NEWS | April 13, 2016

Responses to Recent Commander's Call

By 628th Air Base Wing/Public Affairs

Col. Robert Lyman, the commander of Joint Base Charleston, hosted a series of commanders calls March 30, 2016. During those commanders calls, attendees raised a number of questions across a range of subjects.

Below, you'll find responses from base leaders to each of those questions.


CIVIL ENGINEERING

Question:  Are there any plans to add portable bathrooms to the running trails?  (Ex McCombs Way or the back gate)

Answer:  No, there are no plans to add restrooms to the Air Base's running trails.   Since most personnel begin their runs from home or the Fitness Center it is highly recommended that those facilities are used prior to beginning PT.  Should there be an emergency need, the Air Base Picnic Grounds has full, permanent restroom facilities at the intermediate point of the Bash Running Trail headed out to the Rivers Gate.   There are also several buildings along the way, and the FAMCAMP restroom facilities are open and may be used in an emergency.  For McCombs Way, there are portable facilities located just off the trail on Wrenwood's golf course and a few permanent buildings that are available in an emergency as well.  
Question:  What is the status of Building 302 renovations?
Answer:  The overall project is 75% complete. Phase I is the renovation of the front part of the building for the occupants that are currently on the second floor (NavSea, NCIS, and Comm).  Phase II is everything else and we estimate full completion in Oct of this year. Current ongoing work includes plumbing fixture installs & trim-outs, porcelain tile installs, interior wall framing, and brick veneer installation.  The final inspection for Phase I was on 4 Apr 2016.  Furniture move-in is scheduled for 4-13 April with actual personnel moving back in 14-19 April.  Of course, if there any issues with facility acceptance, those dates could slip a little.  Again, Phase II is scheduled for completion in October.


SECURITY FORCES

Question:  Has there been any discussion to charge personnel that use the long term parking lots on JB CHS?

Answer:  In accordance with JB/CHS Supplement 31-218, Long-term parking lots are generally reserved for active duty personnel that are deployed, TDY, or on leave.  Parking in long-term parking is limited to passenger vehicles and motorcycles and they must be maintained in good condition, e.g., no flat tires, no broken windows, no expired registrations, etc.  There is a Long-Term parking lot in front of the AB Passenger Terminal (PAX Terminal) and authorized users must register at Building 164 (PAX Terminal).  Vehicles authorized use cannot exceed 370 days in the lot.

No boats, travel trailers, storage trailers, recreational vehicles, or campers are allowed at the PAX Terminal lot.  The only authorized storage areas for recreational vehicles (RVs) are at the base RV storage lots operated by the Force Support Squadron (FSS).  Security Forces (SF) frequently cite RVs illegally parked in long-term lots and on base streets and will continue to notify appropriate units and owners.

SF patrols have recently stepped up efforts to cite violators due to an increase of illegally-parked RVs, boats, and trailers on JB CHS.  Patrols respond to areas reported to have illegally-parked vehicles in them and post Abandoned Vehicle Notices (AVN).  Once an AVN is placed on vehicle, the vehicle must be removed within 72 hours or it may be towed off-base at the owner's expense.  Security Forces make every effort to contact vehicle owners prior to having any vehicle towed. 


FORCE SUPPORT

Question:  Has there been any discussion on adjusting work hours for military or civilians?  (Ex 4x 10 hour days)

Answer:  Military duty hours are determined by the respective commander based upon mission requirements of the unit.  There are alternative work schedules (AWS) for civilians.  This information is included in the Memorandum of Agreement (Blue Book), Article 14 and also AFI 36-807, Scheduling of Work, Holiday Observances, and Overtime, Chapter 4.  Employee participation in AWS is voluntary and management has final approval authority for any AWS based on manning and mission requirements.  Any civilian personnel and/or AWS questions can be directed to our Civilian Personnel Office at 843-963-4500.

Question:  Why is the base pool not a free benefit?

Answer:  By Congressional Committee guidance, the base pool receives funds as a cost-shared operation between taxpayer Appropriated Funds and user fees (Non-appropriated funds).  This ensures the cost is kept to a minimum while still providing valuable fitness and recreation benefits to our base community.  The funds are used to offset the costs associated with pool maintenance and staff.  E-4 and below may use the pool facilities for free...for both recreation and fitness.  Both pools, AB and WS, offer active duty fitness swimming for free.  AB Pool fitness swimming is 1100-1200, Tue through Sun.  WS Pool fitness swimming is 0500-0730 and 1100-1300, Tue-Fri.  If you have any further questions about the pools, please contact Ms. Merrill Troxell at 843-963-1732 (Air Base) and Mr. Greg Lutz at 843-794-7530 (WS).

