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Feedback Fridays

By Brig. Gen. Laura L. Lenderman | 502d Air Base Wing Commander | Feb. 28, 2020

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.  We are an Exceptional Family Member Program family that has received respite care for the past five years.  

As of Oct. 1, 2019, the Air Force Services Center took over the program, and since that transition, our family has encountered multiple issues with communication, getting new providers and accessing this benefit.  

Previously, we averaged more than 30 hours of care a month, but in the last two months we’ve barely gotten 10 hours.  We also used to have one contact person who responded promptly to establishing care requests for new providers and all other questions.

Now, communication is sporadic and the Force Support Squadron is seemingly unable to answer our questions and they refer us to Air Force Services Center. There were two webinars in September, but there was little advance notice and they were not recorded.  

We are also concerned that there are no written policies for parents or providers to refer to, and no forms have been provided with instructions on what to do in the event of an emergency, information about our child’s diagnoses, permission to transport in the event of an emergency, etc. 

Base-level personnel continually refer us to Services Center but those at Services Center do not respond.  Considering this involves EFMP minor children with varying medical and developmental needs, it would be in the best interest to have written policies clearly available to parents, providers and base-level personnel to ensure our children are protected. 

JBSA is an EFMP-expedited base, meaning there is likely a higher concentration of families needing respite services.  We count on respite services for our quality of life, family readiness and our own mental health.  The quality of the program is not where it was just a few months ago and we are one of the families that have been affected by the transition.

A.  I appreciate you bringing these concerns to my attention and I will ensure they are shared with the leadership of the Air Force Service Center responsible for administering the AF Respite Care Program.  Assistance within the 502nd ABW is available from the 502nd FSS (Family Child Care Coordinators) and 802nd FSS (EFMP Coordinators) for families who are Q-coded and enrolled in the Exceptional Family Member Program, as long as they have completed the respite care enrollment paperwork and submitted it to the AF Service Center (AFSVC) for action. 

I've also asked the 502nd FSS to coordinate with AFSVC for better guidance and improved communication with parents and providers who rely on and provide this much needed support to our military families.  Please see below for specific POCs for our FCC Coordinators.  Thank you for your feedback!

FCC Coordinators contacts are: JBSA Lackland/Medina - linda.salazar@us.af.mil or 210-671-3376; JBSA FSH/Randolph - jeanie.m.smith.civ@mail.mil or 210-221-3820; The contact for AFSVC is AFFCCSystem.Admin-02@us.af.mil.

Installation & Facilities

Q.  In a previous Feedback Friday, there was an item about the traffic lights at the Harry Wurzbach East gate at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston. 

I have some concerns about the traffic light regarding the residential area nearby. There are times when residents are leaving the property and have a green light, yet individuals run their corresponding red light and/or block the exit.  

There are more than 400 residents at the Towers, 150 employees and a 60-bed medical facility next door.  Even at the two exits that are not controlled by the lights, it is hard to get out because of individuals speeding going and coming from JBSA-Fort Sam Houston.  Can something be done about this safety hazard?

A.  Thank you for letting me know about this situation.  Although the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston Security Forces do not have jurisdiction over that intersection, as it is outside of the JBSA property line, we will coordinate with the San Antonio Police Department to report this issue.

If you continue to see unsafe situations, please call the San Antonio Police Department at 210-207-7273 to report any other traffic violations.  From there, our Security Forces team can continue to work with the SAPD to help resolve this hazardous situation.  Thank you for reaching out!

Q.  Can you please shed light on why the 502nd SFS leadership suddenly removed the drinking water (dispensers and jugs) from the Entry Control Points at JBSA-Fort Sam Houston? 

Our military and civilian Security Forces members rely on that water throughout the shifts.  Employees showed up for work last week and had no water to drink during their nine-hour shifts.  As it stands right now, the only feedback we've been given by operations is that they "aren't allowed to pay for water." 

Per OSHA, employers are supposed to provide potable drinking water to all employees.  I understand OSHA states that an employer does not have to provide bottled water if potable drinking water is available. However, a quick search online indicates the levels of lead in the JBSA-Fort Sam Houston water were elevated (2018), and using the water fountain seems risky.

Can you please elaborate on why the water was suddenly removed, and why the change in working conditions was put in place without coordination with the union and without informing the employees?

A.  Thank you very much for your question.  The 502nd SFS recently learned they did not meet the necessary requirements to legally purchase water and had to remove the water until the required documentation was obtained.  They've diligently worked to obtain this authorization to deliver water to the gates without an approved drinking fountain. 

In accordance with Air Force Instruction 65-601 V1, Budgeting and Funding Guidance for Various Appropriations, Section 4.58, bottled water cannot be purchased for facilities with potable drinking water unless the following is determined:  1. The public water supply is unsafe for drinking; 2. A temporary facility has no drinking water within a reasonable distance; and 3. There is no water fit for drinking purposes.

Per the Environmental Health Section of the Department of Preventive Medicine, the water sample analysis from all gates was in regulatory compliance, but the location of the water source posed a public health concern.  Therefore, they recently authorized the 502nd SFS purchase of bottled water with their appropriated funds for gates without an approved drinking fountain, and the water jugs have now resumed delivery to the gates. 

Overall, the 502nd SFS is tracking the situation and are actively working towards a more permanent solution.

Q.  Has there ever been a thought to have a gate designated just for the visitors attending the Basic Military Training festivities on Thursdays and Fridays?

