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Feedback Fridays

By Brig. Gen. Laura L. Lenderman | 502d Air Base Wing Commander | Aug. 30, 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.

Mold Issues

Q. It was brought to my attention that Joint Base San Antonio-Fort Sam Houston barracks/dorms will be subject to mold remediation. Do you anticipate any displacement of service people? Secondly, what community resources are needed (if any) to address this issue?

A. Thank you very much for your questions.  Earlier this month, we completed inspections of more than 8,000 barracks/ships/dorms across Joint Base San Antonio.

While we did not displace any servicemen and women at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, we temporarily relocated roughly 525 Airmen at JBSA-Camp Bullis and JBSA-Lackland for several days while our Civil Engineers remediated and cleaned rooms that had the presence of mold or mildew.

Joint Base San Antonio is very grateful and proud to have such a supportive community around us. While we currently do not need any community resources to address this issue, I am extremely grateful for your support and will call on our community for help if needed in the future.

Personnel Issues

Q. I have a question, concerning surveys. Why are the results of surveys not revealed to us? I have done several, the last one concerning the option to telework. The survey was completed and no one in our office or surrounding offices have heard word one on what the results were. There have been other surveys asked but the results are never published. Is there a reason for that?

A. Great question. On many occasions commanders and senior leadership use surveys to assist them with making critical management decisions within their organizations and JBSA. This gives our servicemen and women and government civilians the ability to provide valuable input without being put on the spot or feel pressured to answer how they think senior leaders may want them to answer certain questions.

While there are times when commanders and senior leaders do release the results of surveys and provide feedback to their military and civilian members, many times, they do not release the specific results but rather use the information to inform policy decisions.

That said, if you have a specific question in reference to the telework survey or would like seek the opportunity to telework, please let me or John “Carlos” Bassut, 502d ABW Vice Director and Senior Civilian Supervisor, know and we will do our best to provide you a specific answer to your question and/or work with your supervisor to accommodate your request.

Q. First, I acknowledge that we are almost at the end of the summer. Second, please know that I and my children LOVE the staff at the JBSA-Randolph Youth Center.

That said, my question concerns programs for children ages 8-10 and the equal expense verses unequal services provided in the JBSA-Lackland vs. JBSA-Randolph Summer Care Programs.

My children attended JBSA-Lackland last year and JBSA-Randolph this year due to change of assignment. If you have ever visited the centers, you see right away the differences and availability of activities afforded at JBSA-Lackland.

JBSA-Lackland has an entire room dedicated to STEM (with an awesome teacher) along with multiple rooms for art, Theater and Life Skills, and a central room for karaoke/dance, game tables and two multi-player video game system stations with leather sofas.

For security of our children, JBSA-Lackland maintains automated sign-in/out systems as well as color-coded wrist bands for field trip days. Their regular field trips consist of bowling, pool, roller skating and then there is usually a “big” trip.

JBSA-Randolph’s center offers one crowded room, about the size of JBSA-Lackland’s Life Skills room, with one TV, tables, box games and puzzles, along with a very limited STEM corner. A second room offers a foosball table, two miniature standalone video games, music, tables and a lot of space. A third room is closed off for “REC” kids. Weekly, our kids bowl, swim and have a “big” trip. JBSA-Randolph only has manual sign-in/out and no wrist bands.

I understand there are more children at JBSA-Lackland, however, with the parent/guardian expense being the same, my expectation is to have similar accommodations. Is there a reason for the differences? When I asked the staff, it was offered that JBSA-Lackland has priority for funding.

A. Thank you for your patronage and support of JBSA Youth Programs! The 502d Force Support Squadron works very hard to ensure consistent programs and opportunities are provided at all JBSA programs.

While we strive to provide equitable quality of childcare and youth programs, we unfortunately have limitations as a result of infrastructure. JBSA-Randolph’s youth buildings were constructed in the 1930s and 1990s, whereas JBSA-Lackland’s building was constructed in 2007.

The JBSA-Lackland facility is larger and was designed with a current perspective on what better meets the needs of school age youth, pre-teens and teens in the same facility. While JBSA-Randolph’s facility lacks some of these features, we take pride in offering a robust Open Recreation and Teen Program to share space with school age population.

To accommodate all ages of youth at JBSA-Randolph, the staff has worked hard to maintain separation between age groups by assigning spaces/rooms for them. Although the specific room might not be as clear as to what youth development aspect it supports, the staff are intentional in meeting the diverse interest of children/youth at JBSA-Randolph as well. Programming supports the youth’s development through STEM, fine arts, physical activities, educational and recreational field trips and so much more.  

In terms of accountability, our JBSA-Randolph youths are supplied with shirts to identify them on field trips as a quick method of visibility. There is good news on the automated sign-in/out system. JBSA has been selected by Air Force Child & Youth Programs as the test installation for a new online system that will manage sign-in/out, child/youth records, and payments. We are eager to move forward on this as it will assist staff and families tremendously.

I sincerely apologize for any perception of funding differences between the youth centers. I am happy to confirm that all of the Youth Programs at JBSA receive equitable funding to purchase supplies, materials, and equipment to operate. When there are additional needs outside of the typical scope (i.e. accreditation, large equipment needs), funding has been set aside to cover these expenses.

For example, since the JBSA-Randolph School Age program is due for re-accreditation in the coming months, additional funding is being supplied to the program in order to pay for the accreditation process and prepare the facility and staff so we can continue to provide the best services to our youth.

