More than 1,100 community members gathered on-line and in person at the Panzer Kaserne Chapel to participate in the third Housing Community Town Hall, Sept. 23.
Hosted by garrison commander Col. Jason Condrey and representatives from the various garrison directorates, the town hall addressed dozens of questions asked by community members in person and on-line via the garrison Facebook page.
The main topic was housing-related issues and the questions asked did stay on topic.
1. More needs to be done to mitigate health risks, such as mold and allergens. Carpet should not be in housing where pets live.
The garrison is in the process of replacing the carpets in all our housing units; however, with more than 1,100 available housing units and the cost to replace the carpet is about $5,000 per unit, it will take some time before all housing units are carpet free. Unless there are exceptional circumstances, the replacement of carpet will occur between residents.
2. The Panzer Housing-outgoing gate makes a lot of noise when people go fast over the gate barrier. Can it be fixed?
The portions of the gate are broke and we had to install a temporary fix, which resulted in a metal over metal. The permanent fix will take a little more time, but what we can do is to provide more MP presence at the gate to ensure drivers are not flying through the gate.
3. Can we also talk about how disgusting the buildings are and what can be done to get them cleaned up? It is not right that I have to use my time and resources to clean stairwells that were filthy when I moved in.
Through building coordinators and unit chains of command, the garrison will enforce housing policy and the resident handbook. This will not address all of the “good neighbor” violations that occur. Additionally, though our ownership initiatives, we will provide the resources to maintain and build pride in our common areas, hopefully reducing these incidences. When you see something that concerns you, please talk with your building coordinator.
4. When I signed my move in paperwork, it says we are both responsible to sweep and mop the outside of the front door and the first set of stairs leading down. I even provide a mop and bucket and my neighbor never mops.
Please see the response to question 4.
5. I would like to know what happens if work orders are not completed on time or within the amount of days, they are given to complete them. Are there sanctions or repercussions? Are the tenants entitled to anything?
When timelines are not fulfilled CORs request status updates from the maintenance contractor. Because the contract is with the U.S. Government, any penalties or reimbursements that result from a contractor’s failure to meet the contractual requirements are returned to the government. Unfortunately, there is no resident reimbursement for time spent or lost waiting for work that is not done or done improperly.
6. What is happening to the remaining residents in the apartments on Virginia Weg; that are about to be renovated?
The remaining residents on Virginia Weg will be relocation as newly renovated apartments are completed. Residents will receive written notification through the housing office.
7. Why does it take so long to fix brown water that has been coming out of our faucets?
Brown water, particularly in older buildings, is a result of mineral deposits and rust. In most cases, running the hot water for approximately 15 minutes clears the system. With reports of brown water, Housing and DPW will ensure that the water runs in those vacant units on a weekly basis to help mitigate the problem. If housing cannot fix the issue with your water, we will find another place for you to live.
8. I would like a full understanding of the work order process. What happens from the time I call the work order in to the time someone comes to complete it. I would like to understand who gives work orders their priorities and how this is determined.
For emergency calls, involving life health and safety issues will be followed up within 24 hours. For routine service requests, the contractor has five days to set a priority and assign a call back to make an appointment. The contractor has 30 days from the call back date to execute the appointment and access the situation. If parts are required, another appointment will be scheduled. The follow-up on these longer work orders is the source of much resident frustration. The quality assurance initiative is focused on consistent feedback to residents on the status of their work order or wait for parts.
9. At what point are appliances supposed to be replaced? Does housing wait for the appliance to “give out” or are there “age” maximums? Does the same rule apply for carpeting?
Appliances in occupied residences are usually replaced based upon whether minor repairs can be made on-site or if the repair technician determines the appliance are beyond life cycle. Between residents, housing inspectors check to see if the appliance has reached its life cycle and replace when that is the case. The current life cycles for appliances is:
10 years – washers, dryers, dishwashers
15 years – stoves, ranges, refrigerators
10. How does housing determine maintenance priority? Can we, as residents, be made aware of the priority list & potential wait times for getting work orders completed?
