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Feedback Fridays

By Brig. Gen. Laura L. Lenderman | 502d Air Base Wing | Nov. 2, 2018

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas —

Feedback Fridays are weekly forums that aim to connect the 502d Air Base Wing with members of the Joint Base San Antonio community. Questions are collected during commander's calls, town hall meetings and throughout the week. If you have a question or concern, please send an email to RandolphPublicAffairs@us.af.mil using the subject line "Feedback Fridays." Questions will be further researched and published as information becomes available.

 

Personnel Issues

 

Q. Can the wing help get law enforcement officer pay and retirement benefits for Security Forces civilians?

 

A. What a great question, especially because of the large number of civilian professionals assigned to the 502d Security Forces Group. Unfortunately, this one is outside of our control here at Joint Base San Antonio. The Congressional Research Service published a paper in September 2017 entitled Retirement Benefits for Federal Law Enforcement Personnel (https://fas.org/sgp/crs/misc/R42631.pdf). 

The current statutory definition of a LEO under the federal retirement system is, “An employee whose primary duties are the investigation, apprehension, or detention of individuals suspected or convicted of offenses against the criminal laws of the United States.” 

The Office of Personnel Management further refined the definition by stating a LEO, “Does not include an employee whose primary duties involve maintaining law and order, protecting life and property, guarding against or inspecting violations of law, or investigating persons other than persons who are suspected or convicted of offenses against the criminal laws of the United States.”

 

Currently, Department of the Air Force civilian police officers, or any other Department of Defense police officers in the 0083 series of employment, do not meet the definitions described above. DoD police officers enforce the laws of the U.S. military as depicted in the Uniform Code of Military Justice rather than under the U.S. Criminal Code.

 

There are efforts to extend these retirement benefits to other occupational groups since many employees of law enforcement occupations are not recognized as LEOs by their agency or OPM. In the 113th Congress, legislation was introduced that would expand the definition of a LEO. Additionally, several employee groups and unions representing individuals in occupations not considered as a LEO have sought enhanced retirement benefits through additional legislation. Thus far, no changes have been signed into federal law.

 

Installation & Facilities

 

Q. Months ago, we submitted a work order through Civil Engineering to get the pot holes repaired around Hangar 73 and the parking lot area between Hangar 73 and 74. No response yet.

 

A. Don’t worry, CE hasn’t forgotten about this! We are going to be cold patching the potholes identified at Hangar 73 and in the parking lot between Hangar 73 and 74 close to Nov. 5. The delay was to allow for the weather to dry out and for temperatures to drop low enough to enable our patch work to hold. We are also scheduling a larger scale repair after the New Year and will update the units affected with the date.

 

Q. Can we fix the air-conditioning in the permanent party dorms? They break every summer because they’re “inexpensive” per dorm management.

 

A. We understand how unpleasant South Texas heat can be with no AC, and we work closely with facility managers to identify heating, ventilation, and air-conditioning problems in the dorms. When we identify systemic problems and trends, CE works a comprehensive repair or replacement as needed. We are continuing to fill our available HVAC civilian vacancies and training up service members at the lowest level, utilizing our awesome HVAC apprentice program, to allow for more craftsman to respond to AC work orders. Please continue to assist us by promptly reporting all AC problems to the facility manager.

 

Miscellaneous

 

Q. How will 502d ABW leadership define innovation and improvement efforts?

 

A. Awesome question! I’m excited that you asked about innovation at JBSA. At the 502d ABW, we define innovation around two basic concepts: novelty and impact. 

Simply stated, innovation is novelty with impact. Novelty is an idea, process, solution, technique, technology or method that has an impact which saves money, time, solves problems, provides value, reduces risk, or improves performance. 

One way to identify innovative improvement efforts is through the continuous process improvement program which applies Lean Six Sigma tools. The application of LSS tools enables 502d ABW members to integrate continuous improvement into day-to-day operations across JBSA. As the largest joint base in the DoD, we rely on each and every one of you to innovate and solve problems. You are welcome to submit innovation and process improvement questions to usaf.jbsa.502-abw.mbx.cvm@mail.mil.

 

Some helpful innovation tools can be found at https://itk.mitre.org/our-toolkit/.                                  

