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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

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

Contact

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.

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.

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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

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

Contact

County Manager's Office
980-314-2900