Are New Controls on Conferences and Travel an Overreaction?

Government trainings are important. They provide valuable skills to government employees so that they can better do their jobs. However, since the GSA conference scandal, it’s been more difficult than ever for federal workers to justify conferences and trainings. Some of these controls are good, but some may be detrimental to the good work government does every day. To discuss this, Chris Dorobek of the DorobekINSIDER sat down with Tom Fox, Vice President for Leadership and Innovation at the Partnership for Public Service about the new controls placed on federal workers by OMB looking to attend conferences and trainings. It’s important to keep in mind that we shouldn’t cut off federal workers from interacting with each other and with industry; creating an isolated federal government isn’t in anyone’s best interest. Allowing for government workers to remain highly trained by attending sessions is essential to building and maintaining a high-functioning government. Trainings are much different than the GSA conference that took headlines by storm, and it’s important to recognize that.

 Some of the controls placed on conferences are problematic, making it more difficult for government workers to get crucial training. However, there are some controls which are logical and beneficial, such as making government workers justify the trainings they are attending on record. It increases transparency and accountability, and will lead to better trainings. 

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