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Feedback Fridays

By Brig. Gen. Laura L. Lenderman | 502d Air Base Wing Commander | June 21, 2019

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO, Texas —

Feedback Fridays is a weekly forum that aims 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. While working overtime, we don’t get any breaks. Is that a norm here in Texas?

 

A. Thank you for your question and thank you very much for working overtime to support the men and women of JBSA! I am sure others are curious about breaks as well.

 

For employees who are non-exempt under the Fair Labor Standards Act, or FLSA, short rest periods, not exceeding 15 minutes during each four hours of continuous work, are allowed when the employee is not able to leave the work site as needed and the supervisor believes the rest periods will be a benefit to the service and mission.

 

Criteria in determining the justification for granting or directing rest periods are:

- Protection of employee’s health by relieving them from hazardous or very physical work.
- Relieve the accident rate by removing the fatigue potential.
- Relieving those who work in confined spaces.
- Increasing or maintaining a high quality or quantity production. 

 

Some of our local Collective Bargaining Agreements, or CBAs, also address rest periods. You may obtain specific requirements for your CBA by contacting the servicing Civilian Personnel Office or NAF Human Resources Office.

 

References: DODI1400.25V610_AFI36-807, Hours of Work and Holiday Observances (Enclosure 3, Scheduling Work), 19 Apr 2019

 

Q. A message was presented orally that selecting officials may not have to advertise positions and they have the right to name a selection without competition. Is this accurate? Where can I find the reference for the validity of this?

 

A. Great question! There are several types of appointing authorities available to selecting managers which do not require a vacancy announcement.

 

Direct-Hire Authority (DHA) is an appointing (hiring) authority that the Office of Personnel Management, or OPM, can give to federal agencies for filling vacancies when a critical hiring need or severe shortage of candidates exists.

 

Using OPM approved government-wide or agency specific direct-hire authorities, agencies may appoint candidates to positions. Appointee must meet all qualification requirements. (Authorities: 5 CFR 213.3102(u))

 

Expedited Hiring Authority (EHA) may be used to fill positions for which there exists a shortage of candidates or there is a critical hiring need and allows supervisors to recruit and appoint qualified persons directly to positions. Appointee must meet all qualification requirements. (Authorities: 5 U.S.C. Section 3304, Section 3309 through 3318, and 5 CFR Part 337, Subpart B)

 

Managers can appoint individuals utilizing 30 percent Disabled Vet; Schedule A (Individual w/Disability); or Direct Hire Authority (DHA)/Expedited Hire Authority (EHA) without announcing the position. The Civilian Personnel Sections do communicate with selecting managers about the various appointing authorities that can be utilized to fill their positions to ensure individuals from within the organization have the opportunity to be considered for positions.

 

Authorities: 10 U.S.C. Section 1599c and 1705, Health Care Professionals and Department of Defense Acquisition Workforce

 

Installation & Facilities

 

Q. To ease afternoon traffic congestions at the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Winfield Scott and Wilson Roads intersection, is it possible to have the intersection lined?

 

A. Thank you for your question and idea on improving traffic safety in a proven busy intersection at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston. Our Civil Engineer team will have our traffic engineer assess the site to determine if new striping is possible and the best solution.

 

There are many traffic standards that apply to intersections and we will want to be certain any changes will comply with those regulations. If the striping is not possible, we will have the Traffic Safety Working Group assess whether there are alternative improvements to enable improved traffic flow in that intersection.

 

Q. Can Security Forces open gates 30 minutes early at JBSA-Lackland in order to accommodate traffic flow on Basic Military Training graduation days?

 

A. Thank you for the question. All Military Highway gates open at 6 a.m. Monday through Friday, with the exception of Luke East, which is open 24/7. This accommodates typical JBSA-Lackland traffic patterns, including surges usually experienced during graduation events.

 

While opening earlier may on the surface seem a reasonable option, we tried opening certain gates at 5:30 a.m. during the early phases of Valley Hi construction this spring, to help mitigate expected congestion.

 

However, few drivers took advantage, even though there were significant delays experienced at gates later in the morning.

