HomeNewsArticle Display

Installation commanders are key in privatized housing success

Col. Paul Filcek, 72nd Air Base Wing commander, talks to a housing resident at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma,

Col. Paul Filcek, 72nd Air Base Wing commander, listens as Alexis Flower, a base housing resident at Tinker Air Force Base, Okla., discusses health issues her family have experienced since being stationed at the base, July 23, 2019. Quarterly town halls give housing residents, base leadership and Balfour Beatty Communities representatives a chance to get together to discuss the good and bad happening in Tinker housing. (U.S. Air Force photo by Kelly White)

JOINT BASE SAN ANTONIO-LACKLAND, Texas (AFNS) --

When Col. Paul Filcek took command of the 72nd Air Base Wing at Tinker Air Force Base, Oklahoma in June 2019, privatized housing was at the top of his priority list.

It was a daunting challenge. Some of Tinker AFB’s privatized housing residents had raised concerns about maintenance, safety and health issues involving some of the installation’s 660 homes. Privatized housing residents at other Air Force installations had similar complaints, and program leaders at the Air Force Civil Engineer Center in San Antonio, Texas were in the middle of a sweeping analysis to identify problems and develop solutions.

For Filcek, one solution was obvious: commanders had to be more involved with their housing programs and accessible to housing residents.

“I started the job intensely engaged from the get go,” Filcek said. “The Air Force Civil Engineer Center and the Secretary of the Air Force made much needed clarifications to policy and engaged with project owners, enabling the chain of command to exercise authorities to take care of their people.”

Based on the Air Force analysis and inputs from more than 45,000 residents, the Air Force launched an enterprise-wide effort to improve the privatized housing program in 2019. Led by AFCEC, the center managing Air Force housing programs, the effort includes more than 50 specific initiatives, including several aimed at better integrating installation commanders in the program:

-- Solidifying commander responsibilities to better engrain them in the housing program to be able to better assist residents and effect positive change in their installation housing program;

-- Increasing installation commander input in the process for awarding performance incentive fees to project owners;

-- Including the commander in the dispute resolution process for resolving concerns between residents and project owners;

-- Formalizing the commander’s role in management review committees;

-- Establishing reporting processes to ensure installation commanders are aware of health and safety work orders and processes to elevate concerns to major command or numbered Air Force senior leaders;

-- Educating commanders and support staff on the housing privatization program and their responsibilities.

“We are engaging installation commanders to ensure they recognize their role to be at the forefront of the privatized housing improvement program,” said Col. Sara Deaver, AFCEC Housing Program chief. “It is vital to the success of the housing program that installation commanders build and maintain strong working relationships with project owners, military housing office professionals and residents.”

In his first 100 days on the job, Filcek dedicated a large portion of each day solely to privatized housing. He faced issues ranging from life, health and safety work orders to resident trust issues with the project owner. He worked closely with AFCEC and integrated the installation housing staff and resident council to focus on resident needs.

“We had to make the resident our true north,” Filcek said. “These initiatives are going to take time to take root, these relationships need to be mended and residents need to know they have a voice.”

To help keep focus on residents, the Air Force is expanding communication with residents and families, Deaver said. Commanders are actively engaging with residents and families in public meetings, such as town halls, and through newly established Resident Councils.

“The Air Force Civil Engineer Center is bridging the connection between project owners and commanders to foster better relationships,” Deaver said.

“All of these initiatives pull together the key players and decision makers so resident issues can be brought to the right people, with the right tools to resolve them thoroughly and in a timely manner,” Deaver said. “This ensures the whole team—chain of command, Military Housing Office and project owner—are actively engaged together on behalf of the residents.”

To support commanders, the Air Force has committed an additional 218 positions to the housing enterprise in 2020 to ensure commanders have the personnel resources to implement the program’s changes and support residents with housing needs. As of Aug. 4, 161 of the 218 housing professionals were on-boarded across the Air Force.

Additionally, AFCEC implemented a series of virtual training events to educate professional housing staff enterprise-wide who are ready to serve Airmen and their families, and Headquarters Air Force recently issued a new housing instruction to guide commanders, housing staff and program managers.

The Air Force is already seeing results.

At Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam, Hawaii, Col. Tammie Harris, Deputy Joint Base commander and 647th Air Base Group commander, is responsible for the health and welfare of residents of the installation’s housing communities. There are two housing partners on JBPH-H with a combined inventory of more than 6,000 homes. Harris said increased engagement with residents and strengthened relationships with project owners has helped resolve resident issues and build trust in the community.

For example, personal leadership involvement recently helped solve a pest issue for a couple who was ready to drop off the keys and walk away from the housing program.

The resident had submitted work orders but the problem worsened instead of being resolved. The family were resolved to move out at the end of their lease, until Harris and her team intervened.

“I brought the right people together in the home to look at the issue and determine the best solution. After we resolved the concern, the residents signed a new lease and are happy in their home,” Harris said.

Harris and her staff are steadfast in protecting residents, and are guided by the core value—approaching issues as a team effort is at the heart of resolving them. Being available to residents and supporting their needs guides everything her team does to improve the housing program.

“I believe housing is a commander’s responsibility, and I personally am committed to conducting in-home visits and actively working issues on behalf of residents,” Harris said. “Leadership engagement ensures accountability and responsibility across all parties.”

