By Leader Staff ReportsSeptember 13, 2019
U.S. Army Training Center and Fort Jackson Commander Brig. Gen. Milford "Beags" Beagle, Jr., and a panel of representatives asked residents "not to suffer in silence" and report housing issues during a town hall Sept. 10. Fort Jackson post residents were in attendance, along with residents watching a live stream, to discuss any housing issues that have arisen since the last town hall about three months ago.
"I thank you for being here, your time is very valuable," Beagle said. "We want every voice to be heard. We want to entertain as many questions as possible. If we don't answer your questions, please come up. I will stay as long as it takes as well as the rest of the team."
Fort Jackson holds town halls quarterly for post residents to speak directly to the installation leadership and housing officials to get problems resolved with as little impact to daily living. The town hall addresses the main problem of customer satisfaction between the post residents and Balfour Betty housing officials.
The relationship between Fort Jackson and Balfour Beatty has to be better, Beagle said answering a question submitted online about any changes in the relationship.
"We have got to make it better," Beagle said. "The relationship is what it is at this point. We can only make it better ... It's going to take every person, every resident in our partnership to make this right. "
Part of that is done through communication.
"You shouldn't have to sit on a issue for weeks," Beagle said as he asked residents to report issues. "There are information hotlines if someone hasn't responded to you within 24 hours. Don't sit on top of an issue for weeks and say 'I have had an issue for weeks,' call the number."
While the number of housing issues are much smaller in comparison to other military installations, maintenance and emergency housing issues do occur on Fort Jackson. Beagle explained how there is still a problem of the timeliness of work orders on the post.
"We have to get better at the responsiveness," he said. "Communication has to flow and frequently."
Beagle showed a slide during the town hall to map out his plan to improve housing concerns through three objectives aimed at improving customer satisfaction rates, reducing the time it takes to complete submitted work orders and to exceed military standards.
He added future town halls will be held once every three months. Future meetings would provide residents with the status of previous town halls and address any new concerns that arise. Beagle encouraged all the residents to participate in the town halls to ensure housing issues are addressed and every residents concerns would be heard.
"We don't know what we don't know," he said. "Some may continue to suffer in silence so we have to increase participation."
After Beagle provided his opening remarks, the floor was opened to residents to ask their questions and receive answers from the panel that included the Fort Jackson garrison commander Col. John "Wes" Hankins, Belfour Betty housing officials and Ann Garner, director of Fort Jackson's Public Works.
Garner called on residents to use the civilian housing advocates in the Garrison Housing Office if they are not satisfied with their service.
"Don't suffer in silence," she said.
"It's a community effort, it's a shared responsibility, it's our community and you are the eyes and ears of that community," said Hankins. "We appreciate all the feedback. We look at those opportunities to excel, opportunities to support you. We don't always have quick fixes and quick solutions. Some of these may be hard things to work, but we are willing to take on these challenges and advocate on your behalf."
Some questions asked included broken sidewalks, length of time it takes to complete a submitted work order, quality of work repairs, no-shows of maintenance staff and customer satisfaction.
Fort Jackson remains committed to improving the overall satisfaction of housing residents by continuing to hold town hall meeting, addressing housing concerns with residents and the staff of Balfour Betty and continuing to address housing concerns from residents as they arise.
To submit an emergency work order, call (803) 787-6416. For assistance with an unsatisfactory housing concern, residents can contact the Garrison Housing Office at 751-7567.