By Robert TimmonsMarch 21, 2019
FORT JACKSON, S.C. -- Fort Jackson leaders agreed to make better efforts during a town hall with the on-post housing community hosted by post commander Brig. Gen. Milford H. "Beags" Beagle Jr.
The meeting was called so residents could air their concerns directly to post leadership.
"Right now tonight, we start at zero," Beagle said to open the town hall. "We have zero faith, zero confidence and zero trust in our partners and our leadership ... I feel it and I've got to own that and embrace it."
Just because a Soldier agreed to live in post housing doesn't mean they gave up their rights to a safe and healthy home, Beagle said.
The meeting was a start to positively affect the issues.
"That's what this is all about, moving in a positive direction," Beagle said.
Beagle was joined by Post Command Sgt. Maj. Gan, Col. Stephen Elder, garrison commander, Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Anthony Wilson, Emma Watson chief of Fort Jackson's housing office, Ann Garner, Directorate of Public Works director, and representatives from Balfour Beatty and post health agencies. Other post officials were on hand to answer any questions that arose.
Housing concerns included work orders not being completed; homes being assigned with maintenance and cleanliness issues; residents calling in work orders that were not resolved and/or technicians not showing; and mold and sewage problems. On top of this, community members felt their concerns were not being heard.
"You get your voice back starting tonight," Beagle added. He asked town hall attendees who did not wish to air their concerns verbally to fill out a comment card and drop them in one of many drop boxes around the theater. "We need that feedback. That's going to hold leadership accountable and it's going to hold our partners accountable."
There were more than 4,000 work orders submitted in 2018, but only 453 work order customer satisfaction surveys were received.
Post leadership outlined the way ahead. They plan to hold another town hall in six months, increase the number of community mayors, open a leadership hotline at 751-HELP (4357) and visit every house and barracks room to ensure they are suitable to live in.
Elder called on residents to use the number if their concerns are not met with the standard process.
"We will get a phone call and I will personally figure out what the issue or concern is," he said.
Post housing officials said they were working to ensure these concerns were addressed and on-post living will be improved. Community members can also share their concerns during weekly meet the manager events each Wednesday evening. Balfour Beatty has also made changes to improve their customer service to include reorganizing on-post staff, adding a residential engagement specialist, increasing maintenance staff, and implementing service request follow-ups.
Do not stop providing feedback, Beagle said as he closed the town hall. "We need to continue hearing your voice."