WSMR Commander Brig. Gen. Timothy Coffin focused on workforce development during this quarter’s Town Hall held at the Post Theater Nov. 13.
“There isn’t going to be the ability to take steps forward if you haven’t done the preparation work,” Coffin said. “You do your part and I’ll make sure the competition is as open and transparent as possible.”
WSMR Executive Director, Paul Mann, and Mike Garcia, Data Support Division chief took to the stage to inform the workforce about current actions in place that will help guide employees to advancement in their professional career.
“We the command have started focusing on competitive opportunities for the workforce to apply to,” Mann said. “Gen. Coffin and I do focus a lot on ATEC, but we’re focused on our entire workforce.”
Mann stressed the importance of preparing for these upcoming opportunities and not relying on resume experience to get you through to the next level.
“There are opportunities here at White Sands. You do have to take some responsibility for this. We can only make it so available for you,” Mann said. “You must prepare. It’s not enough to be smart and capable.”
Another main topic in this quarter’s Town Hall was a new organizational chart that will be implemented in the near future. The new chart has organizations that were once under the Chief of Staff directly under the Commanding General and Executive Director. There will also now be organizations that were once directly under the Commanding General that will now fall under the Chief of Staff. Coffin said he hopes the reorganization will allow for a more efficient workflow.
“At my level, I am missing a staff to be able to conduct my responsibilities,” Coffin said. “There were a multitude of things being worked towards a single problem but were not being well executed.”
Coffin also brought up the upcoming budget and the effects it will have on the WSMR workforce. Coffin said cuts will continue in the near future, but he does not foresee it affecting the current manpower or halt hiring. Though our neighboring installation, Fort Bliss, will be facing a small reduction in force, Coffin said he doesn’t see a need for that type of action here at this point in time.
“We’re not through with the budget issues. With the sequestration there’s going to be additional cuts in the fiscal slope,” Coffin said.
Before addressing official business at the Town Hall, Coffin took the time to recognize several employees for their exceptional work in recent projects. Coffin also took the time to recognize some employees for their length of service.
One of those employees was WSMR Meteorologist Ralph Butler. This past May Butler surpassed 71 years of service. Butler joined the Army in 1943 and retired from active duty in 1973. Since then, Butler has served the installation as a meteorologist.
“Ralph is our longest serving employee in terms of time in federal service. I just thought it was important to stop and take a moment to recognize Ralph,” Coffin said. “I wanted to take some time today to commend him for his services and what he has done for us.”
Coffin also addressed results from the sensing session that was conducted last quarter. The results were obtained from the 40 percent of the installation that participated in the survey. Overall, Coffin said the most productive information he received from the survey was the comments section. Coffin said there was a recurring theme of lack of trust in those messages and he and his leadership team are working hard to do away with perception among the workforce.
“As an overall sensing it seems there’s a feeling of mistrust,” Coffin said. “All of those are themes that we’re trying to hit on with our leadership work and our hiring actions.”
Ray Emils, Fort Bliss Exchange general manager, attended this quarter’s town hall to inform the public about upcoming changes and features available to WSMR residents. Emils said the variety of products offered at the PX will expand to help provide for emergency situations like a lost pacifier or milk for the weekend.
“Out here you need to be able to get some emergency type things,” Emils said.
Emils also reiterated the exchange’s ability to bring products from the Fort Bliss Exchange to customers here at WSMR at no cost to the customer.
“If you’re busy and you need something or want something we’re a phone call away,” Emils said. “If you can go (to the PX at Fort Bliss) that’s great, if not we can bring it in for you.”
Coffin praised Emils for being able to reduce the cost of gas by over 10 cents and for offering such a beneficial program to residents. Coffin also touched on cyber security and overall safety during the upcoming holidays before closing the Town Hall.
“I want all of us to be on the same sheet of music. I appreciate everyone’s help and assistance,” Coffin said.