit legally can't carry their weapon inside county offices? Seems like local government entities are more of a target than other places so why should county employees not be allowed to protect themselves. I personally feel uncomfortable walking to my car some evenings by myself and the unarmed security guards that are not around don't do me any good. If I were allowed to conceal carry in the building, it wouldn't be an issue. I hope you can explain why that is not possible. Thank you for your time.

As you mentioned, County policy does not allow weapons inside County facilities. While some people may feel safer carrying weapons, other employees feel less secure knowing weapons are nearby. Considering the safety and comfort of all employees, we believe the current policy provides for the best overall work environment.

If this is truly a thank you to employees, provide an all-day event to all employees. Some employees, specifically those in the call center, only have enough time to eat. There is no time to enjoy any other games or vendors on site. We are on a time limit which ONLY allows room for travel and food.

Employee Fest is an employee appreciation event and an opportunity to recognize employees who have gone above and beyond in customer service, exemplifying the County’s Customer Service Standards. To continue to provide excellent customer service internally and externally, it is not feasible for us to close all County offices and buildings for an entire day. However, I am working with departments to maximize the time employees have to participate in Employee Fest, at the very minimum allowing enough time for every employee to get to the event, have lunch and return to work.

Fire safety is a big concern and I agree we need to be vigilant about public awareness and safety education. It seems to me we see more and more injury and death due to carbon monoxide poisoning with each passing year. This is mostly attributed to poorly maintained furnace heaters, cars running in closed or poorly ventilated garages and the use of charcoal grills as a heat source. I would like to see the county engaged in an aggressive public awareness campaign regarding this silent killer.

We currently have programs in place to educate the people of Mecklenburg County in the dangers of carbon monoxide poisoning. We also teach the topics of fire safety, slips trips and falls, and burns. We will teach any safety topic requested by a group or individual that comes to us and falls within our jurisdiction. We purchased CO alarms this year with our education budget and offer them to households in need. We have not denied anyone a CO alarm this year that was in need on one. We provide written materials with each alarm and will talk to any group that requests us to come out. We make sure all commercial buildings are in compliance with the North Carolina Fire Code and require CO alarms in any building that requires them by the code. We are happy to accept requests and will install CO and smoke alarms in any residence in our jurisdiction. Our jurisdiction is Mecklenburg County. That does not include the City of Charlotte. I am not aware what specific programs Charlotte Fire Department offers.

I have been working in Mecklenburg County for approximately 3 years. I am very much satisfied with the benefits that are offered to the employees. However, I recently learned that after putting in 30 years with the county Mecklenburg County will not provide me with any form of health insurance. As a person who looks at long term benefits, this is definitely a deal breaker. I was unaware of this upon hire, but my awareness has resulted in me seeking other employment that will offer some form of health insurance coverage upon retirement. I feel this is a very important benefit. I feel if the county does not take steps to provide health care coverage after an employee retires this could definitely lead to issues with retention.

The decision to eliminate medical coverage to retirees was made by the Board of County Commissioners effective July 1, 2010. Most companies do not offer pension plans anymore, and even less, retiree medical insurance.

With our ever-growing Spanish-speaking population/clients, I think it's imperative all county staff have the option of enrolling in business-related Spanish training. I envision a class to enroll in myHR that lasts the full-day. This class can consist of basic interactions/greetings as well as business related dialogue. For instance, there can be different classes for LUESA employees or CJS employees, etc.

Using the Employee E-card, employees may now access “Pronunciator.” Pronunciator is a language learning service covering 80 languages offering a range of language skills, including reading, writing, listening, and speaking.

I have a question about the Cadillac tax. It appears that there is bipartisan support that has pushed back the Cadillac tax until 2020 (Passed today) and eventually repeal it all together. If that is the case is the county still going to pursue reducing the healthcare benefits for its employees, even though the Cadillac tax will no longer be affecting our current healthcare policies. Any insight on this would be helpful.

The Cadillac Tax has been delayed until 2020. We recognize that attractive healthcare options are important to staff. HR regularly looks for ways for the County to remain competitive in the marketplace while ensuring the long term viability of our plans. We review our insurance plans each year and consider options to maintain the highest possible level of benefits that are affordable for our employees, retirees and the County. The current medical plans are no longer sustainable with claims cost having a projected increase of 14%. We have to make changes to control the County’s rising healthcare cost.

I have been driving County Cars for almost 25 years. Service at the City garage is very slow and costly. It cost about $100 for an oil change and it took 5 business days during my last PM. There were no with my car, it was just an oil change and brake inspection. Not only is it expensive, but because we cannot wait for minor services, it is very time consuming switching cars to get a pool vehicle. I would suggest another option. Are there any services, like Fuelman, that will allow us to take our vehicles to other businesses for oil changes?

The County has advertised for a Request For Proposal from vehicle maintenance providers and is currently reviewing the bids that have been received. This process will require negotiating improvements in services. This is expected to be completed by July 1, 2016.

I wonder if there has been any thought to revisit the benefits that are offered by the county. When I started over 10 years ago, we had longevity pay, sign on bonus and medical after 20 years. Now there is no longevity, bonus or medical at 20 years. This was motivation to work toward and something to look forward to. With new employees, there is no benefit to be here. The county is not able to hold onto good employees. Also for Social Workers the pay is now competitive across counties. So why should one stay here and work hard when they can go to another county, better benefits, lower caseloads and matching salary. Mecklenburg is really losing out. We take the time to train people and give them experience for them to leave. It would be wonderful, if the county was able to offer some type of benefits and look at increasing wages with cost of living.

Human Resources is constantly looking for ways to engage and retain employees. The specific items you mentioned (longevity pay and retiree medical) have been eliminated by the Board of County Commissioners.

All of the retirement planning classes are full. Can you please add additional classes or can you have someone from HR or representative for the Defined Benefit plan come to every department and talk to employees? We really would like to know what to expect when we retire. This is very important.

Beginning April 1, we will have an online Retirement Planning module available for all employees in MeckEDU.

Do not forget about us. Still struggling with clinic flow and long waits and unhappy staff. Need first hand "surprise" surveillance by administrators in Clinic A to see what is going on.

Management and administration staff are conducting frequent, unannounced check-ins of the clinic. Significant change is in process to improve clinic operations. Staff at all levels have participated in design sessions and the team is actively implementing change initiatives to improve both patient flow and staff schedules.

The County should offer Dave Ramsey financial classes to employees.

Thank you for the suggestion. We will share the suggestion with staff who schedule these type classes.

Offer a price reduction for County Employees who register their children at County Park and Rec summer camps so they can work. Even a 10% discount would be lovely. Especially to those who have a child with a disability and enroll in therapeutic Recreation.

We offer our camps at the absolute lowest price, that only covers the direct cost associated to the camp. We do not offer any discounts. We do have limited scholarships through Partners for Parks for those who meet certain income guidelines.

I think a more stabled work schedule for Sheriff office employees would help eliminate turn overs and shortages of staff. To make complete, I suggest submitting by seniority first, Employees with the highest seniority can choose day or night shift. Switching from days to nights every month, I think causes physical stress and not good for human sleep patterns.

Sheriff Carmichael has conducted a climate survey asking all his employees about permanent shifts. The Sheriff emailed and has personally visited employees at roll calls to explain that we are going to a permanent shift schedule, based on seniority. All employees are directed and encouraged to speak to their immediate supervisors and chain of command for any and all concerns and clarifications.

Consider paying the Cadillac tax on our health care. I looked at my pay stub, multiplied the employer paid health cost by 26, then by 5,500 employees and came up with something about $22M. Consider that the three things that differentiate the County as a place to work (outside of loving to serve) are 1) job security (or the perception of it), 2) pension 3) good health coverage. If you reduce any of those three, you will reduce the attractiveness of the County as a place to work both for applicants and current employees. I saw in the news you have some additional time to think about this. Apparently they pushed the tax back a few years as part of the federal budget that just passed. You might want to update MeckWeb to reflect that new timeline.

The Cadillac Tax has been delayed until 2020. We recognize that attractive healthcare options are important to staff. HR regularly looks for ways for the County to remain competitive in the marketplace while ensuring the long term viability of our plans. We review our insurance plans each year and consider options to maintain the highest possible level of benefits that are affordable for our employees, retirees and the County. The current medical plans are no longer sustainable with claims cost having a projected increase of 14%. We have to make changes to control the County’s rising healthcare cost. We will continue to review our benefits options and communicate regularly with staff.

In October 2014 BSSA was removed as a department for Mecklenburg County however here at the Valerie C Woodward Center, directories and signage still label the area to certain aspects of the building as BSSA. This is very confusing to the public as well as internal customers who maybe looking for IST, AFM, Board of Elections, Procurement and DSS. Are there plans to change this signage to better reflect the correct departments in these buildings?

Yes, there are definitely plans to change the signage. As part of the renovations of the remainder of the Valerie C. Woodard Center, existing signage will be changed and new signage added to better direct customers and visitors to their destinations. BSSA references will also be removed as part of those changes. Construction of the renovation will start later this summer and will last approximately 2 years.

Today I went to take a random drug test. I have not had to take one in several years. While I truly understand the need for random drug tests, I was a little surprised that there used to be a separate location within urgent care I believe called Occupational Medicine where you would go separate from the regular urgent care waiting room to get your drug tests. This is not the case anymore and I sat and waited for over an hour in a room with sick people. My concern is that we are healthy when we go to get the drug tests but are subjected to all kinds of illnesses while waiting. I have been to other urgent care offices before and noticed that when people are there for a drug test they are taken on back. While it may not be possible, I think this process should be looked into as I am concerned about healthy employees having to wait for an hour or more in a room with unhealthy people. Thank you for listening to my concern.

We appreciate you bringing this matter to our attention and apologize for your experience with the Random Drug Screen customer service. Your concern has already been shared with Novant Health Urgent Care for follow up on process improvements and we will keep this issue in mind during our ongoing County & Novant partnership discussions. Going forward, you may contact HR Compliance directly at 980-314-2709 or email HR.Compliance@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov to assist you more immediately with addressing customer service concerns with Novant Health Urgent Care Services.

I recently found out that our EAP plan does not necessarily refer staff to Cigna providers. Rather, they provide a referral based on the reason that the person was referred. Then after the initial free sessions, the employee must pay out of pocket in order to continue to see the provider. It doesn't make sense that a worker who is given a mandatory EAP referral may be subjected to paying for that referral if more than the free sessions are recommended by EAP.

BHS is our current EAP provider and they provide up to six counseling sessions for employees and household members who seek services. BHS utilizes an affiliate panel comprised of licensed social workers, counselors and psychologists who have been trained specifically with a short-term solutions focused model. During 2015, 486 Mecklenburg County cases were resolved within the six session model with only 3% of total cases requiring services beyond the scope of EAP (additional outpatient counseling, IOP services, medication management, etc.) In relation to those 3% of cases, employees or household members may collaborate with the Care Coordinator or Management Consultant assigned to their case to discuss follow-up options.

Sometimes the affiliate is also a network provider for the insurance plan and can continue services accessing in-network behavioral health benefits. If the assigned affiliate is not part of that insurance network, the employee may ask BHS to research a list of insurance panel options for the employee or household member to pursue beyond the scope of EAP services rather than remain with the assigned affiliate.

Any employee or household member may also elect a special request for the initial referral to be connected with an affiliate who is also associated with certain insurance panel. These special requests can sometimes delay the first assessment date or limit options, but BHS will accommodate those special requests at the beginning of a case if there is a sense that the case may fall into that 3% “beyond the scope of EAP services” situation.

After attending active shooter training, I am gaining an awareness of how civilians in the workplace can play an important part in saving lives. The three take away points are avoid, barricade, and counter. As employees are assisting with the safety for everyone. Is it possible that the county can consider building safety opportunities for the new buildings with Community Resource Centers initiative? Are we seeking the input and greatly considering the suggestions of our police staff? I was informed the role for an officer to provide input about our building safety was eliminated about three years ago? Can you provide feedback about this in your next update? Thank you in advance!

I’m glad to hear you learned some helpful tactics from the active shooter training. We take the security design of new facilities and renovations of buildings very seriously. Our consulting architects work closely with our County Security Director to ensure we have an appropriate security design in place for all new building construction and major renovations. We strive to provide a distinct separation between customer and employee areas where possible, such as providing an access controlled perimeter between customer lobbies and employee work areas. For the new Community Resource Centers we also plan to provide secure, fenced, parking areas for employees for a portion of the parking lots to provide a choice for employees who prefer to park in a fenced area.

We recently just moved into this wonderful building on Suttle Ave however due to the rules employees are able to stand within 25 feet of the building on the sidewalk and smoke, the smoke then enters the building depending on the wind causing problems for some people who don't like the smell of smoke. This occurs every day on the Suttle Ave side of the building. Also employees are dropping the butts all over the ground. I understand I guess it's legal to smoke at the sidewalk since it's not county property but can't something be done to move these people away from the building?

Thank you for alerting us to this problem. Based on your comments, the Director of Asset and Facility Management has reviewed the situation, and I understand the sidewalk on the Suttle Avenue side of the building is actually on County property, so employees should not be smoking in that area. The Director of LUESA has been informed about the situation, and will take necessary measures to enforce County policy. We’ll continue to monitor the situation to ensure smoking is not occurring in that area or on any County property at this site.

Has the county and park and recreation considered adopting a zero-landfill or similar program for some of its parks, especially trails, greenways, and nature preserves? This seems like a good fit for these amenities, and it would allow staff to focus on maintaining infrastructure.

