KMC voices heard at virtual town hall

by Rick Scavetta
U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern

Submit Your Questions!
Submit questions to the virtual town hall from 2 to 3:30 p.m. Monday:
PHONE: call 493-4329 or 0631-3406-4329.

U.S. Army Garrison Kaiserslautern’s upcoming virtual town hall should make it easier to voice community concerns and get quick answers.

In the past, participating in town hall meetings often meant taking time from work or family, arranging child care and driving across town. Now, garrison leaders want to offer other options for people to take part in town halls.

The event begins at 2 p.m. Monday and lasts 90 minutes. KMC members can submit questions by phone, email and online. Answers are posted immediately to Facebook and afterward on the garrison website.

It’s the first time the garrison has tried a virtual town hall, said garrison spokesman Mark Heeter, adding that if the idea is well-received, more will follow.
“We won’t have physical audience members,” he said. “We’re using other means like Facebook and email. People can call in or follow the event on AFN.”

The garrison includes more than a dozen U.S. Army bases spread out across the area — a 40-mile stretch from Grünstadt to Miesau.

In the past, town hall attendance was limited by people’s ability to either leave work or take time away from families to drive to a central location.

Finding ways to communicate over such a geographically dispersed area is important to garrison leaders, Heeter said.

Community members can expect the interaction to be similar to in-person discussions, he said.

“Just like any other town hall, it gives you that two way communication venue to talk to the commander and members of his staff,” Heeter said. “It’s important for
command to know what the questions are and what issues are affecting more than one person.”

Nearly two dozen subject matter experts from the Army, Air Force and other community organizations will be ready to answer questions.

During the event, links to important information and upcoming events will be shared through Facebook, said Jasmine Byrne, from the garrison’s plans, analysis and integration office.

“The KMC is constantly growing and new people are always arriving. To meet the needs of the community, we have to change the way we do business and use all the tools available,” Byrne said.