Filed under: City Managers
This week, the City of Asheville bid farewell to Deputy City Manager Jeff Richardson. Richardson, who began working at the City of Asheville as Human Resources Director in 1997 and took on the role of Deputy City Manager in 2001, has accepted the position of County Manager for Cleveland County, a decision he announced in July.
On September 10, Asheville City Council recognized Richardson for his achievements with a resolution of appreciation. “Jeff has a proven track record as a local government leader who is community oriented, collaborative, a problem solver, and one who is active and accessible in the community,” said Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy.
Richardson thanked the City Council and City Staff for their hard work. “It’s been a true honor to serve the city the 16 years I’ve been here,” Richardson said.
The City of Asheville thanks Mr. Richardson for his dedication and wishes him all the best in this new chapter in his life.
See a video of the resolution of appreciation and Mr. Richardson’s remarks below:
During the national search for Richardson’s replacement, former Weaverville Town Manager Michael Morgan will serve as interim Deputy City Manager.
September 27, 2013
Six city employees were recognized by Asheville City Council at its August 13 meeting. Council thanked for their hard work, drive for improvement, and, in one case, heroism.
Darlene Barnwell, who works in the city’s Customer Service Division, received a standing ovation for her heroic rescue of an 8-year-old boy who was being attacked by dogs in a neighbor’s yard. In May, Barnwell was drawn away from a cookout she was hosting to assist in a search for the boy. When she found him in a neighbor’s yard being attacked by the dogs, she climbed a barbed wire fence, managed to distract the dogs, then pick up the boy and carry him out of the yard.
“We’re so proud of you Darlene,” said City Manager Gary Jackson. “And it touches our hearts that you would do that.”
Council also recognized Asheville Fire Department Battalion Chief Joy Ponder for completing the four-year National Fire Academy Executive Fire Officer Program. Last year, while going through the program, Ponder became the AFD’s first female Battalion Chief.
The City’s Purchasing Manager Amy Patterson was congratulated for earning the title of Certified Local Government Purchasing Officer through the North Carolina School of Government. The certification means that Patterson and the City’s Purchasing Division are recognized as providers of efficient, fair and transparent business practices.
Darryl Rice, Rob Martin and Kevin Haughinberry of the City’s Fleet Division were recognized for completing specialized training and certification to inspect low-emission CNG vehicles in the city’s fleet. Their training saves the city time and money when using the low-emission vehicles.
Click the screen above to see a video of Council’s City of Asheville Employee Recognition from August 13.
August 14, 2013
Streamlining services, innovative problem solving, even saving lives — some of the City of Asheville’s exemplary employees were recognized April 17 at the Asheville Way Awards ceremony. The annual event, held in the Banquet Hall of the U.S. Cellular Center, recognizes those employees who uphold the values of the Asheville Way: Continuous Improvement, Integrity, Diversity, Safety and Welfare, and Excellent Service.
Contenders for the awards, both individuals and teams, are nominated by their colleagues, supervisors and the people they work alongside, and a highlight of the ceremony is hearing the special accomplishments of each nominee.
“This is a great opportunity to hear examples of people who do excellent work across the city in a variety of ways, because that’s who you are,” said Kelley Dickens, the City of Asheville’s Director of Human Resources said at the ceremony.
Below are the nominees in each category, with the winners marked in blue. Congratulations and a big thanks to all nominees. See more pictures at the City of Asheville’s Flickr page.