Thank you for your submission. We agree that working towards as little waste as possible in the county should be our goal. But Mecklenburg County does not have a ‘zero waste to landfill goal’, but rather an aspirational goal as follows and taken from the 2012 Solid Waste Management Plan: “Create recycling infrastructure for no wasted resources in our County” - Reference: 2012 Solid Waste Management Plan, Chapter 2, Goals. The County’s internal recycling policy does not currently have a zero waste goal, either. We will look into this with our Waste Advisory Board.

Whatever happened to the healthy vending machine options? I still see nothing but chips and candy.

Thank you for your interest in healthier vending options. Due to the extensive number of machines and existing contracts requirements, the healthy vending policy is being rolled out throughout the coming year in a phased approach. The new LUESA building just completed a 90-day trial with new machines and healthier options. Over the next year, the remaining buildings will gradually begin to see improved vending items that are in compliance with the healthier choices policy. The RFP for this went out to bid on June 14 with proposals due back on July 14 with a target launch date of September 1. If you have additional suggestions, please email: healthierchoices@mecklenburgcountync.gov.

Can we use temps when people go on leave or get sick for a long time? It really puts a burden on the rest of our workloads.

The County understands that there may be times when vacancies or employee absences place a burden on business operations. The Temporary Labor Guide (TLG) provides Mecklenburg County supervisors with instructions for obtaining temporary staffing resources through County approved, contracted vendors.

Will Mecklenburg County ever offer incentives or subsidies with our Wellness program? Things like subsidies for gym fees or silver sneakers? It seems this would be the way to go to incentivize our employees and retirees and potentially lower our healthcare costs. I think this should be done for employees and retirees alike.

Employee wellness is one of my biggest priorities. In July 2015, we announced free access to County fitness facilities for employees. Also in 2015, we began the process of providing healthier options in our vending machines as well as at County events where food is served. At this time there are no plans to extend the free fitness facility benefit to retirees. We are also providing a wellness incentive in the form of a premium incentive for employees that participate in the County’s wellness program in 2017.

Why can't you get the same discount with Verizon, etc... after you retiree as you get when you are a full time employee. It is my understanding that we just have to sign up for it.

Per Verizon and AT&T’s policies, retirees are not eligible for these discounts.

Volunteer firefighting should fall under the volunteer time or have something that would allow them to leave work to respond to a major incident in their district. Volunteer firefighters take time to serve their community as well and aren't recognized enough.

I have asked HR to look into this and provide a recommendation.

Years ago, P & R offered free admittance into all of the Mecklenburg County Parks. This was a great benefit for employees' families to take advantage of the beautiful parks and greenways around the county. I am wondering why that benefit was stopped and if it could be re-established. I think that the County offering free membership to the P & R Facilities is a great benefit and it seems to me that adding this free park admittance that probably costs next to nothing would be easy to do.

All county parks, greenways, and nature preserves are currently free to the public (and County employees), except for three – Ramsey Creek Park, Blythe Landing Park and Jetton Park. These three parks (of over 200 parks in the entire system) have entrance fees on weekends only March thru October. All weekdays and weekends outside this time frame have free admission. All of these fees go into restricted capital reserve accounts, which can only be used to repair and provide upgrades to these three parks. All of these entrance fees go right back into these parks.

I'd like to see the county increase its recycling efforts. I routinely see recyclable boxes and plastics discarded in the trash dumpster even though there is a recycling dumpster on site. The other facility I maintain has both trash and recycle receptacles but I hear from the staff that everything gets thrown into the trash because the citizens throw trash in both bins. If certain citizens found out that the county is throwing recycling into the trash it could make headlines. I see school children placing trash in the recycle bins and vice versa. More can be done to educate young people about recycling.

Mecklenburg County remains committed to recycling. The County adopted a policy on recycling for its employees in response to the County’s Business Recycling Law and in support of the County’s greater sustainability efforts. This information, along with recycling resources for employees can be found at our Work Green page. If you cannot access this site, please contact Derrick.Harris@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov for additional recycling containers, resources or departmental training that is available to all employees.

Our CMS Recycling Program contact is Isaac.Nicholson@MecklenburgCountyNC.gov. He works with the school system to provide containers, posters and programs to teach recycling. While we divert about 20% of our waste stream in recycling and composting programs, there is always room for improvement. I

The content of our trash dumpsters go to the Speedway Landfill for proper disposal. The content of our recycling containers go to the County’s recycling Material Recovery Facility at 108 Amble Drive. If there are instances of improper disposal that any employee is aware of, please feel free to contact Derrick Harris, directly. Thank you for your inquiry and your passion for recycling. We would like to see our employees recycle more and throw away much less. Feel free to contact us if you have more specific questions or we can provide training to your work team.

Will our raises even matter when we get premium increases? This is ridiculous.

In my FY2017 budget I have made provision for merit based increases of between 0-4.5%. Rising health care costs are a challenge that every employer is faced with today. Regarding premium increases, each employee must choose the plan that is best for them and their family. For most employees, there will be an option for a premium reduction from 2016 if they participate in the wellness incentive program.

Can we have food trucks at Woodard? Who could get something started out here?

This idea has already been implemented and a food truck was stationed at VCW for several months earlier this year. That vendor was not able to stay due to the lack of use by employees and clients. As we build-out more office and client space at VCW, we will explore options like this to offer employees options for healthy food.

How much does it cost to run that new beach?

The cost to up-fit the beach area and make it available to our residents was $470,432. We know that there have been challenges with this new amenity, but we are committed to working with the community to make this a valuable addition to our park and recreation offerings.

Why do the employee cookout when its clear that you don't care at all. Everyone says that the new medical will cost us a lot more from our paychecks and I can barely make ends meet now.

Each year we offer EmployeeFest as one way to recognize our employees for their hard work as well as highlight several employees for their exceptional customer service and commitment. I truly care about employees and have made employee appreciation one of my highest priorities. I welcome feedback from employees and invite employees to sign-up for a Dine With Dena session each month for more personal contact. Please consider signing up for a session in MyHR.

As for our rising medical costs. Rising health care costs are a challenge that every employer is faced with today. We simply cannot afford to continue to provide the health coverage we have in the past. However, depending on your personal situation, your cost of medical coverage may go down.

The new paper towel dispensers are awful and wasteful. They run when you just walk by them so that means that the paper towel could be unsanitary. I have to throw the first one away to get a fresh one.

I have asked AFM to look into this issue.

Would it be possible for the County to negotiate discounted Panther tickets for County employees?

Unfortunately, this is not a benefit that the County is able to provide

Provide better lighting for parking lot.

We have improved the lighting in many County-owned properties over the past two years and will continue to work on providing better lighting and safety measures as we continue to implement the Bringing Mecklenburg County to You plan. I have made this concern known to our AFM department. Please let AFM know which parking lot you are referring to so they can assess the exact location.

My suggestion would be to offer 4 10 hour workdays. (work 2, off one, work two) this will create less burn out at the end of the week.

Thank you for your suggestion. Employee work schedules are at the discretion of their supervisor as well as based on the business need of the departments. I have made your suggestion known to our departments with call centers.

I recently checked the county website to see what our HIV Testing Calendar looked like.... unfortunately, the calendar was not available for viewing! This is a very important tool that should be available for our county residents. The HIV Outreach Team works hard to have many testing sites available throughout the county and with day and evening hours, but if the calendar is not on the website, how will they find us? Thanks!

Thank you for this suggestion and the important work you do for our clients. Our website is currently undergoing a major upgrade with enhanced calendar capabilities included. I have sent your suggestion to our Web Manager who will have a Webmaster reach-out to the HIV staff to help implement this new feature in your area.

Please help DSS management follow the HR rules as written. (Page 18 in the HR Policy Manual). Thank you.

Thank you for your submission. I understand your concerns and have asked our DSS Director to make sure that we are complying with HR policies and best practices.

There is lack of diversity with UPPER management positions within the Park & Recreation Dept., mainly the Park Operations Div. Lots of employees are voicing concerns pertaining to this. Can there be steps implemented to ensure that diversity really happens during the screening process for managers? There are a few minorities in lower management but it’s a known fact that they have very little authority and during one screening, the qualified minorities were pushed out of the process.

Thank you for submitting this item. I value our diverse workforce and encourage my department directors and their leadership teams to reflect the diversity of our workforce and the residents we serve. I have asked Park and Recreation to look into this and also consider diversity when they are making hiring decisions per our policy from HR.

There is a lady in a county department who has printed fliers for her personal business using her Mecklenburg County email address for order taking. I thought this was against the County's policy to do so. Though I am sure it is innocent enough it does not seem very professional to build your business using County property.

I have sent this to the department director for investigation and communication to staff that County computers, printers, email and other equipment is to be used only for County-related business.

I have an issue with the way the county is handling our health insurance for 2017 and beyond. I strongly feel the county is taking a knee jerk reaction to the Cadillac tax which has been delayed to 2020 which should have no effect on our health insurance for 2017. I understand if the Cadillac tax was being imposed and trying to avoid the 40% penalty but why penalize county employees for something that has yet to happen and most likely wont happen. I sadly see us the county employees paying more for less coverage which I find unfair. I understand it's not all the county's fault as I strongly disagree with the affordable health care act because it has done nothing expect penalize Americans and companies who provide coverage to their employees. All I ask is when making decisions based on our health insurance think about the families who will be impacted because of these unnecessary changes at this present time.

Thank you for taking the time to tell me about your concerns. Unfortunately rising health care costs are a challenge that every employer is faced with today. We simply cannot afford to continue to provide the health coverage we have in the past. Our gap in costs for employee health plans in 2017 is projected to be $15 million, which not related to the Cadillac tax penalty. The County has seen significant increases in healthcare utilization among our covered employees and their family members. As a result, costs are increasing. There are no easy answers, but we are working diligently to provide affordable, competitive healthcare plans to all of our employees and the family members they cover. We know that every situation is different, therefore HR will offer multiple options for education and individual learning sessions on the new benefit plans starting this summer.

The Beatties Ford Health Dept. need more of a dress code, some of the employees look like they are going to a club or just look like they don't understand what business casual is, the employees should stand out from the clients not blend in with them. Also the premises is a Health Facility. the cleaning crew that supposed to be cleaning do a half job and the parking lot look like it's becoming a trash dump.

Thank you for your submission. I have sent this to Health Department leadership for their information. As for the cleaning issues, I have asked AFM to look into this and to make adjustments where needed.

I would think that some rules would be put in place to make sure that Clients must realize in order for staff to give them complete service in a timely manner, that leaving the clinic will resort in them re-scheduling their appointments when staff cannot find them. Patient walk out without letting staff know in order to talk on cell phones or smoke or just leave to run errands and return with demands to still be seen. It makes for a slow turnaround for staff to see clients in a timely manner and for staff to stay on schedule. I think signs should be posted regarding this issue.

Thank you. I have sent this to the Health Department leaders so that they can assess the situation and make changes where needed.

Move walls to open up space more when collaboration is needed. Add walls and higher cubicle walls or other visual/sound insulation for employees who need to focus - i.e. knowledge workers (Database Administrators, Developers, Business Analysts, IT Business Analysts, Management Analysts, etc.) Consider employee collaboration needs and noise levels too, mindful of those who are in talk to citizens on the phone (not all are in an actual call center), those who need to collaborate about work (and talk out loud to do so) and those who need to sit quietly and focus.

Note: the new facilities for citizens/customers look great. Good job on that aspect.

Unfortunately, work space for employees seems to be "one type fits all" the past 10 years or so (including our newest buildings). It is short sighted to take existing buildings or make new buildings and do little or nothing to adapt them to the work being done. It might save money now and get the project done faster, but in the long run it hurts moral, productivity, and is wasteful. Don't believe me? You might try working a half or full day now and then at different employee desks in new or old buildings (or having your direct reports do so) but don't let folks know in advance.

Our AFM department has done a great job at listening to the voice of the customer and employees in the design of new or existing workspace. I have sent your suggestions to them for future renovations and new construction.

County employees who have the capability of completing their jobs from their iPhone and laptop computer should be able to work from home when needed. People who have children are sometimes faced with having to stay home with sick children. Also, on days when school is closed, but the county is not some people have to stay home with their children due to not having family in the area to assist. During these times, we are forced to use sick or vacation hours. Having the ability to work from home provides a better work-life balance and increases job satisfaction. I also want to add that most people can get a lot more work done at home than in the office because you don't have to worry about office distractions. Just an improvement in the overall work-life balance of county employees would be a big help. I am forced to be in an office for 40 full hours a week. I am a single parent and I do not have any family anywhere near the Charlotte area. I struggle to get anything accomplished in my personal life because there is no work life balance, so I would really appreciate it if the county took more consideration into people's personal needs.

Working from home is up to the discretion of each department based on business need and work required to be done. We take work-life balance very seriously. I would suggest you talk to your supervisor or department about looking at ways to help employees in your area manage work while taking into account needed time-off for personal time.

Vendor Management Process has an antiquated way to capture confidential information from the vendor. The system requires a vendor to log on to register their information which includes the ACH and W-9 information. Vendors are complaining that they have to print the forms, complete them, then either scan or fax to Vendor Management. They fear their confidential information may be jeopardized as some do not have secure firewalls or are using email other than Outlook. I try to reassure them that the County has a sophisticated, secure system with firewalls and security processes; however, nothing is 100% secure. I also provide the vendor the County Secure Delivery email process but they still complain. The current process for the ACH and W-9 forms is antiquated and quite frankly, embarrassing. We need to use a pdf with which the form can be completed while registering then forwarded for processing. This would save time, is confidential and secure, and the vendor packet is completed while online registering. I have had vendors tell me that they thought since a vendor number was assigned their registration was complete.

