NEWS | Aug. 28, 2012

Town Hall provides forum for tough questions

By Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs Joint Base Charleston Public Affairs

Joint Base Charleston Commander Col. Richard McComb recently held a series of Town Hall meetings at the JB Charleston - Weapons Station and Air Base. The following is a transcript of questions and answers at the meetings and submitted via Email and Facebook along with addressed responses.

Question: "Why isn't there handicap parking at Bldgs. 174 and 175? Is it possible to have handicap parking marked off?

Answer: According to the Civil Engineer Squadron, there are 27 parking spaces, so based on applicable code and regulations, these facilities should have two handicap parking spaces. CES has placed temporary Handicap signs at the facility and will be installing permanent handicap spaces.

Question: Can an employee file for back pay if their position is upgraded after retirement?

Answer: No. U.S. Comptroller General Decision B-232695 dated Dec. 15, 1989, states that federal employees are entitled only to the salary of their appointed positions even when higher level duties may have been performed and that there is no entitlement to back pay in the event of a later re-classification to a higher grade. We are aware of these types of issues and are working through the classification backlog in an orderly manner as quickly as possible. CPS also encourages individuals to file classification appeals if they believe their current position is improperly graded. Guidance on filing appeals is available online at:
http://www.cpms.osd.mil/fas/classification/class_filing_appeal.aspx

Question: Will there be any additional spraying for mosquitoes if they get bad again?

Answer: Fogging in the housing areas on the Weapons Station will be accomplished once every week, weather permitting. Additionally, if the mosquito counts warrant, the joint base will request another aerial spraying.

Question: Will Balfour Beatty start sending base housing residents at the Weapons Station a power bill?

Answer: Balfour Beatty is beginning the process of monitoring the power usage of residents. Each household will receive a mock bill that will break down usage and show a baseline for their household. Eventually, residents will be responsible for paying the difference. Residents who use less power than their baseline will be compensated. Once the dates and specific details of the program are finalized, a town hall meeting will be held to inform the community.

Question: Can we get more coverage of Navy events in the Patriot newspaper?

Answer: This is something I pay very close attention to. We try to get as even a split as possible between the Air Force and Navy... I would prefer a 50/50 split but that just isn't always possible. The public affairs staff meets with me and other members of my staff, including Navy leaders, every Monday morning and we're briefed on what goes into the paper on a weekly basis, so I have a pretty good idea of the variety of coverage the public affairs staff provides. They have also been making a concerted effort to reach out to all our joint base partners on the Weapons Station so we can help tell their stories. If you have possible story ideas, give the PAO a call at 963-5608. They really welcome your input.

Question: If a family lives outside of Dorchester County, are they allowed to cross county lines to go to a school in another county?

Answer: State law states a student must attend a school in the district in which they reside unless the student owns real property (in excess of $300) in the district in which they wish to transfer to.

Parents may elect to pay tuition for students to attend an out-of-district school provided there is space for the student in the desired school. Parents can request an exception, but the number of exceptions approved without parents agreeing to pay tuition is unknown. State statute follows: SECTION 59 63 30. Qualifications for attendance: Children within the ages prescribed by Section 59 63 20 shall be entitled to attend the public schools of any school district, without charge, only if qualified under the following provisions of this section:
(a) Such child resides with its parent or legal guardian;
(b) The parent or legal guardian, with whom the child resides, is a resident of such school district; or
(c) The child owns real estate in the district having an assessed value of three hundred dollars or more; and
(d) The child has maintained a satisfactory scholastic record in accordance with scholastic standards of achievement prescribed by the trustees pursuant to Section 59 19 90; and
(e) The child has not been guilty of infraction of the rules of conduct promulgated by the trustees of such school district pursuant to Section 59 19 90.

Question: I'm curious as to why the Weapons Station gates, particularly the Remount Road entrance, only have two guards during rush hour. The Air Base seems to have significantly more personnel and open lanes as well. Are there plans to increase officers and lanes at the Weapons Station?

