Fort Huachuca organizations reduce services, change operating hours
March 18, 2010
FORT HUACHUCA, Ariz.--In an effort to cut costs and save money, organizations across the U.S. Army Garrison, Fort Huachuca are cutting back on services they provide and reducing hours of operation.
The Directorate of Public Works has made $1.3 million-worth of cutbacks in many of their base operations services, including custodial, grounds maintenance, refuse removal, service orders and reoccurring maintenance.
Custodial services, such as cleaning latrines, have been reduced to twice per week, and all other weekly and daily services have been cancelled. Other services such as carpet, office and window cleaning have also been cancelled.
John Ruble, director of DPW, says some exceptions have been made in this area, including the Child Development Centers, Youth Services and physical fitness centers.
"Life, health [and/or] safety mandated custodial requirements for Child and Youth Services," he explains, adding that the fitness centers, Barnes Field House and Eifler Gym, were constructed for and used by Soldiers to stay in peak physical condition so they are able to perform their mission.
Beginning in May, grounds maintenance will be "trimmed" to grass cutting, only at Libby Army Airfield, firing ranges, ammunition storage point, Brown Parade Field and the post cemetery.
Ruble says they will keep these services because it is a flight operation safety requirement at the Airfield, Soldiers cannot train if they cannot see the targets on the ranges, and it is a fire safety requirement at the ammunition storage point.
Maintenance is necessary at the parade field because it is the post's main parade field, in the historic landmark district and highly visible to Fort Huachuca's visitors.
"Also," he adds, "parade fields are an important aspect in military tradition."
These areas will continue to receive grounds maintenance for mission life, health, and safety requirements.
There are currently 256 dumpsters on Fort Huachuca, and DPW personnel are identifying underutilized dumpsters across the installation. This could result in decreasing the number of dumpsters on post and building occupants having to share a dumpster. Also, Saturday pick-ups have been cancelled.
Reoccurring maintenance, which includes street sweeping and routine pest spraying, have been reduced or, in some cases, eliminated. Also service orders, such as sign maintenance, tree trimming and pest control are being surveyed, and only those services that have significant life, health and/or safety requirements will be authorized.
Ruble says from the DPW perspective, there are not many services they can reduce that are not life, health and/or safety issues, and/or do not impact missions.
"There is a difference between 'services,' and maintenance, repair and construction of real property," he explains. Real property, which is financed using sustainment, restoration and modernization funds, includes buildings, infrastructure and roads.
Ruble notes that services not only include custodial, grounds maintenance and refuse, but also include areas such as the operation of the central heating and cooling, and waste water treatment plants, paying the electric and natural gas invoices, and fabricating and installing numerous signs on post.
A number of services and procedures within the Directorate of Human Resources' Military Personnel Division were reviewed and modified to accommodate staff changes.
In-processing for permanent party Soldiers is now Wednesdays, 7:45 a.m. until completion.
Division personnel have also coordinated with the Chaplain's office to conduct a suicide awareness and prevention class during in-processing, which will replace the end-of-month suicide prevention training.
Also during in-processing, the Army Substance Abuse Program staff will conduct a briefing on their services. These classes will begin at 9:15 a.m. and last until about 10:45 a.m. These briefings are required for all newly assigned Soldiers, as well as new civilian employees.
In a continuing effort to better support Soldiers and civilians, the ID card facility is open Thursdays, 7:30-11:30 a.m., for Soldiers only. Appointments are not required, and priority will be given to in-processing Soldiers.
Future plans for Soldier in-processing include automating the procedure.
"We envision that once a Soldier has been identified for an assignment to Fort Huachuca, he or she will be able to access a Web page where all required briefings and forms will be available to that Soldier," wrote Michael Barber, adjutant general and chief of the MPD, in an e-mail to his customers.
Soldiers will be able to complete any required training and forms prior to departing for Fort Huachuca or immediately upon arriving here.
Barber also noted they plan to only see a Soldier during in-processing stations such as Central Issue Facility, Defense Eligibility Enrollment Reporting System/Real-time Automated Personnel Identification System, and Security.
Over the next few months, division personnel will work with organizations to identify unique requirements they may have that a Soldier can complete upon their receipt of assignment instructions to Fort Huachuca.
Since the division personnel are in the initial planning stages, they welcome ideas and/or suggestions.
The Directorate of Logistics' Supply and Services Division has changed its hours of operation to accommodate staffing changes.
"Our primary goal is to provide the best service possible to our Soldiers and Family members, retirees and civilians alike," explains Larry Locke, director of DOL.
Locke notes services have not been cut back, but due to the reduction in staff, many services incur delays and customer waiting times have increased.
Customers can help by arriving early for their services, picking up and filling out forms a few days prior to their appointment, and calling ahead and verifying hours of operation or appointment times.
Locke says all of these things will help, but most importantly, he asks customers to be patient with staff members, who will do their best to service them in a timely manner.
"It is important the community understands Fort Huachuca is not isolated to these trying times; the Army as a whole is challenged with reduced funding levels this year when compared to last year and the year before," Locke explains.
In the past, Overseas Contingency Operations funding has been used to augment Base Operation Support to fund many installation service programs.
"This allowed us to provide a higher level of installation support," Locke says, "This year we no longer have these funds, therefore, we have had to reduce staff on the Base Operation Support contract, and reduce customer serving hours to continue to provide the best service possible to Fort Huachuca community."
"The future depends on the availability of funding," Ruble notes. "We all have budgets, and we have to live within them."
Questions about DWP's services should be directed to Ruble, at 533-3141 or email@example.com.
MPD and in-processing questions should be directed to Myung Kim, supervisor of in- and out-processing, at 533-1384, or Barber, at 533-3267.
Questions about the Supply and Services Division's change of hours should be directed toward Locke, 533-2041, or, firstname.lastname@example.org.