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CPTS, CONS team up for last base fiscal year close out

  • Published
  • By Senior Airman Kris Levasseur
  • 43rd Airlift Wing Public Affairs
Oct. 1 is just another day for your average person, but for the men and women of the 43rd Comptroller and 43rd Contracting Squadrons, it is a day to celebrate. While many of Team Pope's members were sleeping the night of Sept. 30, members of the two squadrons were working late into the night to complete a task that was months in the making, closing out the 2010 Fiscal Year.

More than $25 million has been awarded in new contracts for Pope since July. These contracts include commodities, services and construction projects.

"This whole process actually starts in June," said Lt. Col. Michael Everton, 43rd CONS Commander. "It is an orchestrated process between squadron and group resource advisors, the units that have the needs, contracting and finance."

The Colonel added that the process relies on every person to prepare early and work together.

"None of the requirements executed this fiscal year would materialize without the contributions of the resource advisors," said Maj. Richard Grab, 43rd CPTS Commander. "Resource advisors throughout the base and countless others are executing what is likely the most bountiful closeout in the history of AMC. Of greatest importance is the added capability and quality of life they're enabling for Pope."

In order to prepare for fiscal year end, a wing buy down list is established before the end of August. The list is a combination of wing unfunded requests, ranked according to mission requirements.

"As money falls out the end of the fiscal year, it is spent on the highest ranked priorities; we need to get all the prep work before the money drops," said 1st Lt. Ester Kim, 43 CONS squadron. "For commodities such as tactical gear or printers, we spend one to five days soliciting, which is essentially advertising the requirement. The better vendor is awarded the contract and the rest is history. It's not abnormal for these contracting specialists to have anywhere between seven to 10 contracts opened each day throughout the month of September."

The priorities are determined by the specific needs of the base, including tenant organizations, and the strategic vision for Pope.

"It all starts with the strategic vision for Pope," said Major Grab. "We want to establish Pope as a sought-after place to work and live. This year's closeout has largely been tied to that vision, with significant funding efforts dedicated to the construction and development of the Airman's Campus.

"The Airman's Campus will be the epicenter of the Air Force presence that remains at Pope post-BRAC," said the Major. "All Airmen will share in this one-of-a-kind environment that instills pride in Air Force heritage while offering a campus-like atmosphere to work and live."

This year's closeout provided new challenges in the form of a lack of manpower and experience due to BRAC transitions.

"The 43rd CPTS has felt the impact of BRAC manning reductions ahead of the scheduled reductions slated for next spring," said Major Grab. "Last fiscal year our Financial Management Analysis Flight had 12 personnel focused on closing out the wing's annual budget; this year we took on the same challenge with a staff of five. Not only have these men and women stepped up to the challenge, they've executed three times the volume of work this closeout, as compared to last year ... truly phenomenal."

The dedication of every remaining member of the 43rd CPTS has not gone unnoticed.

"I'm blown away at the level of effort and dedication that the men and women of the Comptroller Squadron have displayed during this closeout effort," said Major Grab. "We've lost all continuity and more than 100 years worth of budget experience in our office over the past year, and yet this team of five has no limits to what they can accomplish. Executing a $65 million dollar annual budget is no short order, and to put that task on the shoulders of men and women who have less than 10 years of budget experience combined, they're truly inspirational."

This manning shortfall was not unique to the 43rd CPTS however, according to Colonel Everton, the 43rd CONS is operating at 30 percent manning.

"We have lost the majority of the manpower and experience that we have had in the past years," said the Colonel. "Our average experience level of the people who remain is three years of experience. Our Airmen have done an outstanding job given the situation. They have gone above and beyond; working long hours to make sure our last fiscal year closeout goes smoothly."

According to the Colonel, the 43rd CONS have amassed more than 3,000 combined man-hours during this year's closeout.

"Post-BRAC, significant changes will occur in terms of how were organized, but the concept of closeout will remain unchanged," said Major Grab. "During closeout, we work very closely with the 43rd CES and CONS, next fiscal year these organizations will no longer exist, so we'll be working with the Army instead. Fortunately years of planning for this BRAC transition have been made and next year we'll have the rare opportunity to see it through."