I tend to agree on holding the meetings in less expensive venues.
I tend to support the idea of having the meeting however. The concept of continental uniformity is pretty much blather. There are regional differences producing regional specific problems. The chance to mingle is the chance to increase understanding.
They are having an exhibit hall. This means the meeting is in some way akin to a trade show where you meet vendors eyeball to eyeball and get the latest info and convey gripes. It is very hard to place a value on such opportunity.
It is cool for those in a rut that never permits travel and interaction to bitch about costs. It is more difficult to convey understanding of the concept that meetings are not total boondoggles meant only for entertainment. The cost benefit ratio is conceptual and to a large extent not measureable with precision.
Your points are good—so why hold an expensive convention in California? Hold it in a USPS warehouse somewhere in the middle of the country, thus making it cheaper and easier for everyone to get there.
Hold it in Topeka.
The Postal Forum charges fees to attend. http://www.npf.org/pdfs/RegForm.pdf ~ downloadable ~ if you want to attend ~ shows $900 is the fee. Then you can also rent a hotel room ~ be sure to do that early ‘cause there’s never enough. This center has 7,000 parking spaces and it is anticipated the Postal Forum will use all of them ~ there’s a fee you get to pay for that. Adding in the advertising and additional fees on exhibitors, this thing could easily top $5 million ~ and the only USPS cost is to provide the computer based registration and ID system for attendees and send a couple of dozen ‘executives’ to the show. The rest are local postal people sidetracked for a couple of days to check IDs, set up presentation sites, etc.