ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- Col. Marvin Walker, Anniston Army Depot's commander, held his first town hall meeting Nov. 20 in the Nichols Industrial Complex.

The town hall lasted a little more than two hours; nearly an hour of which was the question and answer portion.

Walker encouraged the large crowd of employees present to press the leaders on the stage, including himself, for answers to issues.

"Everybody here is the same. I work for you guys. If you have problems, if you have issues, it's my job to try to fix them. That's what the staff's job is," said Walker.

The commander began and ended the meeting with praise for the workforce, touting the installation's performance to promise as well as the quality of products produced.

"Overall, the depot is doing great," he said. "Right now, we are at 99 percent performance to promise. What does that mean? It means 99 out of 100 times we meet our objectives."

As he closed the meeting, Walker reiterated his appreciation for the ANAD workforce.

"I'm proud of the depot," said Walker. "Before I came here, I was in Kuwait, Jordan and Afghanistan. All I heard were good things about Anniston."

Among the subject matter experts on the stage with Walker were:
• Phyllis Williams, a human resources specialist from the Civilian Personnel Advisory Center
• George Worman, the depot's chief legal counsel
• Mark Johnson, the director of Production Engineering
• Todd Dishman, the director of Production Management
• Abby Quinn, the director of Resource Management
• Tommy Carlisle, the depot's deputy to the commander
• Wendy Suttles-Walker, a sexual abuse response coordinator
• Boyd Scoggins, the Employee Assistance Program coordinator
• Patricia Boothe, the depot's protocol officer

HIRING AND INTERNSHIPS

Williams, Dishman and Quinn discussed the hiring process and Williams, Dishman and Carlisle shared information about an internship program being initiated.

The hiring and internship topics were of great interest to employees, who asked additional questions about the processes.

CPAC is working with the command staff on hiring. Throughout the town hall, the changes in the hiring process were detailed.

"Previously, if you were going to apply for a GS-13 or above or a supervisor position, those jobs had to go through the panel process," said Quinn.

The panel process involved three individuals who reviewed resumes, conducted interviews and made recommendations; that process is now being expanded to include non-bargaining GS-11 and above announcements.

The panels will be comprised of a subject matter expert and two individuals randomly chosen from a roster of non-bargaining GS-11 and above employees.

A blind panel process will also be used to determine who is chosen for the internship program, which will enable employees who are willing to learn a new career to change jobs.

"It will be a training program," said Dishman, who will have four interns in DPM. "We'll take you on as a GS 5 target 9 and we'll be willing to train you, but you've also got to be willing to go back to school."

A wage grade internship program is also being considered, which would be similar to that of the one being used by DPM.

According to Carlisle, the chosen employees will be moved to a low grade within the job series they will train for and, as they become better skilled and gain experience, their grade level will increase.

"So, you're going to hire in at a lower grade, but you're going to work through that shop at a grade 5. Then, you're going to progress, on an internal announcement, to a grade 8," he said.

Additional questions regarding hiring centered on how to ensure the skills and experience an employee has can best be relayed through their résumé.

Carlisle reminded employees to be truthful and discuss the work they perform every day in their résumé.

"Quit copying and pasting your résumés. Write a résumé that tells what you do on a day-to-day basis," he said. "We have 1,226 permanent wage grade positions, based on our Table of Distribution and Allowances. We have over 1,900 employees on depot. So there are some people who are going to be disappointed because they can't be made permanent."

The CPAC Office and Army Community Services each have résumé examples, which can be shared with employees who wish to see them.

Additionally, following the town hall meeting, ACS shared the following link to training provided by the Office of Personnel Management through USA Jobs: www.usajobs.gov/Notification/Events/#OM000285.
According to CPAC, HR for supervisors is held quarterly. Supervisors can sign up for the training through the Total Employee Development system.

Brown bag lunches, working lunches where individuals bring their own lunch and learn additional HR information, are held monthly for supervisors.

The next brown bag lunch is anticipated for mid-January. Supervisors should receive an email with details.

SAFETY

Worman told the crowd he was going to treat them as legal clients and give them advice on safety matters.

"Do what you are supposed to do. If you don't know what you're supposed to do, ask your supervisor," said Worman. "You are entitled to an answer. You are entitled to know how to do your job safely."

