RICHMOND, Va. ― Commissary employees will be allowed to shop in commissaries, probably by the end of June.
“We certainly expect the employees to be pleased,” said Michael Dowling, deputy director and chief operating officer of the Defense Commissary Agency, at a meeting of the American Logistics Association here. He said Robert Bianchi, interim director of the agency, notified employees of the policy change Thursday morning via email.
Dowling said one of the most common requests from commissary employees is that they be allowed shopping privileges.
He said about 50 percent of the commissary agency’s employees will benefit. The other half of the approximately 14,000 employees already have shopping privileges as military spouses, retirees, or other military connections. The benefit has been provided primarily for the military community for more than 150 years.
The benefit will be extended to employees only; family members will not be allowed to shop. Once the employee leaves or retires, the benefit ends, a source said. Employees will not be allowed to purchase tobacco or other controlled substances, Dowling said.
A source said the change was approved by Robert Wilkie, under secretary of defense for personnel and readiness.
The move may help retention of commissary employees, one source said.
Among those who are currently authorized to shop in commissaries are active duty, Guard and reserve members; retirees; Medal of Honor recipients; 100 percent disabled veterans; and their family members.
Baggers are not commissary employees.
Karen has covered military families, quality of life and consumer issues for Military Times for more than 30 years, and is co-author of a chapter on media coverage of military families in the book "A Battle Plan for Supporting Military Families." She previously worked for newspapers in Guam, Norfolk, Jacksonville, Fla., and Athens, Ga.