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Feedback Fridays

By Brig. Gen. Laura L. Lenderman | 502d Air Base Wing Commander | Oct. 18, 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 does JBSA-Fort Sam Houston have events for soldiers and families when they are off on Saturdays (which is awesome), and JBSA-Lackland seems to only have events on Friday evenings for a few hours when everyone is tired from a long work week?

A. Thank you for sharing this observation. After talking with our team, I learned that after many years of Saturday events held on JBSA-Lackland, we found that members that did not live on JBSA-Lackland were less likely to return to base for these events, resulting in very low participation.

For the past few years, the larger community events held on Friday nights have proved more successful in terms of participation, because many folks stopped by the events after work before departing for the weekend.

That said, we will continue to evaluate participation and make necessary changes as needed. We strive to provide a fun and welcoming environment for all of our JBSA members, and I encourage everyone to come out and support our FSS events, and our overall JBSA community!

Installation & Facilities

Q. Living in Cibolo, Texas, I frequently use JBSA-Randolph facilities during the weekend.

During the summer, I visited the Randolph Center Pool next to the Officers’ Club. I was pleasantly surprised to see it open and stopped in to take a refreshing swim.

I was surprised to see 11 lifeguards in the guard shack. One was taking money and the others were scattered about on both side of the entry. I made my way to a chair and found two additional guards in the pool area. They seemed to be the only ones actively working. I saw nothing that could be considered adult supervision.

At one point, I noticed roughhousing near the diving board including one 11- or 12-year-old tossing another into the pool. During another incident, three boys took pool floats into the men’s room and proceeded to beat each other with them.

In the worst case, one of the male lifeguards grabbed a young boy and, his back to the pool, proceeded to fall back into the water as he tossed him over his shoulder. At no time did any guard call attention to any of these incidents.

I was not a happy camper. It seemed the only time the guards blew their whistle was to announce “adult swim.” I left soon after. Thirteen people are not required to guard, especially when at least 10 of them are sleeping or lounging.

I hope you consider some changes for next year to maximize coverage (extend your hours and days and efficiently use guard personnel) and help enforce safety rules to make your facilities fun and safe for all.

A. Thank you very much for your concern and input. Safety of all of our JBSA members and their families will always be my top priorities.

Based on your experience, it sounds like we may have over-scheduled some of our guards; however, safety is paramount around water, and the job should always be taken seriously. This is a topic that all guards are trained and certified on upon assuming the duties of a lifeguard, and it will definitely be re-addressed next summer as we get new and returning guards.

Overall, this summer was a huge success and our lifeguards did an awesome job of keeping our community safe! In the future, we’ll make sure to not let our focus fade, especially on the last weekend of the pool season.

Q. The Joint Service bus service between Wilford Hall Ambulatory Surgical Center at JBSA-Lackland and JBSA-Fort Sam Houston has gotten worse for riders at JBSA-Lackland in the morning and evenings.

Currently, a new bus schedule, that eliminated the 6:30 a.m. bus service and now the 4 p.m. bus service to JBSA-Lackland, is causing major hardships on everyone commuting between the two bases since Wilford Hall ASC was closed and everything moved to JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.

Currently, the evening bus leaves at 4:45 p.m. from the Army hospital, instead of 4 p.m. when most riders get off from work to return back to JBSA-Lackland. In most cases, riders have to wait 45 minutes for the bus to show up each day after work at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston, then get stuck in traffic returning to JBSA-Lackland on non-air conditioned, hot buses.

A. Thank you for sharing your concerns with our bus service. We have reviewed our schedule and have worked a change with Brooke Army Medical Center transportation personnel to begin our service earlier in the morning to allow the 6:30 a.m. route to be added back into the schedule.

While the route has been added back for the time being, to continue in the long run, the duty-passenger ridership will need to be there to justify the support. The purpose of this shuttle is to provide transportation for duty passengers between the facilities with all other passengers riding space-available.

The Department of Defense does not allow us to create or operate shuttles to cover portions of an employee’s travel to/from work. Duty passengers include medical students and staff operating between the facilities during a duty day as well as active duty military members attending “scheduled” appointments. All other riders are considered space-available to include personnel who work at Wilford Hall or BAMC, but travel from the other facility using this service.

We encourage space-available riders to utilize this service as it helps to reduce other vehicle traffic. However, space-available riders are encouraged to always have a back-up plan in the event there is not room for space-available personnel.

Although a check of our buses over the past two weeks did not reveal any air conditioning issues, if you experience a bus that has issues, please let the driver know and/or contact the dispatch office using the phone number on the bus schedule. Please provide the date/time/bus number, so management can investigate and address the issue promptly.

