Commander hosts town hall to answer employees' queries
June 14, 2010
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS, Hawaii - Col. Matthew Margotta, commander, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, held several town hall meetings for civilian employees to review recent accomplishments and outline future initiatives, here, and at Fort Shafter, last week.
This month's town halls are the last for Margotta, who will relinquish command of USAG-HI to Col. Douglas Mulbury, Monday. Garrison leadership holds the biannual town halls as a way to communicate with the workforce and provide yet another forum for feedback.
Margotta began by briefing the 2010 InstallationAca,!E+Management Campaign Plan, which was released in April by Installation Management Command, the higher headquarters overseeing all aspects of Army installations, worldwide.
IMCOM's four key goals from the campaign plan are to continue evolving the organization into a customer-focused combat support organization; to embrace a performance-based management culture; to equip employees with the competencies, skills and enabling capabilities needed to provide extraordinary support to our customers, now and in the future; and to ensure fiscal responsibility.
"Strategic plans are more for the long term - two, three, five, sometimes 20 years out," Margotta said. "It is a long-term road map or vision of where we want this installation to go down the road."
Garrison leadership meets regularly to assess and develop priorities, goals and objectives.
USAG-HI's six strategic planning goals directly correlate with IMCOM's: execute all requirements in support of Army Force Generation, or ARFORGEN, cycles; promote community well-being; recruit, develop and retain an adaptive, innovative, customer-focused workforce; optimize resources and environmental stewardship to minimize the impact on the natural environment and community; provide quality facility, infrastructure and responsive services to support mission requirements; and to advance and enhance internal/external community relations and partnerships.
"The next part is breaking each goal down and coming up with specific objectives and initiatives to reach each one," Margotta explained. "The end state of all of this, much like with the Installation Management Campaign Plan, is to develop programs that, when implemented over the next several years, will drive innovation and steer the ship."
In the current state of persistent conflict, the garrison is faced with having to balance budgetary restraints with the cost of doing business. Directorates and support staff offices are learning to do more with less - all the while still placing priority on being polite, professional and positive, the garrison's customer service philosophy.
Several employees voiced concerns about the possibility of positions being eliminated and provided suggestions for keeping costs at bay, to include shortened workweeks or reduced hours during nonpeak times, but Margotta quelled many fears by explaining that any changes to the worforce will most likely happen in line with typical attrition cycles, such as when employees retire or transfer, vs. official reduction in forces, since an RIF has not been approved by Congress.
Other hot topics for employees were the objectives and initiatives planned in order to sustain and continue to provide opportunities for the workforce to excel and grow.
The garrison plans to continue offering customer service and development courses through Hawaiian Garrison University and to implement new development opportunities, such as local internships and rotational assignments.
Sylvia Scully, Parent Central Services outreach administrator with Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation, asked whether participation in any local professional development or growth programs would be able to be included on resumes as official experience, something, she said, that is not always the case when participating in centrally funded programs like the Developmental Assignment Program through IMCOM.
"Participation in developmental programs or internships should be able to be counted as tangible experience on our resumes to legitimize the experience," Scully explained. "Employees take time out from their regular job to develop skills in a different area, which is the goal of the program ... if a six-month internship is not (officially) recognized, no one benefits from the experience."
Margotta agreed with Scully and explained how the Workforce Development office is working with the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center to ensure all training programs and opportunities are accredited and eligible to be included on official records as experience.
Scully, a supervisor at FMWR, attends employee town halls and encourages her employees to do the same because she believes they are important.
"It is important for (my employees) to know that they are valued and, if they have any concerns, that they may address them at this forum," Scully said. "(I make sure to always attend because) I learn about what is going on in the community, not just with my organization, but what the garrison commander expects from us and what he plans to do to better the community."