Monday, August 3, 2015

Administration and Motivation: My Week at Antietam

Money has an enormous impact on many things, and last week I learned that the National Park Service is no exception. I had the privilege to travel from my place in Monocacy National Battlefield to Sharpsburg, Maryland, home of Antietam National Battlefield. Being our sister park, we share an Administrative staff with Antietam. Administration was the division where I had the least amount of knowledge before spending time with these amazing workers and people. I was lucky enough to follow around Kathy, our Administrative Officer, and Corey, our Budget Analyst.
Totally candid! Corey let me look over his
shoulder as he shared his knowledge.
The administration is mostly behind the scenes, but very involved when problems arise. I learned that our administration is so important because they have so many responsibilities that have a direct impact on many people. One of their duties is dealing with employee's money. They oversee and review the payroll, deal with the different kinds of leave time, and even work with the hiring of the best qualified individuals. They use so many different programs, and the most challenging part of my week was trying to comprehend all of the acronyms. My dad always tells me to never use an acronym if I can't tell you what it stands for, so I tried my best. We used FPPS (Federal Personnel Payroll System), PAR (Personnel Action Request), iQMIS (Internet Quarters Management Information System), SMIO (Safety Management Information System), and the be-all and end-all of programs, FBMS (Financial Business Management System). Yes, it is a lot to remember, but it is crucial to have so many procedures involved to ensure that money is being used in the best and most appropriate way. Corey shared with me that "FBMS has created so much accountability for what we do because everyone can see it, and everyone is involved." 

Aside from dealing with employee's money, they also deal with the park's money and property reports. These people have a stressful role and do a great job. I was thankful that in the middle of the week, they gave me the opportunity to follow former Temple ProRanger Jay Copper. 
Temple ProRangers of the past and the present.
Jay and I in front of the Visitor Center at Antietam National Battlefield. 
I want to thank Law Enforcement Officer Jay Copper for allowing me to tag along with him for a whole day. It is inspirational to see someone who was in my shoes a few years ago, now succeeding as a full-time Ranger. He answered every question that I asked (and there were many) and gave me advice that I will remember as I go forward. This experience served as motivation to continue on and make the most of my remaining time at Monocacy. Again, thank you Jay and the rest of the staff at Antietam for having me this past week. 

Only one week left!

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