I finished up my final week in Pine Knoll Shores on July 28, but am not quite finished with the job. On August 3rd, I submitted the PARC survey analysis power point presentation and this Wednesday I’ll present the findings to the Board of Commissioners. I began working on the survey my first week in PKS, reviewing the draft and discussing the process with Town Manager Kramer and Commissioner Brodman, who heads the PARC committee. After finalizing the survey, setting it up in Survey Monkey, writing an article for the July issue of The Shoreline announcing the availability of the survey, entering hand written responses, and reviewing the results I am now about to finish up this project. The PARC survey is administered every five years, so these results will be referred to and inform decisions for at least two or three years to come.

Although I completed the PWE with the required ten weeks, I had originally planned to be there for twelve, so that I could participate in the meeting this week. I left PKS’s earlier than expected to begin a new job at UNC, in the University Development Office (UDO). This quick transition out of the internship brings up the differences, and similarities between the jobs. The similarities are both organizations are staffed by dedicated professionals, with strong leadership and well thought-out human resource management.

The contrasts begin with size. PKS has a staff of twelve, plus seasonal public service, fire, and police. UDO has approximately 150 in the central system, plus Department and Unit Development offices. Both are hierarchal in structure, but at PKS the organizational chart is much flatter than UDO’s. The Town Manager is in closer contact with all of the staff than the Vice-Chancellor for Development is at UDO. At UDO, my duties are highly specialized, and since I’ve only just begun, mainly focused on technical skills and learning the names, positions, and acronyms of the schools, departments, and units in our network.

In Pine Knoll Shores, my tasks, by design, touched on all aspects of the small town. In addition, the town was in between planners, so I helped fill that gap. In a small town like PKS the Town Planner will be responsible for things that in a larger town he or she would supervise. For instance, I did research on options for upgrading the permit software used by the town. When the new planner started, he joined in the meetings and discussions related to that task, and will carry on with finalizing and getting board approval for a new system.

I helped with analyzing the accounts payable workflow. I updated a chart that compares water table levels with rainfall to provide guidance on when to pump down pond levels in anticipation of large storms. I counted money collected in the weekend parking lots on Mondays. I prepared a do not mow map and coordinated the development of a resiliency map with the Division of Coastal Management. I gained an understanding of the structure and responsibilities of local government.

As glad as I am to return home and start a new job, I miss the town and the people who live and work there. The community spirit in PKS is strong, which is apparent in the PARC survey results with 89% of the respondents agreeing that PKS Parks and Recreation programming promotes a sense of community.

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