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Yes, Bob, several of our staff attendees at WEST mentioned that gov personnel had taken time off and paid their own way to attend the conference. That's evidence that they see value in conference participation -- a value, it appears, the government doesn't want to acknowledge. John and Joe also have made good points, however. Conference sponsors must show HOW their events generate a return on investment AND take into consideration that this and future generations learn and network in much different ways than the industrial agers did. It's the "baby out with the bath water" and "cutting off the nose to spite the face" attitudes that bother me most. Government appears to have forgotten that despite the costs, conferences offer important benefits that are still very much needed.

By Maryann Lawlor