By Jacqueline BoucherJanuary 14, 2010
TOBYHANNA ARMY DEPOT, Pa. - Tobyhanna employees transferring to a new tenant organization were notified recently as part of the shift of the supply, storage and distribution (SS&D) function from the Army to the Defense Logistics Agency (DLA).
Early this year, personnel working in the central receiving and automated storage and retrieval systems (ASRS) areas will move to DLA as an outcome of a 2005 Base Realignment and Closure (BRAC) SS&D Management Reconfiguration decision. The transition will affect 35 depot employees and 18 contractors in three Materiel Management Division branches -Commodity Procurement, Mission Materiel Staging and two forklift drivers assigned to Materiel Movement.
DLA Tobyhanna is scheduled to stand up on Feb. 28. Provisional Commander Lt. Col. Gregory Rizzo will arrive in January.
Officials focused on helping Tobyhanna-based employees understand the transfer and timeline during a town hall meeting conducted at the depot.
"The employees working in central receiving and ASRS have been a great asset to Tobyhanna and will continue to be under DLA," said (Hazleton resident) James Antonelli, deputy director of the Production Management Directorate. "These people know why they come to work each day, to support the men and women serving in harm's way. I know these people and know that attitude will continue after the transition."
Employees were able to ask questions following several briefings in the two-hour meeting, according to (Roaring Brook Township resident) Pam Aten, Tobyhanna's SS&D team leader. Briefers stressed that personnel will perform the same jobs, observe the same work hours and enjoy the same benefits such as participating in the mass transit program. Administrative processes, including pay and sick and annual leave, will be managed by DLA, she noted.
"DLA is putting the same energy into transitioning these 35 positions as they would for 350 positions," said (Olyphant resident) Sheryl Valentini, the depot's point of contact for change management. "To them every person counts."
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 (DSCC) and Tobyhanna and recognized the strong efforts of the Tobyhanna work force in support of the warfighter.
"It's important that everyone remembers that we're still working for the warfighter," Aten said. "It's still our job to get critical equipment to the military members in the field."
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 BRAC 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.
"My folks have become excited about the transfer," said (Dunmore resident) George Frye, chief of the Mission Materiel Staging Branch, explaining that many questions were answered during the town hall, which 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."
According to (Mountain Top resident) Michael Henry, 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," he said. Henry is the chief of the Materiel Management Division.
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 Gedulding from DLA headquarters.
A ceremony marking the transfer of function for DLA Tobyhanna is scheduled for Feb. 24.
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, from tactical field radios to the ground terminals for the defense satellite communications network. Tobyhanna's missions support all branches of the Armed Forces.
About 5,600 personnel are employed at Tobyhanna, which is located in the Pocono Mountains of northeastern Pennsylvania.
Tobyhanna Army Depot is part of the U.S. Army CECOM Life Cycle Management Command. Headquartered at Fort Monmouth, N.J., the command's mission is to research, develop, acquire, field and sustain communications, command, control computer, intelligence, electronic warfare and sensors capabilities for the Armed Forces.