Fort Bragg town hall meeting addresses community concerns
March 3, 2009
FORT BRAGG, N.C. - Fort Bragg's quarterly town hall meeting Feb. 19 addressed six issues brought to the attention of the leadership.
The issues discussed encompassed many facets of the installation. The first issue addressed concerns about allowing private organizations and Fort Bragg entities to place banners advertising events on post, while not overwhelming residents and workers with solicitation and giving everyone an opportunity to publicize their events.
Lynn Olavarria from Fort Bragg's Army Community Service Financial Readiness Office said Fort Bragg's Policy #40 was revised and there are four locations across post for banners and signs and the ACS solicitation office provides authorization for each sign. Every banner and sign can be posted no more than 10 days of the event and must be removed within 24 hours of the event's conclusion. Any unauthorized signs may be removed by ACS or the Department of Public Works.
Another issue was about having childcare facilities in the gym and having them operate in the evening hours to accommodate working parents.
"We're all for it," said Karen Miller from Child, Youth Services speaking for herself and Joe Johnson, the facilities manager from Family, Morale, Welfare and Recreation. "The problem is the facilities having acceptable locations for childcare."
The third issue addressed Family members having access to the skillsoft portal that military and Department of the Army civilians can use to take over 200 courses online.
Brenda Taylor Brooks from Human Resources said this is currently an Army Family Action Plan issue and is a question of funding since the money for Soldiers and government employees comes from appropriated funds and Family members would fall under non-appropriated funds. While Family members are not able to take the courses for free, there are opportunities for them to take different courses for a reduced fee and there's also a military spouse career advancement account that allows spouses to get free funds to further their education.
Another issue that affects all ages is scheduling doctor's appointments at Womack Army Medical Center and the clinics on post and how far out appointments can be made. Shannon Lynch from Womack Army Medical Center clarified the policy on healthcare access and said that the standard is that acute care appointments are made within 24 hours, chronic care within seven days and annual exams within 28 days. Anyone encountering difficulties when scheduling appointments should ask to speak with their clinic's patient representative to get the issue remedied.
Patients can also help the hospital and clinics have more available appointments by calling the cancellation line if they are not able to make their appointment said Col. Nadja Y. West, commander of WAMC. In January, there were 6,000 no-shows for appointments that could have been redistributed to others if patients had cancelled their appointments. The WAMC appointment cancellation line is 907-2625.
In the case of people without military identification cards who are guardians for children eligible for the services of the commissary; the issue was raised on whether the guardians have access to the commissary. Loren Sperrey, the South Post Commissary store director, assured everyone that guardians are able use the services of the commissary. To do so they will need a letter from the Judge Advocate General's office showing that they are the authorized guardian and they should present the actual ID card of the child, preferably with the child at the store with them. A copy of the ID card is not acceptable.
The final issue addressed was the traffic and gridlock caused by FMWR giveaways, most recently the personal hygiene products given Soldiers. While most people appreciated the generosity and free products, the backup on the roads frustrated many who were trying to get to work on time.
"Mea culpa," said Daniel Ahern, Fort Bragg FMWR director. "We were caught by surprise, not expecting so many people to line up at 8:01 for 10 boxes of Unilever products. We are looking for better ways to execute them including weekends, different times and other locations."
The meeting's guest speaker was Christina Overstreet, the Fort Bragg customer service officer. Overstreet reminded everyone of the importance of providing feedback so Fort Bragg can continue to improve programs, services and facilities.
"The managers and command want your feedback so they will know what they can do better," said Overstreet.
Anyone wanting to provide feedback to the managers of the programs and services on Fort Bragg can do so using the interactive customer evaluation system, a Web-based comment card system where customers can submit their answers anonymously if they wish and request a response to their comments. Overstreet said the site is now easier to find at www.bragg.army.mil
One of the meeting's issues at is using the suggestions received from ICE to help better future events. Ahern said that many of the comments, both positive and negative, are going to help FMWR improve future giveaways for Soldiers and their Families.