He reminded employees not to cut corners or rush, use correct personal protective equipment and follow procedures.

Worman also covered the consequences which may happen if safety policies and procedures are not followed.

First, and most importantly, not following safety procedures can result in injury or death.

"Another part of the risk you run is getting disciplined," said Worman. "Over the last 10 years, supervision has been more attuned to the fact that employees must be held accountable."

Worman said all employees are accountable to themselves and to the organization to work safely.

"If you don't do it, aside from getting hurt, the prospect of disciplinary action is out there," he said.

That disciplinary action can range from counseling to suspension or termination, depending upon the severity of the offense and whether or not it's a repetitive behavior.

"We all have to hold each other accountable for being safe out here," said Worman.

LEAN

Johnson discussed continuous process improvement, better known as Lean.

"At its core, it's identifying and removing waste in our processes," said Johnson.

Johnson asked employees to assist with Lean events, since they are the subject matter experts in their shops and offices.

"Is there extra work or are there extra processes you have to do to complete your job? Is there excess inventory in your work area? Is there excess movement of parts?" he asked. "Things like that are opportunities for improvement."

Achieving the Lean goal is also part of the Group Award Program payout. ANAD achieved its goal last year. This year's CPI goal is $34.5 million.

WORKLOAD

Dishman also gave the workforce an update on the depot's workload.

The workload for fiscal year 2020 is projected to be 4 million direct labor hours. For comparison, FY19 had 3.6 million direct labor hours.

"What that means to us is this year we have about 12 percent more work than we had last year, or about 400,000 hours more than we had last year," said Dishman.

The FY21 projected workload is currently 3.5 million direct labor hours, but Dishman said that number may grow as the year progresses.

Because of the workload, there is no shutdown during the holidays this year.

Dates of note:

Dec. 24 -- one hour in conjunction with lunch will be granted for organizational parties.

Dec. 26 is a liberal leave day.

"Liberal leave means you will not be denied leave. Leave is annual leave or leave without pay. For new employees who don't have leave and haven't built up comp time, you can still take off, but you don't have to. The shops will be open," said Carlisle

Dec. 27 and Jan. 3 have been switched, making Dec. 27 an off-Friday and Jan. 3 a work Friday.

GAP

Quinn shared information regarding the results of the FY19 Group Award Program as well as the potential for the FY20 GAP.

The FY19 maximum amount dispersed to employees through the GAP payout was $1,938.

In FY20, the potential again exists for a $2,000 GAP payout if all metrics are met.

What can employees do to contribute?

• Performance to Promise: Limit rework

"We have to make sure we produce a quality product every time," said Quinn.

Employees are encouraged to keep supervisors aware of any issues, such as parts, which may impact production scheduled.

• Direct and Indirect yield: Limit your leave.

Build up to the 240 hours of annual leave you are allowed to carry over every year and schedule doctor appointments on off-Fridays or late in the day.

• Net Operating Result:

Timekeepers must accurately record time for employees, DPM should accurately record materials issues and everyone should limit unnecessary expenses.

• Continuous Process Improvement:

"If you see something you can do better, faster, cheaper, make sure you get that to your supervisor, so we can do a Lean event and get credit for it," said Quinn.

SHARP/CHIP

Suttles-Walker detailed the differences between the Sexual Harassment/Assault Response Program and the Civilian Harassment Intervention Program.

According to Suttles-Walker, all harassment complaints should flow through CHIP. The contact for CHIP is Patricia Boothe, who can be reached at Ext. 6243.

Suttles-Walker and Alfonso Lewis are the contacts for SHARP.

Suttles-Walker can be reached at 256-240-3447 or 256-624-8510.

Lewis can be reached at 256-235-7971.

HOLIDAY BLUES/STRESS

"Let's be mindful of our feelings during the holiday season," said Scoggins as he discussed how some people were effected by stress and depression during the holidays.

The Employee Assistance Program is here to help those who need to talk about what they are going through or who have issues with addiction.

"If you're going to drink during the holiday season, make sure you drink responsibly," said Scoggins. "If anyone wants to talk about their alcohol consumption or drug use with our Employee Assistance Program, that's another thing we do."

The Employee Assistance Program can be reached at Exts. 3182 or 3379.