Confusing to the vendor is that a vendor number is given before all the information is completed; thus, the vendor believes the process is finished. This holds up the contract, and if not a contract, payment. Suggested below is my recommendation regarding the software and process:
  • Setting software defaults so that the vendor number is not assigned to the vendor until all required forms as completed. This would avoid confusion in the process, all forms would be completed and ensure compliance with registration.
  • Once the new vendor is notified to complete the vendor packet and from that point on, there is no notification to the Contracts Processing Team or anyone regarding the status of the vendor packet. The only way to know if the vendor was assigned a number is to run the report Vendors Added to System (unless there is something different), ask the vendor and check the database on the Meckprocure site.
  • Maybe add a field to identify who the vendor is working with, maybe the department name or Project Manager (and if no one then it defaults back to meckprocure) so that when the information is entered an auto notification would be forwarded signifying registration completed.
  • Otherwise, we hold contracts until a vendor number is assigned then submit contracts only to find out that registration is incomplete.

Thank you for your thoughtful submission. As you know, our Procurement Director has met with you in person and talked about potential solutions.

Several weeks ago the subject of maternity leave was brought up in a Budget and Public Policy Meeting. I was wondering what happened to that discussion and if there will be more information about it in the future. I know lots of corporations in the private sector are starting to offer more paid maternity/paternity leave and think that it is a progressive way to retain employees. I understand that employees are offered FMLA (up to 12 weeks unpaid leave - must use sick or vacation time to be paid) and that they can use short term disability (as long as they qualify) with a 25 calendar day waiting period. I haven't taken a sick day in 2 years and still only have enough sick leave for 10 weeks . I have used my vacation time instead of sick leave (if you take vacation time instead of sick leave then you get an extra half day of vacation every 6 weeks) when my son has been sick, when I've been sick and for limited vacations. Is it an option for the County to explore paid leave for the entire time? Or even for the 25 day waiting period before short term disability starts? My family is dependent on my salary to pay our monthly bills and having so taking unpaid leave is not an option. It feels like I'm being punished for deciding to have a child.

I also think that there should be a provision for paternity leave, adoption, birth via surrogate, etc. The bonding time between a child and it's parents its critical to the child's health and the parents physical, mental and emotional health too. With other health care benefits changing due to ACA it seems this might be a way a viable way to supplement the benefits that are offered. I also think it’s important to make arrangement for when a new mom returns to work. It would be nice to have hospital grade pumps available in nursing rooms for breastfeeding moms - they get the job done a LOT faster and its less hassle for the mother and less time away from work. I hope that as the County moves forward with BMC2U along with nursing rooms at each County facility there can be a hospital grade pump and possibly even a refrigerator to store milk. (It can be uncomfortable to have to put it in the community fridge in the break room.)

When I had my son (I was a County employee at the time) I was forced to pump milk in the bathroom or in an unlocked room with a window (which I would cover). I know that's against federal law. Since then there have window shields have been placed on some of the conference rooms so that they can be used to pump, but they are always booked for meetings. There should be a dedicated space for this.

I wanted to ask what your plans are for retaining/attracting employees, especially millennials. Just today I learned of two people leaving for better opportunities - higher pay, bonuses, better benefits. How is the County staying competitive? One of the main draws to government to me was retirement, job security and benefits. But healthcare is changing and I don't think what's offered now (and what is proposed for the near future) is as good as what we have had in the past. What about bringing back things like longevity pay? Or bonuses? More flexibility with things like working from home - I know that this is an option currently, but when I asked about it I was told that it's not a favorable option.

Would you be open to an employee advisory committee? 15-20 people who are interested in new ideas about how to make the County a better place to work? An opportunity to have open discussion and dialogue about some of the questions you receive in the suggestion box and at Dine with Dena events? Thanks for your consideration.

Thank you for your suggestion. I think that an employee council or advisory committee is a great idea. I have asked HR to consider this suggestion and how we could operationalize it in the future. Here is some other information from HR on your other questions:

  • Parental leave: The County continues to look at the possibility of offering this benefit. There are a number of factors to consider. We continue to review and we will make a determination when we feel we can make a thorough and informed decision after weighing all of the data we’ve been able to collect.
  • Nursing mother rooms: You should have access to a room designated as a nursing mothers room in all County facilities. I will forward your comments to Asset and Facilities Management for their review and to ensure that all County facilities have appropriate rooms designated.
  • Attracting and retaining talent: As I have said before, it is a top priority of the organization and we are committed to making sure Mecklenburg County is an attractive and competitive employer both locally and nationally. We offer a variety of benefits including flexible work weeks, compressed work weeks and teleworking. Those options are dependent upon the type of work you do, the needs of respective departments and approval from your manager/supervisor.

I would like to recommend you follow up directly with staff rather than directors as they don't have a clue and are just feeding fluff. Service pins are not provided/ issued at all at DSS mainly YFS. Staff have to call HR themselves despite the number of service years to have their pins sent to them directly as directors have no clue where they are and are this is not a priority for them. When they have they these DSS meetings that would be an ideal time to recognize employees for years of service and issue pins but we are forced to sit through power point presentations that could have been emailed out. Someone outside of DSS needs to speak with staff or an anonymous survey should be sent out. For example, Directors cannot answer why staff feel a certain way or leave positions. Only the actual staff can answer that. Many staff have vacated units within YFS and no member of management spoke with any staff to find out what the cause. And they wonder why we are performing so poorly. Poor leadership. I bet if you poll staff more than half would say they have not received service pins. More than half would say they are not fairly compensated for the work they do or are expected to do. We are forced to neglect our own families and children to protect others and get nothing but threats and inconsistent practice expectations in return.

Thank you for taking the time to provide your comments. Below, is a response to your comments/questions regarding protocol outlining how Human Resources and the department work together to distribute Service Pins:

Human Resources distributes Service Pins to DSS:

  • HR distributes Service Pin packets twice a year. Each packet contains the following:
    • A list of eligible employees (January 1 – June 30, or July 1 – December 31). The print out will contain their service start date and years of eligibility as well as the department in which they currently work.
    • A corresponding number of pins. For example, if there are 5 DSS employees who will be eligible for 20-year Service pins, the Department receives 5, 20-year service pins in the packet.
  • Keep in mind that service years are defined as time in the Retirement System, so it’s possible an employee has worked for Mecklenburg County for 15 years, but also worked for another governmental agency for 5 years, so his/her retirement time would be 20 years. The employee would be recognized for 20 years of service, not 15.
Once DSS receives the Service Pin packet from HR:
  • All Pins are distributed within the 6-month timeframe
    • The Deputy Director’s Assistant will place all pins and list of employees in each Division Directors mailbox
    • 5, 10, and 15 year pins – must be distributed by a supervisor or above
    • 20 year pins – must be distributed by the Division Director
    • 25+ year pins – must be distributed by the Deputy Director and Division Director and Director, if available.
  • The Deputy Director’s Assistant will review the department list to identify employees who will reach their 25+ year anniversary during the six-month timeframe.
  • Division Directors will be notified via email and the Deputy Director’s Assistant will schedule a time for the Director, Deputy Director and Division Director to distribute the 25+ year pin to designated employees
  • Divisions may use their discretion to distribute pins using the guidelines above. For example, pins can be distributed individually, at team meetings, or division-all meetings. In specific reference to distribution of Service Pins in the Youth and Family Services (YFS) Division, service pins for years 5 through 15 are distributed to Sr. Social Service Managers during Operations Meetings for distribution to the employee at supervisory meetings. Pins for the remaining years will be distributed at the YFS All Staff Meeting scheduled for May 26th.

    In reference to your comments regarding receipt of feedback from staff, both Mecklenburg County and DSS particularly utilizes various opportunities for staff involvement and feedback via use of surveys, such as the Employee Climate Survey, an anonymous survey tool, direct communication opportunities such as “Dine with Dena”, or the County Manager’s Suggestion Box, staff have the opportunity to provide feedback at the County level. At the Department level, communication vehicles such as the Senior Executive Team’s “Open Forum”, DSS Director’s “Chat and Chew” luncheons, or the “Tell Us About It” link on the DSS webpage provide even more opportunities for staff to share their feedback. In addition, Division Directors also hold regular Division forums with staff to not only provide feedback on County, Department and Divisional happenings, but also to receive feedback from staff. As employees leave the County for other opportunities, they are given an opportunity through exit Interviews to provide any feedback they believe will be beneficial. In regards to retaliation for providing comments, Mecklenburg County has no tolerance for retaliation of any kind; therefore, both County and DSS leadership work diligently to ensure that any allegations of retaliation are thoroughly investigated and handled appropriately.

    Finally, we recognize our employees as our greatest asset. Therefore, work/life balance is essential to maintaining good employee health and customer service. County Executive and DSS leadership continue to identify ways to improve work/life balance for staff, while ensuring the mission of our agency remains intact. We will continue to communicate these efforts to you as they are developed and encourage you to use the communication opportunities listed above to continue to share your thoughts with leadership.

    County Commissioner’s Pay Raise - On Monday June 20th I learned through the news media that Mecklenburg County Commissioner's were going to approve a pay raise for themselves. I thought to myself ok that is fine, we all need a pay raise from time to time however I then did the math and discovered they would be getting a 16.66% pay increase. I was floored by this number because how can this be justified. We as county employees will receive a 3% pay increase if we are lucky, factor in now that the county is unable maintain status quo for health insurance, that 3% pay increase now disappears or is diminished due to higher premiums and deductibles. Was our county manager unaware of this information and that is why it wasn't shared with county employee's during the budget reveal for county employee's as I believe this is something that should have been shared. The county commissioner's ran for the part time position were aware of the pay structure and accepted it now they want to make more money then me and I work 40hrs a week. We have teachers who were denied pay raises, pay for school supplies out of their own pocket, we have county employees on food stamps where is the justification for their pay raise of 16.66%. If I understand correctly if they don't use their expense allowances they keep it? Why should they be allowed to keep their expense allowances, this is money that should be returned to the county if it goes unused. Thank you for your time as I look forward to hopefully hearing from someone in regards to my concerns.

    Save money - Fire the county commissioners who voted in favor of that ludicrous raise.

    In the FY2017 budget, the Board of County Commissioner’s base pay of $25,932 increased by 3 percent to $26,710. In addition, each commissioner will now receive a general expense allowance of $8,251 instead of requesting reimbursements, and will also get a technology allowance of $4,410 and a car allowance of $4,000 for a total of $43,371 per year per commissioner. The chairman’s base pay is & $33,388. In previous budget years, these items were not included in the pay package. But to help streamline the process with payroll and finance, as well as to increase transparency, commissioners will receive all items in their biweekly paycheck. This approach is based on the method that the City of Charlotte uses for the City Council.

    Pat Cotham needs to tell her daughter to take down all of her campaign signs? They are an eyesore and polluting our streets.

    We have passed this on to Commissioner Cotham

    How do non profits get chosen for funding? Why are we giving money to churches?????

    Each fiscal year the County Commission approves funding for outside agencies with programs or projects aligned to our strategic business objectives through the Community Service Grant process. We utilize a robust and systemic vetting process to determine which non-profit receives funding. Depending on the project or program, faith-based organizations may be approved for funding. Learn more about the Community Service Grants. This is an annual, competitive process

    Who do we report when we see a county employee texting when driving a county car?

    If you see this type of activity, please report it to our Fleet Manager Mark Bevilacqua. Also, you may refer to our County Vehicle Use, Authorization and Operation Policy.

    Hi! Can we combine the sick time and vacation time as PTO? Some of us who rarely get sick don't use the sick time but can use more vacation time especially during the summer months and holidays to spend with our family.

    HR has reviewed this possibility in the past and has determined that due to the way that our benefits are structured it is not possible to offer this type of combined bank of time. Also, the state retirement system allows service credit for sick time at retirement. They do not allow service credit for PTO time or vacation time. Please review the approved uses of vacation and sick time and please reach-out to the Employee Services Center at 704-432-6947 with any further questions.

    Why are some buildings so cold whem we are supposed to be working green?

    The County has an Indoor Air Temperature Policy which sets specific ranges for temperatures during the seasons. The policy allows for rare occasions where heating and air conditioning temperatures may be allowed to vary from the allowable range, depending on the building’s technology, building layout, the efficiency of the system, and outside temperature & humidity conditions. On some occasions during the summer when outside air temperatures become extremely hot, it may be more difficult for building systems to stay within the specified temperature range and achieve the desired humidity levels. Further, some older buildings do not function as well during extreme temperatures, making it difficult to maintain consistent temperatures throughout the facility. When occupants feel like a building is too cold, they should contact the maintenance vendor for that facility to report the condition.

    I find it hard after recent continued problems in other areas with killings of the 2 black men and then the police officers to function on most days. I know we have the EAP but it would be cool if the County could provide some type of counselors after these incidents to be onsite. Maybe engage employees in group conversations at each building. I believe Charlotte is striving to be better but it is still hard as an employee to know if this is true. No one wants to talk out loud at work and in reality this is where we can be most proactive by talking at the workplace. Would it be possible for this to happen?

    I have forwarded your suggestion to Willie Ratchford in of the City’s Community Relations Committee for their information and planning. Also, you may consider attending the Diversity Competency Development training by signing-up in myHR. This is an opportunity to understand and appreciate our differences as well as our similarities. The next session will be held in September.

    I recently noticed that the American flag that is located at the Cats center on North Davidson is faded and torn. Would it be possible to check the flags at all of our county buildings to make sure that they are in great shape? Thanks for all that you do!

