At its April 19, meeting, the Mecklenburg Board of County Commissioners heard a report about the new Human Services Finance Division
. Staff for the division will handle all financial services for the consolidated Human Services Agency. The HSA is made up of four departments: Area Mental Health, Public Health, Community Support Services and the Department of Social Services.
The planned reorganization involves reassigning 70 existing positions from the HSA departments to the Finance Department
. Also, the change will involve the reclassification of several positions and the addition of 12 new positions, resulting in a Reduction-In-Force of 20 employees. Deputy Finance Director Gail Murchison will lead the 82-member division, and she will continue to report to Finance Department Director Dena Diorio.
The division, which will be housed in the Tom Ray Center, will have four functional areas:
• Procurement and Invoice Processing
• Revenue Recognition
• Contract Processing and Monitoring
• Budgeting and Financial Reporting
The need for such a centralized approach to financial management is important in the Human Services area because of the intricacy involved with those departments, Diorio said. The approach will help to avoid such recent events as the Giving Tree
, Mecklenburg Open Door
, and Shelter Care Plus
, for example. In addition to the new finance division, Diorio said, the County has taken other proactive steps such as a Financial Management Services Assessment
, strengthening of Internal Audit and creating new policies including financial management, risk management and procurement.
Diorio told the Board that when appropriate, elements of the existing structure and positions were maintained. However, she said, many changes are needed to create a high performing financial organization capable of assuring compliance in all areas. As a result, there is a cost to creating this high performing operation.
The change will cost $1.2 million additionally a year, Diorio said. The current cost is $4.4 million.
General Manager John McGillicuddy told the Board on Tuesday that the reorganization in the Finance Department follows direction from County Manager Harry L. Jones, Sr.
In December 2010, Jones shared with the Board his decision to create a new finance division. McGillicuddy said Jones committed in this budget year to pursue and explore resource sharing in the consolidated Human Services Agency.
“In May 2010, the County Manager reported to the Board on several action steps he approved in response to an internal assessment of our financial management services
,” McGillicuddy said. “These action steps include changing reporting structures to include more direct oversight by the Finance Department in departmental financial management functions, designating chief fiscal compliance officers in each department, along with various business process changes in key areas such as accounts payable and revenue recording.”
Murchison shared with the Board the structure and operating units of the new division. The effective date for the new division is July 29, 2011. Murchison said the goals of the Human Services Finance Division include:
• Build a high performing financial management operation
• Increase financial acumen and management capacity
• Strengthen compliance
• Standardize processes and build best practices
• Eliminate redundancy
View the PowerPoint report
presented to the Board on Tuesday, which includes an organization chart and a list of all of the positions in the new division.