(Photo Credit: U.S. Army) VIEW ORIGINAL

FORT LEONARD WOOD, Mo. — Fort Leonard Wood garrison leaders hosted a town hall for garrison employees March 29 at Nutter Field House and broadcast via MS Teams.

Col. Jeff Paine, U.S. Army Garrison Fort Leonard Wood commander, welcomed the virtual and in-person attendees, and kicked off the town hall by recognizing outstanding garrison employees.

The following individuals received two-star notes for various acts of excellence:

Mike Miller, from the Directorate of Emergency Services; Jeremiah Harcourt, Aaron Lanford, Ruby O’Dell, Emily Turner and Eli Wilson, from the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation; Ricardo Edelman, from the Defense Commissary Agency; and Dawn Arden, Brian Hill and Amanda Sullivan, from the Public Affairs Office.

The following individuals received length-of-service awards:

Joyce Stevens, from the Directorate of Human Resources, for 35 years of service; and Billy Cloyde, from the Directorate of Plans, Training, Mobilization and Security, for 40 years of service.

With spring here and warmer weather on the horizon, Anthony Riley, from the Safety Office, provided some tips to help the Fort Leonard Wood community stay safe.

Riley said flash flooding is responsible for more deaths than any other thunderstorm-related hazard.

Drivers should note that just six inches of fast-moving water can knock over and carry away an adult, Riley said, adding that 12 inches of fast-moving water can carry away a small car and 18 to 24 inches of fast-moving water can carry away most large SUVs, vans and trucks.

Riley also spoke about the dangers ticks pose in the Ozarks. He said three species — the Lone Star Tick, the American Dog Tick and the Deer Tick — are commonly found here. To limit exposure to ticks, which can spread diseases such as Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever, Riley recommended avoiding walking through uncut fields and brush and wearing long pants tucked into socks, shoes or boots when in wooded areas. Read this article for more information on reducing tick exposure.

Lastly, snakes tend to be most active in early summer and autumn, and Riley recommended people pay extra attention to where they step and put their hands. Snakes don’t like to be startled and will typically avoid humans if given the chance. Read this article for more information on snakes in the area and how to avoid encounters with them.

Paine thanked the anonymous 31 percent of garrison employees who participated in the most recent command climate survey here — completed at the end of 2021 — and he spoke about some of the positive and negative trends it illuminated.

Some areas garrison employees rated highly on the survey were work-life balance, and engaged and committed leaders. Paine spoke about some of the negative trends, including high stress and the need for better communication.

“High stress — yes, I acknowledge that,” he said. “We don’t have enough people; we don’t have enough resources to do what we feel we need to do to provide the best quality service to our community. We all feel that, and we’ll talk about some of the things we’re trying to do, but we also acknowledge that we do not have the monopoly on good ideas. So, if you’ve got some ideas on what we might be able to do to get at some of these issues, please let us know. Come talk to us; send us an email; or talk about it in a sensing session. We’re all smarter about this together.

“Communication — we have to do better,” he continued. “I will tell you, communication is always going to be a challenge in a large organization — and that’s not an excuse, that’s just a fact. We’re going to continue to work to improve that, and continue to get first-line supervisors involved, division chiefs and branch chiefs, directors involved in making sure that we’re communicating out what is important, what we need to do and responding to feedback.”

To address the needed resources, Paine spoke on what’s called the tables of distribution and allowances, or TDA, which is aligned to match mission demands to personnel.

“The results of this current command climate survey reinforced my assessment of where we were, that our TDA — where our positions are, not who holds what jobs — did not exactly align with where our mission requirements were. And so, with the Directorate of Resource Management and employee input from all the directorates, we started taking a look at, ‘Hey, where do we match up? Where do we line up on the TDA? What do we have to do the job? What do we not have to do the most important things?”

Paine also addressed the need for improved communication. He asked everyone invited to attend one of the three sensing sessions the garrison command group hosts each month to bring their concerns. Additionally, Paine reminded the attendees that he has an open-door policy, as does Walter Mattil, the deputy garrison commander, and Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Sean McGlensey.

“I get about three or four a month — the sergeant major gets more than I do,” Paine said. “When we’re out and about, if you’ve got something on your mind, talk to us, or we’ll find a better time to do it as well.”

Farrah Overman, a garrison human resources coordinator and workforce development specialist, mentioned some upcoming civilian training opportunities, including the Supervisor Course, with classes available from April 25 to 28, May 9 to 12, and June 20 to 23; the Foundational Leadership Course, formerly referred to as the Supervisor Leadership Course, is from Aug. 8 to 12; and the next New Employee Onboarding Class runs from May 31 to June 3.

Paine highlighted the garrison’s voluntary Civilian Fitness and Health Program, which provides an opportunity for garrison employees here to enhance their health, fitness and quality of life by allowing up to three hours of administrative leave each week to participate in a command-sponsored fitness and health promotion program, including physical fitness activities, preventive health events, and health education classes.

Visit the Fort Leonard Wood garrison policy webpage to read Paine’s garrison policy letter on the Civilian Fitness and Health Program.

Paine opened up the town hall to questions from the in-person and virtual audience.

One individual asked whether or not they can volunteer to participate in a sensing session. Paine said individuals absolutely can and are encouraged to voluntarily participate.

Another individual asked about when Fort Leonard Wood will update the mandatory mask policy in the child development centers. Paine said they are currently waiting on guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the DOD and the Army. There is no vaccine available for children ages five and younger, Paine said, and that is a contributing factor to the continued mask mandate in childcare facilities on post.

Another question involved the Department of Defense Performance Management and Appraisal Program, commonly known as DPMAP. The individual wanted to know how the equitable opportunity to earn a five, or an “outstanding,” versus a three, or a “fully successful,” is implemented across the installation.

“DPMAP doesn’t tell you that you have to give someone a three,” Paine said. “Where that comes from is the employee and the supervisor develop the performance plan and say, ‘This is success — this is a three — and then, periodically, they look at it, and they look at the employee’s performance, and they say, ‘You’re doing these things; that is success. At the same time, in developing that performance plan, the supervisor and the employee should be looking at it and going, ‘This is success, but if you do these things — or maybe, these kinds of things — this is excellence. This is how you get to a five.’

Paine added that no garrison employee on the installation should be told they cannot earn a five on their annual appraisal.

Paine said the next garrison employee town hall is tentatively scheduled for June 16.