Thank you for your question and concern regarding the different programming going on at our JBSA Youth Programs. If you have any further concerns please don’t hesitate to reach out to one of our youth directors for assistance.

Q. As a deaf civilian, I would like Joint Base San Antonio to spread and increase awareness of deaf issues, people and culture. National Deaf Awareness Month will be next month. I am pretty sure there are more deaf employees at JBSA-Lackland, JBSA-Fort Sam Houston and JBSA-Randolph.

I haven’t seen any deaf people in the public since November 2018. It would be nice to host an ASL (American Sign Language) event. The purpose would be to learn how to request an ASL interpreter for interview and staff meetings, how to communicate between hearing and deaf employees and meet all deaf GS civilians from JBSA installations.

If an ASL event is highly considered, please do not hesitate to contact me or other deaf civilians for further information. I would like to be involved in committees. I am pretty sure that human resources offices from different bases have numbers of the deaf civilians.

Lastly, National Deaf Awareness Month is significant to spread the word for deaf community. I am looking forward to reading a new post on the JBSA Legacy newspaper.

A. Thank you very much for your question – I greatly appreciate you bringing National Deaf Awareness Month to my attention.

After speaking with our team, I learned that October is designated as National Disability Employment Awareness Month, which is a national campaign that celebrates the many and varied contributions of America’s workers with disabilities.

The observance also emphasizes the importance of guaranteeing that all Americans have access to the services necessary to enable them to work. I’d like to include your ideas in support of raising awareness of the deaf community during our recognition of National Disability Employment Awareness Month.

I’ll also let the committee know you are interested in supporting their efforts.  For others interested in working with the committee supporting Disability Employment Awareness Month, please reach out to our Equal Opportunity Director, Pedro Canabal at pedro.a.canabal.civ@mail.mil or 210-808-0029. Thank you again for taking the time to share your concerns and ideas.

Installation & Facilities

Q. My question concerns Eberle Park at JBSA-Randolph. I recently noticed that a number of beautiful trees in the park have been cut down. Does the base intend to cut down all the trees in the park?

What is the reason tree removal is being done at Eberle Park? The trees provide great shade and add so much to the park. A number of years ago, a beautiful strand of oaks were removed near the perimeter fence next to Lower Seguin Road.

A. Thank you for your questions. The installation’s environmental office always strives to preserve natural resources at all locations, especially our parks.

Unfortunately, in addition to all the wonderful features the trees offer, the Eberle Park trees also pose a hazardous situation for flying operations at JBSA-Randolph in regards to Bird Airfield Strike Hazard, or BASH.

A flight safety survey identified 24 trees to be removed as well as 12 additional trees needing to be pruned and trimmed in order to reduce the bird population that could damage aircraft in the area. An additional challenge is that the trees reside within the accident potential zone, or APZ, for flight line activity.

For public awareness, we advertised prior to the removal of the trees; however, your question highlights that we need to step up our efforts. As always, our goal is to minimize impacts to natural resources while maintaining mission requirements.

Q. I moved to San Antonio in 1961 when my father was transferred to Kelly Air Force Base. We made many, many trips to JBSA-Fort Sam Houston over the years, and too many to count over the last five years as my husband is being treated for cancer at Brooke Army Medical Center.

The condition of the roads on post is embarrassing and I feel have not improved over the past 60 years. I thought for sure that when JBSA-Fort Sam Houston received the billions of dollars for BRAC that the roads would have been repaired to go along with the many new barracks, etc., but no. Will JBSA-Fort Sam Houston ever see any road improvements?

A. Thank you so much for your question and your family’s service. I share your concerns and our Civil Engineer team has been working aggressively to get contracts resourced to improve all JBSA roadways.

Specifically for JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, we have two projects ready to award, valued at over $2 million, to do repairs to Stanley and Corporal Johnson Roads. Additionally, we recently established a partnership with the City of San Antonio to do work through their road repair contract, and we completed our first effort though this mechanism on JBSA-Fort Sam Houston by repairing Parker Hill Road.

We also have projects planned for Wilson Road and Winans Road next year, and 18 more projects targeted for JBSA-Fort Sam Houston roads over the next five years, all of which are resource dependent. In the meantime, our Civil Engineer team will continue to work to address pot holes as they are identified.

Miscellaneous

Q. I have a comment/question about the civilian dog handlers working the night shift, specifically. I had a customer come into the office yesterday, and we got to talking and his wife was a dog handler, but quit because of things she witnessed and another member ended up quitting also.

She allegedly witnessed one handler kicking a dog and another handler lifting the dog up by the leash with it being around his neck and the dog was shaking and trying to get down. Animal cruelty in this world is bad and shouldn’t happen. Is there a way that someone could do a no-notice inspection?

A. Thank you very much for sharing your concern about our four-legged defenders. We treat our Military Working Dogs, or MWDs, with the same dignity and respect as any and all members of JBSA. Regarding your specific question, our MWDs are not handled (“cared for and trained”) by civilian officers – they can only walk or escort them. Handling is done only by our trained and certified military handlers.

I assure you our MWDs are well cared for, and I have zero tolerance for animal cruelty, which results in decertification and administrative action.

To your suggestion of no-notice inspections, we have an oversight program in place where supervisors, commanders, and I can make unannounced visits or “checks” at any time – day or night. I’ve made my MWD commanders aware of your message and they will continue to ensure our MWDs are treated, trained and cared for properly so they are “fit to fight!”