TOBYHANNA, Pa. - A town hall meeting was conducted Dec. 2 at Tobyhanna Army Depot in northeastern Pennsylvania for employees who perform the storage and distribution function for the Army industrial mission located here.

The Tobyhanna Army Depot is the Defense Department's largest center for the repair, overhaul, and fabrication of a wide variety of electronics systems and components. Tobyhanna's mission supports all branches of the armed forces, and Tobyhanna has been recognized by the Army many times for its superior customer support.

It is this expertise and dedication to duty that will make the transfer of the storage and distribution function from the Army to the Defense Logistics Agency transparent to DLA's Army customers. This transfer is part of the Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) 2005 Supply, Storage, and Distribution (SS&D) Management Reconfiguration implementation.

The town hall agenda and speakers were focused on helping Tobyhanna-based employees understand the transfer process and timeline.

James Dwyer, Deputy G3 for Support Operations of the Army Materiel Command, provided welcoming remarks to the group based on the alignment of missions between Defense Supply Center Columbus and Tobyhanna Army Depot and recognized the strong efforts of the Tobyhanna workforce in support of the warfighter.

After Dwyer's remarks, DSCC Commanding General Army Brig. Gen. Thomas J. Richardson briefed the employees on the DSCC mission, vision and values and spoke about Base Realignment and Closure SS&D objectives.

Richardson made it clear during his briefing that the depot employees won't be moved or contracted out. He reminded them that, "things change, but nothing changes," and that this transfer will be seamless and transparent to the customer. "We're going to make this transition as smooth as possible," the general said.

"We value your contributions; we can learn a lot from all of you and how you do business. The retail business is different for us; it's a new type of business for us. We're good at the wholesale supply system, in fact, we're excellent at it. As a large business organization, we're very good at what we do," Richardson said.

"But we need your help to make the retail side of the business better, not only for Tobyhanna, but for all our new locations. We're trying to put this all together to save each of the services dollars, but more importantly save the taxpayers money. That's the goal, to become more efficient, but not lose our effectiveness."

Following the general were briefings presented by Harvey Hodak of DLA Human Resources, Joel Peck, Common Access Card representative from the DSCC BRAC office, and Cynthia Oliver, payroll representative from Defense Logistics Agency headquarters.

After the briefings, a question and answer period with DLA Human Resource Center Columbus, DLA headquarters and DSCC experts was held for the approximately 40 Tobyhanna employees in the audience. Many of the employees asked questions on how the transfer would affect them.

George Frye, chief of Tobyhanna's Mission Materiel and Staging Branch, said, "My folks have become excited about the transfer. They've had a lot of questions. Many of those were answered here today. The meeting helped some to eliminate their anxieties. The employees are always ready to serve Tobyhanna and help support the warfighter. We've done a lot of modernization in the last few months and it will help make the transition very seamless."

Melissa Ross, chief of Tobyhanna's Commodity Processing Branch, said, "I have very mixed emotions concerning this transfer. Change is hard; I believe that the situation is going to be very hard for some to overcome. But we'll make it work no matter what. I think that there is probably going to be some minor process changes and some accountability concerns that will need to be touched on. Those accountability issues will be my biggest challenge as a manager."

Michael Henry, chief of Tobyhanna's Materiel Management Division, said, "Both sides had their issues in the beginning. Both thought we could do it a better way. But we've worked all those issues out; we've come to an agreement and decided here's what's going to transfer. Now we're looking forward to pulling DLA closer. Not only having them as a supporter but also as a strategic partner."

American Federation of Government Employees officials from Columbus and Tobyhanna were in attendance at the town hall and helped address questions from the audience. Also attending the briefings was Army Col. Aaron Geduldig from DLA headquarters.

Prior to the town hall meeting, Army Col. Charles C. Gibson, commander of Tobyhanna Army Depot, took Richardson and DSCC Deputy Commander James McClaugherty on a tour of the Tobyhanna installation.

A ceremony marking the transfer of function for DLA Tobyhanna is scheduled for Feb. 24. The actual transfer of function is scheduled for Feb. 28.