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Friday, April 6, 2012

Spotlight: The GSA fiasco vs. writers spending their own money for a conference

GSA didn't watch the $ for their own conference

Las Vegas is one of the most economical convention venues in the country. A wide choice of facilities are available in every price range from economical to lavish.

 As a Las Vegas author myself, with a background in the travel industry as well as having worked for a government contractor that was under the thumb of GSA, this blatant self-indulgence with taxpayer's money literally "set my hair on fire,"--enough, in fact, that I was compelled to write this article. The M Resort is a lovely hotel not too far from my home. If you're paying for attending a conference with your own money, what a wonderful place to have it. If a corporation decides to treat their employees to a hotel like this, that's fine too. Perks go a long way as incentives. However, when you are a government agency, supposedly the watchdog over government spending, need I say more? This was not fine! They could have easily come to Las Vegas and stayed at a property within government per diem allowances and not indulged themselves with multiple luxuries while on the taxpayer's dime. Here's how writers do it:
Take for instance two upcoming writers' conferences. Public Safety Writers Association Conference which will take place from July 12-15 at the Orleans Hotel and Casino. The conference rates for the rooms are $35 for weeknights and $80 for weekend nights.
Las Vegas Writers Conference, April 19-21 at Sam's Town Hotel and Gambling Hall. Room rates for the conference are $26.99 for Thursday night and $64.99 for Friday and Saturday.

Function rooms are excellent and meals included in the registration fee are far from what is often described as “rubber chicken conference lunches or banquet dinners.” There is no charge for parking at most hotels in Las Vegas and Henderson. Food purchased on your own is reasonable.  Flights from most cities are competitively priced since Las Vegas is a major airport. In other words, these are very reasonable convention packages and there is no way they would break the bank of any organization, corporation or government agency. Writers and others in the publishing industry who attend these conferences spend their own money, so naturally their eye is on the pocketbook.

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