A.  Thank you for your question on optimizing the traffic flow for our BMT friends and families.  We've researched this possibility in the past and found it actually hinders overall traffic flow for two reasons: 1. There are pockets of time where there is little to no BMT traffic; and 2. It's not enforceable, as statistics have shown that anyone who sees a gate opening will go for it. 

What we've recommended instead is staggering duty-reporting times, enabling permanent party personnel to plan around increased traffic on Thursdays and Fridays.  

Another option would be to take different gates rather than the ones closest to place of duty.  For example, while entering the Selfridge gates may be less efficient, it's traditionally less saturated and may overall save on commute time, even if one works closest to the Luke gates.

Q.  Why do service members need to have a club card for a military on-base club system in San Antonio that doesn’t do anything substantial during joint service Soldiers’ off-duty days, Fridays, Saturdays or on holidays? 

A few years ago, the old JBSA-Lackland club management would be there greeting people and helping the staff serve drinks and have awesome themed events weekly and throughout the year. The club was packed weekly to 1 a.m. from 2002 to 2015.  What happened?

A.  Thank you for your feedback on our JBSA Club Program.   Membership is not required to use our JBSA Clubs; however, I encourage all those eligible to join for all of the benefits that membership provides, to include: $10 birthday certificate for lunch buffet, two-month calendar mail-out with coupons, Customer Appreciation Night, $1 lunch discount program, Sunday breakfast buffet, $2 discount on special events, special event drawings for members, 10 percent discount on catered events, reciprocal privileges with other Air Force Clubs, free admission to special events throughout the year, a chance to win $10,000 Bingo jackpot at the Kendrick Club, and waiver of room fees for personal events. 

Although non-members are not entitled to these benefits, they are welcome to use our clubs to eat, socialize and hold events. 

The Gateway Club does host a variety night every Friday in the Lone Star Lounge, with a DJ playing a variety of music and will continue to implement new programs into the calendar.  Please check out the JBSA Today website and magazine, 502nd FSS Facebook, base marquees and subscribe to FSS weekly emails to stay informed of all the happenings at the Gateway, Parr, and Kendrick Clubs as well as the Fort Sam Houston Community Center.  I’m proud of all the programs and services offered by our clubs and hope to see you there soon!

Miscellaneous

Q.  I periodically meet contractors at the JBSA-Lackland Visitor Control Centers to sign them in for site visits, meetings, etc.

JBSA-Lackland is the “Gateway to the Air Force,” yet the sign-in process is very antiquated. We send contractors’ personal information ahead of time for passes and they still wait up to two hours for their passes.

The hospital has a great automated sign-in processes and status updates as opposed to the Visitors Center paper sign-in sheets. Additionally, the waiting area is small so on Thursdays and Fridays; there are sometimes more than 30 people standing outside waiting to be called, but there is no speaker system. Those people go back and forth waiting to see if their name was called inside and hoping they weren’t missed.  

It is a shame that we promote innovation when the process to sign in to the “Gateway to the Air Force” is far from modern. Is there a plan to upgrade from this paper process?

A.  Thank you for your feedback!  I have good news … we're in the design phase for a modernized visitor center at the Luke East 24-hour gate, planned for construction in 2023.  The use of technology such as internal and external speakers, automated sign-in kiosks, and status update screens are being considered. 

I greatly appreciate your continued patience with the current set-up and, in the meantime, our Defenders will look to see where they can execute small upgrades and increase efficiencies. 

Q.  Why doesn't JBSA-Lackland have Snowfest 2021 near the holidays since we do not get snow here in San Antonio, or a day or two after the tree lighting event on base? 

A.  Thank you for your question.  Snowfest is intended to be a "winter" celebration, and not geared towards a specific holiday. 

It’s a great opportunity for all JBSA families to enjoy some cold weather activities that Texans normally miss out on.

We avoid hosting this event during the holidays due to increased holiday parties within organizations throughout JBSA, and to ensure everyone gets some well-deserved family time!

We believe the largest population of people are able to attend the event and enjoy the "winter fun" when we aren't competing with all of the other holiday parties, events and family time.  Thank you again for your feedback!

Q.  I work in a squadron with a relatively high percentage of civilians over the age of 50.  As such, I initiated an effort to procure some Automated External Defibrillators, or AEDs, to place throughout our building. 

I started this effort two months ago and it took six weeks to get all the necessary info and proper documents prepared  I submitted all the paperwork the 59th Medicl Wing a few weeks ago.

I checked this morning, and our squadron is still awaiting final approval from the 59th MDW.  Assuming we get approval, we will still need to purchase, take delivery, have the 59th MDW log and calibrate the AEDs, and coordinate for and complete on-line and hands-on training.  This may take several more weeks (or months). 

Is there a better way to streamline the procurement and training process?

A.  Thank you for being patient and taking the correct steps in attempting to obtain the AED for your facility.  AED procurement is a multi-step process that requires some time to come to fruition.  

The standard process starts with commanders establishing a Public Access Defibrillator, or PAD, Unit Site Coordinator, who are authorized to process the risk assessment needed for an AED. The risk assessment has a step-by-step process that, once completed, can be approved by the 59th MDW for procurement and purchase.

If you have questions on the current status of your AED request and inquiries regarding training, please contact our PAD Program Coordinators in the 502nd ABW XP/5 office at usaf.jbsa.502-abw.mbx.502-abw-xp-workflow@mail.mil.

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