More money, more solutions: 341st CPTS funds mission, promotes innovation

  • Published
  • By Airman 1st Class Dillon Johnston
  • 341st Missile Wing Public Affairs
There is an old adage that says "money makes the world go round." If this holds truth, then it must also be true that those who control the flow of the money, by proxy, also make the world go round.

At Malmstrom Air Force Base, it may not be the whole world, but the 341st Comptroller Squadron certainly allows the base to have a steady cash flow, keeping operations running and Team Malmstrom's "world" going round.

"There isn't one dollar on this base that doesn't come through my office," said Maj. LaTonya R. Kelly, 341st CPTS commander. "Whether its medical funds, funds for civil engineers, resiliency, the chapel, maintenance - anybody. It comes through this office."

The funding used to allocate new equipment for Airmen comes directly from the budgeting side of the comptroller squadron, who set aside money for various official purchases on base.

"They do things that the base won't necessarily ever see as far as the work goes," said Tech. Sgt. Joseph Osborne, 341st CPTS Financial Services Flight NCO in charge. "But they'll see all the materials. So when you see the cops getting new uniforms, all the budget funding behind it and acquiring it and tracking the funds are done by the budget office."

Not only is the team responsible for funds allotted to base programs, but the paychecks that end up in Team Malmstrom member's pockets rests in the hands of the 341st CPTS. This requires a high level of technical knowledge of the career and well developed customer service skills to help customers deal with any financial issues they have.

"We do our job accurately and timely so that other people can go focus on what this base is about - what this mission is for," Osborne said. "If we don't do our job properly, it pulls people in; they then have to take their time away from what the (operational) mission is for the base."

"We want to provide the best financial services that we can," Kelly said. "Likewise, we want to make sure that we honor our fiduciary relationship with the taxpayer dollars."

The squadron's responsibilities also include providing trusted financial counsel to commanders around base.

"We want to provide commanders with the best possible financial advice so they can make sure they are able to accomplish their mission, based on their financial resource needs," Kelly said.

While the squadron is a busy one, with a lot of money and resources hanging in the balance, there is still a strong comradery presence behind it all, knitting the unit together like a family.

"Every person who walks through the door every day knows that everyone in this office - everyone in this unit - could be called on if their car breaks down, they can call when they're running out of food for their kids, they can talk to us when they're having difficulties," Osborne said. "When they have a question on the job, there are no barriers between their peers to ask questions. All those, they're all knocked down - they don't exist."

This level of trust and openness leads to Airmen feeling more inclined to take risks and try new ways of completing tasks, often leading in advances squadron wide.

"When you have that kind of environment, people feel like they're working and inspired and empowered by others, as opposed to being directed to accomplish something," Osborne said. "You'd be amazed at the productivity and walls people are willing to run through when they feel inspired."

"The best part of this organization is the team itself," Kelly said. "We work hard and play hard and make things happen."

Kelly has full confidence in her team, who support the entire base's funding. This responsibility is even greater with the Force Improvement Program being added to the roster of accountable funds recently.

"We have a great group of people here," Kelly said. "From our customer service technicians to our resource advisors, they are all a part of this team. I can't do this alone, and it takes all of us to make this happen.

"They work very hard and are very dedicated," she added.

Even with all the hard work in the world, mistakes are sometimes made. However, Kelly doesn't let that hold her team down.

"We don't always get it right," She said. "But it's our responsibility to make sure that we right the wrong when we do make errors."

"When a customer comes in and we've done something incorrectly, or something else could have been done, we don't act like it's an inconvenience," Osborne said. "We go above and beyond to solve the problem for that customer whether it's an O-6 or an E-3."

The attitude that each customer is important no matter the rank or issue is what Osborne tries to instill in his subordinates each day.

"That person is not just a document on your desk," he said. "That pay issue is not just something difficult that you have to do. It is someone's livelihood, it is someone's resources that they need to have in place; and it is our responsibility to make sure that it is done and done properly."

Through this mantra, the 341st CPTS continues to strive for outstanding customer service and financial counsel year-round.