Rich Rauschenbach – Asheville Fire Department
Robert Martin – General Services
John Presley – AFD
Mike Brookshire – Water Resources
Anna Pigman – AFD
Sonia Salgado – Water Resources
Safety and Welfare
Jeremy Godfrey – Water Resources
Linette Sieben – Water Resources
Jamie Bryson – AFD
Hazard Device Team – Asheville Police Department
Jason Williams – IT Services
Keith Mastin – Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts
Nick Harvey – Public Works
Sandra Travis – Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts
Holly Waltemyer – Human Resources
Special Victims Unit – APD
Drug Suppression Unit – APD
Battalion 3 C Shift – AFD
APD Day Shift Downtown Unit
Kevin Taylor – APD
Ron Kerns – Water Resources
Robert “Rock” Jones – Public Works
Douglas Quinones – AFD
Open Data Catalog Team
Above and Beyond
Erik Hagen – General Services
Kathy Wilson – IT Services
Josh Darty – Parks, Recreation and Cultural Arts
Brenda Mills – Finance
Charity Constant-Morris – Finance
Diane Meek – Development Services
Dion Eskew – General Services
Avery Gibbs – AFD
Anthony Oliver – Public Works
Rafael Bango – AFD
Hayne Griffin – AFD
Public Housing Unit – APD
Transit Master Plan Team – Transportation
Flushing Team – Water Resources
Jonathan Ingle – Public Works
April 23, 2013
In an organization of more than 1,000 people, speedy and accurate information flow means not only increased efficiency but also real dollars. That’s an underlying theme that emerges when City of Asheville employees talk about the recently launched technology upgrade that provides not only swifter access to data but also easier communication between city departments and city customers.
The Munis system purchased by the City of Asheville from Tyler Technologies grew out of a 2009 commitment by Asheville City Council to fund a Business Technology Improvement Project to replace the organization’s aging mainframe-based system with a state-of-the-art streamlined tech upgrade.
The new system is targeted to business transactions within the city’s financial, human resources, contract management, purchasing and inventory, and utility billing functions. Dramatically eliminating paper forms in favor of digital ones reduces the time spent on each step of a transaction such as a business license application, as well as the time it takes to navigate the approval process. In a summary he wrote for the City of Asheville’s E-News in 2009, Information Technology Services Director Jonathan Feldman noted that experts estimate the switch can save more than $3 in staff time and material costs per form.
“It reduces the staffing needed for these processes, and it reduces redundancy.” Feldman says, adding that more accurate and accessible data means that city departments can close revenue gaps that may have been difficult or impossible to find with a paper-based system.
The system has been deployed in all city departments, with department heads and employees meeting with the IT department and experts from Tyler Technologies to determine how best to apply the software in their departments. In January, the city’s payroll division will join the offices using the system, followed by utility billing in July.
And like the city’s MapAsheville GIS mapping system developed in 2006, the city’s use of the Munis system will continue to evolve as more and more applications for the technology emerge.
“It’s pretty massive,” Feldman says. “It’s not just IT doing this. It’s a huge collaboration. Each department has to take ownership of how it applies to their product.”
Development Services Director Robert Griffin praised the upgrade as a boon for his department, which is in charge of processes like construction permits and business licenses. Griffin says the Munis system cuts down on the time it takes for a business privilege license to be processed, and even sends him emails when there is a form that needs his attention.
“It allows us to be more efficient and more responsive to the outside customer,” he says.
November 5, 2010
As anyone who works in the development industry, or for that matter, has tried to expand on an existing home can tell you, running the gauntlet of required permits in any city can be a long and complicated process. The City of Asheville’s Development Services Center at 161 South Charlotte represents an initiative across city departments to streamline that process and increase intra-departmental communication, says Robert Griffin. As the city’s Building Safety Director, Griffin also oversees the operations of the Development Services Center, often referred to as the city’s “One-Stop Shop” for permitting.
Organized through the office of the Assistant City Manager and drawing on research by the School of Government at UNC-Chapel Hill, the one-stop-shop opened in September 2009. It now houses under one roof representatives from the five City of Asheville departments that issue permits for construction: Public Works, Planning and Development, Water Engineering, Asheville Fire Department’s Fire Marshals, and Building Safety. Whether adding a deck or building a 23-story hotel, all City of Asheville building projects now go through this office.
Robert Griffin stands next to shelf of submitted development plans. Tech upgrades could allow for digitized submissions in the future.
“In the past, you had to go to each department and talk to them individually,” Griffin says. Now, he says, a check-in at the intake desk ensures that plans get before all of the eyes permitting requires.
“This system fosters better community relations with customers and facilitates better communication,” he says.
