CGTP Open Letter

» Posted by on Jan 11, 2015 in Industry Postings | 0 comments

As a Travel Coordinator for the Board of Veteran Appeals, I am responsible for making travel arrangements for Veteran Law Judges and Counsel who travel to over 64 Regional Office locations world wide. My responsibilities include but are not limited to booking flights, lodging accommodations, ground transportation and preparing travel plans as well as vouchers.

The booking engine that we use to service the Boards travel needs is Fed Traveler, which is very user friendly, but complicated to manipulate if adjustments or changes are required.

On September 5, 2007 all travel coordinators for VA wide received an email from Veterans Affairs financial service center (VAFSC) that we will be changing from Sabre travel to World Span. The timing of this transition was poorly decided because it was too close to the end of the fiscal year, in my opinion.

Because of year end closeout procedures for the Financial Management System (FMS), all documents that were submitted between September 27, 2007, and October 2, 2007, would not be processed in FMS until FMS was available for FY08 processing. Guidelines were given to stop processing travel plans after September 7, 2007.

In an effort to avoid any mass confusion, I completed all travel plans for travelers that were scheduled to travel prior to the deadline date. Unfortunately, once the system transferred over, several travel plans were deleted. This caused a hardship for travelers because all of their accommodations had been lost and needed to be resubmitted. Some of the trips had to be postponed because of the restrictions of the FY 2008 budget funds.

On September 17th, 2007 we were able to enter FY08 travel plans, choosing FY 08 fiscal data which generated FY 08 obligation numbers. The World Span transfer also created differences in Per Diem for the FedTraveler system. For each travel plan that I created, the allowable PerDiem rate defaulted to the FY07 rates table. Many of the travel plans had to be entered under the comments section stating “missing updated FY08 PerDiem rate data”.

Transactions of this nature should be well thought out and properly planned. Changing over at the end of a fiscal year can prove to be very stressful.

by Marcia Little

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