There's more to travel expenses
To the editor:
Regarding the editorial "Traveling Travesty" in the Dec. 23 issue, I found this a welcome opinionpiece on an important subject. We should be looking at actual expenses of government departments.
I do want to add that conferences can benefitemployees and their work.
Getting out of the office to address personnel relations and other
issues can be effective where personality problems interfere, or where
the staff deals with complex issues often, without letup.
I've had experience with an organization that held an annual retreat
for all employees. Wetalked business but also practiced team-building
games, which can be illuminating. Administrators talked about an
upcoming system change and sought employee comments and ideas about the
transition. An invited speaker could dive into those areas of the
jobthat are normally hard to discuss. Each year it seemed a worthwhile
effort in better relations, more efficiency, and respect for the
It is surprising how many managers do not know how to communicate well
orresolve conflicts. No matter what a new manager brings into a
workplace, there are oftendynamics present that she or he could not be
I do believe that taxpayers and constituents really do want to know
where the money goes. If a state visits another country to promote
tourism and industry, it is appropriate that we receive more feedback
then we do - through a public report, or a two-year follow-up.
Also, sometimes a resort offers a package for a group within the same
price range as a more modest venue, and the agency decides to go with
the resort. Supporting a locale that needs a little more business is
surely commendable - if the entire cost is not excessive - since a
conference needs to be held somewhere.
The bottom line in this editorial isthat we really want to know more
about what's going on, and not just hearbellyaching. We know
firsthand, for example,that our school districts are in turmoil,
juggling diminishing funds while constantly facing the unexpected from
their own state.
Thank youfor starting the conversation.