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Associations meetings are being demonized as the government searches for ways to cut its budgets, but the Obama administration does recognize the value of education that can be found at such events.
These were among the points discussed in a recent meeting among representatives of ASAE and the Office of Management and Budget. ASAE's goal was to reinforce the importance of association meetings to government employees because of the opportunities to talk with and exchange ideas with professionals of private industries.
ASAE CEO John H. Graham IV, FASAE, CAE, the TRENDS 2013 Association Executive of the Year, told the OMB representatives that association meetings are taking a hit - especially with the drastic decrease in attendance by government employees - because meetings have been demonized first because of scandals involving financial company AIG in 2009 and the Government Services Administration in 2010.
The government is now under a directive to reduce travel spending by 30 percent from spending levels in 2010. Sequestration also is expected to further tighten travel spending.
ASAE officials urged administration officials to factor in benefits of association meetings - education, professional development and information sharing, among others - in their efforts to make government travel and conference planning more efficient.
OMB controller Daniel Werfel told the ASAE representatives that the administration does recognize the importance of association conferences for their networking and training opportunities.
Both sides are committed to creating a protocol for conference planners to use when planning events attended by federal employees - including appropriate room rates and social events.
Also attending the meeting for OMB was deputy controller Norman Dong. In addition to Graham, attending for ASAE were public policy SVP Jim Clarke, CAE; chairman-elect Arlene Pietranton, PhD, FASAE, CAE, CEO, American Speech-Language-Hearing Association; Joseph Lynch, general counsel, Military Officers Association of America; and Michael Petricone, government and regulatory affairs SVP, Consumer Electronics Association. Details: www.asaecenter.org.