Military leaders apologize for substandard living conditions at family housing
MARCH 7, 2019
Top leaders of the U.S. military services apologized to Congress on Thursday for allowing substandard living conditions in military family housing. They acknowledged failing to have fully understood the problem earlier and promised to fix it. One senator has even called for a criminal investigation of conduct by those who operate military housing.
"What's happened here is criminal," said Sen. Richard Blumenthal, a Connecticut Democrat. He urged the service leaders to ask the Justice Department to consider opening criminal or civil investigations of conduct by the housing contractors, whose arrangements with the military housing authorities, Blumenthal said, are "a risk-free cash cow."
read more here
Navy leader in charge of housing resigns
By: Carl Prine 2 days ago
The Assistant Secretary of the Navy for Energy, Installations and Environment, Phyllis L. Bayer, has tendered her resignation after a little more than a year at her post and “will retire from government and pursue other opportunities,” the Pentagon announced Friday.
Phyllis L. Bayer, left, assistant secretary of the Navy for energy, installations and the environment, and Brig. Gen. Benjamin T. Watson, commanding general of Marine Corps Installations East-Marine Corps Base Camp Lejeune, tour privatized military housing with spouses on Feb. 15. (Lance Cpl. Isaiah Gomez/Marine Corps)
In a statement posted online, Navy officials applauded her service and expressed gratitude for “her extraordinary efforts this past year."
Appointed to the position on Feb. 20, 2018 after confirmation by the U.S. Senate, Bayer’s wide responsibilities included oversight and policy for sustaining, restoring and modernizing all Navy and Marine Corps facilities; protecting the environment at bases; and preserving the safety and occupational health of personnel.
But Bayer’s brief tenure collided with a tsunami of complaints from military families about abysmal living conditions in privatized housing, including allegations of widespread mold problems, rat infestation and crumbling structures after years of neglect. read more here
Are troops signing agreements to keep quiet about their housing problems?
By: Karen Jowers 2 days ago
The service secretaries and service chiefs testified before the Senate Armed Services Committee on March 7, as the committee examines problems with privatized military housing for service members and their families. (Wayne Clark/Air Force)
Privatized housing companies that are asking service members to sign agreements promising to keep silent about their poor housing conditions must immediately stop, Sen. Thom Tillis, R-N.C., told the service secretaries and service chiefs during a hearing Thursday.
“These organizations wave a non-disclosure agreement in front of them and say, if you sign this agreement, there may be a bonus or payment you’ll be entitled to if you don’t bring up what may be inadequate housing,” Tillis said, during a hearing of the Senate Armed Services Committee.
“I can’t imagine on any level why it would make sense to have a new tenant, these young kids, sign an agreement, not understanding the implications of it,” Tillis said, noting it could well be the first lease that service member has ever signed.
read more here