Leaders urge community to 'let your voice be heard'
May 13, 2010
- The Army Family Action Plan aims to solve the range of problems brought forth by Soldiers, civilians, retirees and family members.
- The group met in 2009 to discuss nearly 80 issues submitted by community members.
- Two were recently resolved.
Because of Army Family Action Plan submissions, Fort Benning housing leaders recently changed the way work orders are handled and how the community learns about the basic housing allowance, said post program manager Stacie Boyer.
With quality of life in mind for anyone connected to the Army, the AFAP aims to solve the range of problems brought forth by Soldiers, civilians, retirees and family members.
Issues submitted to the program manager online or in person are added to a list that is presented to and prioritized by Army family delegates during the annual garrison commander's committee meeting.
The group met in 2009 to discuss nearly 80 issues submitted by community members. Of those, nine were prioritized and forwarded to the mid-level conference. The remainder were worked at the quarterly garrison commander's committee meetings where he determined if they should be closed, deemed unattainable or forwarded to the next level.
Fort Benning Residential Communities Asset Manager Keith Lovejoy said the housing changes were made because many residents didn't understand how BAH is allotted or its connection to the quality of on-post housing.
During newcomers' briefings and quarterly town hall meetings, housing representatives now discuss how more people living on post ultimately results in more funds for building newer houses, renovations and amenities.
Lovejoy said residents could also expect to see work orders addressed more quickly and efficiently because each village now has a designated maintenance staff.
Some problems may linger in the system longer than others, but Boyer said all issues are addressed.
"We want people to know that just because it doesn't look like anything is being done, ... we still have (your issue)," Boyer said. "We're still working it, and it may get put into the conference next year."
Lovejoy said the AFAP initiative is a much-needed platform for everyone's voice to be heard about any issue, large or small.
"It lets leaders be aware of what's going on, and it keeps them in touch with the community and customers," he said. "You make your community better by raising awareness about problems. So anytime we can close (a problem) out, we do it."
And your issue may even result in national recognition, Boyer said. Transferable GI Bill benefits and college funding for military spouses are two outcomes that stemmed from AFAP submissions.
"If it's affecting you, it's probably affecting people Armywide," she said. "Let your voice be heard."
All submitted issues and their status can be accessed at www.benningmwr.com/acs-afap.php.
The following submitted issues could not be resolved at the local level and have been forwarded for mid-level review:
- Exempting fees for immigration and citizenship for dependents of military personnel
- Funding for Military Impacted Schools Association (MISA) principal workshops
- Eliminating the 120-day enrollment waiting period for retirees in the Delta Dental Plan
- Implementing a cap on out-of-pocket expenses not to exceed 20 percent of orthodontic care
- Adjusting orthodontic coverage to consume the cost of re-evaluation upon permanent changes of station
- Allowing BAH to be given to family members
How AFAP works:
Aca,!Ac Issues are submitted throughout the year at the local level and labeled "active."
Aca,!Ac Working groups prioritize most important issues during the annual conference.
Aca,!Ac Of those, issues that can be handled on the post level are worked here; if a resolution isn't attainable here, the issues remain in the system, are closed or are forwarded to the mid level (and possibly on to headquarters level) to be worked.
Aca,!Ac Anyone can volunteer to serve as a delegate to the AFAP conferences.
Aca,!Ac This year's annual conference will be Oct. 26-28.