Answer: During peak traffic JB Charleston gates are posted based on traffic demand as determined by Security Force Post validations. In order to provide the best service we can, additional lanes and ID checkers are posted above validation when available manpower supports on both the Air Base and Weapons Stations annexes. This additional manpower can be affected by special operations and or calls for service requiring a security force response. Security Forces recognizes the need to add the necessary manpower at all of our Entry Control Points as a priority and will continue to work towards reducing any delays at all of our entry control points.

Question: I am an Army veteran and Department of Defense employee and I am unable to purchase items from the commissary and Shoppette (Express). Is there any policy that will allow me to shop at these facilities?

Answer: Only those personnel approved by the House Armed Services Committee and authorized by Department of Defense directives may shop in Exchange facilities. DoD civilians as well as others who are doing work on the installation such as contractors are allowed to purchase "perishable" items that can be consumed at one time during a meal period. DoD civilians with limited exchange privileges are not allowed to purchase tobacco or alcohol.

If an individual is a veteran but only has a veteran's I.D. card to allow them to receive medical services, they are not entitled to Exchange privileges.

Question: When was the last time we have had a military furlough and what are your thoughts of one in the future?

Answer: The last military furlough occurred during the Clinton administration. In my opinion, with the very tough fiscal environment that the Federal Government will be facing, to include sequestration ... it's possible that we'll hear something about a potential furlough again, but in the end, I believe that we'll be able to avoid having to follow-through with any furlough planning. Of course that could change if the issue of sequestration is not resolved. Leadership is doing everything they can to make sure it doesn't happen. My prediction is we'll avoid it.

Question: If there is civilian job downgrading, what does that mean for stop release?

Answer: What you would see happen is a period of grade retention, over a period of two-years, where you get one hundred percent of your pay, followed by a pay retention that takes a snapshot of your salary at that point, carries that forward with entitlements by 50 percent with any annual increases on the general schedule or F.W.S. system. During the two-year grade retention, you are put on a local priority list as well as put into the DoD priority replacement system to try and get you back into a position at the grade-level in which you left.

Question: If there are jobs for civilians that need to be filled by next summer; will they be advertised, and if it's all through reprocess, is everyone (Air Force and Navy) entitled to the same priority?

Answer: All vacancies will be posted on USA Jobs (http://www.usajobs.gov) unless the job is filled by an individual dislocated because of their job being eliminated by RMD 703 or with a similar placement entitlement. The most reliable way to find our vacancy announcements is to click the Advanced Search link on the USA Jobs main page, select "All South Carolina" under Location Search, "All Department of Defense - Dept. of the Air Force" under Agency Search, and select "Yes" under Applicant Eligibility. Each announcement will include instructions on how to apply. All current permanent General Schedule (GS) and Federal Wage System (FWS-WS/WL/WG) employees, as well as our Non-Appropriated Fund and AAFES employees who have served continuously for at least one year in a NAFI or AAFES position under appointments without time limitation, are eligible to apply for our GS and FWS positions and, if found to be qualified, will be given full and fair consideration.

Question: I was wondering why there isn't a parent's night out provided by the Child Development Center for Navy personnel. I've been told the only base that offers it is the Air Force Base. Since we are a joint base can they also allow Navy families to use the parent's night out services?

Answer: There are currently two separate programs on the Air Base ... "Parents Night Out" is offered monthly at the Air Base Youth Program for youth 5-12 years of age, is open to all personnel assigned to Joint Base Charleston, and receives no external funding. "Give Parents a Break" is a referral-based program, offered at the Air Base Child Development Center to active duty Airmen assigned to Joint Base Charleston, for children 6 weeks - 5 years of age, and is partially funded by the Air Force Aid Society.

The Air Force Aid Society and the Navy Relief Society are private charities and each has a unique mission statement. Both societies provide emergency relief to military members without regard to military affiliation. However, in their community outreach programs they provide targeted programs in line with their charters focused on their respective services. This is one example where both societies are focused on different community needs. Regardless, we recognize the benefits of providing this program for our Navy families and are currently working both locally and with Headquarters Air Force to determine alternative Department of Defense funding options that will allow us to provide the same level of service to both stations.