    Thank you for letting us know. I will pass your concern along to the City as that particular building is managed by the City of Charlotte. I will also ask County AFM (Asset and Facilities Management) to make sure that flags at County facilities are in good shape at all times.

    A Deputy is once again on suspension for using excessive force on an arrestee. This person is a liability to the department and those who work around him. How many times does it take for this to happen before something is done? (Names and identifying information has been removed.).

    The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office of Professional Compliance does all necessary due diligence when investigating any and all allegations of employee misconduct. The circumstances regarding any allegation against an employee are thoroughly and impartially investigated by professional investigators. The allegations are resolved in a manner the employee’s Chain of Command determines is appropriate, based upon the results of this investigation. All applicable facts and circumstances are not necessarily available to employees who are not the subject of the investigation. MCSO does not engage in or tolerate racial discrimination in any form.

    Whoever is responsible do adding the phrase "In God We Trust" to the back of county police cruisers should lose their job. This clearly reads as employees of the government taking a religious stance and is unconstitutional.

    The Mecklenburg County Sheriff’s Office has never had or considered adding this slogan to any Sheriff’s Office vehicles.

    I find it very disheartening that not all questions or messages get answered or addressed. If you didn't post mine, it makes me wonder what else you are not sharing. So much for transparency - who picks and chooses what is on this board???? Post everything or let employees know you will only post what you want to post.

    We post all suggestions with answers as quickly as possible. If a suggestion contains an accusation with names or uses profanity, we do not post the suggestion. If you do not see your original suggestion, please submit it again. If you would like a personal response, please leave your email address and you will get a reply. Also, we often summarize several posts into one suggestion or question and post an answer to that.

    I went to one of the medical workshops. It seems like there is a big push for us to sign up for the HSA plan. Would the county manager be willing to tell us what she is choosing?

    There is not a push for one plan or the other. The HSA will save the County money. We want you to make the best decision for you and your family. Although I haven’t made a final decision, I am leaning towards the PPO.

    Please help!!!! Someone keeps urinating on the floor of the VCW suite 101 2nd floor shower room. I and others know this because the hall will wreak of urine. This has been happening at least once per week for the past few months. It has been reported and I assume there is not much AFM can do other than have the janitorial staff clean it up. I think it is time for the County Manager's Office to step in. This is disgusting and unhealthy.

    I agree. I have asked our Asset and Facilities Department to look into this further and post signs reminding people to not urinate in the showers. If this situation continues, I will ask our facilities staff to close the showers in suite 101.

    I went to the meeting last night about affordable housing. How will the units be distributed? It seems like the only concern anyone has is over African Americans but there are others like in the Latino community who need help too.

    Our development partners are looking at all aspects of affordable housing and will make recommendations based on community input, Federal Fair Housing guidelines and proposals based on our demographic make-up.

    Do we have no vision coverage in the new plans? I saw only dental and medical.

    Yes. We still have a very competitive vision plan available for next fiscal year. The full details are on our HR benefits page and will be available during open enrollment.

    I have received several comments and suggestions regarding the County’s recruitment process.

    One of the key initiatives in the Human Resources Department work plan is focused on refining and improving our recruitment process. Our goal is to create a best in class hiring experience for applicants as well as hiring managers. An important part of improving this experience is getting customer feedback, and we have been doing this via focus groups as well as incorporating the suggestions I have received from you. All of this information will be reviewed to ensure our process is as efficient and effective as possible. Additionally, I have passed along your feedback to Deputy County Manager Chris Peek, HR management members and others involved in the review of the recruiting process to ensure that it is heard and considered moving forward.

    I received a comment stating that Chantix was not covered in the 2015 plan year.

    This has been addressed and resolved, and is now available. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

    Are additional investment options available to County employees for 401k plans? Is there consideration that the 401k plan could be managed by an entity with additional options?

    Mecklenburg County offers the NC 401(k) Plan as one of several supplemental retirement plan options to employees for voluntary participation. This Plan, which is available to state and local government employees across North Carolina, is administered by the NC Department of State Treasurer and a Supplemental Plans Board of Trustees, which is the group that makes the decisions about which investments the Plan offers, who manages those investments and when/if changes to the investment menu are necessary.

    The County is legally prohibited from offering any additional 401(k) plans to employees due to the Tax Reform Act of 1986 which prohibited state and local governments from the creation of any new 401(k) plans. The NC 401(k) Plan was already established at that time and was grandfathered under the Act.

    Currently, the NC 401(k) Plan provides 13 individual investment options and 12 model portfolios to choose from. I encourage you to speak with the County’s plan representative if you would like to discuss the available options and/or portfolios. Our representative is Jodie Musselwhite and you can call her at 704-893-2841 or email jodie.musselwhite@prudential.com.

    I have received several questions regarding creating more opportunities for professional development which would result in changes to position titles, etc.

    As many of you are aware, the County is currently in the beginning stages of succession planning. Several departments have begun working with staff from HR Learning & Development. Part of the succession planning process is the identification of competencies for positions in the department, and a plan for how staff can be provided opportunities to work towards becoming proficient in those competencies. For more information about development opportunities go to  https://mecktech.sharepoint.com/departments/HR/TalentDevelopment/.

    I have received several questions regarding creating more opportunities for professional development which would result in changes to position titles, etc.

    As many of you are aware, the County is currently in the beginning stages of succession planning. Several departments have begun working with staff from HR Learning & Development. Part of the succession planning process is the identification of competencies for positions in the department, and a plan for how staff can be provided opportunities to work towards becoming proficient in those competencies. For more information about development opportunities go to https://mecktech.sharepoint.com/departments/HR/TalentDevelopment/.

    Would the County consider partnering with daycare facilities that would offer employee discounts?

    This is something that I am committed to exploring further. Thanks for the suggestion!

    How do you hold all levels of management accountable for commitment to the County’s mission/vision?

    All County executives and department directors are required to have annual work plans similar to mine which is approved by the Board of County Commissioners. These work plans establish performance expectations and are reviewed by me and the Executive Team throughout the year. When merit compensation is available, these work plans as well as an assessment of demonstrated County competencies influence how the level of merit increase. It is my expectation that department directors ensure that each employee has a work plan and/or clear expectations set by their manager for which they can be held accountable. ​

    When a request for an exception to the social media policy is submitted it goes directly to the web governance board who are the same people who write and enforce the policy. Is there a mechanism to appeal a request?

    The purpose of the Web Governance Committee is to provide representation advice for content and infrastructure to the MeckWeb Department Administrators and Web Services Team. The Committee and its members are integral to the process of reorganizing web content, maintaining standardized infrastructures and implementing and enforcing processes and standards. There are additional members of the Web Governance Committee beyond the Web Services Team members, including the Public Information Director, the Chief Information Officer and the GIS Director. If after review by this committee you still feel additional discussions are warranted then please escalate your concerns to your respective Department Director. ​

    Employees who are teleworking should still be available to meet with customers for face-to-face meetings. We (the customers) should not have to change our schedules to accommodate the schedules of employees who can work from home.

    I am in 100% agreement with you and have set that expectation with my department directors. If this continues to be an issue please contact Keith Gregg, our Information Technology Director, to discuss your specific situation. Our customers should and will always come before any agreed upon teleworking arrangements.

    Would the county consider partnering with the YMCA to offer county employees discounts on memberships?

    I get this question a lot and let me explain the challenge with this. The YMCA does offer discounts for organizations but it must be set up through a payroll deduction, similar to how your benefits are deducted from your paycheck. The County gets requests from numerous organizations on a frequent basis to offer employees access to a particular program or discount if the County is willing to set up a payroll deduction.

    We have taken the approach to only permit payroll deductions for items that are part of the County’s benefit plan in order to be fair to all of these organizations. Adding payroll deductions further complicates the payroll process and we have continued to work to streamline this process as best as possible.

    As you may have heard me share during the budget discussion with employees, in an effort to provide affordable access to fitness facilities, I have included a new wellness benefit as part of the FY16 Budget – employees will have free access to County Park & Rec fitness centers (excluding aquatic centers). This takes effect on July 1, 2015 and I strongly encourage everyone to take advantage of this new benefit.

    I would love to see recycling bins for water bottles and paper in all health department buildings. Obviously documents with patient information could not be discarded in recycling, but it would be nice to have the option to recycle other waste.

    It is absolutely our intent to have recycling bins available in all County facilities. We have done a quick assessment of health department buildings and believe that although there are recycling bins available now, we are committed to adding additional bins. We ask staff to discard paper in shredding bins to ensure confidentiality of protected information, but these bins are also recycled. If there are specific health department facilities where you cannot find recycling bins, please contact Bobby Cobb and he will ensure that we get recycling bins at all locations.

    With the cycle of many County employees reaching retirement or taking leave due to various circumstances, can there be a better method of retaining this wellspring of knowledge from the employees? Current methods seem almost last minute and places the department in a challenging position to keep work going while effectively training a replacement.

    I completely agree with you that employee retention and planning for employees leaving the organization is something we need to do better. Beginning in FY15, HR has started working with several departments (Park & Recreation and Financial Services) on succession planning initiatives. This is a partnership between HR and departments to identify key positions and competencies needed to address potential gaps and business needs should certain staff leave the organization. Plans to build the needed knowledge and skills will then be designed and implemented over several years. While this is a significant time investment for departments, I believe it is critical to the future success of the organization.

    As a long time employee, has the County considered providing merit raises based on actual salary vs. market rate? Any salary increase is greatly appreciated, but using the market rate vs. the actual salary does penalize long time employees who have moved beyond market rate. Also, the county used to provide "Cost of Living" increases in addition to merit raises. Will this ever come back? Thanks!

    The County has adopted a pay for performance compensation philosophy which means that we are committed to providing pay increases based on work performance rather than a cost of living increase or increases based on longevity. This pay for performance philosophy is also why we base merit increases off of the market rate rather than an individual’s base; this ensures that employees are being compensated equally for similar performance in the same job, regardless of tenure or any other factors. While I understand that this is different from some other organizations, it is certainly not intended to penalize employees – rather reward individuals equally.

    During my lunch with Dena, I made a suggestion that loyal county employees with 10-15 years who have gone back to school to better or upgrade their education have a chance to meet managers from other areas and given the opportunity to transfer within the county. This could be held every two years and could increase the retention within the County.

    This is a great idea and I hear often that employees want to network with staff from other departments. I am going to incorporate this idea into Employee Fest this year as a pilot and we’ll take the lessons learned to find what else we can do throughout the year.

    What is our pay policy for active military? As our robust wartime force requirements continue to dwindle; our National Guard & Reserve forces will become saturated with educated, experienced, well trained veterans looking for civilian employment. With Charlotte being one of the fastest growing cities in the nation, many of those veterans will be headed right here.

    Many organizations have long understood the value these service members bring to their organizations and the community. It's time to get the County up to speed with CMPD, MCSO, & CFD by providing at least 14 paid training days and income gap protection when employees are called to service. Not only is it the right thing to do, but it will help to attract some of the best and brightest warrior citizens our nation has to offer.

    (Note: This writer did not know that the County does have a pay policy for active military at the time this suggestion was submitted.)

    I have received several questions about the County’s military pay policy. To answer one of the questions, yes - the County does have a current policy and supplemental pay benefit, which can be found in the Human Resources Policy Manual by clicking here. Some of you have inquired about changes to the policy and I have asked staff to review other agencies’ policies to ensure we are offering a competitive benefit level. Please feel free to continue sending in your suggestions of policies that we should be reviewing and considering. I welcome, appreciate and value your feedback and will take it into consideration.

    I know that we have the Weight Watchers program but I would like to see TOPS be implemented. TOPS stands for Take Off the Pounds Sensibly. It is a nonprofit organization so all you pay is yearly dues which is usually between $35-40. It is very similar to Weight Watchers as it has a weekly group meeting and weigh in. The only thing I've found that it doesn't offer (like Weight Watchers does) is the ability to purchase food. For me, getting tips on how to make my own meals healthier is more beneficial.

    Thank you for this suggestion! The Weight Watchers program is actually something that County employees decided to initiate and run, opposed to being a formal program. I am extremely supportive of initiatives and programs such as these and am more than happy for employees to meet onsite for convenience. For help getting this program up and running, please contact your department wellness ambassador and/or the County’s new Wellness Coordinator, LaKishia Monserrate at 980-314-2711.

    How is it determined who is eligible for overtime at DSS?

    Overtime availability is determined based on a few factors, which your supervisor should be able to further explain. First, eligibility is determined based on the workload demands and deadlines on a program by program basis. Additional factors include if staff have completed all of the trainings, productivity levels and also competencies and skills in certain programs. If you still have questions or concerns about your overtime eligibility and your direct supervisor is not able to resolve, then please escalate your concern to your respective manager, senior manager, division director, etc.

    There are inconsistencies in how my department manages staff and how policies are interpreted and enforced. For example, I was initially told there was a grace period of 5-7 minutes in arriving to work on time, my supervisor then told me it was a 15 minute period and some of my coworkers were told there is no grace period. We should all be held to a consistent standard.

    I agree with you that we need to have consistent standards and guidelines, which are then communicated to all supervisors and staff. First, there may be some confusion with how myTime (the time clock system) rounds versus the performance standards being communicated. The myTime time clock system rounds based on increments (or has a “grace period”) of seven minutes, and rounds either up or down to the nearest quarter hour. All rounding occurs at the end of the day based on the net total of hours worked from your punches in and out. Put as simply as possible, if you work/clock in for 7 hours and 54 minutes, you will be paid for working 8 full hours. If you clock in for a net of 8 hours and 8 minutes at the end of the day, you will be paid for working 8 hours and 15 minutes. That is different from how your manager/supervisor may hold you accountable for arriving to work on time, which I suspect for many employees is to be ready to work at your respective start times.

