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MCCS pledges to continue service to Marines, families

By Sgt. M. Trent Lowry | | February 13, 2003

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  Personnel aboard the air station may have noticed the hours of some Marine Corps Community Services activities, such as the Seven-Day Store and the station fitness center, have been reduced.

The revised hours of operation and subsequent reduction in staff members, effective since Feb. 3, is a result of an assessment of demand compared to supply in light of recent events, including deployments and the canceling of the spring session of the Weapons and Tactics Instructor course.

"The deployments have caused us to review our financial posture," said Don Mitchell, director of MCCS for the air station. "We've had to mitigate potential losses by reducing the hours of operation for some services and the hours of some of our employees."

A small number of MCCS employees were laid off to meet the demands of MCCS's fiscal realignment plan. Mitchell said the changes were the first phase in the restructuring, noting that he anticipates there may be a "Phase Two" that creates more changes.

An important thing to realize, Mitchell said, is that MCCS has not stopped any of its programs nor closed any facility, and has no plans to do so.

"We have to hold the hours of some services to a level that we can support," Mitchell said, "but we won't completely stop any program, activity or service."

Being that a large number of servicemembers have deployed, many of the services on station will be adopting an even more family-oriented slant.

"We are reinventing ourselves to shift our services to a more family-friendly mode," said Jude Wood, Semper Fit director for MCCS. "We will not sacrifice the integrity of our programs with these cuts. We will do whatever it takes to make it work for the Marines and their families."

What will help MCCS in assessing what changes might be made is the continued patronage of MCCS services. Though the hours of some activities have been reduced, MCCS is still evaluating which services are still being used in order to determine what, if any, additional changes may need to be made.

"The next few months will show which entities are being used, which will help us to know when to make cuts," Mitchell said. "We're still trying to gather and analyze information to determine the full impact of the deployments."

Customers are encouraged to fill out comment cards, as well, to give MCCS personnel feedback to let them know which activities are most desired by station patrons.

"Ultimately, every dollar spent aboard the air station at MCCS services is another dollar toward keeping our facilities open and available to families," Mitchell added.

Though their hours may have been reduced, the Marine Corps Exchange, Seven-Day store, theater, gym, and Sonoran Pueblo clubs will all remain open during the deployments. The temporary lodging facility and recreation at Lake Martinez will also remain as services provided by MCCS.

Mitchell said that the personal services department within MCCS   such as classes, counseling and workshops will not be affected by the restructuring. Mitchell said MCCS is trying to make all of the changes affect the services as little as possible.

"The main idea is to support the Marines and their families to our fullest ability as usual," Mitchell said. "None of our managers want to see the programs deteriorate, but we all understand the situation. We see this as a temporary thing."

"We're going to continue to offer quality programs that can be enjoyed by both active duty and family members," Wood said.

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