Tue, Aug 21, 2012
Cites Obama Administration Initiative To Cut Travel Expenses
The scandal of GSA employees spending freely on a conference in Las Vegas caused the cancellation of travel plans by some 200 black FAA employees who were planning to attend a conference in that same city. Employees were told they were free to attend the National Black Coalition of Federal Aviation Employees conference, but they would have to pay their own way and use annual leave to do so.
Government Executive online reports that the travel had been approved in June, but just three days before the conference was to begin, FAA human resources officer Isa Campbell received a call from acting administrator Michael Huerta saying that permission to travel to the conference was being withheld, offering no other explanation. The cancellation was confirmed by the DOT.
Some employees were already on their way to the conference, and were force to turn around and go home.
It was learned later that the situation involving GSA was the reason new policies were established, and this particular conference was not being singled out. An FAA spokeswoman said in a statement, “The Office of Management and Budget recently issued new policies regarding travel and conferences to help reduce administrative costs. Based on these new policies, the Department of Transportation, like the rest of government, has taken a fresh look at travel and conferences planned for the rest of the year. . . . The FAA has canceled its regional airport conferences planned for the remainder of 2012, and reduced employee participation at various conferences across the country.”
About 225 people wound up attending the conference, but some FAA officials who were to be speakers on panels and have other official duties did not make the trip. All paid their own airfare, room, and board, according to the magazine.
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