ANNISTON ARMY DEPOT, Ala. -- Col. Marvin Walker, commander of Anniston Army Depot, held a town hall meeting July 29 as he and depot leaders updated the workforce on a variety of topics.Due to the COVID-19 pandemic, seating for the town hall was limited to depot leaders, 17 of whom were in attendance.Questions were solicited from the workforce ahead of the event and were addressed at the end.COVID-19The commander began by discussing the current pandemic.“I appreciate the efforts of everyone who has been here since February or March, working through the mission, working on overtime, cross-training between shops to help us accomplish our goals. We could not have done it without you,” said Walker, adding his words apply not only to depot employees, but tenant and contract employees as well.Walker emphasized to employees the importance of taking care of at-risk individuals through the first months of the COVID-19 response – during a time when testing was scarce and masks, disinfectants and sanitizers were limited commodities.“It’s not anyone’s fault that they were on telework or they were on Weather and Safety Leave,” said Walker. “We were directed to identify people who were high-risk and take care of them. They aren’t more susceptible to getting the virus, but they are more susceptible to having long-term issues or, potentially, dying from coronavirus.”Most of the telework and Weather and Safety Leave employees have now returned to work. Walker emphasized the return to work was made possible by the personal protective equipment and cleaning products in the shops as well as the increase in testing throughout the state.“We had limited supplies in the beginning,” said Walker. “Now that we have masks and now that we have cleaning supplies, we have to act accordingly.”Employees are encouraged to remain vigilant in cleaning frequently touched surfaces and in wearing their face coverings.“What I need everyone to do, what I’m empowering everyone to do, is hold your peers accountable and hold leadership accountable,” said Walker as he shared information from an employee who was concerned when they walked into a meeting and saw most people not wearing masks.Walker gave the example that if he walked within six feet of an employee and began talking to them without a mask on, he expected the employee to ask him to put his mask on to continue the conversation.“You can do that to anyone if you can do that to me,” he said. “I need people to hold each other accountable.”The wearing of masks and cleaning of public areas is not political or up for debate on the depot, according to Walker. It’s about taking care of the ANAD family and, by extension, taking care of their families.“You don’t want people to go home and give the virus to someone who may be more susceptible than you,” said Walker. “We are going to enforce the mask policy to the highest extent.”Walker reminded employees that, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, proper wearing of masks reduces the spread of COVID-19.“The risk is diminished if everyone does what they are supposed to do,” said Walker.The commander also addressed the reasons why the depot is not releasing the number of positive cases on the installation – stating ANAD is not authorized to release private health information about individuals and the Department of Defense has issued guidance regarding release of that information for operational security purposes.“But, if you have a positive case in your shop, there is nothing wrong with your supervisor saying, ‘We’ve got a positive case. The area is properly cleaned and disinfected and it’s okay for you to be in here.’ If that’s not happening, you need to go to your supervisor and hold them accountable,” said Walker, adding the cleaning teams may work at night, so production is not disrupted.ANAD Chief of Staff Phil Trued outlined the depot’s procedures for contact tracing.The Depot Operations Office has the responsibility to learn which employees have been in close contact with those who have tested positive. Supervisors are informed whenever an employee in their organization has been in contact with someone who tested positive and what actions the employee(s) should take.Trued said all actions are based on guidelines from the CDC.During the question portion of the town hall, an employee asked why everyone’s temperature wasn’t being taken as they arrive to work each day.“It would be physically impossible to check every employee every morning,” said Trued. “Those employees, who need to be screened, we are having screened for a period of 14 days.”Employees who are being screened report to the Dear Clinic or one of the fire stations before reporting to their work site.Return to work proceduresAccording to Trued, employees returning to work from Weather and Safety Leave, telework or from leave following illness must check in through the Dear Occupational Health Clinic.Currently, there are three ways, after someone has tested positive for COVID-19, they can return to work:1. Symptom-free for more than 24 hours without medication and 10 days have elapsed since symptoms first appeared.2. Doctor’s note stating the employee may return to work.3. Two negative COVID-19 tests taken more than 24 hours apart.For each method, the employee must visit the Dear Clinic first, upon arrival on the installation.Trued acknowledged this is based on current guidance from the CDC.He also stressed the importance of staying home if you feel ill.