The setup also allows better communication between departments, which creates an effective atmosphere for coordination on specific individual projects as well as the city’s codes regulating permitting. It also reduces potential conflicts among departmental requirements that can create more footwork for the development customer.
“We are better positioned to come up with an equitable solution to meet everyone’s requirements,” Griffin says. “I think the customers we have worked with will tell you it’s working.”
Adding to the customer attention are two new Project Managers, positions created in the formation of the Development Services Center. The positions are designed to provide personal attention and help developers navigate the different permitting processes, including addressing any snags, from start to finish.
“I do a lot of triage for a customer if they have a problem,” says Project Manager Susannah Carver.
Currently, the Development Services Center is working to increase its technological capability to transmit and receive entire development plans electronically, a move that is being funded by a 4% technology fee on all development services. That fee was approved in 2009 by Asheville City Council to fund the tech improvements without affecting city taxpayers.
Already in place is technology that allows developers to track the status of their projects from their own computers and see what permitting stages they still need to meet.
“I’m really proud of what we’ve got going here, what we’ve accomplished and where we are going,” Griffin says.
Click here for more information on the City of Asheville’s Development Services.
July 6, 2010
Beginning July 1, a revision to City of Asheville’s no smoking ordinance prohibits smoking on all city owned and occupied property. The new language applies to all City of Asheville parks, greenways and the grounds of city municipal facilities.
The move is intended to provide a healthier environment for City of Asheville employees and the general public and reduce exposure to secondhand smoke. With cigarette butts constituting a large portion of litter in the City of Asheville, the non-smoking ordinance is expected to contribute to the overall cleanliness of the city as well.
The revised ordinance will not apply to city sidewalks and streets except where sidewalks are inside park boundaries. The sidewalk surrounding downtown’s Pritchard Park, for instance, is within the park’s borders and therefore will be subject to the non-smoking ordinance.
The law allows for designated smoking areas at city facilities, to be determined by the Asheville City Manager. A designated smoking area for the Asheville Civic Center will be determined in the near future.
Enforcement of the ordinance will rely on community policing and will be complaint-based. Violation of the ordinance could result in a fine up to $50. City crews will soon be installing signs clearly marking areas where smoking is prohibited.
The amended ordinance was passed by Asheville City Council in April, enabled by 2010 legislation by the North Carolina General Assembly.
June 15, 2010
Ribbon Cutting at the Greenway Opening
On May 14, The City of Asheville and its partners celebrated the official opening of the 1.2 mile French Broad River Greenway Extension. The West Asheville bike and pedestrian route represents the longest continuous stretch in the city’s greenway system and connects to one of the city’s most-utilized park facilities, Carrier Park, to the Hominy Creek Park. The link provides a 3.25 mile connector to the French Broad River Park.
Speaking at the opening, Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy heralded the greenway as a step in the right direction toward Council’s strategic goal of green initiatives, encouraging alternative transportation, preservation of green space, protection of wildlife and keeping people connected with Asheville’s natural surroundings.
Like any large initiative, establishing the greenway relied on a long list of partnerships both public and private. The greenway route crosses land owned by the City of Asheville and Buncombe County, and required easements by Progress Energy, the North Carolina Department of Transportation and MSD. Not to mention that the greenway crosses the Asheville Outdoor Center and Wilson’s Riverfront RV Park. The owners of both those businesses were on hand at the ribbon cutting.
Obtaining the necessary easements, planning and design for the greenway constitute five years of work across several city departments and relied on funding from the NC DOT.
“This started a long time ago, and it took a lot of partners to make this possible,” said Asheville’s Director of Parks Recreation and Cultural Arts Roderick Simmons.
Buncombe County Commissioner Holly Jones also credited the collaboration between city and county leaders and personnel in getting the job done. “I think that connection is just wonderful,” Jones said.
The City of Asheville Parks, Recreation, Cultural Arts and greenways Master Plan was approved by Asheville City Council in 2009. For more information on the plan, click here.
May 15, 2010
The City of Asheville, NC is excited to share content though this new blog. We hope that you find the content useful and informative. Thanks for reading.
May 12, 2010