NASA ARC Internal Memo: Message from the Center Director - Conference Limitation

Status Report From: Ames Research Center
Posted: Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Subject: Message from the Center Director - Conference Limitation
From: Centerwide Announcement
Date: Wednesday, October 8, 2008

Message from the Center Director - Conference Limitation

I understand there is considerable consternation over the recently issued Centerwide email on Conference Limitation. I want to reassure the staff we are doing everything possible to minimize the impact on the important work that we do at Ames while still complying with this Congressional provision.

As you may have heard, the entire Agency is limited to a total of $5 million that represents a substantial reduction from last fiscal year. Until the Agency completes its analysis and determines each Center's respective allocation, we must comply with the current guidance. All NASA centers have been directed by the Agency to not approve any conference cost, including associated travel, from fiscal year 2009 funds until the Agency has had time to develop and implement a process to track and control conference spending.

The good news is the Congressional provision does not apply to fiscal year 2008 funds. However, because of the limited amount of FY08 funds available, we must use these funds wisely and only for conference cost that are deemed mission critical. We need to prioritize travel to be specifically for working scientists, engineers and other professionals to facilitate presentation of results of research or communication for the progression and implementation of current project/programs that are of critical importance to the agency. Conference travel by personnel in management and leadership positions will have lower priority. Invitational/Reimbursable travel is okay but there is not to be any solicitation of this type of travel, ever.

Until further notice, all travel whether using FY08 or FY09 funds will be vetted through proper branch/division channels with final approval given via Directorate Head by the Center Deputy Director in a manner consistent with the above guidance.

So to reiterate, we are not disallowing conference attendance entirely, but rather limiting attendance based on the availability of budget and mission criticality.

S. Pete Worden
Center Director

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