“If you are sick, you feel sick, you have symptoms, do not report to work,” said Trued, adding that employees should use normal leave procedures immediately and eligibility for the Families First Coronavirus Response Act would be determined later.FFCRAAbby Quinn, director of Resource Management shared information regarding the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, which provides up to 80 hours of emergency paid sick leave.There are six qualifying circumstances which make an employee eligible for the FFCRA.The first three qualifying circumstances - federal, state or local quarantine; an employee who is advised by health care provider to self-quarantine; or an employee who is experiencing symptoms and is seeking a medical diagnosis – pay the employee’s regular hourly rate with a daily limit of $511 and an aggregate limit of $5,110.The last three qualifying circumstances – an employee is caring for an individual who is under quarantine, an employee is caring for a child due to closure of school/place of care, or an employee is experiencing any other substantially similar condition as specified by the Secretary of Health and Human Services - are paid at two-thirds the employee’s regular hourly rate with a daily limit of $200 and an aggregate limit of $2,000. For the last item, no conditions meeting the criteria have been specified at this time.“One of the keys is this is available from April 1 through Dec. 31, which means it is retroactive,” said Quinn.Examples:• Employee A has childcare issues and was approved for qualifying circumstance 5 in April 2020. He used 20 FFCRA hours during April and May 2020. He was paid at two-thirds of his regular pay rate.• In June, Employee A had COVID-19 symptoms, sought medical diagnosis and tested positive. He was then approved for qualifying circumstance 3. He was out of work for nine days, requiring 80 hours of leave. He used 60 FFCRA hours and 20 hours of sick leave. He was paid at his regular pay rate.• In July, Employee A was required to care for his child, who was under quarantine. He utilized his own leave, as he had exhausted the 80 hours he was entitled under the FFCRA.Quinn encouraged employees who have questions regarding FFCRA to call the Directorate of Resource Management for assistance.“If you have any questions about this, please call my office,” said Quinn. “Everyone has a unique circumstance. This is not written super simple. So, we are ready to help you however we can.”Points of contact for FFCRA are: Abby Quinn at Ext. 6150 or, Mark Tuten at Ext. 4814 or, Angela Thrasher at Ext. 6032 or, and Kristi Harper at Ext. 3572 or town hall topicsUpward MobilityANAD’s Upward Mobility enables organizations throughout the installation to fill critical indirect roles utilizing existing depot personnel.The program gives employees who have demonstrated the desire to succeed through education and work experience opportunities to advance.Openings for the first round of hires were to be identified by Aug. 5. Employees who want to apply should speak with their supervisor about Upward Mobility opportunities.Suggestion ProgramEmployees who identify a way to provide savings for our customer have the potential for a monetary reward for that through the Suggestion Program, according to Tommy Morgan.The employee’s idea must produce significant savings and be validated through the Suggestion Program by the Value Engineering Suggestion Panel.Workload• FY20 projected execution: 3.6 million direct labor hours• FY21 projected execution: 3.1 million direct labor hours• FY22 projected execution: 2.5 million direct labor hours“With about a 15 percent reduction from FY20 to FY21, we expect to be able to keep all depot employees employed,” said Todd Dishman, director of Production Management. “Because of the reduction in workload, in order to keep everyone employed, there will be a reduction in overtime.”Hatch ActNo partisan political activity is allowed while an employee is on duty or while using government property.This includes partisan activities on social media.Employees cannot wear anything promoting a partisan candidate.FraternizationPersonal relationships must not affect official duties.Flags in the workplaceThe display of flags in public areas is limited by the Army.The symbols used by the Army to promote esprit de corps are the American flag, unit flags, state flags and the flags of our allies. Symbols which detract from readiness are not allowed in the workplace.SafetyTop 3 trends:• Slips, trips and falls• Overexertion/strains• Cuts/lacerations (fingers, hands, arms)All employees are reminded to be aware of your surroundings and take a moment to think through each process to ensure it is performed safely.SHARP/CHIP• Depot is 100 percent compliant with Sexual Harassment/Assault Response and Prevention training.• Civilian Harassment Intervention Program – All harassment reports are taken seriously. With current conditions, some are taking longer than 30 days.Hiring policiesIn response to a question regarding term employees who apply for positions for which they quality, yet are not selected, Vivian Henry, director for the Anniston Civilian Personnel Advisory Center, told employees to remember there is a large pool of candidates for each open job announcement.“If you only have a couple of positions and you have 50 people who are referred, you are going to whittle it down to those who you think can do the best job and you’re going to have a number who are disappointed,” said Henry.Henry recommended expounding on your experience and capabilities in your résumé.Trued told employees who need résumé assistance to contact the Training Office.Leadership changes• Gen. Edward Daly - Army Materiel Command commander• Command Sgt. Maj. Alberto Delgado - AMC command sergeant major• Lt. Gen. Donnie Walker - AMC deputy commanding general• Brig. Gen. Darren Werner – Tank-automotive and Armaments Command commander• Sgt. Maj. Happiness Brown – ANAD sergeant major arrives in August