    The second issue that I believe you have raised -- and it’s a good one -- is the training of supervisors to ensure that everyone understands policies and procedures, such as the myTime rounding. I have asked HR to work on developing a HR Policy Refresher class for all supervisors/managers to take on some cyclical basis, to address issues like this. Ultimately it is my goal for every supervisor/manager in the County to go through the Supervising for Success program to improve our skills in managing employees, however that will take some time to accomplish.

    I want to thank you for raising this question and concern. I have also forwarded this to DSS Director Peggy Eagan and have asked her to ensure that there is consistency in the expectations across DSS.

    Valerie Woodward has extra land that could be used as a cafeteria, gym, or game room. This would be a great way for employees to save money rather than spending money eating out if they forget to bring breakfast and/or lunch. If not a cafeteria then maybe a gym or game room to cut stress and get a good workout, especially when many don't have time to go workout or exercise at home.

    At this time, there are no plans for a gym or recreation room at Valerie Woodward – mainly due to costs and trying to maintain a level of equity with other County facilities. As you may have heard me share during the budget discussion with employees, I have included a new wellness benefit as part of the FY16 Recommended Budget – employees will have free access to County Park & Rec fitness centers (excluding aquatic centers). While I know some facilities are more convenient for some employees more than others, this benefits all County employees and leverages current County assets.

    I am committed to exploring the idea of putting a cafeteria at Valerie Woodward based on the number of employees that will ultimately be located out there. I have asked staff to review models for onsite cafeteria/dining and provide me with options and costing to determine if this is an affordable and manageable option to implement. Thank you very much for your idea!

    There is no reimbursement for employees when it comes to a hearing aid. The only coverage is for your children, if you have any. I find this very sad considering the extreme cost to purchase them. We are offered a discount vendor but their prices are higher than what you can get on your own.

    I would love to be able to offer hearing aid coverage as part of our benefits plan but unfortunately doing so would significantly drive up the cost of employee premiums for everyone. We will continue to look for options for supplemental coverage and opportunities to offer better discounts.

    I do not like the salutation "Dear Employees" at the beginning of many recent emails from the County Manager's office.

    Thank you for your feedback. I am now using the salutation “Dear Colleagues” as it was certainly never my intent to demean or devalue anyone.

    Why do part time employees only qualify for certain benefits?

    I very much appreciate the work, dedication and commitment of our part time staff. Just last summer, the County went through a significant review of our classification of employees and established several new categories to be able to better define the status of individuals working less than 30 hours a week.

    Part time employees working 20-30 hours a week are eligible for sick and vacation leave (on a pro-rated basis) in addition to other benefits, while employees working less than 20 hours are not. Employees working less than 20 hours a week on a reoccurring basis (not classified as ‘Temporary’), are eligible for merit increases, EAP and access to employee relations privileges such as the right to appeal a termination, file a general grievance and have a provisional period. Until recently, part time employees working less than 30 hours a week received no benefits at all. While I recognize this does not provide you with the requested sick and vacation time, I am hopeful that it does reflect our commitment to recognizing your contributions – particularly with the new benefit of being eligible for a merit increase.

    I am interested in the County providing an option for Long Term Care Insurance coverage for employees. This coverage will give employees a means to prepare for astronomical medical expenses and will be a supplement to medical coverage. Retirees will be empowered to maintain financial integrity and to maintain a private living status

    The last time that we explored the option of coverage for employees, there was no significant difference in the cost of the County providing access to coverage versus an individual buying a private product. Given the nature of this coverage, the premium rates will be based on your age and will be subject to pre-existing conditions regardless of who provides the coverage. We will continue to evaluate if the County should offer this coverage again as more products become available in the marketplace.

    The County should observe Veterans Day as a holiday.

    Thanks to everyone who suggested that the County should observe Veterans Day, or add an additional holiday. Staff conducted a review of the number and types of holidays offered by other counties in North Carolina; Mecklenburg County was one of five that did not recognize Veterans Day and additionally had the fewest number of holidays among 94 counties surveyed. I took this information and presented it to the Board of County Commissioners, and included a recommendation in my budget to add Veterans Day. I am pleased to announce that Board has approved my recommendation and we will begin observing Veterans Day for the first time on November 11, 2015.

    Why do we have to submit documentation every six months for FMLA leave for an illness that is progressive and terminal? This appears excessive to me and it takes away from my productivity to obtain documentation from the doctor every six months. My suggestion is to make this process easier to deal with.

    Thank you for expressing your concern. While I understand that there is an additional burden on you to provide documentation more frequently, we made the change to start collecting every six months based on best practices (which we make every effort to follow). Federal law actually permits this documentation to be requested every 30 days, which I believe is too excessive. Staff from HR are happy to assist in making this process as easy for you as possible. They can fax or email forms as needed to ensure both you and your physician(s) have what is needed.

    Parents who are having non-traditional births or adopting should be permitted to use sick time.

    Thank you for your suggestion. I have received a number of questions and suggestions regarding the sick policy – ranging from this topic, to using sick time for bonding for tradition births and additionally to substitute for bereavement. The current policy does only permit employees to use sick leave during periods of personal illness, and is not allowed to be used for personal reasons. As applied, the policy does not permit individuals to use for a bonding period for a child and does not allow for extending a period of bereavement. I am committed to reviewing our current policy to see how we compare to other jurisdictions’ policies in FY16.

    Is it possible for County employees to receive a discount on reservations for Mecklenburg County Park and Recreation centers?

    As part of the FY16 Budget, the Board has approved and adopted my recommendation to make all Park & Recreation fitness center (excluding aquatic centers) free to County employees. There is not currently consideration for offering an additional discounts to recreation center rentals as there is a significant cost to the County associated with operating these facilities.

    Can you send something out to management that they should not allow subordinates access to their MyHr files as this gives them access to personal and confidential information such as performance reviews. I do not want a peer or anyone other than my supervisor to know my personal information or knowledge of my performance reviews.

    It is unacceptable that any manager or any employee to give another individual their access to MyHR. If you do not feel comfortable escalating this concern up your chain of command to your manager/senior manager/department director, then please call 2-myHR to report this and a representative from Human Resources will follow up on your behalf. Additionally, I will ensure that this topic is clearly addressed in the County’s mandatory information privacy training going forward. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

    Recent studies have shown that questions based specifically on job related functions result better hiring and retention of staff. As long as I can remember, we have used the behavioral based questions. They can tell you if the person is articulate, creative and quick-thinking. They do not, however, address experience, job knowledge or career aspirations. Nor, do they allow the interviewer many opportunities to delve deeper into work history or prior training. I'd like to suggest the County take a look at the interviewing process for new hires to see if there is a better way to select good employees.

    I have heard from many employees that they want to better understand the interviewing process. HR has just created a new class called “Targeted Selection”, which will explain why we use behavioral based interview questions.

    Additionally, HR staff did provide training to department managers several years ago and provided suggestions on how to incorporate both behavioral based and competency/situational based questions which hiring managers can pick from. HR is currently reviewing our recruitment process with the goal of streamlining workflow and realizing efficiencies in order to have more time to work with hiring managers on improving their selection outcomes.

    Thank you for putting such an emphasis on talent development lately. I really like the classes HR offers, but going out to Freedom Drive building is difficult for those of us who are based in the government district. There are times when we are required to go to court, process paperwork, etc. with little to no advanced notice. I'm hesitant to commit to signing up for a class that takes me so far away from my office. Is there a possibility of offering some classes closer to people associated with the courthouse?

    Thank you for this suggestion. Since building a new training room and relocating our training and development staff to the Valerie Woodard Center, I recognize that we do offer more classes there than at 700 East 4th Street (the County’s Human Resources department location). The training room located in HR is currently the only good option available in the government district. Space in the Government Center is limited and is subject to being cancelled based on the needs of the City Council, Board of Education and Board of County Commissioners.

    What you may not be aware of is that we are in the process of creating a new facilities master plan and reviewing the space at 700 East 4th Street. Staff are reviewing options to expand the current training room at 700 East 4th Street to add capacity for offering more training classes here in the government district. In the meantime, we will try to maximize the use of 700 East 4th Street for the benefit of those employees working uptown.

    Just to give you an update, the roach problem continues to exist here at the Carlton Watkins Center. This morning, I counted six from the door to my area and then a seventh one on the top of my file cabinet when arriving at my desk! There have been rumors this building will be closing and offices moved to Valerie Woodard. I am hoping this will come sooner than later. Filth is a distraction.

    (NOTE: We have received several remarks about a bug problem at Carlton Watkins. This is a follow-up comment.)

    Thank you for your concern and let me first say that it is extremely important to me that every County employee works in a clean and safe environment. It is unacceptable to have such a prominent bug problem and it is something I take seriously.

    ABM, our third party service provider, has been contacted and has already taken action to get rid of these undesirable conditions. They are scheduling more pest control inspections and treatment. As these treatments take effect it is expected to cause an increase in the number of dead or dying pests in the short term. The day staff will increase monitoring of the facility to better keep these dead pest removed. They are also looking for the areas insects may get into the building so they can be eliminated. ABM’s 24 hour phone line number is 704-336-6055 and, you may contact ABM directly for this or other concerns. You may also contact Vic Reece with Asset and Facility Management at 980-314-2522.

    I would like to offer a suggestion for consideration as the deadline is soon approaching for FY16 decisions. It has been announced that the PSO Trauma and Justice Partnerships division will be moving to the Health Department; an announcement that raised questions as to the logistics of why the Health Department. CD-CP has a strong partnership with law enforcement, why wouldn't Criminal Justice Services be the more logical choice? When considering other programs in the CJS Department and their focus on justice involvement it seems further consideration is warranted. Although I understand wanting to allow for as little disruption as possible to the reporting structure, "shaking things up" gives a fresh look. It seems relocating the Trauma and Justice Partnerships division under CJS would be a better choice as it allows for the sharing of innovative ideas and integrating common resources.

    This is a very timely suggestion, as the Health & Human Services Agency Directors have recently begun a process to review all services offered across the departments/divisions with the goal being to offer more coordinated services to our customers. It is my expectation that all services, including the Trauma and Justice Partnership, will be reviewed and discussed as part of this project to ensure we have the proper alignment. Please understand that this is a multi-year project that will continue into FY16 and our immediate interest and time investment is focused on information gathering, not on organizational charts. You can expect to hear more about the project’s status in late summer or early fall.

    Does the County have paternity leave?

    The County does not offer paternity leave. Human Resources does offer a class to all employees called “So You’re Having a Baby” which provides individuals with an overview of the leave process and will answer questions about disability benefits, Family Medical Leave Act eligibility, your medical plan benefits and the use of accrued leave time. I strongly encourage interested employees to attend so that you are aware of what benefits are available to you and you can plan accordingly.

    There should be a “courtesy and respect” requirement written in the ethics guidelines.

    It is my expectation that all employees act with courtesy and respect, and this is reflected in both the County Code of Ethics and our County Core Competencies.  I agree that is appropriate for us to frequently talk about and enforce the competencies and expectations stated in both of these documents I will start by reviewing both of these with my department directors at our next cabinet meeting to ensure they understand these types of behavior will not be tolerated. 

    Comment/What is the County’s policy on bullying?

    The County has a zero tolerance policy on bullying in the workplace. This is absolutely unacceptable. If this is something that you have reported to your senior management and has not been addressed, please file a complaint with the County’s Compliance Offer, Tyrone Wade (Tyrone.Wade@mecklenburgcountync.gov or 980-314-2908) so that it can be investigated and appropriately addressed.

    Can more County locations have fleet vehicles available for use?

    We currently have a minimal number of pooled vehicles available for use. The majority of the County’s fleet is assigned to a particular department that they in turn manage. Mark Bevilacqua (Mark.Bevilacqua@mecklenburgcountync.gov) manages the County’s fleet contract and the pooled vehicles. I have talked to him about this suggestion and he welcomes further discussion with you, or any other department, to ensure your fleet needs are being met. We need to learn more about which facility you are located in and the frequency that you are driving to make the most informed decision.

    I recently received an inquiry regarding the use of County property for political campaigns. As the political season approaches, this is a reminder that the Mecklenburg County Human Resources Policy & Procedures manual protects an employee's right as a citizen to engage in the political process.

    However, there are strict limitations on engaging in political or partisan activities during working hours or use of any County equipment or facilities to advance a political or partisan objective. Additionally, it is not appropriate for County officials or employees to use the Mecklenburg County seal on stationery, campaign signs, or anywhere that might create the impression that the campaign literature is official County business.

    If you have any questions, please consult with Human Resources or the Deputy County Attorney.

    What qualifies Mecklenburg County employees for on-call pay?

    The HR Policy Manual (pages 101-102) outlines the eligibility requirements for receiving on-call pay. If you any additional questions, please contact HR Compensation Manager Julissa Fernandez and she will be happy to discuss this in more detail.

    There are four county cars assigned to our department, which are located in the gated area behind the Hal Marshall annex. Would it be possible to relocate the cars to our location at the Northwest Health Department? I realize there is some concern of vandalism, but the cars would be used more frequently if they were relocated. This would drastically reduce the mileage paid to our outreach team. Thanks!

    Thanks so much for your suggestion! This makes sense and the cars have been relocated.

