March 5, 2021
Natural Resources Management Uniform Program Update
I know it’s been the time of the season when many of you have been asking "when can I order my uniforms?" We’ve been working with the National Park Service Contracting Officer, who administers the multi-agency uniform contract, to take all necessary steps to allow the program to open. We provided our program funding document (MIPR) to NPS late last year along with the applicable Interagency Agreement forms and documentation. NPS told me yesterday that progress is being made with the action now at their Accounting Center for subsequent approval by the Comptroller General – there are a number of steps in this process. Just as I said last year, I know this sounds like the same old song-and-dance from prior years – and it is ... trying hard to get the FY21 program opened as soon as possible.
Now would be a good time to contact your district uniform coordinator/POC to ensure all accounts are properly set up, especially for new employees that have been hired during the off season.
As we’ve mentioned in previous communications, many will see an increase in their replacement allowances, as well as an increase to the initial allowance for new hires. VF Imagewear, the interagency uniform contractor, is modifying everyone’s account to reflect these changes which you will see upon the opening of the ordering site. The new allowances are listed below.
We introduced many new products last year and are pleased to see an overall positive response to the items as reflected in last year’s Park Ranger Safety Survey (59% favored the new items over the existing items, 24% didn’t, 17% were neutral). The uniform committee is addressing all the comments and will work with VF and the other agencies to make further improvements to the products. Some individuals commented on having insufficient funds (an allowance increase is now coming), difficulty in navigating/ordering new items on the site (resolved by VF), and lengthy delays in receiving uniform orders. Please note that the COVID-19 pandemic hit the apparel industry hard last year, causing VF’s sub-contractors to reduce or stop delivery of products and raw material for long periods of time. VF’s own distribution plant operated at reduced capacity due to state and local health orders and had to be shut down and completely cleaned each time an employee tested positive for the virus.
We are also pleased to announce that the following new items will be available upon the opening of the ordering site: Grey Polo Shirt (lighter-cooler), Smart Wool Socks (warm and comfortable), and Maternity Shirts/Trousers (better fit-style). Other new items scheduled to be available later in the year include: Duty Flex Shorts (longer inseam), and red long-sleeved volunteer polo shirt.
As always, I appreciate our uniform committee (listed below), district uniform coordinators, VF Imagewear, and the other agencies in working together to provide the best products possible - balancing comfort, durability, appearance, function and cost with the ever increasing challenge of finding domestic products and products from approved compliant countries as required under the contract and by Federal law.
|TENURE STATUS||FREQUENCY OF WEAR||ALLOWANCE (Initial/Replacement) |
|New Single-Season Temporary||Daily or Intermittent ||$400.00/NA |
|New Multi-Season Temporary||Daily or Intermittent ||$500.00/NA |
|Returning Temporary||Daily of Intermittent ||$300.00/NA |
|Maternity Permanent or Temporary||Daily or Intermittent ||$400.00/NA |
NRM National Uniform Committee: Chair - Sara G. Jernigan LRD Rep - Holly L. Myers MVD Rep – Dawn M. Kovarik NAD Rep – Scott T. Graham NWD/POD Rep – Michele L. Fromdahl SAD Rep – Connie A. Gunter SPD Rep – Carrie A. Richardson SWD Rep – Amanda L. Palmer
Stephen Austin, Natural Resources Manager
Senior Policy Advisor for Park Ranger Activities
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