In a listserv email Wednesday, an Office of Personnel Management said few benefit officers from around the federal government would have been able to attend the annual conference due to a lack of funds. (Staff)
Tight budgets have forced the Office of Personnel Management to cancel this year's benefits conference.
In a listserv email April 3, OPM said few benefit officers from around the federal government would have been able to attend the annual conference due to a lack of funds. OPM is also canceling a fall training festival that would have been held in November, the agency said.
The agency did not say when and where the now-canceled 2013 benefits conference would have been.
“We will work to develop alternative training opportunities such as webcasts during the rest of this year,” Raymond Kirk, an OPM benefits officer said in the email. “While they will not be a complete, nor in some ways sufficient, substitute for the conference, they will allow us to continue providing training for benefits officers on critical issues.”
OPM's benefits conferences usually include workshops on benefits such as retirement, insurance, Social Security and the Thrift Savings Plan. The last five-day conference was in Dallas in June.
OPM is still planning to hold a benefits training conference next year in Pittsburgh.
Several federal agencies have canceled conferences over the last year due to budget crunches, decreased attendance and increased scrutiny after conference spending scandals at the General Services Administration and Veterans Affairs Department. Since February, GSA has canceled three of its mainstay annual conferences: the GSA Training and Expo, FedForum and SmartPay Training Forum conferences, which were to be held in May, July and August, respectively.
Last year, the Office of Management and Budget ordered agencies to cut travel spending in 2013 by 30 percent from 2010 spending levels.