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PRESIDIO OF MONTEREY, California -- Team Monterey and the Monterey Model met its new mentor Feb. 22 here.

Jimmy Panetta, U.S. representative for California's 20th Congressional District, visited the installation for briefings from the Garrison Command, the Defense Language Institute Foreign Language Center, Presidio of Monterey Services Agency (PMSA) on the Monterey Model, and senior leaders of military, Department of Defense, and federal organizations located in the district known as Team Monterey.

The newly-elected congressman also visited a Persian-Farsi classroom and had lunch at Belas Dining Facility with students from all four service components.

"I was honored and humbled to visit with the students personally and hear and see these young kids who are anywhere from 19 to their early 20s -- how much they appreciated being able to learn the language and have the teachers and the facilities to do so," said Panetta.

As a staff judge advocate in the Navy Reserve, he deployed to Afghanistan in 2007. Panetta grew up in his district, graduating from Carmel High School, and remembers when his father, former Secretary of Defense Leon Panetta, and his brothers would eat sandwiches while gazing over the Monterey Bay from the Presidio of Monterey on a Sunday afternoon.

"Being here today, in my official capacity, which is my first visit as a congress member, you realize how important (the Presidio) is to our country and to our national security," said Panetta.

His predecessor, Sam Farr, created Team Monterey in 2007 in order to keep the area's federal entities informed and cohesive. Meetings have been sporadic in the last few years. Panetta would like to see them scheduled at a regular interval and hosted by each of the military entities in the district. He also asked that a Team Monterey charter be created.

Development of the Monterey Model was codified last October with a five-year intergovernmental service agreement signed by the Army and the cities of Monterey and Seaside. Panetta learned how the municipalities provide facility and infrastructure operations and maintenance to the Presidio of Monterey and Ord Military Community at significant cost savings.

"What's good about these guys is they're a municipal agency contributing directly to the defense of our nation," said Col. Lawrence Brown, Presidio of Monterey commander. "They have a vested interest in supporting the military which is in the middle of their community.

"We're looking at every opportunity to save taxpayers money because we know that goes to support the guys downrange. I think all the city employees understand that fact. They live it every day."

When asked by Panetta how the arrangement benefits Monterey, city manager Mike McCarthy mentioned the work experience for the staff, demonstrating support and solidarity with the Presidio, and economies of scale that save labor and parts costs. The congressman also learned of similar arrangements starting all over the U.S.

"We invite people out here all the time to share our story," McCarthy said. "We really are a model for other defense agencies and defense communities in the nation."

When Panetta asked about the Army's savings, PoM deputy garrison commander Hugh Hardin replied, "We think it's about $200,000 to a quarter million dollars a year on contracting overhead costs."