CYSS employees honored for hard work, dedication to Fort Drum community
June 19, 2014
FORT DRUM, N.Y. -- For the past 18 months, Child, Youth and School Services programs across the Army have been scrutinized and audited to ensure all standard operating procedures and regulations are being followed.
Five Fort Drum CYSS employees were recognized during a brief ceremony June 10 at Hays Hall.
Col. Gary A. Rosenberg, Fort Drum garrison commander, presented awards and praised the employees for their hard work during a stressful time for CYSS programs.
"They make my life easier because of what they do," he said. "About 18 months ago, the Child, Youth and School Services world collapsed. We had a big incident at another post, and it created a lot of problems that reverberated throughout all of the Department of Defense -- it was bigger than the Army."
The incident involved a CYSS program at another installation that failed to complete the proper background checks for its employees.
The Army Inspector General and Army Audit Agency inspected files, and CYSS staff members were tasked with rewriting standard operating procedures. In addition, the team reviewed a huge employee database to ensure that the information it contained -- more than 30,000 cells -- was 100-percent accurate.
Rosenberg and Command Sgt. Maj. Thomas W. Geddings, garrison senior enlisted adviser, presented the Commander's Award for Civilian Service to Petra Carter, senior program administrative assistant; Tamra Demo, lead trainer; and Claudia Whitmire, outreach administrator.
Becky Morgia, CYSS program operations specialist, received the Superior Civilian Service Award signed by Davis D. Tindoll, U.S. Army Installation Management Command Atlantic Region director. Karin Sikirica, CYSS director, received the Meritorious Civilian Service Award signed by Lt. Gen. Michael Ferriter, former IMCOM commander.
"I couldn't have achieved this without my team, without the support of my family and without the support of my chain of command -- Mr. Hal Greer and Col. Rosenberg," Sikirica said. "They believe in us and they trust us. My team -- not just these ladies -- but the whole CYSS team stuck with us through all of this -- thick and thin."
Rosenberg continued speaking praises about the employees' attention to detail and the long hours they worked.
"They went line by line checking and changing information," he said. "During the last 18 months, we never once had a significant issue. That doesn't mean we were perfect, but we didn't have anyone working here who shouldn't have been. If someone did something they weren't supposed to do, they were held accountable."
That type of process doesn't happen overnight, he added. The employees being recognized had been making, setting and enforcing standards for years before the incident occurred.
"They've been doing this way longer than I've been here," Rosenberg said. "In the last 18 months or so, we've had three centers accredited -- a significant achievement -- all while this was going on. These ladies not only enforce the standard, they set the standard from beginning to end. They do a wonderful job.
"Thank you all for what you do for us," he added. "It's you guys who I lean on and trust."