 

We also offer CPI training, Practical Problem Solving Model, and Green Belt training. Please visit our site to sign up https://cs2.eis.af.mil/sites/12894/CPI/training/default.aspx.

 

Q. I have been at JBSA for two years and noticed that individuals count it as a badge of honor to jump the chain of command and go directly to the higher-ups. How can that mindset be changed?

 

A. Thank you for your question. This is an age-old leadership dilemma. How does a leader stay approachable and accessible but still ensure the chain of command is respected? As leaders, we want our people to feel comfortable coming to us. At the same time, we need to empower other leaders, down the chain, to handle issues at their levels, whenever possible. This requires professionalism across the organization.

 

The solution is relatively simple, and it’s every leader’s problem to help solve. When an issue is presented to us that appears to be “solve-able” at a lower-level, we should be asking, “Have you given your chain of command the opportunity to handle this?” or “Did you give your chain of command the courtesy of letting them know you were bringing this to me?” By doing this consistently, leaders will cultivate a more professional culture where we not only have approachable leadership, but good order and discipline.

 

Q. How do you plan on enforcing the AF’s zero tolerance policy on sexual harassment in the work place?

 

A. Thank you very much for your question. I strive every day through my words and actions to reinforce a culture of trust and respect in our wing because when that trust breaks down, it can have a devastating impact on our mission and organization. Part of my effort to build trust is to ensure that all of our personnel are aware of and empowered to help enforce our zero tolerance policy towards sexual harassment. 

From the first briefing upon arrival to JBSA to the refresher “No Fear, Act” training course which is completed annually, we work to ensure everyone on our team knows they are valued, respected and protected. Our mission is to arm civilians and military service members with the knowledge of how to address, confront and report any instances of sexual harassment in their work places. Reports of sexual harassment can be made through a first line supervisor, first sergeant, commander, or through any Equal Opportunity representative across JBSA. If you have any questions, please reach out to one of our EO program managers:

 

JBSA-FSH:

Mr. Aaron Jackson

210-295-0552

aaron.t.jackson4.civ@mail.mil

 

JBSA-RND:

Ms. Maria Preda

210-652-3705

maria.preda@us.af.mil

 

JBSA-LAK:

Ms. Lakreisha Johnson

210-671-4282

lakreisha.johnson@us.af.mil

 

Q. Do commanders know Interactive Customer Evaluation comments can be anonymous?

 

A. Great question. The ICE system is a web-based tool that collects feedback on services provided by various organizations throughout the DoD and local JBSA service organizations. 

While ICE does allow customers to submit online comment cards anonymously, no log-in or user data is recorded, customers are encouraged to provide contact information so that leaders can better address their needs and concerns. 

ICE is designed to improve customer service and process improvement by allowing managers to monitor satisfaction levels of services provided through reports and customer comments. ICE comments provide commanders with real-time feedback, giving leaders the ability to measure the pulse of their programs and services. 

Quarterly ICE trend analysis provides a snapshot of what is and isn't working and is ultimately used to improve on our processes. While more often than not ICE feedback notifies leadership of needed improvements, customers are also highly encouraged to provide positive feedback as well, especially when they are happy with provided services or agents.

 

To make an ICE comment regarding a JBSA organization or service provided please visit: https://ice.disa.mil/index.cfm

 

Q. Who is your AF role model or mentor?

 

A. I love this question. Like many of you, there are many people in my life who have helped me grow as an individual and a leader. 

I have to start with my dad. My dad was a Vietnam veteran who served 26 years in our AF, and he laid the foundation of what right looks like. He loved our country, he loved our family, and he’s the reason I’m serving today. He was a quiet man of principle and strength who was my biggest cheerleader but also corrected me when I was wrong. 

I also turn to my husband, Dave. We met in pilot training in Columbus, Mississippi in 1995 and from the day we met, I have looked to him for advice, inspiration, and love. He’s been my coach and also my teammate, and he’s made this AF adventure so much fun. 

Lastly, I’d like to mention, Gen. Darren McDew, USAF. I wish everyone had a Gen. McDew in their life. He’s a man of character and kindness who brought out the best in everyone around him. He has the highest standards and inspired all of us to achieve more than we thought possible. He’s the kind of leader I hope to be some day.