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Feedback Fridays

By Brig. Gen. Laura L. Lenderman | 502d Air Base Wing Commander | June 28, 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. Why can’t Yellow Cab drivers get monthly or annual passes at Joint Base San Antonio-Randolph the way they do at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston? Both JBSA-Randolph and JBSA-Fort Sam Houston are part of JBSA.

I was told that cabs are commercial vehicles, while Uber and Lyft use private vehicles. But Yellow Cab drivers have to pass the FBI fingerprint check, which is more than Uber or Lyft drivers do.

A. Thank you for your question. Yellow Cab service is managed through a contract secured by AAFES. As part of that service, drivers are vetted and issued one-year access credentials.

When AAFES renewed the contract last year, they chose not to expand service to JBSA-Lackland or JBSA-Randolph.

That said, since the vetting process to issue access credentials for Ft Sam is the same used for all JBSA locations, our Security Forces teams at JBSA-Lackland and JBSA-Randolph accept the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston credentials as long as there is an authorized credential holder in the Yellow Cab, or a valid sponsor has made a request for on-base pickup.

Alternatively, rideshare companies like Uber and Lyft are not issued long-term access credentials for any JBSA location. Instead, driver’s attempting to pick up customers on base must first obtain a temporary pass from the respective Visitor Control Center.

I hope this information is helpful, but please don’t hesitate to let us know if you have any additional questions.

Q. What is the policy on waste and abuse of government employee(s) time and resources by civilian personnel? What other options are available if we do not trust the anonymity of the Inspector General system?

A. I appreciate your question. Personnel should, but are not required to, attempt to resolve complaints of fraud, waste and abuse at the lowest possible level (appropriate for the circumstances) using supervisory channels before addressing them to higher-level command channels or the inspector general, or IG.

When an employee choses to file a complaint with the IG, they have the right to submit the complaint anonymously. IGs at every level maintain a complaint hotline to assist anonymous filers.

Additionally, in accordance with Air Force Instruction 90-301, when the identity of a complainant is known, the IG shall not disclose the identity of the employee without the consent of the employee, unless the IG determines such disclosure is unavoidable during the course of an investigation. Consent is indicated in writing on the AF Form 102, Inspector General Complaint Form.

Complaint Hotlines:

SAF/IGQ Hotline
https://www.afinspectorgeneral.af.mil (option to submit complaint electronically)
1-800-538-8429

AETC/IGQ Hotline
210-652-4460

502 ABW/IGQ Hotline
210-808-1000

Installation & Facilities

Q. I see the Selfridge Gate at JBSA-Lackland for southbound traffic on Southwest Military Drive/Highway 13 now has two right-turn lanes. Could we get lines painted at the intersection because the existing lines are nearly invisible?

Also, replacing the middle lane stop light with a signal that includes a right turn arrow would keep people from getting caught and blocking the intersection when the light changes.

A. A traffic focus group was conducted earlier this week on JBSA-Lackland to look specifically at how to resolve the morning traffic congestion along Military Drive at the JBSA-Lackland vehicle entry control points.

Your suggestions for improving the lines and signals at the Selfridge Gate were part of the discussion along with a number of other ideas that are in the traffic management and gate security operations tool boxes.

The majority of the efforts outside our fenceline have to be worked through our partners with Texas Department of Transportation, or TXDot, and the City of San Antonio. We will engage through our Wing community partnerships office to investigate what improvements, both near and long term, can be made to address this problem.

Q. I work at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston at the AMEDDC&S, HRCOE where we train thousands of Soldiers, Sailors and Airman in medical fields every year.

Thousands of students are constantly drinking from plastic, glass and cans every day, and there is not one recycle container in the school house or any of their barracks anywhere. Even hard to find one other than white paper recycling on post.

We live in San Antonio which offers FREE recycling to residents (meaning part of trash pick-up, no additional cost), so why isn’t there an active recycling program visible at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston?

A. Thank you very much for your question. Currently there is an active recycling program at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston; however, the primary focus of this program is on bulk recycling. This decision is primarily driven by limited manpower and resources to run this program.

Recycling service at specific facilities is limited, and as such our CE team has relied on collection at designated central drop off points. CE recently published an article, entitled “JBSA recycling contributes to environmental effort,” in the June 14, 2019, JBSA Legacy newspaper, on page 6, and can also be found online at https://www.jbsa.mil/News/News/Article/1867542/recycling-allows-jbsa-community-to-contribute-to-environmental-effort/.

If you have specific questions or requests for consideration to improve the program, the POC for the CE Environmental Office is Alvin Brown at 210-671-5499 or e-mail alvin.brown@us.af.mil.

Q. Our directorate recently had an official function at Eberle Park at JBSA-Randolph. We noticed that many of the gorgeous old oak trees near the front of the park had been cut down and we’re curious as to why such beautiful trees would be cut down.

Going further into the park near the pavilions, there are several oak trees that are in dire need of trimming. Some of branches are hanging so low, you literally have to step around them. They offer wonderful shade and relief from the sun.

We’re hoping that those trees aren’t being slated to be cut down as well. Given the size of their trunks, they have to be very old. It would be sad to see these beautiful trees being cut down.

