White Sands Missile Range Executive Director Paul Mann talked about the importance of transparency during the first quarterly Town Hall of the year March 5 at the Post Theater. WSMR Commander Maj. Gen. Gwen Bingham also addressed workforce concerns and highlighted pending items.
“As a command we need to be transparent…This is an investment in our mission, our team and our people,” Mann said.
Mann announced the creation of what he called the Leadership Development Board. The board, which will include Mann, Chief of Staff Frank Chavez and installation directors, was created to help disseminate career and leadership opportunities to employees. Information to be disseminated will include GI and Defense Acquisition University training programs, a detailed list on how to apply, and who was accepted into the programs. The goal, according to Mann, is to remain transparent to the WSMR workforce by announcing metrics, job and training opportunities, and job placements.
“We’re not in denial to say everything’s great, to the contrary there’s important work that has to be done,” Mann said.
He said that even if an applicant is not selected for a specific job or development opportunity that applicant will still be considered for any upcoming opportunities. The members will meet in the coming weeks to discuss the details.
“This is the forum where we focus on the opportunity,” Mann.
To highlight the importance of Leadership Development, Mann introduced WSMR’s Business Development Specialist Mariette Mealor. Mealor just returned from a six month developmental assignment in the Readiness and Environmental Protection Integration Office. Mealor spoke about the importance of exploring different opportunities to help WSMR accomplish its mission. Mealor said she gained invaluable knowledge and tools to protect the installation’s borders from incompatible development.
“A development assignment can teach you different tools and different ways of accomplishing our mission and protecting WSMR’s future viability as a premier testing range,” Mealor said.
In light of the continued budgetary and personnel constraints, WSMR Command Sgt. Maj. Jimmy Sellers introduced a Ready and Resilient Campaign he has taken on. Sellers also took the time to introduce himself to the post. Sellers joked that when he entered the Army his senior commander would repeatedly tell him that being in the Army was now rocket science and that he was now in a position where being in the Army is in fact dealing with rocket science.
“It’s been a seamless transition and I’ve got a great appreciation for what you all do,” Sellers said. “We want our workforce to be resilient and ready to handle challenges you experience on a day to day basis.”
Bingham also addressed the current Sexual Harassment and Assault Response and Prevention hot topic. She told the audience that the Army is currently working on a training that better suits civilians and is not mainly geared towards Soldiers. She also assured the audience that high rank or competence does not make you exempt from the repercussions that come with sexual assault or harassment. Her statement was geared towards the recent highlight of senior commanders with sexual harassment allegations, including Brig. Gen. Jeffrey A. Sinclair, who is currently facing a number of sexual assault charges which reportedly spanned over three years.
“Competence over character will not work,” Bingham said.
Bingham spoke briefly about the large budget cuts the Army will soon be facing. She said that ATEC Commander Maj. Gen. Peter Utley had gone to the Pentagon to speak out against the 15 percent cuts that are looming. The leadership that was present assured the audience that there will be no bumps in the road for this fiscal year, but there will be limitations and constraints for the next fiscal year, which they are currently trying to work around.
Bingham started the Town Hall by speaking about human capital development as her major priority. The development includes leading, training, caring, and maintaining her workforce. When Bingham asked the audience about areas that need improvement she received several varied responses from cronyism in the workplace to the lack of developmental training, and care of infrastructure. She addressed several of the issues during the Town Hall and reserved a couple of more serious issues to be discussed after the Town Hall.
“Good leadership starts with me and it resonates down from there,” Bingham said.
Bingham ended the Town Hall with a series of award presentations that spanned throughout several organizations on post. Prior to presenting the awards, Bingham highlighted the importance of employee recognition.
“Everyone who is eligible for a performance appraisal will get one. That’s just the dignity and respect everyone deserves,” Bingham said. “Everyone should leave this installation with an award in hand.”
“You are what makes White Sands the number one place to work,” Bingham added.