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Future of MCGs 13 years 7 months ago #2206

  • monkey44
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Just something to think or comment about ???

In the past, many of the military and retired services that we've had have been run by the military and its support groups. Now, in the "New-age Military" many of the base services are run by subcontractors [civilians] that are private companies in it for a profit.

My 'wondering' is whether the military campgrounds will eventually become 'subcontractors' and if civilians take over the base campgrounds, what will happen to the service and the price for overnight camping. My guess is it will rise significantly to take care of the management salary and "benefits' and MCGs will become 'obsolete' as a retired benefit... anyone wonder about that too??

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Re: Future of MCGs 13 years 7 months ago #2212

  • johnandmari
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You must have read my mind, or been listening in on a conversation I just had with my neighbor yesterday. We have stayed at almost twenty different FamCamps over the past three-plus years, and more than a few are ripe for ?takeover? as our military bases become increasingly civilianized. Please, I?m not here to bash the DOD civilians, but money generated by many FamCamps is huge, especially when you consider the minimal outlay involved ? the land is free, the utilities are free (tied into the base electrical grid), very little overhead (many ?employees? are volunteers, or work for their site). As a manager within the MWR/NAF system, they are required to perform up to a specified standard or previously agreed on goal, with the end result being campgrounds that remain fully occupied (homesteaded) and/or the achievement of some specific dollar-value. One has only to look at what has occurred in many state park systems, as they have been outsourced to subcontractors ? increased rates, reservation and cancellation fees, and, in some cases, huge seasonal/holiday/special event rate increases with minimum stays mandated. What really sticks in my craw is that some FamCamp management has gone so far as to base their rate structure on off-base campground rates, charging a couple dollars less! >:(

Ok, I?ll get down off my soap box ? DH has my meds ready for me. ::)

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Re: Future of MCGs 13 years 7 months ago #2213

  • monkey44
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And one other issue -- at least when compared to the state CGs -- Here in MASS, we have a great state park right down the highway from our home. Lots of the kids [and adults too] go and spend a family weekend there sometimes ... good fishing, swimming, boating etc. And it fills up often in three seasons, and is always full inthe summer.

We can go right down to the gate in about 15 minutes -- a few years ago the Mass state parks out-sourced the reservations to 'reserveamerica' -- well, guess what?? We can't drive down to the gate anymore and get reservations from the ranger office like we have for years -- We now have to call 'reserveamerica' [probably in India] and pay a seven dollar fee to get a reservation -- right in our own home town -- and on land that was donated to the town by a rich early settler's family [Ancestors off the Mayflower] -- so if you are paying $15 a night, it jumps to $22 a night just because 'reserveamerica' has the fee no matter what, or how many nights --

So, that is something that often becomes a byproduct of 'civilianizing" or "out-sourcing", and shows up as a hidden fee, or a hidden cost to go camping. We now pay someone a salary that has never seen a site, can't answer questions about the location of the sites, and simply checks your name into a potluck box and takes a few bucks home -- and you get what they give you sight unseen.

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Re: Future of MCGs 13 years 7 months ago #2216

  • Mustang03
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While not a MCG, here's another example: In Death Valley at Sunset Campground, if you use the oh-so-convenient camping fee kiosk (even takes credit cards) located in the campground, 30% of the camping fee you pay goes to the vendor who does nothing but maintain the machine. If you walk across the street and pay the rangers at the Visitor's Center, then all the money stays in the park. There is no difference in the fee paid, just how it is divvied' up. And, the rangers are NOT allowed to tell people this, but will confirm if asked a direct question. We got the scoop from the camp hosts and paid our 2nd week at the VC.
B.N. Lavender
Capt. (LDO) USMC (Ret.)
Some people wonder all their lives if they've made a difference. The Marines don't have that problem.” Ronald Reagan

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Re: Future of MCGs 13 years 7 months ago #2223

  • monkey44
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I find these "civilian-offsite [read that out of the country] reservation systems similar to what has happened to the medical community ... I can remember when I went to a doctor that I knew for years, got whatever it was done, and went home. Few days later, a bill written by the same person that greeted me at his door and could answer any question I had about it with a smile on her face, and alot about my condition too at the time.

Now, I go to a clinic, see a newly graduated physician that knows very little about my medical history, gets my treatment our of a computer by inputing information that may or may not be exactly accurate and current for today. And then I get a bill/co-pay statement that say "this is an estimate of the co-pay because we billed your insurance company and we don't know exactly what they'll pay. SO, please pay this "guess" and we'll adjust it later" -- then the over-pay adjustment later is like pulling teeth with a wooden splinter ...

