Delegates for this year’s Army Family Action Plan conference presented their top issues Nov. 15 to U.S. Army Garrison Wiesbaden Commander Col. Noah Cloud and Command Sgt. Maj. Christopher Truchon.
The groups spent two days sorting through issues submitted by the community and discussing solutions. Those that can be worked at the local level will be taken on by a steering committee that meets quarterly, and those that require follow up at a higher level will be passed on through the AFAP process.
“We had a lot of quality issues that were brought up from the community,” said Mary Cheney, AFAP coordinator. “We had about 45 issues that were presented. The delegates did a good job of culling through those issues and finding issues that really will impact just not our local community but also the Army as a whole.”
Issues presented to the command team and their recommended solutions:
1. Five year Exceptional Family Member Program enrollment requirement for Soldiers with family members treated for short-term mental health conditions.
Recommendation: Remove five year mandatory EFMP enrollment period after disenrollment from a short-term, non-recurring mental health condition.
2. EFMP process awareness.
Recommendation: Establish an informative EFMP portal for Soldiers and family members.
3. Housing assignment for Soldiers and family members.
Recommendation: Implement ongoing creative training for housing employees so they can provide fair and consistent assistance to Soldiers and family members.
4. Locality pay for overseas employees.
Recommendation: Replace living quarters allowance with locality pay.
5. Dining facility food selection.
Recommendation: Establish a method to give patrons a more specific voice in the selection of the DFAC menu.
6. Use of regular and recurring telework for federal employees.
Recommendation: Require leadership to enforce the Department of Defense Instruction telework policy to ensure the maximum number for federal employees be allowed to telework without compromising mission readiness by using quarterly inspections to monitor compliance of the policy.
7. Impact of five-year rule on OCONUS employees.
Recommendation: Establish a higher-level authority for extensions beyond five years to Headquarters, Department of the Army or above with no delegation of authority to minimize abuse and favoritism.
8. Access to behavioral health services for dependents and civilians.
Recommendation: Provide behavioral health staff alternatives specifically for dependents and civilians.
9. Utilization of free child care for incoming spouses of active duty Soldiers during in-processing.
Recommendation: Inform the sponsor and spouse prior to relocation of the steps necessary to utilize the 16 hours of free child care at Child and Youth Services facilities during in-processing.