Question:  The goal of civilian hiring is 80 days.  What is the current time period for civilian hires at JB/CHS?

Answer:  Although it varies a little from month-to-month, our current hiring timeline is 96 days.  In some situations, the timeline may be higher based on the complexity and circumstances of that hire.  We recently participated in a Rapid Improvement Event (RIE) at the Air Force Personnel Center to provide inputs and solutions on how to reduce the time from advertising vacancies to onboarding the employees.  Some of the initiatives from the RIE are already being executed and will definitely speed things up.  For example, we are now consolidating the tentative job offer, acceptance/declination, and pre-employment forms in to one action versus what used to be three separate actions/emails with waiting periods in between.  Our goal is to get the hiring timeline as low as possible to speed up the hiring of our much-needed and extremely valuable civilian workforce!

Question:  Do qualifications matter for certain positions in the Priority Placement Program (PPP) civilian hiring process?

Answer:  When an employee is registered for the Priority Placement Program (PPP), they must meet the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) qualifications, education, and experience as required by the job series for which they are being registered.  Employees are registered by positions they have held for 52 weeks and longer.  If you have any civilian personnel-related questions, feel free to contact our Civilian Personnel Office at 843-963-4500.

Question:  Any status updates on the AB Theater showing movies again?

Answer:  The Force Support Squadron (FSS) is actively working to restore the AB Theater's capability to show movies.  We are finalizing cost projections for equipment purchase to show theater-quality movies. This service will be provided through the Navy Motion Picture Service...the same program used on the Weapons Station.  We are currently in the process of hiring part-time Recreation Aids to man the theater operation (www.nafjobs.org).  The timeline for our grand opening is Memorial Day Weekend 2016!  If you have questions about the theater, please contact 2d Lt Lainie Long at 843-963-4312.

Question:  Is there a plan to allow meal holders to use other FSS eateries rather than just the DFAC?

Answer:  The AF is undergoing a transformation of food services through the Food Transformation Initiative (FTI).  This program converts food services on the installation into campus-style dining, allowing military meal-card holders the ability to eat at the Dining Facility (DFAC) or any other FSS food service facilities designated under FTI.  Additionally, as part of FTI, the DFAC will be opened to all personnel on the installation (retirees, civilian workforce, families, etc). 

Our DFAC is scheduled to be included in the next phase of FTI and the contractor should be announced by the end of April.  Once the contract is actually awarded, there will be several site visits along with renovations (to DFAC and any other FSS facilities that fall under FTI).  We will be able to provide an estimated implementation time line at that time.  If you would like to learn more about FTI, please contact 1st Lt Jonathan Steinagel at 843-963-3815 or visit:  http://www.myairforcelife.com/Dining/Programs.aspx

Question:  Are there any renovations planned for the JB/CHS fitness centers?  Repair the sauna?  Install Wi-Fi?  Will there be 24 hour fitness at Sam's Gym?

Answer:  A project for Sam's Gym was recently funded to renovate the men's locker room, to include replacing the showers, improving ventilation, replacing the sauna, and installing new flooring.  A project has been submitted and prioritized for the locker rooms at the AB Fitness Center which is currently on the FY17 Sustainment, Repair, & Maintenance (SR&M) list.  We hope to have this project funded in FY17.  Preparation actions are in the works to offer Fitness Access (card swipe entry) at the Eastside Gym on the Weapons Station.  Much of the required equipment (hardware and software) for the program was installed in March.  There are several safety and infrastructure upgrades that must be completed before Fitness Access can be implemented.  We're aggressively working these requirements, and the expected go-live date is July 2016.  Due to the location of Sam's Gym and the resulting security concerns, 24-hour access is not being pursued.  Regarding Wi-Fi capability, there is no project currently in implementation but we are seeking vendor solutions to determine costs and feasibility.  More to follow as we continue our research.  If you have questions about any of the fitness center projects, please contact 1st Lt Jonathan Steinagel at 843-963-3815.


MEDICAL

Question: Has the pharmacy considered any improvements to deliver prescriptions faster?