A. Thank you for your question. Our wing environmental office always strives to preserve natural infrastructure at all locations, especially at our parks.

Unfortunately, in addition to all the amazing features the trees have to offer, the Eberle Park trees also pose a hazardous situation for the flying operations on JBSA-Randolph in regards to Bird Airfield Strike Hazard, or BASH. As part of a flight safety survey, 24 trees were identified to be to be removed as well as pruning and trimming of 12 additional trees in order to reduce the bird population that could damage aircraft in the area.

This action was advertised by CE prior to the removal for public awareness. An additional challenge is that the trees reside within the accident potential zone, or APZ, for flight line activity. As always, CE aims to minimize impacts to natural infrastructure while maintaining mission requirements.

Q. Good morning, just a quick question regarding the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Schofield gate near the Fire Department.

The Rideshare Program is such a success and has many military members gathering there in the evenings and on weekends.

On Monday mornings, it is an eyesore to see the trash and debris in the covered area where the pickup location is located. Currently, it looks like there are three concrete containers that are there but not doing the job.

Can larger containers be placed there, or more containers as this has become a weekly eyesore.

A. Thank you for your suggestion and assistance in helping to keep our installation looking great. The Civil Engineer team has identified three additional waste cans that will be placed at the Uber site. They expect to have this completed by the end of this week.

CE will also ensure that the service contract for waste collection will increase monitoring at that site to ensure it is being properly serviced.

Miscellaneous

I recently received a question asking for clarification regarding supervisors and hiring procedures regarding family members. Additionally, the question asked about applicant qualifications and the advertisement of any such positions.

A. Great question! With regard to hiring relatives, Federal law, 5 U.S.C. § 3110, generally prohibits federal officials from appointing, promoting, or recommending for appointment or promotion any “relative” of the official to any agency or department over which the official exercises authority or control.

The statute defines a relative as “an individual who is related to the public official as father, mother, son, daughter, brother, sister, uncle, aunt, first cousin, nephew, niece, husband, wife, father-in-law, mother-in-law, son-in-law, daughter-in-law, brother-in-law, sister-in-law, stepfather, stepmother, stepson, stepdaughter, stepbrother, stepsister, half brother, or half sister.” The law bans the employment only of these specifically named relatives.

Exceptions:

·         5 U.S.C. 3110(d) authorizes the Office of Personnel Management, or OPM, to prescribe regulations authorizing the temporary employment of relatives, in certain conditions, notwithstanding the restrictions. This is allowed when necessary to meet urgent needs resulting from an emergency posing an immediate threat to life or property, or a national emergency as defined in 5 U.S.C. § 230.402(a)(1). In this instance, a public official may employ relatives to meet those needs without regard to the restrictions on the employment of relatives. Such appointments are temporary and may not exceed 30 days, but the agency may extend such an appointment for one additional 30-day period if the emergency need still exists at the time of the extension. A qualifying emergency, for example, may be a natural disaster or similar unforeseen event or circumstance.
 

Unique situations that may appear unauthorized:

·         The law does not prohibit an individual from employing two individuals who are related to each other, but not to the supervisor. 

·         If an individual becomes the supervisor of a relative (other than a spouse) who was hired by someone else, the relative may remain on the payroll. However, the supervisor may not then give that individual further promotions or raises, other than cost-of-living or other across-the-board adjustments.

·         Changing an employee’s status from part-time to full-time would not be considered a raise or promotion and, therefore, would be permitted under 5 U.S.C. § 3110.

Applicant Qualifications and Advertisement:

Title 5 U.S.C. §3304 provides agencies with the authority to appoint candidates directly, without use of standard hiring procedures, to jobs for which OPM determines there is a severe shortage of candidates or a critical hiring need to fill positions that traditional hiring procedures cannot fill, e.g., information technology specialists.

There are several types of appointing authorities available to selection managers.

Flexibility

Use Cases

Availability

Length of Employment

Direct Hire

Used when a severe recruiting difficulty or critical hiring need exists according to regulatory criteria established by OPM

Granted by OPM on an Agency specific or government-wide basis

Temporary, Term, permanent basis

Excepted Service

When it is not feasible to use government-wide qualification standards, hold a competitive examination, or competitive procedures make it impractical to recruit students and recent graduates

Government-wide; OPM can grant Agency-specific Schedule A and B authorities if certain criteria are met.

Varies depending on appointment type

Temporary/ Term Appointment

Position within the competitive service for positions lasting between one and four years (with the ability to be extended up to six years if necessary)

Government-wide

One to four years (with the ability to be extended up to six years if necessary)

 

Even though OPM has given the Department of Defense various hiring flexibilities, individuals being placed into positions must still meet the OPM qualification standards for the position and the Air Force Personnel Center, or AFPC, verifies the qualifications prior to extending a tentative job offer. Under no circumstances are qualification standards being waived or overlooked when hiring under these circumstances. All individuals hired into positions must be able to perform the essential functions of the position for which selected.

References: 5 U.S.C. § 3110, Employment of relatives; Restrictions; 5 U.S.C. § 230.402, Agency Authority to Make Emergency-Indefinite Appointments in a National Emergency; 5 U.S. C. Subchapter I, Examination, Certification, and Appointment.