Q. I have a question and suggestion regarding the deteriorating facilities across JBSA. Quite a few organizations are in facilities that are very old and have significant mold (health issue), air conditioning, plumbing, etc. These buildings have needed repairs/renovations for years.

Because of a lack of funding, the necessary work has not been completed, which has resulted in additional and costly damage to facilities. As it stands now, it seems we are needlessly throwing an exorbitant amount of funding at old facilities that cost more to renovate than the building’s worth.

Even if the funding comes available, these band-aid solutions take years and years to complete. All the while, even more facilities deteriorate.

Has anyone considered the financial benefits to leasing commercial building(s) off-post/base for carefully selected organizations to utilize? This would alleviate the backlog of facilities that require a complete overhaul and save the DOD a significant amount of money by placing the burden of facility maintenance on the property holder.

By reallocating resources into leases versus renovating/repairing facilities, the DOD could focus facility repair/renovation dollars on the essential base facilities that are sorely in need of repair, such as dormitories, trainee campuses, etc.

A. Thank for your question as well as proposing a solution for consideration. Luckily, the DOD has been using leases as an alternative for facility space for many years.

JBSA already employs a number of leases for our mission partners, primarily driven by a lack of space. However, cost analysis has shown that leases are not always the most cost-effective option; because of this, we are aiming to maintain our existing real property, and JBSA, at the direction of OSD, is presently working to consolidate the amount of leased space.

A major factor that JBSA is working to address is to better manage mission growth to ensure that with growth comes resources to provide new, and maintain existing, facilities to support their needs. This something that we strive to continue to enforce as our JBSA community grows. 

Q. Why is it that every time I call JBSA-Canyon Lake Park to book a bungalow, cabin or trailer, I am being told that they are all booked up? In the past, I have been able to obtain a spot without a problem. But why are people being told they are all booked up when there are seemingly many open facilities. Would it be possible to create an online program for reservations to show what is actually open and what is not?

A. We regret that you had an unpleasant experience with our customer service with obtaining lodging reservations at JBSA-Canyon Lake Park. We realized that lodging has not always available to customers due to maintenance, repairs and untimely turn-over of cleaning lodging units quick enough which limited reservations to our customers.  

During park peak season, Memorial Day to Labor Day, our lodging is continuously booked. Our efforts to ensure all lodging is available to be reserved is even more critical during this period which has been set as a priority for our new park manager who was hired based on his extensive experience managing off-base recreation parks and outdoor recreation programs. He is focusing on improving customer service, lodging reservation practices and cleaning procedures.

Improvements will increase units being cleaned and available sooner and within 24 hours of last check-out, which will increase the amount of units available with less down-time between patrons. Please allow us another opportunity to serve you and come back out to visit the park!

Miscellaneous

Q. When will additional traffic safety measures be implemented around the 502nd Contracting Squadron, building 224 at JBSA-Lackland? We need some speed bumps, traffic speed limit signs, additional pedestrian cross walks, and maybe even some flashing lights around our building.

Our building sits like a virtual island surrounded by several roads. Many motorists speed past our building from various directions and pay very little attention to our contracting personnel and our customers that walk from our building to the main parking lot and back. 

We have had several near-misses, and most of the time, the pedestrians have to jump out of a speeding car’s way in order to avoid not getting hit, injured or killed. We have raised this safety concern before in the past, but not much has seemed to have been done about it.

A. We truly appreciate your question as personnel safety is a 502nd ABW top priority.

The JBSA-Randolph Traffic Safety Coordination Group, led by the 502 ABW Safety office, and overseen by the JBSA-Randolph Executive Agent has made numerous efforts to resolve motorist/pedestrian safety concerns at and around building 224 over the years. The problems are attributed in-part to the parking area adjacent to building 224 which does not conform to regulation. It’s within an intersection, has a poor pattern layout, and is within 20 feet of a marked crosswalk. In addition, site dimensions, topography, and vehicle types were not taken into account when the parking lot was designed years ago.

To assist with providing a safety buffer between pedestrian and vehicles, the following measures have been taken: a protected walkway has been installed, barrier posts along 3rd Street West have been installed, parking bumpers and striping has been installed in the parking area near the driveway adjacent to the building, and a crosswalk was installed with signs from the building to the Commissary parking lot.

There is an open work order to assess the possibility of additional measures that will assist in controlling vehicle traffic through the area. On Oct. 18, a comprehensive evaluation will be conducted by Safety, Civil Engineers, 902nd Security Forces Squadron and other supporting organizations to determine if any other mitigation efforts can be done to protect pedestrians.

We will keep this issue open and pursue all legal means to protect the safety of motorists and pedestrians in this area. In the near term, pedestrians need to make smart decisions ... don’t step into a crosswalk until the approaching vehicle stops or cross the road when there are on-coming vehicles.