At Tinker AFB, Filcek believes the hard work is paying off. He attributes success to the Tinker AFB housing team, partnering with AFCEC, and a commitment to residents. While the initiatives will help better manage the program, the commander has the most important tool—engagement.

“Everything starts with sincerely caring,” Filcek said. “Commanders have to be engaged and be relentless in it. With residents as our true north, we have made exceptional progress, but we still have a mountain to climb. We won’t stop, not for one day, until we get to where we need to be.”

Engage

Twitter
RT @DefenseOne: JOIN US TODAY @ 2 P.M. ET when our “State of Defense” series continues with a live interview featuring U.S. Air Force Chief…
Twitter
RT @DeptofDefense: Teaching service members how to effectively shoot weapons. That’s the job of Combat Arms Training and Management. Watch…
Twitter
RT @cmsaf_official: Team - 25 years ago today, we lost 24 U.S. & Canadian Airmen in the Yukla 27 crash. It was a surveillance training so…
Twitter
Taking care of Airmen and their families! https://t.co/AVeidzDPcV
Twitter
Wherever Airmen go, the Federal Voting Assistance Program ensures their voice is heard. @FVAP works to ensure servi… https://t.co/tkJts1yo3Z
Twitter
RT @AirNatlGuard: For #HispanicHeritageMonth, we're celebrating the stories of Hispanic & Latino Airmen! @188thWG SSgt. Emmanuel Gutierrez…
Twitter
#TotalForce Airmen participate in night operations during a base-wide, total force exercise @HAFB. Airmen & pilots… https://t.co/kJYNKwHY7n
Twitter
RT @USAFReserve: California fires/smoke no match for UTA Airmen - https://t.co/pJysQ6snRh (Story by the @940Wing) #ReserveReady #ReserveRes
Twitter
Whistleblowers are NOT insider threats. Learn the difference and how you can appropriately report questionable gove… https://t.co/AaTvBfHcTv
Twitter
SrA Denise Arabie, 319th Operations Support Squadron radar approach controller @319thRW, describes the importance o… https://t.co/zkwMx6Qw3i
Twitter
RT @173rdFW: "I may have lost everything, but thanks to the support we’ve found here, I’m going to be back on my feet inside of a few weeks…
Twitter
.@GenCQBrownJr & @cmsaf_official sat down and discussed how the Air Force will continue exempting Airmen from PT t… https://t.co/bWVig9fSOW
Twitter
SrA Mark Gonzalez describes how his job enables the B-2 Spirit Stealth Bomber to support the Bomber Task Force depl… https://t.co/sceKCtM3Pz
Twitter
RT @AETCommand: Our Airmen come from all walks of life — and we are stronger for it. Staff Sgt. Kalinin, 56th Force Support Squadron ALS…
Twitter
“It's critical to have that diversity in the Air Force that we have today because it is truly through that diversit… https://t.co/RIDQDjdlCr
Twitter
F-16 Fighting Falcons assigned to the 18th Aggressor Squadron @EielsonAirForce takeoff in support of exercise Valia… https://t.co/cf0raGgEUD
Twitter
RT @USAF_ACC: "This test, and others like it, can shape the future of the MQ-9, as we continue to increase its relevance in great power com…
Twitter
"We cannot rest on our laurels. It is all about the people, folks, and they will guarantee our readiness, and are f… https://t.co/BsNDUSw0wE
Twitter
RT @USAFCENT: USAFCENT Airmen and coalition partners are executing missions of national, regional and global importance and Exercise Desert…
Facebook
The newest Air Force Podcast recently dropped. Listen to a small snippet of CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright talk with Staff Sgt. New about resiliency. Listen to the entire podcast on Youtube: https://go.usa.gov/xpnAD or Subscribe to The Air Force Podcast on iTunes: https://podcasts.apple.com/podcast/the-air-force-podcast/id1264107694?mt=2
Facebook
Our mantra, "Always ready!" It's the spirit we fly by! #B2Tuesday
Facebook
Need some motivation to get your week started off right? Listen as CMSAF Kaleth O. Wright weighs in...
Facebook
The U.S. Air Force Academy gives its cadets some unique opportunities. Ride along one of this opportunities.
Facebook
A United States Air Force KC-135 Stratotanker refuels an F-22 Raptor over northern Iraq, Nov. 6, 2019. U.S. Central Command operations deter adversaries and demonstrate support for allies and partners in the region. (Video by Staff Sgt. Daniel Snider)
Facebook
Although the Silver Star is the third-highest military medal, it's not given often. Today, TSgt Cody Smith was the 49th Special Tactics Airman to receive this medal since Sept. 11th, 2001. Read more of TSgt Smith's amazing story: https://www.airforcespecialtactics.af.mil/News/Article-Display/Article/2024815/special-tactics-airman-battled-through-injuries-awarded-silver-star/fbclid/IwAR2LZWwx1VHdTnQe39rIEBOuJS_0JvMQBBGt7I-E6zsxxn-Lx9387yu43Bc/ Cannon Air Force Base Air Force Special Operations Command United States Special Operations Command (USSOCOM) U.S. Department of Defense (DoD)
Facebook
Tune in as our Air Force musicians along with other military musicians are awarded the National Medal of Arts.
Facebook
Like Us
Twitter
1,281,142
Follow Us