Government meeting planners under scrutiny

Sen. Tom Coburn is looking to cut wasteful spending—in government meetings, no less. According to Federal Times, the chair of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs subcommittee on federal financial management, government information, and international security, thinks there may just be a little too much fat in government meetings. He sort of has a point: Government spending on conferences has gone up 45 percent since 2001, according to data he has gathered from various agencies. And there have been some whoppers in the past, like when 236 Health and Human Services Department employees spent $3.6 million to go to the 2002 international AIDS conference in Barcelona. But HHS, like other agencies, has since cleaned up its act and tightened up its processes, according to the article.

I'm with Society of Government Meeting Professionals Executive Director Carl Thompson, who says in the article:

    You hear a few bad things, but no one ever talks about the good stuff that’s happening. This is sensationalism, I think. Saying, ‘Aha! Look at how taxpayers’ money is being spent!’” he said. “I think the readers should understand that our government planners deserve kudos for pulling off meetings with the limited budgets they have.”

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