When a demand maintenance order is submitted via app or email a DMO number is provided via email with the information of the priority breakout.
Priority 1s are life, health, and safety (emergency) – 2 hour response time
Priority 2 (urgent) – response time within 24 hours
Priority 3 (routine) – 30 days response time.
11. Is there a system for lawn care and maintenance, including outdoor playground equipment?
The garrison has a set maintenance contract for grounds work and the contract should identify the amount and type of lawn care that a particular locations should receive. If the lawn maintenance is not being performed in the housing areas, please let us know.
12. How many negative ICE comments does housing receive monthly? What is the tracking and follow-up of the comments other than passing them on to the housing office? Does anyone ever follow up on the resolution of negative ICE comments that do not belong to the area complained about?
DPW Housing customer satisfaction rating for FY18 and FY19 (year to date) is 41 percent and 45 percent, respectfully. The Installation Management Command customer satisfaction rate standard is 90% or greater. USAG Stuttgart’s ICE program is based on the Department of Defense ICE system policy. All comments submitted via the ICE program, and subsequent responses, are monitored daily by the garrison ICE organization manager or site administrator (part of the Plans, Analysis and Integration Office). One of the duties of the organization manager or site administrator is to ensure each customer concern is directed to the correct service provider to ensure an accurate and timely response. Additionally, the garrison command team reads every submitted comment as well as each service provider’s response, and receives a bi-monthly customer comment trend report. Each service provider (in this case, the DPW Housing Office) has a team of customer service professionals who review and respond to customer comments in compliance with USAG Stuttgart’s standard of 100 percent follow-up within three days on all ICE comment cards that request a response or provide contact information. Additionally, many garrison organizations discuss ICE customer comment trends and ways to improve, at their recurring staff coordination meetings. Finally, all garrison service providers are provided a quarterly summary of customer comment trends across the garrison.
13. I am interested in hearing how many (ICE comments) they are receiving and how/if they are being tracked. Ultimately, I want the garrison to follow up on ICE comments above and beyond turning them over to the department that was complained upon and has a vested interest in squashing the complaint. I’m asking for negative ICE comments to be tracked with oversight.
DPW Housing received 175 customer comments via ICE in FY18, and received 195 comments year to date in FY19. For context, the garrison received 2,873 comments overall in FY18, and has received 3,263 year to date in FY19. All comments – satisfied or dissatisfied – submitted via the ICE program are monitored daily by the garrison ICE organization manager or site administrator . Additionally, the garrison command team reads every submitted comment as well as each service providers response, and receives a bi-monthly customer comment trend report. Service providers who have received a satisfaction rate below 64 percent are required to identify key issues raised in customer comments and identify the corrective actions to be employed to reverse the adverse trend. This review is completed quarterly and provided to the command team. Additionally, senior leaders within the garrison organization have performance elements tied directly to customer satisfaction, which are evaluated bi-annually.
14. I would like to better understand the responsibilities of a building coordinator and the role they play, if any, in ensuring building safety, cleanliness, and open communication between tenants. What is their protocol for communication? Only to the service members?
Responsibilities of the building coordinator is outline in the resident handbook. Each resident should be in possession of the handbook. A copy of the resident handbook may be obtained at the housing office, on the garrison website, or on the Stuttgart App when you push the Housing Repair Button.
15. I would like to know why couples with one or no children are given 3–4 bedroom housing, and larger families are then forced to live off post?
In accordance with Army Regulation 420-1, bedroom requirements are based upon rank and bedroom requirements. E7-E9 and O4-O5 are automatically authorized three bedrooms even without children and O6 and above are authorized four bedrooms. Families are housed based upon number of family members, their position on the waiting list and their rank/time in grade.