    I recommend increasing patrol of Lynx Blue Line Fare Enforcement. Specifically, I think this can be enforced primarily between 7AM - 9AM on the inbound trains and again from 4AM - 6PM on outbound trains to account for the majority of riders. On the way into uptown, I recommend 2 officers (1 on each car) requesting tickets be shown around Carson or Bland Street to account for the most people being on the trains. On the way out of uptown, the 2 officers can board at Stonewall to account for the most people being on the trains. Different train times can be targeted each day throughout the week to give a greater sense of enforcement.

    I suggest this idea after adding the train to my commute for the first time in the month of May. Throughout the entire month (riding daily), I have never seen anyone validate anyone’s fare. I ride from Scaleybark to uptown and back each weekday. I've also heard others say that they don't pay because of this lack of enforcement. In reality, considering the infrequent validation of fares, it would be cheaper for someone to gamble riding daily and being fined occasionally versus paying for the monthly pass. It would take 4 fines in 2 months for the fines to cost more than monthly tickets. This shouldn't be the case.

    My assumption is that 80% of riders likely pay. However, if fares are enforced does this reduce potential rate hikes later or help close the county revenue gap.

    Because the Lynx system falls under the responsibility of the City of Charlotte, we forwarded your suggestion on to Charlotte Area Transit System for a response which is included below:

    CATS works diligently to ensure citizens are properly riding our transit system. Though LYNX is barrier-free, citizens are required to purchase a valid ticket prior to boarding the vehicle. Officers regularly ride LYNX trains to check tickets, assist passengers, and patrol the system. These aspects may take them off of the vehicle at various times. This means instead of riding a train to check fares, they may be on a platform citing a fare evader, helping a passenger with a question or assisting another officer. We are using our limited resources to cover the entire CATS system in the most efficient way possible. We understand and appreciate your concerns. Please know, that we are working to make sure riders pay their fares and maintain a safe system for you to continue to enjoy. If you have any questions please call or contact me.

    Best Regards,
    BJ Johnson, MPA, ACE
    Transit Security Manager
    Office of Safety & Security
    Charlotte Area Transit System
    3145 South Tryon Street
    Charlotte, NC 28217
    Office 704.432.0691

    Is it possible for the county to do something other than the party in the park this year? It is very hard to leave work, get to the park, and return to work. Could we do something on a Saturday like Carowinds?

    Thanks for your suggestion. I agree with you that it would be nice to do something on the weekend, however, I am concerned that participation levels would drastically decrease. We have been trying to make it faster for employees to get through the food lines at Employee Fest and will have some additional enhancements this year. Additionally, we explored other location options but ultimately determined that Freedom Park was the best facility available to us based on the size, location, and being good stewards of taxpayer money by using a County-owned facility. I have encouraged all department directors to allow as many staff to participate as possible and I hope to see an even larger turnout this year than in years past!

    How can the front line staff and supervisors be assured that our IT needs will be represented thoroughly enough to be adequately assessed and evaluated in the IT prioritization process?

    As you know, every year we include questions on the Employee Climate Survey regarding access and reliability of technology. I understand and recognize how critical it is to make sure all staff – front line to directors – have the technology needed to our jobs well. My expectation for the IT prioritization process is that employees and supervisors work up their respective chains of command to the department director to approve and ultimately submit technology requests, either as part of the budget process or in another manner. I expect that department directors will work in close partnership with Keith Gregg and the rest of the IT team to convey their needs and requests. Keith has established a quarterly IT Governance meeting to discuss IT needs from around the County and ask for feedback in the prioritization process. It can be very challenging to balance the competing IT needs from across all County departments and unfortunately, we cannot always afford to everything. I believe that keeping lines of communication open between departments, IT and the County Manager’s office will allow us to make the best decisions for the County from a holistic perspective and will also ensure that immediate and critical departmental concerns/needs are also addressed.

    How does one adequately measure managers'/supervisors' leadership (and all that entails) if no feedback is ever solicited from those the manager/supervisor is tasked with leading?

    I agree with you that this is an issue and soliciting feedback from staff is something we need to do better. This is part of the rationale for increasing training for supervisors/managers, like Supervising 4 Success, which encourages and provides managers with tools to communicate more effectively and engage staff. Additionally, this is part of why continue to administer the Employee Climate Survey on an annual basis; it is an excellent tool that can be used as a means for evaluating leadership. As part of our leadership development work in FY16, I will also ask our Learning & Development staff to rollout a 360 review that can be completed by employees (on a voluntary basis) and will not be formally tied to performance reviews. Thank you for your thoughtful comments!

    Why does Human Resources extend job offers prior to the completion of background checks? Why not do the background and reference checks up front before making an offer? This leads to people giving their notice in current positions and then possibly having their offer rescinded resulting in possible job loss or emotional distress. This does not seem like a good business practice.

    HR extends all offers contingent upon criminal background checks for several reasons. Since there is a cost associated with conducting background checks, we do not want to pay for the service until we have an accepted offer from the candidate. In addition to avoiding unnecessary costs, the contingent offer lets the candidate know as soon as possible that we are interested in hiring them. Waiting for the results of a background check can take several days which could result in us losing potential new employees. In the past, HR has completed background and reference checks only to find an individual had already accepted another position.

    The expectation with employees – both internal and external – is that the offer is contingent on several factors and we will rescind if needed. We never advise that individuals resign or leave current positions until the process is completed and finalized.

    I received a complaint about the turnaround time of some HR staff, specifically somebody waiting over three weeks to hear back from staff.

    I have made our new HR Director, Joel Riddle, aware of this and we both agree that this is unacceptable. The recruiters do have a standard of responding within 48 hours to - at a minimum - acknowledge receipt of an inquiry. If you are willing to spend some additional time discussing your experience, Joel Riddle would like your insight to be able to address these issues with the specific individual. Thank you for bringing this to my attention and for helping to make us a better organization.

    Would you consider raising the merit range to 5%? The max we can receive is 4%, which results in most people getting 2.5 or 3. This is not very much to reward high performing employees. Please consider pushing the max to 5% which would hopefully result in an average of 3 or 3.5 for employees who work very hard.

    Thank you for your suggestion! The merit range for FY16 is 0 – 4.5%, which provides for an average 3% merit increase (based on the market rate). This has been the merit range used by the County for the past four years. Prior to that the County had two years where no raises were provided due to the lack of funding available. More information can be found on MeckWeb.

    Are there any plans to add facilities (Park & Rec fitness) for employees who live in the southern edge of Mecklenburg County? I'd love to take advantage of this, but everything is at the opposite end of where I live.

    I agree with you and acknowledge that there are more limited indoor facilities in the southern end of the county. We do have plans to build a new indoor community center at Elon Park, however this project is among many others and is currently slated to begin construction in 2020 or beyond. I realize that this is a long term fix and we will continue to explore opportunities for increased employee access to fitness facilities as our wellness program continues to be more richly developed.

    If would be great if the old flags flying at our county buildings could be replaced with new flags! For example, the flag flying at the Northwest Health Department is old, faded and too small for the flag pole...

    Thanks so much for bringing this to my attention. I have asked staff from Asset and Facility Management to review the condition of existing flags and purchase replacement flags as necessary. While not at all intentional, the flags can become weathered and we have many County facilities; it is helpful to receive this kind of feedback so we can address these issues. Thank you!

    Since my review by the Board of County Commissioners in June 2015, I have received some questions about my compensation.

    I believe it is important for staff and the public to understand that I work at the pleasure of the Board; they can determine at any moment to terminate my employment. The Board also sets my compensation level. This past summer, my request to the Board was that they evaluate my performance based on my approved work plan and use the same merit scale that we use for all County employees. While they decided to do something beyond the merit scale, I especially want employees to understand that it was not due to any request on my part. I am thankful and humbled for the opportunity to serve our community with you and will continue to work hand in hand with you, our Board and our citizens to accomplish our goals.

    Before MyTime hourly employees didn’t have to clock in and out for lunch. Why the change?

    Please refer to the following excerpt from our Payroll Processing and Accounting Policy which can be found on MeckWeb.

    Regular Time
    Exempt (salaried) employees report time on the exception basis. Exempt employees must clock in once daily for attendance purposes on days worked using myTIME. Exempt employees must key all benefit time or leave without pay into myHR. Time reporting codes for benefit and leave time follow this discussion.

    In accordance with Fair Labor Standard Act requirements, timesheets showing daily hours reported are required and maintained for non-exempt (hourly) employees in myHR. Non-exempt employees must clock in and clock out daily to begin and end their workday using myTIME. They must also clock in and out for uninterrupted meal periods for 30 minutes or more. Any corrections to regular time worked must be entered into myHR by the employee and approved by management during the workweek. Employees are required to use myTIME reporting device(s) to clock in and out. Modifications and/or changes should be the exception. A report will be generated weekly and sent to management detailing all changes to punches made in myHR.

    Why don't directors check in with staff if/when HR concerns are presented more often? I would like to recommend that directors take a more active role in their departments.

    I agree with you that directors should be taking an active, hands-on role in their departments. Additionally, I believe that HR should be taking a more proactive approach in providing directors with regular updates (as is permissible) regarding employee complaints and concerns raised so that directors can help correct behaviors as needed. I have monthly cabinet meetings with all of my directors and will be sure to re-emphasize that it is my expectation that they are actively seeking to correct poor behaviors and issues that may be present in their departments.

    At DSS, we are not recognized for reaching our service years’ milestones (5,10,15. etc) and this means a lot to employees who have remained for several years. Is this something you can speak with department heads about?

    Thank you for sharing your concern regarding not getting your service pin. I have followed-up with Peggy Eagan and she has shared that the process for distributing pins in DSS should be as follows:

    Once the pins are received from Human Resources then they are divided by division and distributed to division directors. Divisions can be creative in passing out pins to staff as long as the following requirements are met:

    • All pins must be distributed to staff within 2 weeks of receipt
    • 5, 10, and 15 year pins – must be distributed by a supervisor or above
    • 20 year pins – must be distributed by the Division Director
    • 25+ year pins – must be distributed by the Deputy Director and Division Director and Director, if available.
    If you have still not received your pin, please contact either Peggy Eagan (DSS Director) or Joel Riddle (HR Director) directly and they will be sure you receive your pin.

    In general, it is important to understand that your service pins are based upon not just County service time, but also retirement system time. If you ever went off payroll due to a leave of absence, or left the County and came back, then your service years may have been affected. If you have a question about your specific service dates then please call the Employee Services Center (2-myhr) and a HR team member can discuss your specific situation with you directly.

    Why does it seem that so many employees are leaving After Hours at YFS?

    We have recently had three After Hours Supervisors who interviewed for vacant “daytime” Social Work Supervisor positions and were selected for these positions. Some of the cited reasons for these lateral moves were as to be expected with working the evening hours and a compressed schedule such as:

    • An expressed desire work during the day for work-life balance/personal reasons
    • Wanting a shorter work shift
    • Dissatisfaction with how holiday leave/pay is administered
    DSS management is in the process of looking at the current after-hours schedules to determine if there are any different strategies that can be implemented moving ahead to mitigate some of the mentioned concerns and barriers to retaining individuals in these positions.

    I work in DSS in the YFS Division. I would like our director and senior managers to engage more with line level staff so we can get to know who they are and what their vision and views are.

    Thank you for your concern. Peggy Eagan also agrees that it is priority for her and her leadership team to engage with staff, while it is also challenging due to the size of the department and the workload responsibilities that all staff have. In efforts to increase engagement, two initiatives have been started in FY16. The first is “Check in with Charles” at which Charles Bradley will be visiting each YFS location, and meeting with any staff member who takes the time to stop by. Similarly, both Peggy Eagan and Rodney Adams are scheduling staff forums at which they will visit all six DSS locations to provide updates and answer staff questions. Given the number of locations, it may take some time for them to come to your site, but they are coming! Thank you for your willingness and desire to engage with leadership!

    Can the "Suggestion Box Responses be dated? At least with the month and year?

    We have added the dates for future suggestions. Thanks for the suggestion!

    Is it possible for Mecklenburg County employees to receive a discount from renting any of the Parks & Rec indoor/outdoor shelter facilities?

    This is a suggestion that I hear often. As you know, we recently expanded the County’s wellness benefit to increase the use of the community center fitness facilities. This is line with the goal of improving health and wellness. While I understand that a discount for shelter facilities would be welcomed by staff, those activities are not directly related to health and wellness and therefore are not being considered at this time.

    Is park security a part of the security initiatives that your office announced? I wonder why park "security" is managed by non-sworn, untrained rangers, supplemented by off-duty CMPD spending in the hundreds of thousands of dollars. Have you looked at the effectiveness and efficiency of our current system versus a county security team assigned to parks? Currently, the rangers have no authority and are being paid to lock gates at a few dozen parks.

    This is a great question/suggestion. To answer your first question, while the recent security enhancements that I announced are related only to facilities protected by Asset and Facility Management (AFM), we are including an assessment of security in the parks in our next phase of work.

    Several years ago it was determined in cooperation with a recommendation from CMPD to not pursue a ranger force with law enforcement powers. A combination of contract security, off duty CMPD and rangers was proven to be an effective cost efficient method to manage security of facilities and events in the park and recreation system at that time. With that being said, I recognize and agree that security in the parks is a concern and am open to discussing a different approach and enhancements as needed once a thorough assessment has been completed.

    Dear County Manager Diorio - Please reconsider your opinion against teleworking. Realizing some jobs are not suited for this - i.e. those that require coverage or on-site customer interaction. However, many of our positions need professionals who are "desk workers" conducting financial, information technology, etc. work that does not demand customer face-to-face interaction. We are having more and more challenges recruiting and now retaining high performers who want flexibility. Thank you for your continued leadership.

