MEMO: Chatham Organizational Quirks

**DIsclaimer: if you recently finished year 1 of the mpa program, it may be too soon to see another memo. if this post is triggering, please click the small ‘x’ in the upper right hand corner. Other than that – welcome to this week’s blog. Surprise! It’s written in memo format. every MPA-er knows that memos are life. So, here ya go!

TO:                  MPA Matters Readers

FROM:         Courtney Cooper-Lewter, MSW/MPA Intern 

DATE:           10 July 2019

SUBJECTChatham County Manager’s Office Organizational Culture & Quirks

The purpose of this memo is to outline some of the organizational quirks of the Chatham County Manager’s Office, from an intern’s perspective. 


HAPPY TWO MONTH-IVERSARY to me and the Chatham County Manager’s Office! I have spent the last two months really diving deep into understanding Chatham culture and the Manager’s Office, in general. I am very grateful to be working in an office that embraces me as part of the team, not just an intern.  Plus, this office is quirky and eclectic and awesome! So in this memo, I will discuss some of the key things that make this office’s culture different.


According to Management Study Guide, a healthy organizational culture increases motivation, unifies, and brings out the best in employees. So far, there are three aspects of the Chatham County Manager’s Office that make it stand out as a great place to work.

      1. Christmas in July: Yep, that happened. Our awesome Safety and Risk Manager, Marilyn Grant, surprised everyone in the office with a gift + Christmas card on July 1st. The gifts were thoughtful and pretty spot on! For my gift, I got a pretty scarf! I have no idea how she knew I loved scarves. A heavy coffee drinker in our office, who shall remain unnamed, got a cute monogrammed coffee tumbler. After some further investigation, I found out that this is her yearly tradition in the office. I was pleasantly surprised and it was a great mid-summer pick me up!
      2. Eclectic Knowledge: You would be surprised to know that the majority of the folks working in Chatham County Manager’s Office don’t have an MPA or even a government educational background. Our Budget Director has a PhD in psychology. Our Human Resources Director has a history background. And, our County Manager has an environmental engineering degree from NC State! We also have folks that are experienced in furniture sales, pharmaceutical companies, and have basic law enforcement training (BLET) all in one office. This shows that Chatham County Manager’s Office is a place for everybody (and where just about any question can be answered).
      3. HR on the Ground: Chatham County’s Human Resources department is awesome and housed in the County Manager’s Office! It seems like the HR staff individually knows every 500+ employees in the County. It is obvious that they make an effort to learn about new employees and be approachable. My office is right across the hall from the Benefits Manager’s office and people pop in all of the time to ask her questions and just talk. I am convinced she has magical powers because she remembers tons of details about people’s lives, like where their kid goes to school or a vacation someone took recently. A few weeks ago, the HR Director cleaned my office as part of job shadowing of the one of the maintenance workers. HR invites folks out for lunch for check-ins. The HR Director even bought us lunch on July 5th as a celebration of being at work the day after the holiday. Later this week, I will be shadowing the HR Director, so tune in next week to see what I learn!


This final verdict is in….Chatham County Manager’s Office is a warm, welcoming, and fun place to work. 10 out of 10, would recommend!

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