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Feedback Fridays

By Brig. Gen. Laura L. Lenderman | 502d Air Base Wing Commander | Sept. 27, 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. I booked a Labor Day weekend trip to Joint Base San Antonio Recreation Park at Canyon Lake thinking it was the best of all worlds; a military environment for my husband with fun activities for my college age children.

Let me say, it was not the best of any world. From both the perspective of a military spouse and customer service expert (held executive positions) I thought you might want to be aware of the three main issues I noticed:

1.      Customer service – there is very little evidence of proper training or execution. For example:
A
.      Our lodge/loft was infested with ants. After complaining to management, we were told we would receive a refund for one night. Most of my time spent in the cabin was scooping up ants with wet paper towels.
B
.      Maintenance is lacking or nonexistent. On Sunday evening, the gate to our area was difficult to enter because the key pad was nonfunctioning, or functioning poorly. When the instructions on the handwritten note did not work, I called via the call box. I was met with a very rude employee; he was so rude, I just walked away from the call. It took more than 10 tries (between my husband and myself) to get the gate to open. Interestingly enough, on the morning of our departure the exit gate was open.

2.      Employee morale – There is an issue with how employees treat each other and, in turn, how this spills over to treatment of customers. 

3.      Financials – I’ve overseen many a budget and feel like something is off at this site. It took months to book a reservation and when doing so, I was told most weekends were booked. Staff was turning away cars for the beach area because of capacity issues. Yet, basic safety items like a working gate or pest control are not covered. It would seem that with revenue generated on site and funds from federal recreational budgets, there would be more than adequate resources (both financial and staff) to cover basic needs. For the lodge/loft we stayed in we were actually overcharged for a night, even though I confirmed the early leave several days in advance (twice), cleaned and turned in the key on time, and management was aware of our issues and check out. I did receive a refund for the overcharge. However, many families might not notice or just give up. The financials here just seem messy.

 

A. Thank you very much for bringing your concerns to my attention. I sincerely regret your unpleasant experience at our JBSA Recreation Park at Canyon Lake, and how long it took for you to make a reservation.

Availability at the park during peak season, from Memorial Day to Labor Day, is very limited. The Canyon Lake housekeeping staff cleans each lodging unit after customer check-out, but the staff was unaware of the ant problem in this particular unit until it was brought to their attention. We apologize we missed the infestation during the cleaning process; however, the unit was deep cleaned upon departure and the ants are now gone.

Regarding the gates, we do have periodic problems with our gates and key pads due to the heavy use, and sometimes the weather. We are working with our civil engineers in the off season to complete a review of the gates and key pads to ensure they are in good working order to preclude future problems. The good news is the gates and key pads are currently operational as civil engineers made the needed repairs.

While all of our dedicated employees complete customer service training, we will ensure we complete refresher courses. In the interest of patron safety and in coordination with law enforcement officials, we do limit the number of cars we allow into the Jacobs Creek Park.  We reached our maximum capacity during Labor Day weekend and were required to inform patrons the park was full. Again, this is in the interest of patron safety.

In terms of financials, a review of internal controls will be conducted in the coming weeks to ensure compliance with cash handling procedures, payments and reservations. We also recently hired a new park manager who has extensive experience managing off-base recreation parks and outdoor recreation programs, and will focus on improving customer service and team morale.

Thank you for bring these concerns to our attention. Customer satisfaction is one of our top priorities. Please allow us another opportunity and visit the park as our guest. If you have any further questions, please contact Harry Gilbert, Manager JBSA Recreation Park at Canyon Lake, directly at 210-902-7260 and he will assist you.

Installation & Facilities

Q. Why are Uber and Lyft drivers not able to pick up on base at our homes? My husband and I couldn’t get a ride from our home to a restaurant on the Riverwalk. We want to enjoy a drink or two with dinner, but being that we are responsible adults know it is a bad idea to drink then drive; the solution would be to take an Uber or Lyft ... wrong. We have to drive to the pickup location off base which means that we would have to drive home after being dropped off which defeats the purpose, since we will have already consumed alcohol.

A.  Thank you very much for this great question and for setting the example of enjoying a good time responsibly! Your question comes at a relevant time, as my team is researching the possibility of allowing ride-sharing services vetted access to our JBSA installations.  

Until then, I offer a short-term solution, which is an update to a Feedback Friday question from June 28th regarding taxi services accessing JBSA (https://www.jbsa.mil/News/News/Article/1883312/feedback-fridays/).

Today, “Yellow Cab & Towne Car” is the only company contracted and sponsored by JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, meaning their vetted drivers may pick up and drop off JBSA-Fort Sam Houston families seamlessly (just ensure to tell Yellow Cab to send a driver with the “Fort Sam DBIDS credential” for both the pick-up *and* drop-off).

