TV2 live town hall gives voice to post residents, community

| August 7, 2010 | 0 Comments

Aiko Brum, Chief, Internal Communication

Subject matter experts, at left, and U.S. Army-Hawaii senior leaders provide answers to community questions during a live town hall at the TV2 studios on Schofield Barracks in December 2009. SMEs and USARHAW leaders gathered for a second live broadcast, July 28.SCHOFIELD BARRACKS – Why doesn’t the refill pharmacy, here, dispense over-the-counter medicines and what military ranks will be housed in the Aliamanu Military Crater were some of the questions answered during the live town hall, here, July 28.
Residents on U.S. Army Hawaii installations called-in their questions and issues during a 2½ hour time period and received answers from subject matter experts, or SMEs.
They also received mini-briefings from SMEs on diverse garrison topics, such as Army Hawaii Family Housing’s utility metering, the Directorate of Emergency Services’s efforts to stop speeding on the installations, the Directorate of Public Work’s road construction projects, and the Interactive Customer Evaluation, or ICE program, monitored by Customer Management Services, before phone lines opened.
The live TV town hall was hosted by Maj. Gen. Michael J. Terry, commander, U.S. Army-Hawaii, and Col. Douglas Mulbury, commander, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii.
Our goal is to provide members of USARHAW useful information about our community, Mulbury explained.
“Our open forum is designed as an opportunity to voice your concerns,” he added.
Surprisingly for garrison leaders, the biggest hit of the evening was the number of questions and comments received from online Twitter “tweets” and the “Ask the Commander” e-mail link. The garrison’s digital media specialist, Stephanie Rush, sent and received more than 90 tweets to Soldiers and family members, keeping them abreast of what was happening, like a play-by-play gridiron contest, as well as responding to their queries.
“It was interesting leveraging Twitter and Facebook during the live town hall,” Rush said. “People were able to follow what was going on, even if they didn’t have access to TV2, and could respond to items that came up right away. I hope we can continue to do this during garrison events in the future.”
Lots of sensitive issues were addressed, like a school zoning concern, housing security and Schofield commissary privileges for guests. For example, only authorized ID cardholders can enter the Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam commissary, due to parking and overcrowding concerns, but Marine Corps Base Hawaii, Kaneohe Bay, allows authorized patrons to bring guests in its commissary.
An issue at Schofield is whether privileges are being abused.
“We currently allow authorized patrons to bring in guests to be more customer-friendly, especially when they have family visiting from the mainland,” said Susan Campbell-Sturgeon, manager, Schofield commissary. “However, if customers see or think someone is abusing these privileges, they’ve got to let the management know, so we can get in touch with the Military Police.”
Terry specifically asked community members to send in their opinions about whether guests should be allowed in the Schofield commissary, or not, and whether ID cards should be checked at the entrance.
He told his SMEs during the broadcast that he wanted “follow-ups” to every issue, and for some issues, better responses and actions.
Typically during quarterly town hall meetings held in the post theaters or conference rooms, Soldiers and family members are most concerned about housing issues. The TV2 live town hall was no different.
“What is the policy for getting families out of demolished homes into new homes?” and “Why all the mixed-rank housing?” were among many e-mails received about family housing.
Others – “Can uniformed Soldiers get front-of-the-line privileges for ID cards (at the Directorate of Human Resources)?” and “Why do we have to pay to use the pools on post, when other services don’t have to?” – sparked dialogue between Terry and garrison SMEs.
“All your questions will be fully answered,” Mulbury said. “Questions not addressed during the broadcast will be answered by the command or appropriate subject matter experts in the coming days.”
The TV2 live town hall format was initiated at USARHAW in December 2009. Terry encouraged development of the broadcast based upon a successful model at Fort Hood, Texas. He said the format allows him and the garrison to reach the most people at one time, in addition to social media and traditional means of communication.
“For those watching who believe they have no voice in our Army community, we want to challenge those beliefs,” Terry said, during the broadcast, encouraging participation. 
The TV2 live town hall joins an arsenal of communication tools available for the USARHAW community to interact with senior leaders and SMEs. From the ICE program to “Ask the Garrison Commander,” the aim is to ensure Soldiers, families and civilians in USARHAW are receiving quality, effective and efficient services, programs and infrastructure.

Resources
•Read the Aug. 27 “Ask the Garrison Commander” column for responses to live town hall questions.
•View town hall slides at the Garrison’s website, www.garrison.hawaii.army.mil/sites/townhall/townhall.asp.
•Submit questions and comments to AskTheCommander.usaghi@us.army.mil.
•Watch the TV2 rebroadcast of the live town hall, daily on TV2, at 9:30 a.m. and 2 p.m.

Category: News

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