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By Connie Hempel

NAS Patuxent River

Public Affairs
The pressures and uncertainty of the continuing resolution and lack of fiscal 2013 Federal Budget have been felt around DOD and will lead to implementation of a Commander, Navy Installations Command-directed reductions in facility services levels. As the potential of sequestration looms, additional cost-saving measures could also be seen at Navy shore installations.

“A lot of our support services are done through common contracts. Service level reductions will affect everyone on this installation, as it has at installations across the region,” said Capt. Ben Shevchuk, NAS Patuxent River executive officer.

Navy shore senior leaders are working alongside their regional leadership, the Naval Facilities Engineering Command, public works staff and tenant commands to plan for direct cost reduction measures.

“While changes to specific services are still being evaluated, mission readiness remains the primary concern,” Shevchuk said. “These changes will help reduce our expenditures in the coming years so we can stay within budget and protect the service levels in other programs that more directly impact Fleet, Fighter and Family.”

At NAS Patuxent River, the most noticeable change made has been with the contracted transportation services, many of which were funded entirely with the Naval District Washington’s (NDW) Regional operations and maintenance budget.

To meet fiscal 2013 budget constraints, “NDW had to make a decision on what should and shouldn’t be funded anymore,” said Lt. Cmdr. Dustin Kwok, Naval Facilities Engineering Command Washington, NAS Patuxent River Public Works Department.

Transportation-related services affected are: shuttle services to D.C. area locations, the government driver’s licensing program, and the Defense Reutilization and Marketing Service (DRMO) transfer station.

“Since these services were determined not to be regional responsibilities, NDW decided to stop or reduce funding to these services to save costs,” Kwok said.

The shuttle between the installation and Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport has recently been terminated, and shuttle stops at Bethesda and the Navy Yard were eliminated November 2012.

Additionally, tenant activities requiring operator and licensing services have been required to pay for those services themselves since November 2012.

The final transportation service to be affected by recent cuts is the DRMO transfer station currently operating aboard NAS Patuxent River. DRMO operations have been reduced and are now only available from 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Tuesdays and Wednesdays.

Although these changes to the transportation services may have only affected a few of Pax River’s tenant units, everyone on the installation will notice the coming facility services reductions as all Navy shore commands must reduce their common output levels (COL) for facility services from COL 3 to COL 4, with a few exceptions.

Simply put, “Service levels are being reduced in order to save costs because of budgetary constraints,” Kwok said. “Given the current fiscal considerations, it’s the responsible thing to do because the resourcing isn’t there and we are working through the contract modification process to implement the service reductions.”

With these service level reductions, employees can expect to see less frequent performance of certain custodial tasks such as restroom stocking and cleaning and the elimination of some recurring tasks such as carpet cleaning and floor care. Grounds maintenance--grass cutting and other landscaping measures—will be reduced, allowing uncontrolled growth of grass, trees and shrubs. For some areas, services will only be performed to maintain health, safety or sanitation or to prevent loss or encroachment.

“There are no plans to shift performance of contracted services or functions to our Sailors or civilians,” Kwok said. “However, peo    ple will be expected to take on a greater role for basic housekeeping tasks in their workspaces—such as removing trash and recycling from their desk or office to centralized collection points within buildings, and cleaning after themselves in break rooms.”

In accordance with regulations and policies, some facilities, such as the child care centers, are exempt from service reductions because of the nature of their function. Kwok said commands can submit a formal waiver request for approval by the Regional Commander to remain above COL 4, but will be responsible for fully funding the additional requirements, if approved.

For more information on waiver requests, call Public Works at 301-757-4829.