So, these 'systems' simply insert one more level of 'worker bee' into the system and increase the cost of everything we do to cover that. So, that's what may happen when we insert an extra level of cost [MCG w-civilian company/overhead/profit] into our MCG system -- And I for one hope that it never happens because we military will then be in the same boat as camping outside the bases ... at least in most regards -- security will always be a benefit for us, at least. But I can imagine the camping fees jumping at least 50% if the MCG exits from the MWF umbrella --

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Re: Future of MCGs 13 years 7 months ago #2225

  • Idylltimes
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"In the past, many of the military and retired services that we've had have been run by the military and its support groups."

This is yet another example of the current political environment...contract everything and get rid of as many civil servants and non-combat military as possible. It started back with Mac the Knife (Robert McNamara for the youngsters) and has continued ever since. It seems to me that every politician running for national office has it in for government workers. Both civilian and military face daily pay discrimination on the order of 30% or more and have ever since the first Bush ran his pay study. Both civilian and military face work requirements and situations that would have management fined and possibly jailed if they occurred in a civilian business. Even within DA -- and I would bet within the entire DOD -- efforts have been made to successfully separate military interests from civilian interests, even when the community of interest is identical. If you don't believe me...just read some of the comments on this board about retired DOD civilians using some of the military facilities that they are authorized by law.

I've been on both sides of the fence, 20 years active army and 23+ years civilian. I've been overseas both ways, been moved interior to the US both ways and can say that I have had benefits as military that I haven't seen as a civilian and vice versa. I can also say, without a doubt, that I have been screwed both ways.

Remember, neither the Republicans nor the Democrats are innately bad...but that ANY politician that is screaming for lowered taxes and a smaller government is also screaming for reduced services, higher costs and fees, and contracted services, many times from an overseas employer.

We do have an election coming up. You can sit at home and not vote. You can get out and vote about push button topics like abortion, religion, tax cuts and 'cutting the size of the government work force.' Or, you can do some work, try and figure out which of the people running for office in your location has our long term interests at heart, and get out and vote. Thats the minimum that all of us can do.

Some of the people here are either fully retired or working for non-government entities. Those people can go even further...they are not faced by Hatch act problems. They can actually get involved with local level political work. They can make a real difference. If you're one of those...GET INVOLVED. Find your local political HQ and volunteer for a few hours a week. Make your interests known.

Remember that freedom doesn't just need to be won, it needs to be maintained. Just as you can't plant a garden and forget to weed, you can't keep the rewards of freedom without maintaining the infrastructure necessary.

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Re: Future of MCGs 13 years 7 months ago #2232

  • monkey44
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You're quoting me a little out of context here --

But what I meant [without a doubt] is that when we subcontract the services to civilian 'for profit' companies as a contract, the cost gets higher and when we use the service we will pay a higher out of pocket expense ...

But, that may not include the direct DOD employees -- that is, the employees that work directly for the feds -- those are employees, and do not include the profit factor as the prime mover for independent contract civilian companies ... we know absolutely that civilian companies will build in a profit, and also a "if we find this, it's additional" clause, and then search as hard a possible to find add-ons.

For example: We recently built a new elementary school in town. The excavating contract was the "low bidder" but in his contract ($11 million) was a clause that said: "Excavation bid does not include digging and removing from site any underground rocks." We'll never know how hard he searched for the underground rocks, but .........

The buried rocks that excavator found added a huge amount to the contract payout -- and were done on a per-ton basis. A very large extra -- so large, we had to go back to town meeting to get authority for additional money. And, that illustrates how the private sector raises the low bid pretty significantly on contracts --

In addition: Private sector companies will not use volunteers [trade for sites] to lower to costs to the campers either -- one more way we can keep the campsite costs down.

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Re: Future of MCGs 13 years 7 months ago #2238

  • Idylltimes
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We are saying exactly the same thing...contracting costs more than running the service in house.

Only thing is that, from a political/budgetary point of view, it's another color of money and therefore doesn't look as bad as spending money for government employees.

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Re: Future of MCGs 13 years 7 months ago #2248

  • monkey44
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Idylltimes: Right -- hide in plain sight!!

And I am afraid that the MCGs will eventually go to private contractors ... and that really saddens me a lot, because that will probably change how we all use them, and whether it remains a "benefit" or just something else we "buy" ...

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