    Thank you for your suggestion regarding teleworking. The County’s teleworking policy currently provides Department Directors the authority to approve individual teleworking arrangements for a maximum of three days a week (consistent with the guidelines provided in policy). Teleworking is appropriate for the right position, the right employee and the right manager. It is not a one size fits all approach. Business needs across the County and departments vary drastically. In some cases, teleworking may work seamlessly without any impact to customer service and in other cases, it may not work at all. I encourage you to discuss your interest in teleworking with your supervisor/manager. If you feel that the response you are provided with is unclear or needs further clarification, then please escalate to the director level so they may have the opportunity to respond.

    Lower or free healthcare plan?

    I have always considered the health plans that the County offers as one of our most attractive benefits, and the County has continued to make significant financial investments in past years to keep rate increases to a minimal despite costs continuing to rise. While some employees may experience a rate increase in 2016, it has been three years since we have passed along any of the increases to employees.

    What most employees do not know is that the rates set for your contributions are a direct result of the cost of claims incurred. In other words, the better we maintain our health as individuals, the lower the cost increases will be over time. We will continue to look for options and strategies that provide employees with the best benefit level while also managing the costs, such as continued work on our wellness strategy to encourage healthy behaviors.

    We have had several questions about the new Healthy Eating Policy for County buildings and when ordering food. Can you elaborate?

    The Public Health Department works to promote and protect the public’s health. That work encompasses specifically promoting and encouraging healthy behaviors. The County’s food policy aligns to the goal of encouraging healthy behaviors, specifically around County sponsored and County paid for events and meetings, in efforts to lead by example. While I am also an advocate of employees choosing healthy options for themselves, as part of our employee wellness program, the policy is in place to provide some guidance to departments to offer healthier choices to staff when the County is providing food.

    The meeting at CPCC was very nice. Many people commented that they learned a lot about other departments and each other. I would suggest we have more interactive opportunities for leaders of the County. The pace and experience of that meeting was something we should have more of. That being said, I'm disappointed that OMB has taken all the work done and reordered, deleted, etc. after the goal deadline.

    I want to thank you for your work and involvement with the strategic planning conference. I agree that it was a very successful meeting and want to do more of that in the future. Following the strategic planning conference, my Executive Team and I met for a day-long retreat to discuss the information that was presented and identify commonalities. In this process we did make some changes to the drafts presented to ensure that there is cohesion, consistency and better alignment across all of the goals identified by departments. What I want to emphasize is that this is a normal part of the strategic planning process and that was part of the intent of having our conference/meeting earlier in the fiscal year prior. The last thing I wanted was for departments to go through the tremendous effort of completing a full plan document and then provide feedback which may have resulted in significant rework and/or revisions. I am extremely pleased with the work done by departmental and OMB staff alike and am excited about our continued strategic planning journey through the fall. Thank you for your thoughtful question and please keep up the exceptional work!

    The parking lot - specifically the GIANT SPEED BUMPS - are destroying our cars! Please investigate. These speed bumps are beyond too tall.

    As most of you are aware, in the next several years we will be beginning construction on unfinished parts of the Valerie C. Woodard building. I am committed to looking at the condition of the parking lot in conjunction with these construction projects. The primary purpose of speed bumps is the safety of pedestrians; so while I expect we will want to continue to utilize these, I will also ensure that the parking and travel conditions in the lot are appropriate for both staff and the citizenry alike. Thank you for bringing this to my attention.

    Please do something about the conditions at the Valerie Woodard facility. The bathrooms are very nasty. Also there are concerns about the homeless people around the building as well as the food truck that recently was allowed in the parking lot adding to the security concerns. Thank you.

    Thank you making me aware of this. Asset and Facility Management (AFM) has checked the restrooms for odors and will work with the maintenance vendor to ensure fixtures are functioning properly and that the restrooms are adequately cleaned. Our maintenance staff currently come to clean the facilities in the evening so we ask that all employees help to keep our facilities well maintained by cleaning up after themselves. If there is ever a need for immediate attention, you may also contact Vic Reece with AFM at 980-314-2522. Additionally, I have asked our security coordinator Chad Harris to check on your other concerns as well as.

    I have been with the County 30 years plus and was just notified of your memorandum dated 8/5/15 concerning a one-time merit in place of a raise to be disbursed over the 26 pay periods instead of distributed over the pay periods. Can you explain?

    Thank you for asking this question. It is difficult to know what information to provide to you without understanding your specific situation so first of all, I want to encourage you to contact HR to discuss with them. Individual circumstances and situations vary drastically and I want to be able to provide you with the correct answer.

    I will offer a few thoughts regarding cash merit increases. I understand that almost every employee prefers to receive a merit increase added to their base pay versus receiving in cash. It has been the County’s practice for many years to provide cash merit increases to employees mainly in two instances: if the employee requests it due to an upcoming, announced retirement or when they hit a specified cap in the salary paid for a particular job. I agree we should do a better job communicating what these thresholds are more frequently throughout the year and have instructed Joel Riddle, the HR Director, to do so. The practice of capping the base pay or assigning a maximum salary for positions is not entirely unique to Mecklenburg County and is meant to help ensure that there is some level of equity between positions across the County.

    If you are willing and desire to do so, I want to encourage you to contact Joel Riddle directly so he can speak with you more about your concerns. I do want to sincerely thank you for your comments as they will help ensure that we communicate our merit practices more thoroughly to staff.

    Open a County-operated daycare facility for employees’ children.

    Although a worthy idea for consideration, after review it was determined that it is not financially feasible for the County to offer the benefit of a day care facility. The County’s Employee Assistance Program can help employees explore child care options through its referral services. The EAP Program may help with the following issues:

    • Before and after school programs
    • Day care
    • Emergency and back-up care
    • Nurseries
    • Preschools
    • Special needs
    • Summer camp

    Also, Child Care Resources Inc. is a local agency that provides information regarding day care facilities and finding quality child care in Mecklenburg County.

    Remove automatic computer locking.

    Business driven exceptions to the County policy are addressed by department directors contacting the Chief Technology Officer. An example of an exception is extended time for Health Department dental clinicians. Ask your department director to make the request.

    Wearing jeans on Friday is a great boost to the morale for all employees. Can all employees wear jeans on Fridays?

    I understand how wearing jeans to work is comfortable -- and certainly, some jeans are very stylish.

    In many cases, jeans on Friday is perfectly acceptable. In other cases, such as in my office where we frequently meet with elected officials, it is just not appropriate. Department directors are allowed to set department-specific dress codes based on the business needs of their department. Please ask your supervisor to find out more about the options for your department.

    Thanks again for the suggestion.​

    Instead of the Employee Appreciation Day event, find alternatives for recognizing employees such as extra vacation days or gift cards.

    The Employee Appreciation Day event has been a very popular event over the past few years. Still, I am constantly looking for innovative approaches to rewarding and recognizing employees. Gift cards are viewed by the IRS as taxable income, so unfortunately, that is not a viable option. However, many other options (including offering additional vacation days) will be reviewed and assessed.

    We just launched a new employee appreciation program called “Above & Beyond @ Work” to recognize exceptional employees nominated by their peers. Winners receive a $500 cash award, an engraved award, and recognition at a Board of County Commissioners meeting. You can read more about this program here.

    Recycling and promoting other sustainable practices is very important. Can the County install water bottle refill stations and recycling containers in all County buildings, parks, recreation centers, etc.?

    A at this time, there are no plans to install water bottle refill stations or permanent recycling amenities in public park facilities due to prohibitive cost, but we do plan to continue providing temporary recycling collection facilities during large events such as Festival in the Park, and the Bark in the Park Top Dog Festival.

    Mecklenburg County is putting an Environmental Sustainability Plan in place across all County departments. In this plan, a goal for waste minimization and recycling is included.

    Through this plan, we have identified the following activities to help us reach our internal goals:

    • A County Waste Reduction and Recycling Policy and Program has been drafted by a team of representatives from various departments across the County, and is in the process of gaining approval.
    • This policy and program would also seek to identify additional materials for recycling.
    • We are "standardizing" the internal recycling containers and information provided throughout County facilities to minimize any confusion regarding the materials that can be accepted.

    During last fiscal year (FY13), the County accomplished 21.2% recycling of our total waste stream (or, everything that is thrown away during the course of business), and we have a goal this year to reach 22% recycling of our total waste stream. In other words, almost a quarter of what we throw away is being diverted for recycling.

    In the aftermath of the Patrick Cannon corruption charges, create a “Department of Investigation,” with an informative website similar to what New York City has:

    http://www.nyc.gov/html/doi/html/report/intro.shtml 

    Maintaining the highest ethical standards for all County employees is of utmost importance to me. The County has an anti-fraud policy and Code of Ethics to inform employees of its zero tolerance for fraud and other unethical behaviors.

    The County has a secure, completely anonymous hotline (The Report Line) that employees can call or email to report their concerns of potential fraud. A link that tells employees more about the hotline and how to make a report is on the main page of the County's intranet. These reports are taken by a third-party vendor and sent to the Department of Internal Audit for review to decide next steps. Unless a name is provided to the third-party vendor, Internal Audit does not know the identity of the caller.

    If the initial investigation results in a full investigation, the results of that investigation result in a report with recommendations to prevent the same or similar activity in the future. The investigation reports are placed on the Department of Internal Audit's external website, along with internal audit reports, for any citizen to read.

    Further, Internal Audit developed a fraud awareness training that was first presented in 2014 to teach employees about the signs of fraud, their responsibility to report fraud, and the means by which they can do so. This training reemphasized the existence and purpose of the hotline, as well as how employees could report any concerns of fraud.

    Internal Audit is currently working with Public Information to carry out a second marketing phase on the hotline to strengthen employees’ awareness and use of the hotline.

    Lastly, Internal Audit is working with Human Resources to develop a more robust Ethics Program that includes a required annual ethics training for employees that we hope to roll out later this year or early next year.​​

    Employee Classification & Compensation

    I have received several inquiries regarding employees' job classification and compensation. These are very specific to each individuals' situation and often require more information and discussions to determine an appropriate response. I want to strongly encourage you to share your questions and concerns with your direct supervisor. You may also contact Human Resources via 2-myHR for information about the appropriate process and/or additional guidance as needed.

    Employee Recognition and Service Awards

    I have received several suggestions regarding how employees are rewarded and recognized for their hard work. The County just launched a new employee appreciation program called “Above & Beyond @ Work” to recognize exceptional employees nominated by their peers. Winners receive a $500 cash award, an engraved award, and recognition at a Board of County Commissioners meeting. Additionally, department directors currently have the option of providing one-time cash awards to recognize outstanding performance.

    I will continue to evaluate other options for rewarding and recognizing employees over the course of FY15, including the full reinstatement of the County’s service award program, the offering of additional vacation days and a more formalized approach to the use of cash awards by departments. Lapel pins are currently available for “milestone” (5, 10, 15, 20, 25, 30, etc.) service anniversaries. The Human Resources department oversees disbursement of lapel pins. Please contact the Employee Services Center (2-myHR) if you have not received your pin.

    Teleworking and Flexible Work Schedules

    There have been multiple suggestions/questions submitted regarding the County's teleworking and/or flexible work schedule policies. Any requests for teleworking and/or a modified work week, including a compressed schedule, must be approved by your Department Director or designee. Normal County business hours tend to run 8:00-5:00pm (for most departments) and it is my expectation that Directors make staffing decisions based on providing the highest level of customer service during business hours. As business needs and workload permits Directors to offer flexibility, I encourage them to do so in an equitable and consistent manner.

    Additionally, please understand that recently the County had to restrict teleworking to North Carolina to ensure compliance with all applicable tax laws. This decision was not made without thorough research and careful consideration.

    You may review the County's HR policies on work schedules by clicking here.

    Would it be possible to implement an online employee store where we would be able to replace our worn shirts, ID clips, etc.? Thanks!

    I think this is a great idea and I will be studying to determine how the organization can implement this.employees to find solutions on a case-by-case basis.

    An employee reports having strong reactions to the fragrances worn by coworkers and customers. The employee requests that the County consider adopting a Fragrance Free Policy for County facilities

    I sympathize with the employee's sensitivity to fragrances. While a Fragrance Free Policy may not be feasible, I encourage all managers and supervisors to be responsive to employees' health concerns and to work with employees to find solutions on a case-by-case basis.

    An employee wants the County to make Purchasing Power available to staff.

    “Purchasing Power” is a program that allows employees to make online purchases and then make payments on those purchases through the use of a payroll deduction. In recent years, the County has made a business decision to streamline as many processes as possible, including payroll. As you will recall, we recently combined charitable giving campaigns which allowed us to manage contributions through one payroll deduction, versus many separate ones. In addition, the County makes every effort to ensure equity when selecting vendors that will have access via payroll deduction. There are many other companies in the community that have solicited the County and it is difficult to add one without adding another. Due to these reasons, this is not a program that the County will pursue in the immediate future.

    Why did the County eliminate the retiree medical benefit for employees hired after July 1, 2010?

    Removing retiree medical insurance eligibility for employees hired after July 1, 2010 was a difficult decision to make, and one that was ultimately approved by the Board of County Commissioners. The County did not believe that it was financially feasible or sustainable to continue providing this benefit in the future. Many other local government entities, including the City of Charlotte, have made similar decisions. Human Resources staff are looking into ways to provide staff who are not eligible for retiree medical with other options to save for and purchase plans in the future.​

    I would join a county fitness center but they are all far from the office and my home. Any chance we c ould get a fitness center closer to Social Services/Behavioral Health/Watkins Center?

