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Department of Homeland Security

Use Government Buildings - Not Hotels - for Conferences

Since working for the federal government for five months, I have attended two government sponsored conferences. Both were held in large hotel ballrooms or conference rooms, at taxpayer expense. Yet I can think of several federal buildings (Department of Interior, Department of Transportation, Department of Commerce) that have auditoriums or large conference rooms. In fact, the building I work in has a conference room that could have easily accomodated all of the participants at one of those conferences. Considering the number of government sponsored conferences that are held each year, this could generate enormous savings. In addition, the hotels where the conferences are located are often in suburban Virginia with limited - and expensive - food options. At the conference I most recently attended, the only restaurant within walking distance was in the hotel, and the cheapest sandwich on the menu was $9.95. For conference attendees using a government per diem, it would be more cost effective to be in central DC where there is a plethora of restaurant choices. Clearly, holding conferences in government buildings would save a significant amount of money.

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Idea No. 6641