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The Center faculty and staff are thought leaders in public sector excellence. They engage in innovative projects and initiatives, broker best practice solutions and regularly contribute to trends and insights via blogs and other publication outlets.

Featured Trailblazing Projects and Initiatives

Responding to the Opioid Crisis

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (Blue Cross NC) and the UNC School of Government announce the selection of 10 North Carolina local government teams who will work to address the opioid crisis in their communities through an intensive two-year program. Each team, or “community,” comprises at least one North Carolina county and represents multiple departments, jurisdictions, and organizations addressing challenges posed by the opioid epidemic.

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Open Data and Citizen Volunteers as a Resource for NC Local Governments

Civic technology (civic tech) is an emergent area of practice where citizens, both information technology (IT) experts and those without specialized IT skills, volunteer their time to benefit their communities and improve government services by using government-provided open data. As of December 2017, North Carolina has six groups working in some of the larger cities to build civic tech apps for public benefit. Many local government officials are helping in this area, and there is opportunity to reach more communities. Approximately 40 city and county governments have open data portals to support civic tech.

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Best Practices

Peer Perspectives: The City of Charlotte

To foster conversation among city employees around important community issues, the City of Charlotte started a program called Peer Perspectives. The initial conversations were started following the fatal officer-involved shooting of Keith Lamont Scott in September 2016. During that time, many in the Charlotte community protested to express anger and frustration about issues they felt were long ignored. City employees are passionate about things that impact Charlotte and it proved beneficial to provide an outlet for them to express their feelings around these events. Launching Peer Perspectives gave employees a forum to process the events, their meaning, and talk about race and police community relations. Over a thousand employees have participated. Community members also had an opportunity to hold their own discussion forums, entitled “Can We Talk?” which was facilitated by Charlotte-Mecklenburg Community Relations and the Community Building Initiative. For more information about Peer Perspectives, contact Terry Bradley at

Blogs & Other Publications

Listen to Employees, Design Better Workplaces

UNC-Chapel Hill School of Government Professor Leisha DeHart-Davis and Concord Assistant Manager Lloyd Payne blog for ICMA about the importance of employee perspectives for workplace design and effectiveness.

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Have You Been a Naughty or Nice Boss? Heidi Voorhees Shares The Ten Things Employees Tell Us They Want In a Leader

Heidi Voorhees, president of GovGRUSA, has led more than 150 recruitments for local government and not for profit entities across the country. As part of the recruitment and selection processes, the company has interviewed thousands of employees. In her blog post, she shares what employees want in a leader, boss, manager, and supervisor.

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