    There are no county sponsored fitness centers in that area and unfortunately, there are no plans to build one at this time. However, our Park and Recreation department does offer discounts to County employees and their family members at the following facilities:

    • ​Mecklenburg Aquatic Center
    • Ray's Splash Planet
    • Mallard Creek Recreation Center Fitness Center
    • Southview Recreation Center Fitness Center
    • Tuckaseegee Recreation Center Fitness Center
    • West Charlotte Recreation Center Fitness Center
    • Bette Rae Thomas Recreation Center Fitness Center
    • Revolution Park Sports Academy

    Facilities and Security

    We have received several employee suggestions about building maintenance, space, and security in buildings and parking lots.

    The County has recently engaged a consultant to do a government facilities master plan. The results of this study will most likely affect the County’s long term plan for multiple facilities.

    If you have specific security concerns, please contact security@mecklenburgcountync.gov. Of course, if you are in an immediate emergency situation, call 911.

    We should have access through the County’s insurance plan to prescription medications to help quit smoking.

    Thank you for this great suggestion. We have good news!

    Effective January 1, 2015, we have added Chantix and other smoking cessation drugs to the drug formulary. We will have the details available during Open Enrollment starting in November 2014.​​

    Employee Relations

    Some employee suggestions submitted pertain to concerns about employee interactions with and treatment by their supervisors. As County Manager, I expect all managers, supervisors and employees to follow the County’s HR policies and procedures. The Employee Relations section of the Mecklenburg County Human Resources Policy and Procedure Manual describes County expectations for employee performance, conduct and attendance, as well as prohibited practices. These policies and procedures are intended to protect both front line employees and management because we all want to work in a safe and fair environment.

    Specifically the manual includes the following statements:

    The County is strongly and actively committed to equal opportunity employment in the workplace. As such, harassment on the job because of sex, race, religion, age, national origin, disability or sexual orientation will not be tolerated.

    It is unlawful for an employer to take retaliatory action against any individual who opposes employment practices that are prohibited by law and County policy.

    If employees have concerns, I encourage them to discuss those concerns with their supervisors. I understand that this can sometimes be uncomfortable, so employees may confidentially contact the Human Resources department to discuss options and approaches to resolving their concerns. This can be done by calling the Employee Services Center at (704) 432-6947 or via email to myHR@mecklenburgcountync.gov.

    The County should offer stress management classes like yoga or Thai Chi and offer discounts at YMCA.

    Unfortunately, the YMCA does not offer discounts unless a payroll deduction system is set up with an organization. However, our Park and Recreation department does offer discounts to County employees and their family members at certain facilities around the county. Click here for more information and a list of participating Park and Rec facilities. Several Park and Rec locations have offered yoga and Thai Chi classes periodically. For a list of Park and Rec programs, please check out the Get Going Guide which is published quarterly.

    In addition, Cigna members can take advantage of discounts for fitness activities, products, and other health-related perks. To access this information, simply log on to your Cigna account and type in “Healthy Rewards” in the search box. The County offers onsite stress management classes periodically through our Employee Assistance Program (EAP). Employees and their household members can access assistance in managing stress through our EAP at 800-327-2251 or www.bhsonline.com

    Lastly, for County Cigna members, the county now offers a comprehensive, self-paced stress management program through the Cigna Lifestyle Management Program. This program is free for any Cigna member on the county plan over the age of 18. For more information, call 855-246-1873 or log onto your Cigna account at www.myCigna.com.

    Can the County consider reinstating bariatric surgery as a procedure covered under the medical plan?

    I am pleased to let you know that based on this suggestion, I have instructed HR to reinstate this as a procedure covered under our Cigna medical plan effective January 1, 2015. There are some restrictions. Employees interested in utilizing this benefit should contact HR for more information. Thank you for the suggestion and feedback.

    Can you elaborate on what MyTime is?

    I have received many questions regarding myTIME. We have created a myTIME icon within MeckWeb for easy access to important and helpful information

    Employee Classification & Compensation

    I have received several inquiries regarding employees' job classification and compensation. These are very specific to each individuals' situation and often require more information and discussions to determine an appropriate response. I want to strongly encourage you to share your questions and concerns with your direct supervisor. You may also contact Human Resources via 2-myHR for information about the appropriate process and/or additional guidance as needed.

    I am interested in furthering my career with the County. What options are available for me to learn about other areas and expand my current skill set?

    One component of the Board's FY14-FY15 Strategic Planning Agenda is to implement a formal workforce/succession planning process. Consequently, beginning next month, succession planning is set to begin for three County departments: Finance, Medical Examiner's Office and Park & Recreation. These processes will be rolled out to other County departments over the course of FY15 and FY16. I have also charged our learning and development services team to create multiple development opportunities for employees at all levels of the organization.rganization.

    Is there a process in place for supervisors to get performance feedback from their staff?

    Some County departments already complete 360 degree reviews, which is a tool utilized to gather feedback from staff at multiple levels of the organization – including any direct reports – and it is typically confidential. While I believe this is a valuable tool that can be utilized to gain input, it is not mandatory across the organization.

    Why can't I use sick time if I am missing work due to inclement weather?

    The County participates in the North Carolina Local Governmental Employees' Retirement System (LGERS). LGERS permits unused sick leave to be as additional retirement service credit provided that the sick leave is earned under a duly adopted sick leave policy. The County's current sick leave policy mimics the State's policy in that the intention of sick leave is to be used when you are unable to work due to illness, attending medical related appointments and/or are caring for sick dependents. Unfortunately, missing work due to inclement weather does not fit that premise and we want to continue to align the out-sick policy with that of the State.

    Can the County provide employees who need a County cell phone with the option of a stipend to use toward their personal cell phone instead of requiring them to carry two phones?

    A “bring your own device” option was discussed with the Executive Team last year and it was determined that the County would not pursue that option at that time. There is a significant risk associated with allowing employees to send and receive County information on personal devices. While I do understand the convenience of having one device, we must consider the liability impact to the County which, in this case, is too great.

    Can the County review the current bilingual pay policy?

    Every several years, Human Resources conducts a comprehensive market review to ensure that the County's pay is competitive within the industry and region for like jobs. I will ask HR to additionally review bilingual pay to ensure competitiveness as part of the next review.

    How is the decision made when to close or delay County operations when there is inclement weather? Can this decision be made the night before work?

    When there is inclement weather, or the threat of inclement weather, I am in constant communication with many business partners including the Charlotte Department of Transportation and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools.

    As I am made aware of the conditions of the roads by the Department of Transportation, I make the most informed decision that I can, with as much notice as possible. I am hesitant to make the decision to cancel or suspend County operations based only on the possibility of inclement weather as we all can think of many times when weather predictions were inaccurate. Often the school systems must make decisions earlier due to the early bus schedules. As a steward of taxpayer's funds, I believe we have a responsibility to remain open as long as it is safe and feasible to do so.​

    Why doesn't every County facility have an exclusively designated area for lactation?

    As I have mentioned, the County is currently at the beginning phase of a comprehensive facilities master plan study. I will be requesting that identifying dedicated lactation spaces throughout County facilities be part of that study. I also have directed Asset and Facility Management to concurrently begin assessing the possibility of dedicated lactation spaces at existing facilities with the goal of having at least one dedicated space at each of the major County facilities.

    In the meantime, I want to clarify that it is my expectation that no individual requesting space for lactation be asked to do so in a bathroom. Page 57 of the Human Resources Policy manual states:

    In accordance with the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (H.R. 3590) Mecklenburg County will provide accommodations for nursing mothers to express breast milk for her nursing child for up to one year after birth by doing the following:

    1. ​Designated Space - Mecklenburg County will provide a designated place, other than a bathroom, shielded from view and free from intrusion from co-workers and the public which may be used by an employee to express breast milk. ​
    2. Time - Mecklenburg County will provide reasonable break time for an employee to express breast milk. Mecklenburg County will compensate employees for this break time." ​

    If any supervisor/manager is not following the policy above, please immediately talk to your director and/or Human Resources and appropriate action will be taken.

    Can the County review the current holiday schedule (particularly for Christmas) and consider adding another holiday for Veterans Day and/or Presidents Day?

    I will ask Human Resources to conduct a holiday survey to determine what the common holidays and schedules are to ensure competitiveness. The last time that the County reviewed the number of holidays being offered, we were competitive compared both to the private and public sectors. I recognize that the State of North Carolina does provide some different holidays and scheduling than we do which affect some, but not all, of the services provided by the County. I am committed to reviewing the data over the course of FY15 to determine if the County should consider any changes in the future. The holiday schedule has already been set through 2016 and any changes to existing holidays would be made for 2017 or beyond.

    Many cities across the United States have begun to offer municipal identification cards for their citizens regardless of immigration status or other factors that usually keep people from accessing proper identifications cards. The number of benefits from these identification cards are innumerable and cities like New Haven can attest to its success. Are there any plans in the works to do the same in Charlotte? If not, would the city consider this?

    While there is not a definitive answer to this now, I am currently engaged in discussions about how this could be accomplished. We will provide an update as soon as there is additional information to share.

    Would the County consider having a "career day" in which we can engage high school students interested in County-related careers?

    Mecklenburg County partners with the City of Charlotte and Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools in the Charlotte Career Discovery Day, For more information, please click here​.

    The nurses working within our schools should be allowed to wear scrubs daily rather than professional attire.

    I agree, and this suggestion was implemented at the start of the 2014-2015 school year. Thank you for the important work that you do and keep those suggestions coming!

    I am experiencing some challenges with noise and overhearing conversations while working in Valerie C. Woodard. Would the County consider making changes to the work environment to address this concern?

    The Valerie C. Woodard Center has a noise-masking system that mitigates the effects of noise in an open office environment. I have directed staff at Asset and Facility Management to raise the volume of the system to help further mitigate noise/privacy concerns in the immediate future.

    Is there a way to better maintain the County grounds at certain work locations?

    I absolutely agree with you that we can do better about maintaining County grounds and ensuring that grass is mowed on a more regular basis. Additional funding was allocated in FY15 budget, and maintenance services should have already been increased over the past several months. If you have not noticed an improvement, please email Asset and Facility Manager Director Mark Hahn (Mark.Hahn@mecklenburgcountync.gov) so that he can follow up with the contracted vendor(s).

    Is there something that can be done for employees who are not able to attend Employee Fest due to a business need?

    Thank you for making me aware of this issue. Yes – my staff worked with Department Directors to identify locations that staff could not leave during the Employee Fest hours and pizzas were delivered to those staff. Thank you for a great suggestion!

    Explain how the budget for merit increases works.

    The FY15 Budget included funds to pay for an average merit increase of 3% (based on the market rate for the job). While the expected and budgeted average was 3%, the County’s merit matrix provides flexibility to departments to provide increases based on employee performance which can range from 0 - 4.5%. While departments are instructed to manage to the allocated merit budget, individual employee merit increases should be based on performance. Click here for more information on the County’s compensation philosophy.

    We need to promote the good things that the County does. We only hear about the bad things.

    I agree that in the past we have not done as good of a job as we could have to promote all of the good things the County has done, however we have been focusing on trying to improve in this area. In my FY15 work-plan, I have committed to bolstering our communication efforts because I agree that this is critical.

    Public Information sends out messages to local media through multiple channels virtually every day (however news operations don’t always elect to broadcast them). From web stories, news releases, media advisories, social media and face to face conversations, we strive to tell the County’s story. Recently, many outlets provided great coverage of multiple new park openings in town.

    In addition, great stories about the County and its employees can be found on MecklenburgCountyNC.gov and also in Outlook magazine, MeckWeb, Employee News Now and more. Finally, our website is on the verge of a major overhaul that will make it even easier for residents and employees to navigate the site and find out exactly what’s going on in Mecklenburg County.

    I would like to request that some modifications be made at the back lot of the Chapin Hall to address issues with the gravel being uneven, pot holes and the gates.

    As a result of your concerns, the Asset and Facility Management Department recently completed a paving project that alleviates the potholes, streams, and access problems associated with the gates. Thank you for this suggestion.

    How are the working conditions in the basement of Hal Marshall being addressed, specifically the sewage leak?

    The recent leaks in the basement of the Hal Marshall Center were very unfortunate, and we regret the inconvenience and poor working conditions it caused County employees and clients. The building is old, and we hope to sell the property within the next 4-5 years. The sewage problems were caused by a bad seal around a floor drain in the restroom above your offices. The seal on the drain has been repaired, but we also wanted to go beyond a one-time fix.

    Accordingly, Asset and Facility Management had the sewer piping inspected, and while there are no guarantees, it appeared to be in good condition and did not need complete replacement. We’ll continue to monitor the conditions in the building and take appropriate actions to assure the well-being of building occupants until the property is sold.

    There should be an easier process for a current employee to apply for a new County job. The County employee has to go through the same process as external candidates; internal candidates should have priority for jobs.

    I agree that we need to provide more assistance to employees trying to advance in the County.

    The process of submitting an application will most likely to continue to be required, however the human resources department will begin sending recruiters out to various locations for meet-and-greet sessions starting in early 2015. These sessions will provide an opportunity for staff to drop in and meet the recruiters, discuss career goals and get some pointers on resumes and cover letters. This will provide a unique opportunity for staff to network and get questions answered about the recruitment process first hand. Look for more information over the next few months about this program.

    ​​​

    Address

    Mailing Address:

    Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center
    600 East 4th Street
    Charlotte, NC 28202

    Office Location:


    Charlotte Mecklenburg Government Center
    600 East 4th Street
    Charlotte, NC 28202

    MAP

    Hours: Mon-Fri 8 a.m - 5 p.m.

    Contact

    County Manager's Office
    980-314-2900