VICENZA, Italy -- Vicenza Military Community leaders held a town hall Monday in the post theater on Caserma Ederle.
Maj. Gen. Todd R. Wasmund, commanding general of U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa, U.S. Army Garrison Italy Commander Matthew Gomlak and Command Sergeant Major Jonathan Dyon answered audience questions and listened to concerns from Soldiers, Families and civilian employees.
Topics of concern included rising utility costs, employment opportunities for Families and other quality of life issues.
Gomlak explained that the USAG Italy exists to provide infrastructure support and services to the tenant units, activities, Soldiers, Department of Army Civilians, and sponsored family members numbering about 19,000 people between Veneto and Pisa. Directors from every garrison department were on hand to address specific concerns of the community members that attended the forum.
The rising cost of utilities was one of the key issues addressed in the town hall. Gomlak told the audience that the garrison was already underway in implementing energy- and cost-saving measures, including lowering the thermostat in facilities.
Dyon then offered how individuals and families can reduce their utility bills by limiting use of certain household appliances to off-peak hours, such as weekends and after 7 p.m. on weekdays.
For more information on energy-saving efficiencies in Italy, go to https://www.army.mil/article/261824/energy_tips.
Wasmund and Gomlak also addressed a question about employment opportunities for family members, which are limited to certain contract opportunities and on-base federal job vacancies due to the bilateral agreements that provide several tax-free exemptions for Army personnel in Italy.
Wasmund said that he has personally raised the issue with Senior Department of State officials in Italy, who alongside Department of Defense leaders are in discussion with the Italian government.
The garrison has several job vacancies, Gomlak said. Jobs in and U.S. Army Garrison Italy and units stationed in Italy can be found at www.usajobs.gov or https://home.army.mil/italy/index.php/about/Garrison/directorate-human-resources/work-force-development/employment-opportunities.
Wasmund said it was important that he and other VMC leaders hold themselves accountable to the community they serve.
"One of the most useful sources of constructive criticism comes from our community," said Wasmund as he opened the town hall meeting. "We know there are a couple of things on your minds, and we are concerned about them, too."
U.S. Army Southern European Task Force, Africa executes and synchronizes Army activities in Africa on behalf of U.S. Army Europe and Africa, provides scalable crisis response in Africa and Europe alongside subordinate units, in addition to providing oversight of Army personnel in Italy.