Answer: There are a number of strategies that patients can employ in order to receive faster service at the pharmacy:

- The peak times for business are between 1000 & 1400.  Patients may avoid these times and come earlier in the morning or later in the afternoon to receive faster service.
- There is a prescription drop off box next to the pharmacy kiosk that patients may place their hardcopy prescriptions in for them to be filled the next duty day.  The patient may come back and go straight to Window 4 for pickup, and avoid waiting for service at Window 1.
- Peak days for service occur before and after holidays, active duty and retiree paydays (because they go to the commissary), and down days.  Patients can plan ahead to avoid days that will have an increased level of congestion.
- Use Tricare Online Services to expedite refills.  The refills requested online automatically queue to the refills in the pharmacy and save patients time on phone tree phone calls.
- Have their providers utilize the e-prescribing services that are offered.  E-prescriptions do not have to be typed, which can save up to 50% of the normal wait time required to type prescriptions, fill them, and then verify them.

Question: What programs are offered for pregnant members and dependents?

Answer: The Medical Group's Family Advocacy Program offers a range of programs to help pregnant mothers and dependents. Programs include:

New Parent Support Program (NPSP)

The goal of the NPSP is to provide early education for expecting parents and those with newborns or toddlers up to age 3.   The NPSP is staffed by Registered Nurses & supported by Social Workers to offer a variety of services as your family grows into the rewarding world of parenting.

Services offered include:

Home Visits
Hospital Visits
Telephone Consults
Family Advocate
Information and Education
Free Classes offered include:
Baby Basics (WS)
Breastfeeding (AB &WS)
Infant & Child CPR (AB &WS)
Mommy & Daddy Marathon (AB)
OB Orientation (AB & WS)

Outreach Program

The purpose of the Outreach Program is to implement programs to help strengthen the military family and community.   The Outreach component offers a variety of classes to improve coping, parenting, and relationship skills.  Other activities consist of family violence education to military leaders, agencies, and the military community.  All classes offered are free and available to AD, reservist, retirees, dependents and GS employees. 

Programs include:

Anger/Stress Management Classes
Love & Logic Parenting
Actively Parenting Your Teen
Dads:  The Basics
Prevention & Relationship Enhancement Programs
Leader and Community Education
Community Family Violence Briefings
Information and Referral
Special Events and Programs

Family Advocacy Strength-Based Treatment (Prevention)

Provides preventative evaluation(s) and treatment services to active duty members and their dependents with no medical documentation.
Example: Couple experiencing martial distress and are considering separation

Family Maltreatment Issues

Provides identification, evaluation and treatment services for active duty members and their family members referred due to maltreatment (child abuse +/- family violence). 
Air Force/Navy policy directs that ALL active duty members and civilian employees are recommended to report ALL incidents of suspected child abuse. 

Services include:

Assessment for Safety & Risk of Maltreatment
Victim Advocacy
Referral to Appropriate Community Resources
Treatment for Domestic Violence
Marital Therapy
Individual Therapy
Parenting Education and Training
Liaison with Base and/or Community Agencies

Domestic Abuse Victim Advocacy (DAVA) Services

The DAVA works collaboratively with the military, civilian, medical, social services, law enforcement and legal personnel on the behalf of victims.

The following is a list of a few of the services provided by this office.

- Safe and confidential ways to seek assistance regarding abuse
- Establish and maintain current and effective safety plans
- Explanation of restricted and unrestricted reporting
- Explanation of victim rights
- Assistance with military and civilian orders of protection
- Information regarding civilian and military resources
- Court Advocacy
- 24/7 Emergency Hotline coverage
  -The FAP team is composed of 11 members who offer a wide array of services.

Please call 843-963-6972(AB)/ 843-794-7435(WS) for more information.



CHAPEL

QUESTION:  "What is the policy for prayer in the workplace?  Ex prayers before SQ potlucks."

ANSWER:  Prayer in the workplace is a matter for commander's discretion and is authorized, provided it accords with good order and discipline. The DoD places a high value on the rights of members of the Military Services to observe the tenets of their respective religions or to observe no religion at all. It protects the civil liberties of its personnel and the public to the greatest extent possible, consistent with its military requirements.

According to Air Force Instruction 1-1 (paragraph 2.11), "Leaders at all levels must balance constitutional protections for an individual's free exercise of religion or other personal beliefs and the constitutional
prohibition against governmental establishment of religion."

If concerned about a particular practice in their units, members should raise that concern with their chain of command.

The following principles come directly from the "Revised Interim Guidelines Concerning Free Exercise of Religion in the Air Force." They provide further guidance for the question of prayer in the workplace:

- Public Prayer should not imply government endorsement of religions and should not usually be a part of routine official business.

- Mutual respect and common sense should always be applied, including consideration of unusual circumstances and the needs of the command.

- Non-denominational, inclusive prayer or a moment of silence may be appropriate for military ceremonies or events of special importance when its primary purpose is not the advancement of religious beliefs.

For more information, reference DoD Instruction 1300.17.