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House Appropriations Committee recognizes value of scientific societies

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The report accompanying the pending Omnibus Appropriations bill for Fiscal Year 2018 (which ends 30 Sept 2018) includes the following language:



The Committee recognizes that maintaining the professional competencies of the Federal workforce is necessary to assure sound scientific management principles are applied to resource management. Professional societies, such as the Society of American Foresters,
the Society for Range Management, The Wildlife Society, American Fisheries Society, and others provide opportunities for employees to maintain professional competencies through continuing education, scientific journals, and interaction with other professionals. The Committee encourages the Federal agencies funded in this bill to support the participation of employees in such professional societies in accordance with guidance issued by the Office of Government Ethics through 5 CFR Part 2640.203, Official Participation in Nonprofit Organizations.


Analysis: "Language" is non-binding and more to the point, the agencies will be far too cash-starved to allow employees to attend scientific society meetings. Staffing levels in most agencies are already so low that employees won't have the time needed to engage in activities such as continuing education. Staffing levels are going to dip to lower lows, especially if the planned DOI reorganization goes forward. And that OGE guidance was issued during the Obama Administration, so it may as well be blank paper as far as the current Administration is concerned.

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