Meetings Mean Business has sent a letter to U.S. Representative Michael Fitzpatrick (R-PA), urging him to reconsider the specifics of the legislation he introduced earlier this summer. The Stay in Place, Cut the Waste Act of 2015 (H.R. 2810) seeks to replace as much as half of government travel with videoconferencing.
"We are deeply concerned with the provisions of this bill," said David Peckinpaugh, MMB co-chair and president of Maritz Travel. "Research shows that well-planned, in-person meetings are essential; they allow for the productive exchange of ideas across industry, academia and government, and are a critical component of government employee education and training. Virtual meetings and teleconferences are useful tools that complement in-person meetings, but should not replace them."
The letter, which is signed by 36 professionals from the meetings industry, cautions that the act as currently written could, in fact, "increase federal spending, reduce efficiency and effectiveness, and harm the federal government's ability to perform important functions." Face-to-face meetings are indispensable tools for government employees, according to MMB; based on research commissioned earlier this year, nine out of 10 federal workers believe that in-person meetings and events are important for advancing the missions of their agencies. Additional research from economic consulting firm Rockport Analytics indicates that canceling government participation in conferences can cost taxpayers more in the end, according to MMB.
"MMB is committed to being vigilant and appropriately vocal on this issue," said Michael Dominguez, MMB co-chair and senior vice president of corporate sales at MGM Resorts International. "We welcome the opportunity to work with Rep. Fitzpatrick to improve the bill and serve the public interest." The letter in its entirety can be found at bit.ly/1HtTpjp