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My Coast Guard
Commentary | July 6, 2021

Customer service improvements at P&A offices due to PSI

By Shana Brouder, MyCG Writer

Yeoman assigned to the Personnel and Administrative (P&A) offices are expected to receive expanded Direct Access privileges in order to better assist members with pay, personnel, and administration issues.  

The increase in privileges is a direct result of the current Personnel Support Initiative (PSI) led by the Personnel Service Center (PSC). Certain non-pay tasks that yeoman handle at servicing personnel offices (SPOs), who due to personally identifiable information (PII) constraints do not have the opportunity to have face time with members, will soon be moved to the P&A Office. A successful pilot test in 2020 showed that P&A yeoman were able to provide direct member non-pay tasks such as processing orders, DD-214 (the certificates of release or discharge from active duty) preparation and enlisted contract approval resulting in both improved customer service and providing P&A yeoman with the right tools to assist their customers’ needs. Pay tasks will still go to the SPO for final approval to ensure two-person integrity. 

The PSI is also bringing on new IT tools to provide workflow transparency and performance metrics, completing a Coast Guard Force Readiness Command (FORCECOM) performance analysis to ensure yeomen have the right training and tools available, and publishing official yeomen competencies and PSC technical authority guidance in the coming months.   

“This new service model cuts out the middleman, which is especially important for the major administrative needs and life changes our members face,” explained Cmdr. Matt ten Berge, the PSI team lead. “We’ve seen improved delivery times on PCS and separations orders, DD214s, contracts, and reserve mobilizations.”  

“The pilot program has been a game changer for yeoman,” said Petty Officer 1st Class Kayla Christian, a yeoman in the 14th District who assisted with the pilot program in 2020. “Now when members come to see me, I can be the voice for the member a lot better than I used to be.”  

Chief Petty Officer Catherine Mitchell, a yeomen who is currently attached to the counterintelligence service, echoes Christian’s sentiments, emphasizing the difference this change will also make with the reserve community.  

Mitchell, who was previously stationed with the Port Security Unit (PSU) 305 at the Joint Base Langley-Eustis, worked with reservists extensively.  

“With COVID, PSU’s are in a world of hurt on the yeoman side, because we had to adjust [the reservists’] schedules so much” explained Mitchell. “Without the new privileges, it would not have been possible to do my job effectively.”  

The PSI simplifies the process on the back end for many of members’ most stressful needs—including PCS orders and reservist mobilization. It also gives members newfound transparency into these processes.  

“The customer can now come in, see the process and trust that their needs will get met,” said Mitchell. “The game of telephone is over. I can just make the decision and changes myself based on my conversation with the member.” 

Members, who are not yeoman, do not need to do anything different when interacting with P&A offices. The changes are meant to be seamless. There will be some initial internal moves that yeoman can expect and geographic movement to billets that will occur as members transfer out of billets. Yeoman will not be asked to make PCS moves while still serving in their current tour.  

Phase One of PSI has already been implemented in Yorktown, Petaluma, Honolulu, Charleston, and Elizabeth Cit,y and will continue through 2021 granting the expanded privileges to bases, sectors, air stations, and FORCECOM where the current P&A office staffing is adequate for the changes in responsibilities.  

Phase Two will take place over the next couple of assignment years as yeomen billets are moved back to major units not collocated with an SPO.   

“Ultimately, the changes offer members a more personalized experience and alleviate stress with quicker turnaround times,” said ten Berge. “Plus, the initiative improves job satisfaction for yeomen.”  

The PSI directly supports the Coast Guard’s Strategic Plan.  

At the end of the day, it’s about customer service”, said Vice Adm. Michael McAllister, who sponsored the initiative as Deputy Commandant for Mission Support. 

This initiative marks a decisive step for yeoman in the direction of instilling a customer service culture at the Coast Guard and improving the delivery of services to our workforce.