Friday, March 26, 2010


Because of a significant decrease in permits resulting in revenue that
is 33 percent below projected levels for fiscal year 2010, Mecklenburg
County Code Enforcement has notified its employees that 45 full-time
positions will be eliminated, reducing the department's staff from 175
to 130.

The staff members who are affected by this reduction in force –
including inspectors, plan reviewers and administrative personnel –
were notified this week. Their last day of work will be May 4.

These cuts reflect a long-term drop in construction in Mecklenburg
County. In fiscal year 2007 (the 12-month period from July 2006
through June 2007), Code Enforcement performed more than 372,000
inspections on construction valued at more than $4.5 billion. Since
then, the number of inspections has decreased significantly. In fiscal
year 2009, 225,000 inspections were performed on construction valued
at $2.7 billion. During the first half of this fiscal year, which
started July 2009, only 90,845 inspections were performed.
Construction value is now down 67 percent, and permit value down 59
percent, from 2007.

Code Enforcement is a fee-funded agency, which means it relies largely
on income from fees for the services it provides to fund department
operations. Director James N. Bartl said the reduction in force is a
drastic but essential measure in order for the department to balance
its budget.

"We're only doing this because it's absolutely necessary," Bartl said.
"These are productive and highly skilled staff. I greatly regret that
it's come to this."

Mecklenburg County Human Resources is offering transition services for
the affected employees, including resume and job-search assistance.
The County also provides an Employee Assistance Program (EAP) to help
employees and their family members cope amid loss and change.

The reduction in staff should not affect the quality of service the
department offers. The staff cuts mirror the drop in business.
Inspection response times have remained rapid amid the changes in the
department over the past few years, including a department
reorganization that is under way this spring. Moreover, Code
Enforcement's technological advances have streamlined the permitting
and plan review processes, making them faster and more efficient for
customer service staff as well as customers.

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