Regulations direct that OCONUS garrisons which provide housing ensure that all E1-E6 and O7 and above live on the installation. We also provide on-post housing for service members designated as key and essential for each organization. As part of a Housing Choice Pilot, commands will provide an additional mission assurance list of positions that they would like to live on the installation. These three categories of personnel will have priority for on-post housing assignment. The Choice Pilot, in coordination with unit sponsorship of inbound personnel, is intended to identify who must live on post, who would like to live on post and who would like to live off post. Being proactive and engaging families that are coming to Stuttgart early will allow us to avoid some of these issues.
16. When will the playground on RB be ready for children to use?
This playground opened within a day of the town hall. We are sorry it took so long.
17. Military families to this day are having their household goods destroyed and or stolen during PCS season by contracted packing/shipping companies. What is being done about contracted companies that are continuously being complained about?
There are only a few shipping companies that can serve us because of the vetting process they must go through to get access onto post. Whenever a complaint against a shipping company is filed, it’s taken very seriously and processed as soon as possible. We work with our Logistics Readiness Center’s Personal Property Team to supervise and provide quality assurance of the pack out and delivery.
18. Wouldn’t it cost the military less money (over time) to hire quality companies who do the right thing and correctly, rather than cut checks left and right to families who have to go through a grueling process of putting in claims?
There are only a few shipping companies that can serve us because of the process they need to go through to get access onto post. Fortunately, only a small percentage of our community is impacted by damage or theft. However, I do not want to discount the impact of damage or theft. Whenever a complaint against a shipping company is filed, it is taken very seriously and processed a soon as possible.
19. Why do certain work orders get put on the back burner and over time just forgotten or ignored? I put in a maintenance work order in the beginning of the summer for building 2523 to be sprayed inside and out for bugs. I have called in during the summer to check on the status but twice was told that this has to be approved and it must be done by an outside vendor.
Depending on the priority assigned by the COR the demand maintenance order may be a priority 3, which mean the response is 30 days or less. For pest control, there are specific schedules that are driven by installation-wide contracts and environmental considerations. Regardless, if you identify an infestation, that should be communicated as health issue and not a priority 3 work order.
20. Can we please make it a priority to ensure the appropriate safety equipment such as fire extinguishers is available for all residents?
Fire extinguishers are only required for buildings without functioning fire suppression systems. If your resident does not have a fire suppression system please notify the housing office and we will ensure that each stairwell in your building receives the appropriate number of extinguishers immediately.
21. To clarify, we did not have a fire extinguisher that was provided in our apartment. The ones I am referencing are in the entryway of each side of the stairway – one on A side and one on B side of our building.
Please see above. However, if there are fire extinguishers present in a building we will ensure they are inspected. Please let us know if you find an expired fire extinguisher.
22. What is the plan for the empty duplexes on RB? Are they under renovation?
Extensive environmental testing has been conducted on the duplexes and some additional minor construction still needs to be conducted before families will be able to move in.
23. How does the garrison support the building coordinators?
Building coordinators are provided initial training and information from the building coordinator program manager as well as training from the fire department. are encouraged to reach out to the program manager, housing office or garrison leadership as situations/issues arise that require assistance.
24. What actions can the garrison take to remove abandoned cars in housing and around garrison parking lots?
The garrison first has to identify if the vehicle is actually an abandoned vehicle before it can be towed. Vehicles on base may not have plates, but they could be registered as non-operable vehicles. Using the “Report to MP” button on the Stuttgart app allows you to take a picture of a potentially abandoned vehicle and provide its location. If plates are not on the vehicle, a picture of the VIN plate will expedite the efforts to determine the owner and if the vehicle is abandoned.
25. What’s going on with the water quality? I’d like to know the results of the water testing. I had brown water for 11 days. Why is that not a priority? I would like clean water please.
Brown water particularly in older buildings is a result of mineral deposits and rust. In most cases, we have found when the hot water runs for at least 15 minutes the water clears up. If you reside in a building that has lots of vacancies please notify the housing offices and your building will be added to the list of buildings that require weekly flushing. We are working to publish and link to the Stuttgart Website how we and our German providers do water testing, the results of the most recent tests and the schedule for future testing. More to follow on this soon.
