Las Vegas Scandal Won't Affect GSA's Videoconferencing Focus

The General Services Administration is continuing to invest heavily in videoconferencing, teleconferencing and other technologies that save money by reducing employee travel but hasn't been specifically asked to ramp up those activities in the wake of news Monday about a budget-busting live conference in Las Vegas that cost GSA Administrator Martha Johnson her job.

"This has been a GSA philosophy for the last couple years," said Phil Klokis, chief information officer of GSA's Public Buildings Service. "It's part of our mobility offerings and telework offerings...It has nothing to do with the recent goings on."

PBS was the host of the controversial $835,000 Las Vegas conference, which included $3,200 for a mind reader. Klokis was responding to a question during a panel discussion at the 2012 FOSE conference on government technology.

"A lot of videoconferencing is going on at GSA," Klokis said Tuesday. "We also have tele-presence from each of our 11 regional office buildings, which is an offering we make available [on a fee-for-use basis] to the rest of the federal government...We also do point-to-point videoconferencing through our Gmail offering, which people are taking a lot more advantage of."

Johnson was a strong proponent of videoconferencing and telework. She resigned shortly before a critical Inspector General's report on the Las Vegas conference was released Monday.