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GSA cuts last of its national conferences scheduled for this year

Originally posted by Josh Hicksáon The Washington Post

The General Services Administration canceled the last of its national conferences scheduled for this year due to a lack of demand from agencies facing budget constraints, the administration announced Monday.

The GSA said it suspended its FedForum, which the agency had planned for July 16-18 in New Orleans, and its SmartPay training event, slated for Aug. 6-8 in Chicago.

Acting GSA Administrator Dan Tangherlini.

The cancellations mark the second time in less than a month that the agency has called off major events due to a lack of demand. In February, the GSA suspended its annual expo and training conference.

"In the current fiscal climate, agencies and businesses alike have been forced to make tough spending cuts," the GSA said in a statement Monday. "After carefully reviewing the projected spending and attendance for this year's conferences, GSA will suspend both in an effort to use our resources more responsibly."

SmartPay is the federal government's charge-card program. Last year, more than 6,400 people attended the GSA's SmartPay training event in Las Vegas, but only 151 people had registered so far for this year's event in Chicago, according to the agency.

Instead of moving ahead with the Chicago conference, the GSA said it plans to offer a virtual SmartPay forum this fall.

FedForum is an annual GSA training event relating to acquisition, motor vehicles, aviation, transportation, boats, real property, personal property, and green buildings.

GSA said only 192 people had registered for this year's event, compared to 211 at around the same time last year.

GSA spokeswoman Mafara Hobson said the agency was still determining how much savings the cancellations would create for the federal government.

Last year, former GSA Administrator Martha N. Johnson resigned, and a host of other top agency officials were fired or placed on leave amid reports of lavish spending at a regional conference near Las Vegas.

(Image by Alex Wong -- Getty Images)