New committee will review federal travel policies

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The General Services Administration announced the creation of the Governmentwide Travel Advisory Committee to review and promote transparency regarding travel policies at federal agencies, according to an announcement posted in the Federal Register on Dec. 26.

The committee’s 15 members, including a chairman, will be asked to help “increase travel efficiency and effectiveness, reduce costs, promote sustainability, and incorporate industry best practices.”

GTAC will begin its tenure by reviewing the methodology by which annual adjustments to federal per-diem rates are made. The new committee will be housed under GSA’s Office of Governmentwide Policy, and GSA said that they were accepting nominations for the open committee spots.

“Through the review process, the GTAC will address current industry and Federal travel trends and provide advice and make recommendations for improvements,” wrote Chris Scott, the GSA’s director of travel and relocation policy in the Federal Register.

Committee members will serve two year terms with the possibility of one year extensions, and may include federal travel managers, representatives from the lodging and travel industries, and state and local government officials. GSA said that GTAC will be a continuing advisory committee with an initial two year term following the filing of its charter, unless further extended prior to its expiration. Registered federal lobbyists will be prohibited from serving on the GTAC, and committee members will not be compensated or given travel reimbursements for their participation.

GSA announced the committee months after receiving sharp criticism from Congress for outsized conference spending and questionable employee bonuses. In August, GSA froze per-diem rates for fiscal 2013 at the 2012 levels to help control travel costs. 
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