Monday, August 27, 2012

A few thoughts on events claiming senior federal attendance....

Federal executive and manager participation in any and all events is going to suffer significantly over the next few years as a result of the fallout from the GSA PBS fiasco and some other seemingly "over the top" events.

I have spoken to a few senior feds recently regarding the new guidelines for justifying both travel and event participation. In some instances, the justification for travel has become so onerous that it is easier to avoid the entire process even if the travel is truly work related.

As for justifying time off to attend multi-day events for federal senior executives, this has become a real hot potato issue for career feds. The paranoia going through the ranks of senior career feds is fear of what is actually happening, not what could happen.

IG investigators are showing up at events to monitor any untoward activity.

There is a rumor of an unofficial White House memo that stated to avoid events in certain cities. Supposedly Las Vegas, Atlantic City and Orlando were named. The same memo allegedly stated that feds should avoid events held at any venue with "resort" in the name.

While the most notorious events seem to have occurred a few years back, the fallout included the recent cancellation of several events, including Air Force ITC (which hit Mobile's economy in a big way), the GSA Green event and many others with legitimate "raison d'etre".

There is no near-term end in sight for the fallout, so my advice for those who have been asking is to be extremely careful about making a significant investment in any multi-day event which touts the attendance of a senior federal audience at any resort.

Attendance will be down.