Browsing: Federal Travel

Contract flaws found in GSA Disney trip

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More than half of the attendees at a big training meeting in 2011 for the General Services Administration’s acquisition arm hailed from the Washington area, but when it came time to figure out a location, officials headed to sunny Orlando instead. As outlined in a memo released by the GSA’s Inspector General this week, a review found that Federal Acquisition Service officials settled on a contract proposal for conference planning and training that came to nearly a quarter million dollars, while the next highest vendor proposed just $79,784. Despite the price, the IG found that officials essentially steered the conference…

Memo to frequent fliers: Share your tips

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Are you a seasoned federal traveler with a suitcase full of tips? Do you know how to save on checked bag fees and do you always know the best hotels at per diem? If you would like share some of your tips and advice with our readers, or have any other suggestions on how to beat the airport rush, please email me at opawlyk@gannettgov.com or feel free to post in the comment section below.

GSA virtual meeting centers open to agencies

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The General Services Administration’s 15 virtual meetings centers are finally open for business after months of delays. In the face of shrinking travel budgets, GSA is encouraging agencies to reduce costs and greenhouse gas emissions by meeting virtually. The telepresence centers, which opened earlier this month, cost $399 per hour per location, comparable to the price of public telepresence rooms. Public meeting rooms usually cost between $400 and $450 an hour, said Mark Barounos, CEO for Colorado-based Telepresence World. GSA contracted with AT&T to create the centers at its 11 regional headquarters offices – in Boston; New York City; Philadelphia;…

GSA to create virtual meeting centers

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Starting early next year, federal agencies will have access to telepresence centers at General Services Administration buildings across the country. The technology will initially span across 14 GSA buildings including 11 regional offices and central offices, GSA Administrator Martha Johnson told reporters today at the Executive Leadership Conference in Williamsburg, Va. “People appear much more life like” and “they engage in eye contact with each other,” said Johnson about the new technologies. “The sound really works, and you feel as if you’re sitting at the same table even though you’re sitting virtually.” The systems will be set up in rooms throughout…

A hearing about nothing

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Tuesday’s meeting of the House Armed Services subcommittee on oversight and investigations started to resemble an episode of “Seinfeld” after a while, as Congressmen became obsessed with parsing the difference between a “continental breakfast” and a “light snack.” David Fisher, head of DoD’s Business Transformation Agency, offered a convoluted distinction between the two from the rules that govern defense travel, to illustrate the complexity of those regulations. Committe chairman Vic Snyder, an Arkansas Democrat, came up with his own definition. “I think if you stay on your feet it’s light refreshments, if you sit down it’s a continental breakfast,” he…

No more texting and driving, feds

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If you’re a federal employee, you can no longer text while driving on company time. President Obama issued an Oct. 1 executive order banning federal employees from texting while driving for work, and that order took effect Wednesday. The order bans feds from using government-supplied electronics while driving, as well as texting while driving government-owned vehicles or while driving privately-owned vehicles on official government business. Federal contracts are encouraged to adopt their own policies banning texting behind the wheel. More than 4 million federal employees will be banned from texting on company time, according to a Transportation Department news release.…

Turkeys can fly!

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Despite the experience of a certain Cincinnati radio station (see below), it turns out that turkeys can fly…just as long as they’re on an airplane. That’s the word from TSA, which has posted a list of holiday travel tips on its blog. Turkeys are permitted carry on items. As are pies (mmm…pie). The complete list of food related dos and don’ts is as follows: Foods: Pies are permitted, but they are subject to additional screening if our officers see any anomalies. (Additional screening of pies does not include our officers tasting the pie, no matter what they tell you…) Cakes,…

OMG! Prez bans txting while drving

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Feds, put down those BlackBerries. At least while you’re behind the wheel. President Barack Obama issued an executive order today that bans federal employees from using their cell phones, BlackBerries or other electronic devices to send or receive text messages, read e-mails or perform other electronic tasks while driving . The order applies to employees behind the wheel of government owned or leased vehicles or those driving their own vehicles while on government business. Agencies also were instructed to encourage federal contractors to enforce similar polices on their own workforces. Obama issued the order to coincide with a Washington summit organized by Transportation Secretary…

Get ready for transition…to SmartPay2

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Attention government travelers, buyers and drivers: You may be immersed in the presidential transition (and have plans to flee work for the holiday weekend), but don’t forget this weekend is another transition…to the new government purchase, travel and fleet charge cards. At 11:59 p.m. Nov. 29 your old SmartPay cards will be useless, so be sure to have the new cards at the ready. That’s what David Shea, director of the General Services Administration’s SmartPay 2 program, tells us here at FedLine. Shea has these tips for feds who may be working this holiday weekend and need to use their…

Create your own inaugural ball

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I just discovered the most outlandish thing I’ve seen in quite some time. JW Mariott is offering a “build your own inaugural ball” package for the three-day weekend for the mere sum of $1 million at its 14th and Pennsylvania hotel. Here’s what you’d get for your bucks: • Two Presidential Suites • Two Vice Presidential Suites • 300 guest rooms • $200,000 in food and beverage • Private access to the 12th floor balcony under a heated framed tent • Custom tailored events to fit 450 people • 24-hour Red Coat Serviceâ„¢ • 5% of proceeds will be donated to the Amazona Sustainable Foundation Oh yeah, and…

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