“We want to ensure a GSA Las Vegas-type conference never happens again,” he said.
No one wants another GSA splurge.
Rep. Stephen F. Lynch (Mass.), the top Democrat on the subcommittee, also warned about “negative impacts on agency mission and the services provided to the American people that restrictions on travel and conference spending may cause.”
In a letter to Lynch and Farenthold, the Government Managers Coalition said many federal employees require the training and certification available at conferences. “For these positions, failure to maintain professional accreditation could result in a skills lapse or, worse, a loss of security clearance,” the group said.
A Partnership for Public Service study on “The State of the FDA Workforce” pointed to that danger. “For scientists, keeping up with changes and advancements in their field is of utmost importance,” the November report said.
Although the Food and Drug Administration says it supports professional development, heavy workloads, light budgets and supervisor discouragement can prevent employees from taking the travel needed to enhance their development, according to the report. That leads to lower morale, which can’t be good for service.
Draconian restrictions on federal travel “is yet again penny wise and pound foolish behavior,” said Max Stier, president and chief executive of the Partnership.
He understands the need to cut government expenses, including excessive government travel. But “the push to save travel dollars,” he said, “is not the way to create better government.”
(The Partnership has a content sharing relationship with The Washington Post.)
Previous columns by Joe Davidson are available at wapo.st/JoeDavidson.