Garrison holds town hall for federal employees

| April 13, 2017 | 0 Comments
SCHOFIELD BARRACKS Ñ Col. Stephen E. Dawson, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii commander, addresses issues affecting garrison employees at a townhall in Sgt. Smith Theater, April 7.

Col. Stephen E. Dawson, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii commander, addresses issues affecting garrison employees at a town hall in Sgt. Smith Theater, April 7.

Kristen Wong
Contributing Writer

SCHOFIELD BARRACKS — Col. Stephen E. Dawson, commander, U.S. Army Garrison-Hawaii, led a town hall meeting for garrison employees at the Sgt. Smith Theater, here, April 7.

During the town hall, Dawson addressed several current issues affecting federal employees, and then the attending employees were able to ask the commander questions during his presentation.

USAG-HI employees attended a townhall on April 7.

USAG-HI employees listen to Col. Stephen E. Dawson, USAG-HI commander, at a town hall on April 7 at the Sgt. Smith Theater.

Dawson first took the time to recognize garrison employees for their hard work, whether working overtime, volunteering to do tasks outside the scope of their career field, and for helping the base put its best foot forward.

He addressed the hiring freeze currently enacted by President Donald J. Trump, noting that hiring freezes are not new and have been put in place before; however, the government has still been able to hire personnel due to exemptions.

Exemptions, he said, include emergency personnel and child care workers. In addition, during the hiring freeze, currently vacant jobs are being filled by reassigning current government personnel who are qualified or at least minimally qualified for the position.

He touched upon the garrison’s current status and future opportunities for Voluntary Early Retirement Authority and Voluntary Separation Incentive Pay, and taking care of “overhires.”

While discussing the Installation Management Command’s service culture initiative, Dawson acknowledged that oftentimes the garrison is short-staffed and short on funds.

“We will continue to do the best we can with the resources we have,” he said. “Because you guys are superstars, the best you can do is actually pretty good. It’s great!”

Dawson encouraged leaders to interact with their employees on a daily basis. He himself said he tries his best to leave his desk throughout the day to visit employees and see how they work, where they work and gauge current conditions of the workforce. He encouraged the garrison employees, as a whole, to offer the best, positive customer service, using the Disney company as an example.

“They have millions of customers every day, but they always make you feel like you’re the best customer,” he said. “(It) doesn’t matter if you paid for the lowest end cabin or the most expensive suite they have, they’re already known for making you feel like you’re No. 1.

We want to be better than Disney,” Dawson said.

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