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Governmentwide Per Diem Advisory Board Presents Recommendations to GSA for the Federal Per Diem Rate Setting Process and a Governmentwide Lodging Program

GSA #9997

January 24, 2003
Contact: Eleni Martin (202) 501-1231
eleni.martin@gsa.gov

WASHINGTON - Today, the Governmentwide Per Diem Advisory Board presented the U.S. General Services Administration with a report detailing its 8-month review of the Federal per diem rate setting process and the government lodging program.

"This Board has been instrumental in GSA's continuing process to streamline and improve federal travel management," said GSA Administrator Stephen A. Perry. GSA's next step is to conduct an internal review process and host discussions with Federal travel managers to determine the feasibility and timeline for implementing the Board's recommendations.

The Governmentwide Per Diem Advisory Board researched current Federal government programs, alternative programs, processes, and methods with the goal of assisting GSA to ensure that the 93,000 Federal employees on travel every business day can meet their mission requirements. Their survey of over 12,000 military and civilian travelers indicated that most Federal employees are satisfied with their travel experiences. However, improvements can be made.

"The Board recognizes that the Federal government and industry must work together to create recommendations for successful programs and this Federal Advisory Committee has allowed us to do just that," said Lori Brooks, Chair of the Board, and Director of Government Sales, Six Continents Hotels, Inc. The Board made more than 45 recommendations, including in these general areas:

Use lodging industry data sources to establish lodging rates;
More clearly define per diem areas by using standard Postal Service zip code names;
Use the private sector for the outsourcing of a Government hotel contracting program; and
Provide expanded feedback tools for the Federal traveler to alert GSA to any per diem problems.

GSA established the Governmentwide Per Diem Advisory Board in May 2002 to review its qwacurrent per diem process and methodology and to provide advice on best practices for a governmentwide lodging program. The 13-member Board represents national travel industry association executives as well as representatives from both Federal and state governments, and is subject to the Federal Advisory Committee Act (FACA).

Governmentwide Per Diem Board members are Lori Brooks, Board Chairperson, representing the National Defense Transportation Association; Ashley DeJesu, Chair of the Government Lodging Subcommittee, and Director with Highwire, Inc.; Julienne Sugarek, Chair of the Per Diem Subcommittee and Manager with Texas Comptroller of Public Accounts; Bill Rivers, Vice Chairman and Director of GSA's Office of Federal Vehicle Management Policy and Program Executive for GSA's Federal Premier Lodging Program. Other board members are Cheryl Hutchinson, President, Association of Corporate Travel Executives (ACTE); Jerome C. Molitor, Northrop Grumman Corporation; Scott Lamb, Society of Government Travel Professionals (SGTP), National Director of Sales - Government, Prime Hospitality Corp. AmeriSuites/Wellesley Inns & Suites; Roy Sammarco, Chief, Economics and Statistics Branch, Department of Defense; Mary Sarkis, American Hotel Lodging Association, Choice Hotels International; Juanita P. Stokes, Office of Allowances, United States; Department of State; Norm Wilson, Program Manager, Statewide Travel Management; Claudia Bonetti, Lockheed Martin Corporation; and Timothy J. Burke, GSA's Director of Travel Management Policy and Program Manager, GSA's Governmentwide eTravel initiative.

For more information, contact William Rivers, Deputy Director Office of Transportation and Personal Property, at (202) 208-7631 or via email at bill.rivers@gsa.gov.

GSA is a centralized federal procurement and property management agency created by Congress to improve government efficiency and help federal agencies better serve the public. It acquires, on behalf of federal agencies, office space, equipment, telecommunications, information technology, supplies, and services. GSA, comprised of 14,000 associates, provides services and solutions for the office operations of over 1 million federal workers located in 8,300 government-owned and leased buildings in 1,600 U.S. communities.