Representatives from the Lee County Sheriff’s Office and Fort Benning pose with their Intergovernmental Support Agreement (IGSA). The agreement was signed by Sheriff Jay Jones, fourth from left, and Garrison Commander Colin P. Mahle, fifth from right.
BY KENDYL HOLLINGSWORTH
Leaders from Fort Benning met with Lee County Sheriff Jay Jones Tuesday morning to sign an Intergovernmental Support Agreement (IGSA) — its ninth overall.
“This is an opportunity to not only partner with the community, but there’s also an economic perspective piece of this as well,” said Fort Benning Garrison Commander Colin P. Mahle.
According to Mahle, there are just over 125 IGSAs in the entire Department of Defense enterprise. The agreement with LCSO is the third IGSA between Fort Benning and a Lee County entity in just over a year.
In March 2022, Fort Benning and Auburn University officials also formally entered an IGSA partnership to “enhance on-post environmental compliance support,” according to a published report from the U.S. Army.
Fort Benning’s IGSA with the city of Smiths Station, which it formally entered in December 2022, allowed Fort Benning to “partner with personnel and subject matter experts from the city of Smiths Station for the next 10 years at a significant cost savings for Fort Benning,” according to another report on the matter.
This agreement with LCSO, however, is different, according to Mahle.
“This one is what I would call a ‘contingency IGSA,’ meaning that it is in place in the event that we need to use this,” he explained. “But we’re all hopeful that we won’t.”
Like the other agreements, though, the IGSA with LCSO will result in cost reductions for Fort Benning as the contract is put into action. Jones said LCSO is happy to help the military base in this way and any other way it can.
“This is something that is very important to us in regard to having a connection with our partners in the military,” Jones said. “… In our business, we have a lot of our staff that are former military, and we certainly have a very close connection in that regard. Anything that we can do as a civilian law enforcement agency to assist our military, especially providing them resources that they may not have in other circumstances — and this agreement being an example of that — then we are more than pleased to do that.”
Mahle said it was “really special” to come to the Lee County Sheriff’s Office with Garrison Command Sgt. Maj. Michael Sanchez and meet with Jones and several LCSO employees.
“We represent the soldiers and families on Fort Benning, but we also represent the community, so some of our most important parts of our job are to make sure that we come out in the community and do these things,” Mahle said. “… Regardless of how often we use [the agreement] or we don’t use it, what it is is it strengthens our partnership with Lee County and strengthens our partnership with the communities.”
AboutFace-USA founder and CEO Joe LaBranche read the proclamation before Jones and Mahle signed the IGSA. The agreement will officially begin April 1, 2023, and expire March 31, 2033.