By Scott SturkolMarch 19, 2019
Fort McCoy's senior commander, garrison commander, and other leaders gathered with about 60 South Post Housing residents Feb. 28 for a town hall to address life, health and safety housing issues.
The town hall was part of an Army- and Department of Defense-wide effort to examine any potential issues or problems with privatized housing. This includes family housing and unaccompanied service member housing.
Maj. Gen. Jody J. Daniels, commanding general of the 88th Readiness Division and Fort McCoy's senior commander, led the discussion to explain the reason for the town hall.
"Army senior leadership is very concerned with what has transpired ... regarding housing," Daniels said, explaining that whether it was family housing Soldier housing, the Army has had "quite a number of issues."
Unlike many other installations, Fort McCoy's housing is not privatized; however, Daniels stressed that she wants the installation's housing residents to know that Fort McCoy's leadership and community are always ready to address any concerns. She also highlighted that there would be no reprisals as a result of residents bringing up concerns.
"We in the Army leadership are committed to providing a safe, clean, and healthy living environment for those who do live in our military housing - whether it's family housing, unaccompanied, or barracks," Daniels said.
Recently, the secretary of the Army, the Army chief of staff, and the sergeant major of the Army met with personnel who operate privatized housing for the service. "They are working with those companies to come up with some remediation measures," Daniels said.
One directed measure is to establish 24-hour phone hotlines for housing tenants at military installations throughout the Army. Fort McCoy is included in this effort.
Fort McCoy residents should first contact the Housing Office with any concerns, Daniels said.
Additional measures include requiring senior commanders to visit every housing unit and barracks on installations to assess the conditions of living quarters. Each building inspected will have a corresponding inspection checklist that will be used to improve that building as well as overall operations.
"The Army and other services are joining together to build a tenant bill of rights," Daniels said. "There's going to be ... discussion as to what should be included in there and how tenants can take actions in response to lack of action by those who support them.
"The Army is also working on improving its procedures and controls for housing oversight," Daniels said. "That includes better training for garrison commanders, senior commanders, and other leadership as well as [building] a better work-order tracking system. This can be an additional metric to measure the housing company performance and customer satisfaction."
After Daniels completed speaking, a question-and-answer period took place. While no life, health or safety concerns were brought up, several Fort McCoy housing residents addressed a few routine concerns, and the discussion was relatively light.
Many residents actually offered more compliments of the Fort McCoy housing and Housing Office staff, saying "this is some of the best housing I have ever had in the Army."
Housing and barracks visits and inspections will be completed by mid-March and a report on any issues addressed will be forwarded to higher headquarters leadership, Daniels said.
The Army has developed a plan of action to address the situation.
In addition to developing a tenant bill of rights, as well as holding town halls, completing visits and establishing responsive 24-hour hotlines, all emergency work orders are being tracked, the Army has taken actions with its Residential Communities Initiative partners, and the Army Inspector General will complete an inspection at all installations with privatized housing.
Located in the heart of the upper Midwest, Fort McCoy is the only U.S. Army installation in Wisconsin. The installation has provided support and facilities for the field and classroom training of more than 100,000 military personnel from all services each year since 1984.
Learn more about Fort McCoy online at https://home.army.mil/mccoy, on Facebook by searching "ftmccoy," and on Twitter by searching "usagmccoy.