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[Killietalk] RE: Cost of travel
I don't believe I misunderstand travel costs. My basic reference is always
the DoD Joint Travel Regulations (JTR). From that I can get the acceptable
costs for almost any place in the country. Contrary to what the major news
networks might broadcast on "government excesses", for most of government
travel, it ain't no picnic. When you board one of those planes that have the
two engines on the tail wing, notice that the last seat next to window (i.e.,
closest to the engines) always have a passenger seated there. If you aren't
flying on a weekend I would say 999 times out of 1000 that person is federal
employee. The JTR tells you what you can spend on a hotel in a particular
area (up to what amount). There are few hotels that always qualify, Hampton
Inns come to mind. There are many occasions when the lowest rates at Ramada
or Holiday Inn Expresses are even over per diem in some areas. For Marion
County, IN the allowed hotel rate is $87 whereas for Hendricks County just
west of the airport it is $64. Food allotment for Indianoplace is $44 a day
versus $28 in Hendricks. Is $23 compensation for putting up with corn
borers? Montgomery County, MD lists for $153 and Frederick County, MD lists
for $75, something much more dramatic than the Indiana situation.
I live on the Montgomery-Frederick County line a short distance from I-270
which connects Frederick, MD with Washington DC. Going north from the DC
Beltway on I-270 you have the communities of Bethesda and Silver Spring
straddling the beltway, then Rockville, Gaithersburg, Germantown, Clarksburg,
Hyattstown, Urbana and then Frederick. The Washington Metro system stretches
to near Gaithersburg (Shady Grove Metro station) and hotels north of here to
Germantown often provide shuttle service to Shady Grove. Hotels that are
convenient to public transportation charge more. For those that are not
convenient are accessible by taxi or airport vans but that cost is maybe $40
or more. Once you get to Germantown you don't find motels until you get to
Frederick. As I pointed out in a previous e-mail, the Hilton south of
Germantown found a way to get out of their proposal ($99 a night) and in
Frederick there are only two Holiday Inns capable of holding an AKA
Convention with one of them being probably too small. We had a request in
with the larger Holiday Inn but because we couldn't move forward on a bid,
the Holiday Inn again booked the local high school's senior prom. Memorial
Day weekend we are also up against a regional soccer tournament as well as
tourist season. The Hilton did counter by suggesting we use buildings in the
nearby Montgomery County fairgrounds to hold the fish show. Mike also looked
into holding the event in the Greenbelt area northeast of Washington. Crime
is a concern here and there are very few outside food options in the
vicinity. We also had explored holding the show in Baltimore, Annapolis and
Harrisburg (PA)--all sites would have had transportation issues. In
Harrisburg we would have had the use of Pennsylvania Farm Show Arena
facilities but it would have been a distance from the hotel.
Also, since you questioning meeting planning I did put together the first DoD
Chemist's Meeting which was held in Reno, NV last May for about 130 people.
While I had help in scouting out the hotel, I had to work up the contract,
develop the schedule and worry about breakout refreshments and A/V issues.
It was successful enough that we just had our second meeting in Myrtle Beach.
I recently completed developing the agenda for our biannual Environmental
Conference and developed the content for 5 concurrent tracks for one and a
half days soliciting about 100 speakers. Now that that has been handed off I
can concentrate on the Convention.
As several have pointed out, it is pretty easy being "Tail Gunner Joe"
(McCarthy). If you have input rather than critique, bring your comments to
Tom Grady who is handling the Convention Assistance/Coordination Committee.
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