Town Hall

Fort McCoy leadership and community members participate in an installation town hall meeting for housing residents Feb. 28 at the South Post Community Center.

Fort McCoy's senior commander, garrison commander, and other leaders gathered with about 60 South Post Housing residents Feb. 28 for a town hall to address life, health and safety housing issues.

The town hall was part of an Army and Department of Defense effort to examine potential issues or problems with privatized housing, including family housing and unaccompanied service member housing.

Maj. Gen. Jody J. Daniels, commanding general of the 88th Readiness Division and Fort McCoy's senior commander, led the discussion to explain the reason for the town hall.

"Army senior leadership is very concerned with what has transpired regarding housing," Daniels said.

The Army has had "quite a number of issues" with both barracks and family housing.

Unlike many other installations, Fort McCoy's housing is not privatized; however, Daniels stressed that she wants the installation's housing residents to know that Fort McCoy's leadership and community are always ready to address any concerns. She also highlighted that there would be no reprisals as a result of residents bringing up concerns.

"We in the Army leadership are committed to providing a safe, clean and healthy living environment for those who do live in our military housing − whether it's family housing, unaccompanied, or barracks," Daniels said.

Recently, the secretary of the Army, the Army chief of staff and the sergeant major of the Army met with personnel who operate privatized housing for the service.

"They are working with those companies to come up with some remediation measures," Daniels said.

One directed measure is to establish 24-hour phone hotlines for housing tenants at military installations throughout the Army. Fort McCoy is included in this effort.

Fort McCoy residents should first contact the Housing Office with any concerns, Daniels said.

Additional measures include requiring senior commanders to visit every housing unit and barracks on installations to assess the conditions of living quarters. Each building inspected will have a corresponding inspection checklist that will be used to improve that building as well as overall operations.

"The Army and other services are joining together to build a tenant bill of rights," Daniels said. "There's going to be discussion as to what should be included in there and how tenants can take actions in response to lack of action by those who support them.

She said the Army is also working on improving its procedures and controls for housing oversight

"That includes better training for garrison commanders, senior commanders, and other leadership as well as (building) a better work-order tracking system. This can be an additional metric to measure the housing company performance and customer satisfaction."

After Daniels completed speaking, a question-and-answer period took place. Many residents offered compliments of the Fort McCoy housing and housing office staff, saying "this is some of the best housing I have ever had in the Army."

Housing and barracks visits and inspections will be completed by mid-March, and a report on any issues addressed will be forwarded to higher headquarters leadership, Daniels said.

The Army has developed a plan of action to address the situation. In addition to developing a tenant bill of rights, as well as holding town halls, completing visits and establishing responsive 24-hour hotlines, all emergency work orders are being tracked, the Army has taken actions with its Residential Communities Initiative partners, and the Army Inspector General will complete an inspection at all installations with privatized housing.

Fort McCoy has a total of 113 Army-owned homes. These family homes range in age from two to 20 years. Nearly half of these homes were completed in July 2017.

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Tomah Journal editor

Steve Rundio is editor of the Tomah Journal. Contact him at 608-374-7785.

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