 

All that said, our Security Forces and Civil Engineer teams work closely with the 37th Training Wing to regularly reconsider traffic flow at and near gates, looking for changes in pattern, and any adjustments that need to be made to procedures or manpower.

 

Rest assured, we are listening. Our teams will keep looking for ways to improve the installation access experience.

 

Q. While visiting local military bases here in San Antonio, are Security Forces personnel allowed to search the bags or backpacks of people walking on military installations here? I have rarely seen it done, and mainly ID cards are checked.

 

A. Great question. There are certain situations where our Security Forces search bags, backpacks, and other containers pedestrians bring onto the installation. The most common are “random” searches which follow strict criteria, and take into consideration likely threats to the installation.

 

However, searches can also be enacted for other situations, including special events, increased force protection conditions, or in response to suspected criminal activity. I realize searches can create an inconvenience. But, I do not take the decision to approve searches lightly.

 

Security is my top priority. And, searches are an important tool to help keep everyone safe and maintain good order and discipline.

 

Miscellaneous

 

Q. Is the recently announced creation of San Antonio’s locality pay region going to apply to Wage Grade, or WG, pay band or just the General Schedule, or GS?

 

A. Your timing for this question is great! At this time the JBSA Civilian Personnel Office is participating with Department of Defense in a wage scale survey from June 4-14.

 

Results from the survey along with the newly released pay tables for General Schedule (GS) in the San Antonio area will be utilized in the determination of the pay increases Wage Grade (WG) employees receive in the August 2019 timeframe.

 

Wage determinations are developed based on available data showing the rates that are prevailing in a specific locality. Where a single rate is paid to a majority (more than 50 percent) of the workers in a classification of service employees engaged in similar work in a particular locality, that rate is determined to prevail. Information is used from surveys, statistical measurements of central tendency (median) and the average (mean) are considered reliable indicators of the prevailing rate.

 

Which of these statistical measurements will be applied in a given case will be determined after a careful analysis of the overall survey, separate classification data, patterns existing between survey periods, and the way separate classification data interrelate. Thank you for the question!

 

Q. We received feedback on an answer we published in the May 23 Feedback Friday, regarding the Jacobs Creek Park Road at Canyon Lake. Since then our CE team has reevaluated the issue and provided an amended answer.

 

Original Question: We spend a lot of time up at the JBSA-Canyon Lake facilities (boat and recreational vehicle) and the Jacobs Creek Park Road off Route 306 is in dire need of repairs. The asphalt has broken away so much that you can barely fit one vehicle on the entire road.

 

Last year I damaged my boat trailer tires when I went off in to the dirt and I’d like to not have that happen again this summer. Is this road part of JBSA property or belong to the city?

 

Original Answer: We appreciate your feedback, and understand your concern regarding the safety of our JBSA-Canyon Lake customers. JBSA only owns, and therefore maintains, a small segment of Jacobs Creek Park Road, while the majority including from FM 306 up to the JBSA property line, as well as pavement within Jacobs Creek Park, falls under Comal County.

 

We do not currently have any plans for this fiscal year to do repairs on our segment of the road, and we are not aware of any upgrades or repairs planned by the county, however, our community initiatives team will engage with Comal County to see if there is any potential to make improvements to the roads and we will synchronize efforts for our own portion at the same time. These improvements would likely come sometime after this summer’s busy season at the earliest.


Amended Answer: Regarding an earlier Q&A item on improving the roadways leading in to JBSA-Canyon Lake, our Civil Engineer team further explored the issue and how to improve the conditions for our customers.

 

CE has developed a scope for a project to repair the existing roadway and the shoulders, with an estimated cost that is over $250,000 dollars. This effort is not presently a project that the 502nd Air Base Wing has postured to fund or execute this fiscal year, however, it is something that could be explored for fiscal year 2020.

 

Additionally, there was previous consideration for widening the roadway, however, this effort was not pursued due to past funding limitations. The 502nd ABW will reassess this effort as a potential candidate for future funding and will explore all options to determine if there is a solution to making these improvements to our already amazing recreation area.