Unfortunately, this convenience doesn’t apply to JBSA-Lackland and JBSA-Randolph families. For pick-up, family members will have to meet their driver outside the base gate. However, for the drop-off, JBSA-Lackland and JBSA-Randolph gate Defenders will allow Yellow Cab through if the driver possesses a valid Fort Sam Houston DBIDS credential and the family member(s) have their Department of Defense installation access ID card.

I appreciate your patience and understanding with this option and will keep you and the JBSA community informed of positive steps made in this new initiative. For more information on the exact guidance, please see below:

JSFOI 31-113 Installation Perimeter Access Control
2.8.2. Taxi Delivery. Yellow Cab & Towne Cars. Are the only Army Air Force Exchange Services (AAFES) sponsored and contracted company authorized to enter JBSA-FSH without a fare.

2.8.2.1. (FSH) Yellow Cab & Towne Cars personnel are authorized to obtain a DBIDS credential after being proofed and vetted. If the driver does not have a DBIDs credential; he/she will be directed to the VCC for processing prior to entry.

2.8.2.2. (LAK/RND) Yellow Cab & Towne Cars drivers who have a FSH DBIDS card are considered vetted and proofed and may request entry only if an authorized credential holder is in the vehicle or valid sponsor has a request for pickup.

2.8.2.3. Other Taxi Cab Companies (including Uber and Lyft) are authorized access as follows:

2.8.2.3.1. Taxi entering without a passenger: Taxi will be directed to the VCC for processing. VCC will verify via a .mil account or in person if sponsor has asked for this cab. If verified the driver will be proofed and vetted. If clear, the driver will be issued a “30 Minute” pass to proceed to the pickup point and leave the installation. If unable to verify, the taxi will be denied entry.

Q. I am a retired disabled veteran. When I visit JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, I hold my breath at the thought of driving on very poor roads. It seems that potholes and bad roads are everywhere and unavoidable. It also damages my vehicle (and me) the more I drive on them.

Can you please repave ALL of the roads for the entire facility and bring it up to date? I realize that this is very expensive, time consuming – years perhaps – and a pain.

Let us transform and modernize historical JBSA-Fort Sam Houston. Hopefully, it will be here for generations to come to serve our community and beyond.

A. Thank you so much for your question, and for your service. Your concerns are shared by our team and we have been working aggressively to get contracts resourced to improve all JBSA roadways.

Specifically for JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, we have had two projects, valued at more than $2 million, to repair Stanley and Corporal Johnson Roads. Additionally, we recently finalized an agreement with the City of San Antonio to do work through their road repair contract, and we completed our first effort though this mechanism by repairing Parker Hill Road.

We also have projects teed up for Wilson Road and Winans Road next year, and 18 more projects targeted for JBSA-FSH roads over the next 5 years, all of which is resource-dependent. In the meantime, our Civil Engineer team will work to address potholes as they are identified.

Q. The parking on JBSA-Randolph has always been a challenge, especially around the Air Force Personnel Center. 

Finding “legal” parking slots has become even more challenging with Det. 24 moving into Hanger 71. Det. 24 applied for and received five “official” parking slots with metal signs attached to the parking curbs between Hanger 71 and the west flightline.

However, for a couple of weeks, Det. 24 blocked 28 additional parking slots with paper signs. I believe Det. 24 blocking 28 parking slots with “unofficial signs” is taking an unfair advantage for an already challenging process.

A. Thank you for bringing this issue to my attention. Parking is an issue across all of JBSA and our Civil Engineering team has been working diligently to develop solutions.

The JBSA Parking Plan is currently in review and it is my intention to finalize this document by the end of the year. To help with this, the JBSA-Randolph Traffic Safety Coordination Group began a traffic survey this month. The group is examining the current reserved parking spots and determining if more or less are needed to align the number that are reserved with only what is authorized by Air Force Instruction.

Mission partners will be afforded what they are authorized and other parking spots will be returned to general use spots. The west side of JBSA-Randolph has a parking congestion problem and long-term solutions will include additional parking areas, potential shuttle bus options, and/or maybe a parking garage in the out years.

Q. Security Forces has been doing a great job managing all the traffic coming onto JBSA-Randolph during the peak hours; however, I was wondering if any reassessment has been done regarding weekends?

On a Sunday afternoon at 2 p.m., only one lane was open for inbound traffic and one officer was checking IDs. The light is very short and only allows enough time for three cars to turn in at a time.

Drivers are frustrated and have begun doing U-turns on FM78 so they can make a right-hand turn into the gate, which only compounds the issue when they only have one lane open and one officer present. Thank you!

