By MARY BARCZAK
Gold Standard Staff Writer
Leaders at the garrison town hall meeting Tuesday praised employees and provided infor-mation to help assuage fears associated with budget cuts.
Garrison Commander Col. Bruce Jenkins reminded the garrison to “remain grounded” in their mission to serve Soldiers and their Families.
“People ask me all the time how we do what we do and I tell them that is a hard question for me to answer because I don’t know how you do it; we are under-resourced and understaffed,” he said. “Yet you guys keep winning awards.”
Jenkins summarized successes and future projects as evidence of Fort Knox’s continued excellence.
“People across the Army are looking at us and using us as a model,” he said.
In order to deal with decreases in Fort Knox’s Garrison budget, Jenkins said some sacrifices will have to be made for comfort items and curtailing some training and temporary duty assignments, but the “commander of Installation Management Command, Lt. Gen. Mike Ferriter, said, ‘At this time there is no stomach in this building for a RIF (reduction in force),’” he said.
Jenkins said he expects the time ahead to be tough, but the community will adapt.
During the question portion of the meeting, one attendee asked the commander why Child, Youth and School Services will no longer provide transportation to children of military and DoD civilian employees from off post schools to the School Age Center.
Jenkins replied that the program became too costly for the Directorate of Family and Morale, Welfare and Recreation.
“Individuals who want to continue service may have to pay for it,” he said.
Maj. Gen. Jeff Smith, commander of U.S. Cadet Command and Fort Knox, is expected to hold a town hall meeting soon about schools and this is expected to be a topic.
Even tough times may be ahead, Deputy Garrison Commander Emmet Holley reminded attendees that they have a support system behind them.
He encouraged IMCOM employees to explore open positions through the IMCOM Enterprise Placement Program and to build a nest egg.
He added that while everyone is aware the Army is downsizing, the reductions will apply to budgets as well as the workforce.
“Every effort is being made to minimize the impact on our workforce,” Holley said. Reductions may be achieved through natural attrition; for example, early retirement incentives or resignations. However, the potential for furloughs exists, he acknowledged, but nothing definite has been decided.
“These are real people with real faces,” Holley said. “We are doing all we can to take care of people who work at IMCOM,” he said.