26.How will the feedback and answers to our concerns be put out?
The questions and concerns brought up at this town hall will be processed through the appropriate directorate for a response. Once we have been able to compile the information we will post the information on www.StuttgartCitizen.com where you will be able to review the responses. In the future we are consolidating these questions and other questions that we receive from the community and will hang in an area titled “Community Concerns.” We are working now to implement that with a way to easily search for answers.
27. What is housings policy on removing carpet from apartments where family members suffer from allergies?
Generally, carpet is not removed during occupancy. If there is a medical reason for removal of carpet, residents should work the housing office and the medical command for the best possible solution. In some cases, relocation to other quarters may be the best option. The garrison has stopped installing carpets in its family housing units. When carpet has reached the end of its life cycle, it will be replaced with laminate flooring.
28. What about broken handrails? How will a community clean up, address things like this?
A broken handrail should be reported as a safety issue when submitting the work order. If there is no requirement to order parts, that problem should be resolved within 24 hours.
29. When will Panzer be getting balconies?
Balcony projects for Panzer Kaserne are included in the FY21 Family Housing Master Plan. Balconies will not be installed in occupied units given the safety implications and major construction required to reroute wire and plumbing lines.
30. Can we get a report of the actual water tests that were down? Is it a third party testing the water or the actual Army garrison testing?
Please see the response to question 25. We will find the best way to consolidate all water testing requirements, procedures, results and schedules in one location and make those resources permanently available.
31. Priority level of work orders, who determines it? What happens when the timeline is not fulfilled?
CORs for the installation maintenance contract determine the priorities for all work orders. When timelines are not fulfilled CORs request status updates from the maintenance contractor. If the contractor does not meet the standards specified in the contract, the contractor can suffer financial penalties to the government.
32. You said additional personnel many times but gave no timeline-when will these additional personnel be added?
The garrison is looking to implement a one call housing work order system, which would take in the work orders, distinguish which function will handle the work order and internally identify the area the additional personnel would best benefit the process. Hopefully, within the next couple of months, we will be able to hire and bring those personnel on board quickly.
33. Why do we have work orders in for over two weeks and still have not heard anything to schedule? We also have a hole in our bathroom wall that maintenance personnel made so they could look for a leak. The hole has been there over three months and they still have not come back to fix it.
Responses to work order requests should be received within 24 hours if it is an emergency. If it is a routine request, a response to the order should be received within five working days. Your description of the problem you are reporting helps determine whether it is a life/health/safety concern (priorities 1 or 2) vs. a priority 3 requirement.
34. Do we have stats from ICE comments from housing?
DPW Housing customer satisfaction rating for FY18 and FY19 (year to date) is 41% and 45%, respectfully. The Installation Management Command (IMCOM) customer satisfaction rate standard is 90% or greater. DPW Housing received 175 customer comments via ICE in FY18, and received 195 comments year to date in FY19. For context, the garrison received 2,873 comments overall in FY18, and has received 3,263 year to date in FY19.
What to do when no one responds to ICE complaints?
If you feel that your ICE comments are not being responded to, you have a few options:
- Double check that you are “requesting a response” within ICE
- Double check that you have submitted your follow-up information and it is correct
- Resubmit a new ICE comment
- If you do not get a response via ICE, contact Garrison Leadership for assistance.
It is very rare that a Service Provider does not respond to an ICE comment. All comments submitted via the ICE program, and subsequent responses, are monitored daily by the garrison ICE Organization Manager. The DPW Housing Office has a team of customer service professionals who review and respond to customer comments in compliance with USAG Stuttgart’s standard of 100 percent follow-up within three days on all ICE comment cards that request a response. USAG Stuttgart’s current year-to-date response rate is 93 percent, with zero comments without a response.