A. Thank you for your question and recognizing the great work of our Security Forces team!

Our JBSA-Randolph Security Forces work hard to manage traffic flow and adjust to no-notice traffic increases. Sometimes these short-term increases are caused by trains passing by JBSA-Randolph, or maybe a traffic accident or other issue.

Fortunately, the Lindsey Gate construction project has concluded and there is much greater capacity to handle weekend traffic surges. My team routinely partners with the Texas Department of Transportation to evaluate the traffic light timing as well.

We will keep an eye out for enduring delays on the weekend and work with our partners to adjust light timing as needed.

Q. I am no traffic engineer, but I believe in safety as much as anyone. I do not feel it is necessary to change the speed limit to 15 mph on the inner circle of JBSA-Randolph. The only place that needs it is around the personnel center where the employees have to park in the street.

My suggestion is to place signs in that area like the ones on the street west of those buildings reducing the speed to 15 mph only during duty hours.

Most people traveling to and from the south end of the base would choose to use the east side of circle where the speed is still 25 mph. This would reduce the traffic in the congested area.

A. Thank you for your concern referencing the speed limit change of the inner loop on JBSA-Randolph to 15 mph.

JBSA-Randolph’s Traffic Safety Coordination Working Group was asked to examine speed limits in the inner circle adjacent to base homes where residents were concerned about the safety of their children who live in those homes close to the road.

After several months of traffic study, the Traffic Safety Coordination Working Group, chaired by my Security Forces Group Command and JBSA-Randolph Executive Agent, determined that to enhance safety for the residents and children who live in those homes, the speed limit needed to be reduced from 25 mph to 15 mph.

The good news is this new speed limit only applies to the lane of traffic which flows clockwise and is nearest the homes. The speed limit on the lane of traffic flowing counterclockwise and furthest from the homes will remain 25 mph. Traveling counterclockwise will allow drivers to reach their destination with little or no delay while creating a much safer environment for our housing community and children.

Q. I have a question concerning fire extinguishers. Will JBSA be removing fire extinguishers from their facilities in the near future?

A. Thank you for asking this question. Employee and facility safety and protection is very important to me, and in some cases, if a facility has a complete automatic sprinkler protection and fire alarm system, the portable fire extinguisher will be removed because it is not needed according to UFC 3-600-01.

This guidance continues to be socialized with facility managers. A risk management decision states there may be situations where maintaining extinguishers is a good idea.

The final decision to remove extinguishers up to the unit commanders. There are some exceptions, for example, fire extinguishers must be provided in all medical facilities.

Should anyone have additional questions they can contact our fire prevention elements at JBSA-Lackland at 210-671-2921, at JBSA-Randolph at 210-652-6915 and at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston at 210-221-5452. You can also reference UFC 3-600-01 for the wording of the regulations that are cited in this answer.

Miscellaneous

Q. What ever happened to the Air Force incentive flights that used to occur many years ago? People who had done great achievements, people reenlisting, etc. were offered an incentive flight by the Air Force.

A. Thank you for your enthusiasm to ensure that all of our teammates are recognized! Unfortunately, due to mission requirements and demands, the 12th Flying Training Wing does not currently have an incentive flight program. Hopefully, in the future, we can re-assess and work on putting another similar program in place!  

Q. Why does the JBSA-Lackland Post Office never open on time? It constantly opens 30 minutes late, on average, and often closes outside their lunch hours.

A. Thank you for bringing this to my attention. Although we are not responsible for the management of the personnel working in the JBSA-Lackland Post Office, the 802d Force Support Squadron serves as the liaison for the facility and personnel.

We continue to do our best to maintain open and honest communication lines between our personnel and the post office personnel, and will bring up this issue with Post Office management. I apologize for your experience at the Post Office. We will continue to work with our mission partners towards a solution!

Q. I hope JBSA will stand firm and only allow police to carry guns on base. The thought of a co-worker carrying a concealed weapon is terrifying to anyone who has ever attended a meeting where the discussion became heated.

A. Thank you for your concern. Security is my top priority, and as the Installation Commander, I am carefully considering this matter.

Restricting firearms carry to our Security Forces gives our Defenders an important advantage over anyone who means us harm, and provides confidence to our diverse population that they can move freely and safely while on-base.

However, I’ve asked our Security Forces Group to develop options which could allow limited LEOSA arming on-base.

Due to the unique construct of JBSA and its vast amount of mission partners and sister service residents, this is not a simple issue to resolve and not one that should be decided by only one command.

It is incumbent that we also address this issue with our sister service commanders to ensure their opinions and concerns are weighed into my ultimate decision. I will be sure to share any updates if the current policy preventing concealed carry of a privately owned firearm is changed.