I wish Charlotte were more aggressive across the board acting like the city we're becoming rather than the town we were in 1950 to the city we're becoming in the 2000s. Which of our city departments isn't a fatal half-measure at seeming rather than being? Charlotte's motto should probably be: Videri quam esse (to seem [to be a real city] rather than being [a real city]).
I decided at the end of 2022 to grade each of Charlotte's city departments . . . Would love thoughts:
City of Charlotte
Departments and Divisions Report Card
Manages the Charlotte-Douglas International Airport
Maintains low-cost for their "customer" American Airlines. Otherwise classic penny-wise, pound-foolishness
Charlotte Area Transit System (CATS)
CATS is the largest transit system between Atlanta, GA and Washington, DC with more than 70 local, express and regional bus routes, a light rail line, services for the disabled, and vanpools serving more than 23,000,000 trips each year.
Poorly managed, neglected, focused on cost, not value.
Charlotte Communication & Marketing
A professional, talented team provides a multitude of ways to share effective messaging across a variety of communications channels, from storytelling to public affairs, community engagement to marketing and creative services, and web services to video production
Sporadic communication, not transparent, not timely
Charlotte Department of Transportation (CDOT)
Committed to enhancing the driving, bicycling and walking experience through planning, operating and maintaining the City's transportation choices for residents and visitors
Poor vision, poor maintenance of facilities they have already, no coordination with other city departments (i.e. CATS, Charlotte Water, Charlotte Storm Water). With the exception of Uptown and South End, no parking enforcement.
Charlotte Fire Department
Operates out of 42 fire stations and provides fire protection for approximately 792,862 people living in a 300-square-mile area
They do their jobs competently
Charlotte Planning, Design & Development
Provides integrated planning services that promote sustainable growth to improve our community's quality of life
Not sure they are as focused on sustainability as much as they are focused on sprawling growth
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Police Department (CMPD)
The largest law enforcement agency in Mecklenburg County and the largest police department between Washington, D.C. and Atlanta. CMPD's goal is to make Charlotte one of the safest large cities in America.
In spite of some well documented problems and trying to manage them with PR . . . I generally think CMPD does a fairly good job. There are things I wish they would do differently and better.
Charlotte-Mecklenburg Storm Water Services
Improves the storm drainage system to ensure stormwater runoff drains effectively from streets to streams, reduces flood risks, and protects the quality of surface waters for our community
Generally they keep the water flowing where it needs to go.
With more than 954,644 customers, Charlotte Water (formerly Charlotte-Mecklenburg Utility Department or CMUD) is the largest water service utility in the Carolinas.
Failing infrastructure notwithstanding and some poor management decisions ("save water but we'll charge you for it because of decreasing revenue") they deliver a good enough, drinkable product consistently.
Provides legal advice and representation to the Mayor, City Council, City Manager and other City officials and employees on a broad range of issues. The Office represents the City, including its officials and employees, in litigation filed by or against them.
Lacking transparency to the public
Provides services that connect citizens to their government and maintains a recorded history of government actions. These services include Mayor and Council assistance, records management and research, boards and commissions, and customer service to both internal and external customers.
They do a good job collecting and sharing most information
The human relations agency for the City of Charlotte and Mecklenburg County.
I don't see them doing a whole lot anywhere
Shapes places and provides resources to empower Charlotte’s residents and businesses to thrive. This work is accomplished through the lens of Equitable Economic Development using our uncommon perspective of and service to Charlotte’s increasingly diverse residents, built environment and industry sectors.
It's good if you're a business, not so good if you're a human
Responsible for maintaining the City's general ledger, billing and collection of utility payments, accounts payable and receivable, issuing bonds, risk management, financial reports, and managing the City's investment portfolio.
They have "one job"
(previously Engineering & Property Management) Handles design and construction of City infrastructure projects, regulates development, cares for the tree canopy and landscaping and manages real estate and facilities portfolios.
I think some of the design is lacking and far too "value engineered"
Housing & Neighborhood Services
Focuses on creating vibrant, diverse neighborhoods through the delivery of five major service areas: community engagement, code enforcement, housing services, environment and sustainability, and CharMeck 311.
Inlivian is just the tip of the iceburg for the problems, also why is Community Engagement not foldedin here to create a sense of place in every neighborhood?
Human Resources - City of Charlotte
City of Charlotte is proud of its diverse, 7,000-plus member workforce that serves the community through professional, administrative, public safety, technical, clerical, skilled and labor and trades work. Build your career where you live.
Their methods and processes are mired in the 1970s
Innovation & Technology (I&T)
Provides executive-level leadership for the City’s technology governance policy, delivers technology services to city departments and partnership agencies, and coordinates information technology initiatives across the organization to support, enhance and advance citizen service delivery.
I'm seeing no technical leadership here
Provides reasonable assurance that the City has an operating and effective system of internal controls and assists members of management in evaluating the efficiency and effectiveness of operations
They have "one job"
Strategy & Budget
Responsible for the development and oversight of the City of Charlotte's annual operating budget and five-year Community Investment Plan
How often do we follow our "five-year plan"?
Solid Waste Services
Provides a variety of quality, efficient and cost-effective services including the collection of bulky waste, garbage, recycling and yard waste
Still haven't adopted PAYT to incentivize reduce, reuse, recycle