Sept. 28. Two Cabarrus County programs received recognition from the North Carolina Association of County Commissioners for bringing innovative approaches to improving local government services. The NCACC also recognized Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners Chair Steve Morris and Vice Chair Diane Honeycutt for their work on professional development.
The County’s Elected Officials Summit meetings and Community Paramedic Program each received the 2016 NCACC Local Government Federal Credit Union Excellence in Innovation award at the NCACC Annual Conference in August. The sponsoring organizations presented the programs with awards and $1,000 cash prizes at the Sept. 19 Board of Commissioners meeting.
Realizing the need for increased intergovernmental collaboration with the five municipalities in Cabarrus County, the Board of Commissioners hosted the first Elected Officials Summit in January 2015. The meeting marked the first time the governing boards of all the municipalities and the County had met jointly.
“We feel like it’s been a very successful program,” Morris said. “We could not have done this without the cooperation of our municipalities and their elected officials.”
The County hosted three summits in 2015 to discuss critical issues like the future of fire protection service (volunteers vs. municipal providers), shared capital and operation of future parks, shared EMS and fire stations, the impact of high-density residential growth on school capital and operational needs, and other issues.
The Community Paramedic Program maximizes use of healthcare dollars by creating an environment of healing in the home, promoting community and patient relations, and facilitating the appropriate use of medical resources. The program has reduced hospital readmissions and unnecessary ambulance transportation, resulting in significant cost savings and cost redirection. Staff also improved compliance with medication and discharge instructions, and home safety through partnerships between EMS, Carolinas HealthCare System NorthEast, Human Services and healthcare partners.
“This community was in need of a program like this,” EMS director Alan Thompson said. “We realized we could make a big difference in monetary costs and the human value. We do this program because it is the right thing to do.”
County commissioners Morris and Honeycutt received recognition for meeting the requirements for the “Mentor” level in the Local Elected Leaders Academy. The highest level of recognition, an official mentor has completed a minimum of 82 credits of continuing education since becoming a county commissioner.
The Local Elected Leaders Academy, a partnership with the UNC School of Government, the N.C. Association of County Commissioners and the N.C. League of Municipalities, offers local elected officials the knowledge and skills needed to lead and govern their communities.
“The Academy is designed to help our commissioners by improving their knowledge of the issues and their leadership skills,” said NCACC Executive Director Kevin Leonard. “A commissioner who achieves recognition through LELA has shown a true commitment to their personal development and to their constituents back home.”
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